Editorial Columns

Is Piper Niven NXT UK’s Hottest Signing?

Beth Wood looks at one of NXT UK’s newest signing, Piper Niven.

Anyone who has dabbled their hands into the UK and Japanese indy circuit may have heard about Viper – an established, charismatic wrestler who has held various titles, and been involved in showcasing some of the best women’s wrestling matches this century.

However, when there is news of fan favourite indy wrestlers signing to WWE, those fans have the entirely rational fear that there is always the possibility of them being squashed into the abyss of lower card stigma and bad story writing.

It was reported back in January that Viper would be signing to WWE under the name Piper Niven, and many fans reacted with fear of how she would be portrayed or treated, especially when you look some at the titles she has won around the world:

  • ABC Women’s Championship (1 time)
  • ICW Women’s Championship (2 times)
  • ICW Women’s Championship Tournament (2015)
  • PCW Women’s Championship (1 time)
  • Pro-Wrestling:EVE International Championship (1 time)
  • SWE Future Division Championship (1 time)
  • WOS Women’s Championship (2 times)
  • Artist of Stardom Championship (1 time) – with HZK and Io Shirai
  • SWA World Championship (1 time)
  • Trios Tag Team Tournament (2019) – with Utami Hayashishita and Bea Priestley

Piper had her NXT UK in-ring debut on April 10th and has since been shown as a dominant force on the brand, competing in entertaining matches with the likes of Reina Gonzalez, Zelina Vega, and Killer Kelly. In time, it is clear that the WWE will put her in the women’s championship picture, but one thing is clear for now – they know her potential.

Piper was born on the 13th May 1991 in Ayr Scotland, and although not much is known about her earlier years, we know that she began her professional wrestling career back in 2009, fighting for Scottish Wrestling Alliance. Since then competed for wrestling promotions such as EVE, ICW, WCPW and TNA, typically under the ring name Viper, Miss Viper or Vyper.

In her indy career, she would tear the house down. Some notable opponents of hers during this time were the likes of Martina, Toni Storm and Serena Deeb. If you get the chance to check any of these matches out, I’d seriously suggest it!

She first hinted about joining WWE back in 2017, where she was announced to be one the competitors of the 2017 WWE Mae Young Classic — an event that has gained the reputation of showcasing the best female competitors around the world. In this contest she got through to the 3rd round, before being defeated by Toni Storm.

However, despite this defeat, it once again proved to the pro-wrestling universe that Niven is fast becoming one of the leading figures of the women’s wrestling industry. An example of this recognition comes from Pro Wrestling Illustrated, who have rated her in their annual Top 100 Female Wrestlers in The World articles two years running. Niven was rated #37 in 2017, and #54 in 2018.

On Monday 11th June, BBC Three followed Viper during the height of her indy career in a half an hour documentary titled “Fight Like A Girl”. This showed clips of her fighting skills, her talking about her experiences around the world with the likes of Tori Storm, as well as addressing body weight positivity. Overall it was a really positive documentary that also accredited her as being the hottest Scottish female wrestling prospect. Another accolade to a young wrestlers’ promising career.

Looking at her career so far, and with all that has been highlighted, it’s refreshing in all to see a wrestler truly show herself to be a genuine, down to earth person. You only have to go onto her Twitter account to see her tweets promoting mental health, her day to day activities, as well as her workout pictures.

At the moment, the WWE universe and beyond are eagerly awaiting what will become of Piper Niven in NXT UK, but if there is one thing I want for the brand in 2019, it is for this to be the year we see Niven catapult to the top of their roster and capture the championship.

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You can find me on Twitter @n0cturnalowl. Thanks for reading.

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