The WWE NXT UK show has been running for a few weeks now, and it has given many wrestlers a chance to shine.
Below are my top 5 standout wrestlers from the shows so far, there are notable exceptions, in that anyone who has been a feature of the NXT brand or 205 Live is already a name and they stood out before the shows even aired – that is why I haven’t picked the resurgent Noam Dar, or the magnetic Dakota Kai (who I’ve been lucky enough to see live) or Wargames star Pete Dunne. The following 5 are people who haven’t been majorly featured on WWE TV previously and headed for greatness.
1. Zack Gibson
This man just brings heat with him wherever he goes. Stand near him and you won’t need a jumper that’s for sure. What makes him so good is that although he attracts massive heat, it’s never cheap heat. He gets deep under your skin and makes you want to see him lose. Anyone who had seen him on the indies before working with WWE would have told you this long before NXT UK, but that doesn’t lessen the effect. He has humongous technical prowess in the British mould, plus he knows his craft intensely yet he is only 28 years old – a young man indeed. Further to that, he’s a trained accountant, so he’s very calculating and loves excel (who doesn’t?)
The man from Leeds (I didn’t know there was a Leeds in Mexico but there you go) this Mexican has a terrific work-rate and many were unsure as to how he would cope with the schedule of the WWE, but the reduced workload has seemingly gone well so far. He has shone so far and his potential is huge even if his current mask is a little Brexit-y in these uncertain times. I look forward to watching him go up against compatriots such as Andrade Almas and Rey Mysterio. Those matches would be almost like a license to print money.
3. Ashton Smith
Woop. I must admit, I didn’t know much about Mr Smith before NXT UK, and I’ll be honest, I still don’t know masses. THat being said, I REALLY want to see more of his matches. He’s athletic and the ‘woop’ thing is outrageously over. I don’t know what he’s done to get it over, but that’s part of the trick. If you knew how to get a certain thing over, then everyone would do it. We just have to look at it from the standpoint that, he’s popular and people want to see him do well. I certainly do, and he’s on the same infectious chanting level as Moose, but not nearly as annoying – plus I’m sure he knows how to dress, unlike Moose.
4. Sid Scala
I know he’s being used on NXT UK as an enhancement talent, whose purpose in life is to make Dave “the Bomber” Mastiff or Tyson T-Bone look terrifying, and to take the soft loss. However, there’s something about him that makes him standout to me. I don’t know what it is, and believe me, if I did, I’d be doing it and getting a wage from WWE. Deride this decision to put him in my top 5 all you like, but you don’t have to be a great champion to stand out from the crowd, and who knows what the future holds for young Mr Scala. This is wrestling in the late 10s, anything can and will happen. James Ellsworth was a thing for a while, which is proof enough that you might one day get your day after being used as enhancement. If that wasn’t enough, the Hardy Boyz started as an enhancement team and look what happened to them. So all in all, there’s something about SId that makes me think this won’t be the last we see of him and hopefully he gets used in a way that gives him some victories.
5. Dave “the Bomber” Mastiff
For fans of Progress and other UK independent promotions, this should come as no shock, but this man is good. Another wrestler in the mould of Killian Dain or Hanson of the War Raiders, Dave can seriously move and every bit of offense he puts in looks vicious as heck. He has so far been made to look a big big deal, and rightly so. My only contention with him (although you certainly won’t catch me saying it to his face – I want to live after all) is that on the independent scene he’s known as “the Bastard”. I understand that with WWE programming having to be PG and therefore they’ve changed his name. However, “the Bomber” is not much of an improvement and with attacks that have happened in both the UK and America, I feel the connotations of the name suggest something worse. Unless the WWE were trying to invoke some kind of RAF style, old-school British nickname like “Bomber” Harris or “Bomber” Wells. However, I can’t imagine the Dave is a big enthusiast for piloting. The only logic is potentially the WWE wanted to imply some Bulldog Spirit even though it wouldn’t have the full meaning of Dave being an underdog. I feel Dave “the Bulldog” Mastiff would be a good mix, plus then there’s two references to types of dogs in the same name, and who doesn’t love dogs other than allergy sufferers.
So there we have it, the 5 who have stood out to me watching NXT UK so far. I am aware that there’s no female superstars on this list, and that’s mainly down to my ignorance, as with so much wrestling content available, I haven’t been watching the episodes intensely analysing, but every one of the female roster has a chance to be the star that they deserve to be. There’s also an honourable mention for TWM’s own – Schmidtee, who certainly stood out, with his ability to get rude gestures onto a TV-PG show, mainly because the WWE don’t know the wanker sign.