The U.K. has witnessed quite the resurgence in wrestling over the past few months, with WWE’s U.K. Championship announcement coming just weeks after bosses at ITV decided to recommission World of Sport for the first time in 30 years.
The new episode of World of Sport premiered on New Year’s Eve and was considered a rousing success by many in the wrestling community.
It was hard for some fans to understand that British Wrestling has changed over the past 30 years, though, now there are some of the best wrestlers in the world performing on our shores.
The likes of Paige, Neville, and Jack Gallagher are currently plying their trade on the grandest stage with WWE, while the likes of Will Ospreay and Davey Boy Smith fly the flag for the U.K. over in NJPW.
British wrestling has changed and the rest of the world will be able to see this for themselves this weekend when 16 British Superstars descend on Blackpool and showcase their skills for the world to see on the WWE Network. But ahead of this, it’s time to look back at all the people who have made an impact on British Wrestling, and all the ones who we would prefer to forget.
15. Proud – Wade Barrett
The King of Bad News, the former leader of The Nexus, former Intercontinental Champion and King of the Ring winner. It is hard to dislike Wade Barrett. Born in Preston, England, Wade has always been proud of his roots and has always been used in such a way on WWE TV.
Barrett could well be one of the greatest U.K. wrestlers to head over to America and wrestle for WWE, and since his departure from the company a few months ago, he has returned to his roots. Barrett decided to walk away from WWE in order to concentrate on his acting career, but he did state that he would return to the ring ‘when the time is right’ which is great news for British audiences.
14. Disgraced – Paige
It is hard to put Paige on the disgraced pile after everything her family has done for British Wrestling over the past two decades, but sadly over the past few months, Paige has gone from being the best female wrestler the U.K. has ever produced, to the name that most fans dare not say.
As a former Divas and NXT Women’s Champion, Paige made a statement in WWE before 2016 became a year to forget for the Total Divas reality star. Two suspensions under WWE’s Wellness Policy and her alliance with Alberto Del Rio has many fans questioning if she will actually return to WWE at all when she has recovered from neck surgery. Paige has given the impression that she could care less about returning to WWE at this point.
13. Proud – Neville
After biding his time and wrestling the cream of the crop when it comes to British talent on the U.K. circuit, Neville was finally given his chance when WWE decided to rebrand their NXT Division from a ridiculous game/reality style television program to a real and legitimate wrestling promotion.
Adrian Neville became the longest reigning NXT Champion until his record was beaten by Finn Balor before he was moved up to the main roster as one of the biggest stars to come from the developmental brand. Neville was then part of a feud with fellow Brit Wade Barrett before he more recently found his place as the ‘King’ in WWE’s Cruiserweight Division. With all signs pointing towards a Neville push within the division, there is a strong possibility that Neville will soon be Cruiserweight Champion.
12. Disgraced – Bram
The former husband of WWE Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte, Bram is a wrestling Superstar in his own right, given his run in TNA and stint on the British Circuit, but like many others on this list, wrestling fans concentrated more on Bram’s life outside of the ring than they did when he was inside the ropes.
There were once rumours that Charlotte divorced her second husband because he was abusive, but these reports where corrected when it was said that Bram was arrested for assaulting a different female. This assault was not made Charlotte, even though the pair were still married at the time but it seemed that he had already moved on with another woman. This is now Bram’s reputation, which is certainly not one to make the U.K proud.
11. Proud – Doug Williams
Hailing from Reading, England, Doug Williams has always taken the U.K. with him, even though he now resides over in the United States. After a career that spanned more than two decades, Williams has begun returning to the U.K. more frequently since he’s made a return to the Independent Circuit.
Doug is best known for his lengthy stint in TNA, back when the company was thought of as a legitimate rival of WWE. He has never stopped flying the flag for the U.K. and is the role model of many up and coming wrestlers currently on the circuit. At the age of 44, it seems that Doug might be slowing his career down a little bit now and focusing more on life outside the squared circle.