WWE has a ton of history when it comes to superstars, but few have made it to the top from outside the United States or Canada. There are a few reasons for this. WWE prefers their top champions speak fluent English for promos, which means many Japanese and Latino superstars are often kept in the mid-card and never make it to the top. However, when it comes to wrestlers from the U.K., the reason is different.
Wrestling in the U.K. is different than the United States, with grappling and striking an important part, with the showmanship that WWE prefers taking a backseat. However, despite that, there are many wrestlers from the U.K. that were able to rise to the top anyway. Here is a look at the best WWE superstars to come from the U.K. ranked. As a reminder, the United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland -- but not the Republic of Ireland.
At one time Layla El was the most celebrated female wrestler to ever come from the U.K., but in 2011, a young star named Paige signed with WWE and changed that. Paige, who is only 26 at this time, is retired from wrestling due to neck injuries ending her career. However, over her short career, she was one of the best female wrestlers in WWE.
After starting her career at the age of 13, this second-generation star became the first-ever WWE NXT women's champion and never lost the title. She moved up to the main roster and beat AJ Lee for the Divas Championship in her first match there. By the time she retired, she had held the WWE women's title three times.
9 WADE BARRETT
Wade Barrett should have been a massive star in WWE, but the company dropped the ball with him. He made his debut with the faction NEXUS, a group of rookies wanting to make their mark and take over. The faction should have been huge, but they ended up fed to John Cena, and it ended their push.
Barrett, the star of the group, then was put into a gimmick where he was Bad News Barrett and just kept telling people he had bad news for them -- which he managed to get over with the fans. However, up next, he was put into a new faction called The League of Nations where their only purpose was to put over Roman Reigns, and he asked for his release. Barrett is back in the U.K., working in the wrestling scene there.
8 TYLER BATE
Tyler Bate is a young star that the WWE Universe met when he took part in the WWE NXT UK tournament. The fact that he is only 22-years-old means that there is a lot of time for him to move up this list. Bate made his mark immediately, winning the WWE UK NXT Championship by winning that tournament -- all at the age of 19.
That made Bate the youngest champion in WWE history. Bate did lose the title to Pete Dunne, and their two matches for the title are considered two of the best matches in NXT history. He has since proven that he is also a great tag team wrestler, teaming with Trent Seven as Moustache Mountain, winning multiple tag titles with him, including the NXT tag titles at one time.
7 PETE DUNNE
Pete Dunne was the longest reigning champion in WWE while he was defending his WWE NXT UK Championship. He held the title for 685 days, one of the longest reigns in the modern era of WWE. While he lost it to WALTER, Dunne is still considered one of the top stars in NXT UK and someone that many expect to be a star in America as well when he finally makes his move to the main roster.
Dunne has already wrestled on Monday Night Raw, winning, and competed in the Royal Rumble as well. He is only 25 and has his entire career ahead of him, one of the best natural heels on either NXT brand, ready to take the next step of his career.
6 FIT FINLAY
It speaks volumes to know that Fit Finlay came to WWE and was saddled with a stereotypical Irish gimmick but was able to withstand that and develop a level of respect from the fans anyway. Finlay had been wrestling in the U.K since the '70s, and after a stint in WCW, he made his way to WWE.
He ended up in some terrible storylines, such as when he teamed with Hornswoggle as his lucky Leprechaun companion. Despite this, Finlay was one of the hardest hitters in WWE and proved in his mid-40s that he could work with anyone and make them look good. He retired in 2012 and still works behind-the-scenes in WWE.
5 DREW MCINTYRE
Drew McIntyre did something impressive. He showed up in WWE as a young 22-year-old, moved up through the developmental territory and then was immediately thrown into the deep end when he arrived on the main roster as Mr. McMahon's Chosen One. The fans didn't latch onto him, and that ruined his push.
By 2012, three short years later, he was part of a comedy faction called 3-Man Band with Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal and soon found himself as a joke. He asked for his release and returned to Scotland and then worked his way back to the U.S. indies, reinventing himself as Drew Galloway -- a hard-hitting bruiser. Now, McIntyre is back in WWE as one of their top stars.
4 NIGEL MCGUINNESS
The story of Nigel McGuinness is a sad one. He never got to wrestle in WWE, although they planned to sign him. He failed their physical and never had the chance to compete on the big stage. However, he was one of the best wrestlers in Ring of Honor history and had brilliant matches with everyone from Daniel Bryan to Samoa Joe and Austin Aries.
He then moved to Impact Wrestling and turned in some of the best matches of Kurt Angle's career there, and Nigel looked like a major star there as Desmond Wolfe. However, when WWE failed to sign him, McGuinness retired in 2011. He is now one of the commentators for the NXT brand, finally working for WWE.
3 WILLIAM REGAL
William Regal is currently seen weekly as the general manager of WWE NXT. That is an excellent spot for him and a nice turnaround from a WWE career that started very poorly. After working in the U.K. in the '80s, Regal became a star in WCW where his matches with Ric Flair, Booker T, and Ricky Steamboat were highlights that proved he was one of the best wrestlers in the company. He even gave Goldberg one of his best matches.
However, when Regal went to WWE, he was given the gimmick of The Real Man's Man -- which made no sense based on his real personality. However, he returned one year later and worked a more natural blueblood heel gimmick and finally started winning titles, including the European and hardcore titles and the 2002 King of the Ring Tournament.
2 DAVEY BOY SMITH
Davey Boy Smith had two distinctive careers in WWE. When he first arrived in 1984, he teamed with Dynamite Kid as the British Bulldogs. They were one of the most successful tag teams of the '80s, and even though they only won the tag titles once, they were still the top of the ladder in the tag team division.
After Dynamite Kid's injuries pretty much ended his career, Davey Boy started calling himself The British Bulldog and became a hugely successful singles star. His match with Bret Hart in England was one of the best of his career when he won the IC title at SummerSlam 1992. He later won the tag title again with Owen Hart and was one of the most decorated WWE wrestlers from the U.K.
1 DYNAMITE KID
While he did not hold as many titles in WWE as his cousin, Davey Boy Smith, the Dynamite Kid is widely considered the greatest in-ring wrestler to ever come from the U.K. Men like Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and more credit Dynamite Kid as an influence for their career. Dynamite Kid is also the man credited with the rise of the cruiserweight style in the United States -- his match with Tiger Mask considered one of the best of all-time.
Dynamite Kid was a one-time WWE tag team champion with Davey Boy Smith as the British Bulldogs, but his body started to break down, ending their run early and eventually leading him to life in a wheelchair at the end of his life. Dynamite Kid held numerous titles across the world over his career and is not only the best U.K. wrestler in WWE history but arguably the best technical wrestler of all time.