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In the most exciting news to happen to the British wrestling scene in the past thirty years, the biggest wrestling corporation in the world, WWE, has announced they are to set up a UK brand.
The announcement was made at the recent United Kingdom Championship tournament at the Royal Albert Hall in London. It shows a tremendous show of faith by WWE’s Chief Operating Officer, Triple H, in the talent that the UK is producing that the company are willing to spend time, resources, and efforts into cracking the British market.
WWE NXT UK, as the brand will be officially called, has already announced the superstars that will shape the brand. The legendary Johnny Saint will be the on-air general manager. Saint’s career as an in-ring performer is now over having called time on his career in 2011 after 53 years in the business.
The UK brand will challenge already established promotions such as Progress (owned by UK Championship holder, Pete Dunne) and Scottish hardcore show ICW.
As well as having a full roster of performers, there will also be tag team championships and a woman’s championship, adding to the already established United Kingdom Championship.
The United Kingdom Championship is currently held by Birmingham’s Pete Dunne. 14 time champion and COO Triple H spoke about Dunne in glowing terms when he said: “I see a lot of talent there. He’s one of those guys that just eats, sleep, breathes it and he’s constantly learning. So if I had to pick one guy (to be a potential British world champion) it would be Pete.”
This is a massive vote of confidence from ‘The Game’ for Dunne, considering he is still currently only 24 years old! He has become a global superstar among fans following his ‘WWE match of the year’ against Tyler Bate at NXT Takeover: Chicago, the match when Dunne won the championship.
Bate himself is a native of the West Midlands as he resides from Dudley. He was the inaugural UK Champion, a feat he achieved at 19 years old, making him the youngest holder of a WWE title ever.
Tyler recently won the NXT Tag Team Championships at the Royal Albert Hall alongside training partner and another fellow Dudley native, Trent Severn as they beat the Undisputed Era. However, they did lose the titles a week later.
The three guys from the Midlands, or ‘British Strongstyle,’ as they are known, are going to be a fundamental part of the UK NXT brand moving forward. They are seen to be the most talented and recognisable faces among fans as they have already appeared on WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night Raw.
Speaking after the announcement, Dunne said: “Anyone who’s dedicated some time to this and worked really hard, now it’s an option. More of my peers and friends are now able to work full time with this because of the WWE.”
Triple H added: “The UK has an amazing talent base and incredibly passionate fans that are deserving of their own showcase.”
Television deals have yet to be revealed but it is more than likely to be streamed over the WWE’s subscription platform, the WWE Network.
However, the first televised dates have been revealed, with the first show in Cambridge on July 28. Birmingham fans will not have to wait long to see the talent as the cameras and performers come to the Insomnia Gaming Festival at the NEC on August 25 and 26.
Get to be a part of something special on the British wrestling scene and support the local talent. You can find tickets on the Insomnia Gaming Festival website.