I think it’s fair to say that NXT UK got off to a bit of a rocky start.
Despite larger delivering at their big Takeover events, the brand’s weekly television felt rushed. It got to the point it became increasingly difficult to keep up with what was happening on a regular basis.
Then there was the Speaking Out movement, which had a major effect on the entire UK scene and threatened at one point to be the hammer blow to the WWE’s UK venture.
Since they returned from a forced absence due to the initial COVID-19 lockdown though, NXT UK has found it’s footing and began giving signs of fulfilling the potential it had back in 2018. Veterans such as Sha Samuels and Rampage Brown were brought in to add some experience to the brand, fresh faces began getting a chance and talented stars who were running under the radar pre-COVID were beginning to stand out, like A-Kid.
Despite this though, there remains a problem with NXT UK’s on-screen booking, and that lies in their main event title scene.
Long title reigns
At the time of writing, WALTER has held the NXT UK Championship for a total of 750 days. Before him, Pete Dunne amassed nearly two years with the belt. So in the last four years, just two men have held the UK scrap.
To some, this may be seen as a way to help build up the legacy and prestige of the title, much in the same way as the championship reigns of the 70s and 80s.
However, it may also be argued that creates an invincibility aura in that you can’t picture anyone taking over as the brand’s main guy.
When Dunne was champion, there was at least someone in the form of WALTER who was creating such a level of hype for himself, he was always going to be a credible threat. Now, especially in the current climate, there is no one on the indies as massive in Europe or even Stateside as the Ring General.
NXT UK did a reasonable job in the last 12 months building up creditable challengers in the form of Ilja Dragunov and the aforementioned A-Kid and Brown. Even then, you find it difficult to picture any beating WALTER.
You felt pre-lockdown than Finn Balor was being positioned as a man to take the belt from Austrian just before lockdown struck and caused the delay of NXT Takeover: Dublin. But given how much the Prince has achieved in main NXT since, would this simply just replicate a recurring problem? I believe so, and it is something NXT UK really needs to address if WWE wants it to grow to what it wants it to be in a decades time.
The founding father and ‘higher power’ of the ESSR army, Steven oversees the operation of the Suplex Retweet podcast series and is the show’s primary host. With a broad knowledge of the industry, Steven leads discussions on a wide range of subjects from stables to WCW.
For some reason, he thinks John Cena’s real name is Allen Jones and is madly in love with Becky Lynch.