It might be hard for wrestling fans to believe, but WWE’s developmental program NXT was once seen as a laughing stock of the company – mainly a wrestling show that mostly consisted of skits and contests with the occasional wrestling match. In recent years, it has grown to be a global phenomenon and it appears the brand’s reach is going beyond North America.
WWE announced the creation of its new NXT UK series and brand. This announcement is made in conjunction with WWE’s 2018 United Kingdom tournament, which is currently being taped and will air on June 25-26 on the WWE Network. Although it will have the letters NXT attached, this new brand will feature its own set of championships: WWE United Kingdom Championship, as well as a UK Women’s and UK Tag Team Championships.
NXT UK, a new UK series featuring the greatest competitors from the UK and Ireland. The UK Championship title, plus two new Championships – the UK Women’s Championship title and UK Tag Team Championship titles – will be on the line. #NXTUK pic.twitter.com/Uehw7B6U2j
— WWE UK (@WWEUK) June 18, 2018
When WWE held the first UK Championship tournament in 2017, there were rumors that a UK show would make its way to the WWE Network. During the time, the WWE’s United Kingdom title was defended sporadically by titleholders like Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne. Other UK talents, like Trent Seven, competed on WWE programming, mostly NXT.
Although fans love the trio known as British Strong Style, as well as other featured UK competitors, fans wanted something more whether it was WWE featuring the UK talent more frequently, or at least have their own show.
But while wrestlers like British Strong Style have wrestled at WWE events, they’ve also competed at several independent shows during their association with WWE.
It makes sense for WWE having a footprint in the United Kingdom. The UK wrestling scene is going strong with established promotions like Progress, Insane Championship Wrestling. Other organizations like Pro Wrestling Eve and Defiant Wrestling continue to build steam.
Hopefully NXT UK can be its own entity. While NXT brass could book UK talent for Takeover events, NXT UK should have its own spotlight and events.
That said, NXT UK performers could use the program as a springboard to NXT in the U.S. after they have built some momentum and garnered a fanbase. Likewise, NXT talent who need some time away from Florida, or want the challenge of wrestling outside of the U.S. could go to NXT UK for a spell and return.
Hopefully some talent in NXT UK have the opportunity to take their skills to Raw or Smackdown Live in the future. Most importantly, it brings more fans into UK wrestling. NXT UK could be a jumping off point that could lead fans to Pro Wrestling Eve or Progress.
Some wrestling fans are probably worried about WWE potentially poaching wrestlers from their favorite European promotions, but WWE has cultivated relationships with Progress and ICW. If the WWE/NXT UK contracts are similar to deals that wrestlers like Dunne are under, fans won’t have to worry about seeing competitors like Toni Storm miss an important indie date.
They may not be featured on programs like Impact Wrestling or Defiant, but they will still have an opportunity to work in front of live audiences outsides of WWE.
Keep in mind, NXT UK hasn’t officially began and it’s not likely going to be a perfect product in the first few months – it took NXT awhile to find their niche.
But if the talent and the WWE brass put in the effort to make NXT UK the place to be, and if fans embrace it, we could see more quality wrestling from around the world under the WWE banner.
Donovan Dijak Suffers Injury at NXT Vengeance Day
NXT Vengeance Day was a rousing success for WWE on Saturday which saw a number of headlines come out of the event that was well-received by fans, including an injury suffered by Donovan Dijak during his match with Wes Lee for the North American Championship.
Dijak suffered an apparent broken finger during the match, which was seen on camera and shared on social media.
Following the event NXT general manager Shawn Michaels provided an update on Dijak, stating he did not suffer a broken finger – “Yeah, everybody is good” Michaels said. “I announced it at gorilla, it’s got to be a miracle, It’s not broken.
“We got him x-ray, they said it’s not broken and so yeah, I guess what you do is you kind of numb it and put it back in place and that’s what’s happening now. But it is, again, a modern miracle because we all saw it, it was pretty gnarly looking. But, apparently, he’s going to be okay, which is obviously fantastic news for us and him.”
William Regal’s New Title in WWE Return
William Regal has made his return to WWE following his brief stint with AEW and now has a new title that is much different than what he had prior to his release from WWE during budget cuts last year.
Regal was Director of Talent Development and Head of Global Recruiting prior to his release. Regal was also the former General Manager for NXT and also had an on-screen role before he made his way to AEW.
According to PWInsider, Regal is now the Vice President, Global Talent Development for WWE.
Ahead of his return to WWE and amid his exit from AEW, Regal issued the following on social media:
“Yesterday was my last official day with @AEW. I’d like to thank @TonyKhan, Megha and all the hard working crew. Contrary to people who’ve never spoken to me or have their information from people who don’t know me or are trying to make themselves noticed, I had a lovely time working there and had a great time. Lots of talented Wrestlers, and lovely people to work for. To my fellow BCC members, it was a special, albeit brief few months but it cemented our already strong friendship. To everyone there, thank you for welcoming me. Best wishes.”
Ex-NJPW Star Karl Fredericks Signs with WWE
Former New Japan Pro Wrestling star Karl Fredericks has officially signed with WWE following the conclusion of his four-year tenure with NJPW. Fredericks announced on social media back in summer 2022 that he would not re-sign with NJPW.
Fredericks was initially linked to WWE last September, when he was reportedly spotted at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
According to PW Insider, Fredericks has officially signed with WWE and will be a part of the NXT brand initially.
WWE5 years ago
WWE: Hulk Hogan Back In Hall Of Fame
WWE17 years ago
Joey Mercury Suffers Broken Nose At Armageddon
NXT5 years ago
NXT: Welcome Four Horsewomen’s Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir
News5 years ago
Ronda Rousey Loving WWE ‘More than I ever Thought I Would’
News5 years ago
Sting Talks Scorpion Deathlock
News5 years ago
Daniel Bryan Re-Signs with WWE
News5 years ago
Braun Strowman Discusses Relationship With Bray Wyatt
WWE5 years ago
WWE Evolution Card Leaked