At NXT Takeover Cardiff, Walter stood tall once again when he narrowly defeated Tyler Bate in one of the most grueling, intense, and enjoyable matches you’re likely to see in the WWE.
In doing so he retained his WWE United Kingdom Championship. With the path of destruction, the Austrian Ring General has been on the question now turns to who will be next to step up and challenge him for his coveted title.
With how closely fought the Takeover title match was it is not outside the realm of possibility for Bate to mount a second attempt to take down Walter. The Big Strong Boy has proven to be the most popular hero on the UK brand, as was evident in the reaction he received in Cardiff. The fans of that brand love him and his presence at the top is sure to be a draw for future events so it would make sense to continue his feud with Imperium.
Tyler is a man who could conceivably win the title and successfully carry NXT UK forward with no real problems. However, his loss to Walter does make his chances of doing that vastly smaller than they once were. So how about another member of Moustache Mountain?
Both Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate have had their chances at the top so maybe it’s time for Trent Seven to step up and get his shot. He is often overlooked as the least serious member of the talented trio and as such he is probably not at the forefront of many fan’s minds when they think of who the next title contender may be. The fact is though that Seven is a formidable opponent who would doubtless put in a star-making performance should he be paired against the imposing champion. This option is admittedly unlikely to be the route that the WWE take but there is no doubt that if they did give Seven the ball he would not stumble as he ran with it.
Perhaps a continuation of the Moustache Mountain versus Imperium storyline is not the route to go and so that would open the original question up even more to consider not just who is capable of taking on Walter but who can withstand the onslaught of his entire stable.
The first name that springs to mind when considering behemoths on the UK roster is Dave Mastiff. He has been a house of fire since he first showed up in NXT as he’s run through the likes of Eddie Dennis en route to becoming one of the more feared wrestlers this side of the pond. The biggest knock against him would be that he is coming off of a defeat to Joe Coffey in Cardiff and that hurts his legitimacy as a challenger.
If not Mastiff then maybe the man who put him down for the ten count is a better option.
Joe Coffey is decidedly a heel and so would not be the first choice to go against the equally reviled Walter. Think about it for just a moment though and it becomes a tantalizing prospect. These two monsters would have a hoss fight for the ages. It’s a bout that would have chops, forearms, and strikes that would make even the strongest of people wince in sympathetic pain. Alongside that, you have the fact that Gallus are the only other force on the brand that could realistically stand up to Imperium and negate the groups superior numbers. The likelihood is that this is not the feud that fans will be seeing over the coming months, but it would be something brutal to behold.
With all of these elite performers considered, there is just one name left on the roster that makes any sense as a title contender. Ilja Dragunov.
He is another star who burst onto the scene and ran through opponents, just like WALTER. He is an intense European striker whose strikes sound like a gun going off, just like Walter. He has a unique aura that bleeds cool and captivates those watching, just like Walter. In short, Dragunov is the perfect foil for the champion.
Unfortunately, his star power has been damaged by two high profile losses to Kassius Ohno and Cesaro respectively. The most recent was in a fantastic matchup however and the momentum gained from that, even in defeat could be enough to propel this young performer to the top of the pile. Should Triple H opt to move forward with these two as the headline feud then you can expect some of the most sickeningly violent matches this side of Deathmatch wrestling.
Despite the small roster, NXT UK has several talents who could conceivably step up and take on Walter. Out of those listed above, it would likely be most interesting to see Mastiff take aim at the gold. Whoever is chosen is bound to produce magic but they’ll have to have a little more than magic on their side to actually dethrone the heavy-hitting champion.
You can find me on Twitter @Impers0nalJesus. Thanks for reading.