In recent times, with the improvements in TNA, ROH and the evolution of everyone’s favorite wacky promotion Lucha Underground, it seems the wrestling landscape continues to grow and get better year after year, and no where has this been proved true more that Europe, despite not having a major, televised promotion, as they keep churning out great wrestler after great wrestlers who have travelled abroad to become world wide stars. The following 15 wrestlers however have not made that almighty jump to the World Wrestling Entertainment (and after the treatment of Paige, Wade Barrett and Sheamus, who could blame them really?), but should definitely consider it as a possible career move, to expand their bank account and fan base, as WWE, particularly NXT have expanded and improved the way they sign new stars from all across the globe.
Whether it be for the main roster as a result of the thin rosters from the brand split, the Cruiserweight classic, NXT or RAW’s expanding cruiserweight division, there is no doubting that the following 15 stars would be valuable to WWE whichever role they are put in, and even though some of these stars are experiencing levels of success all around the world, there is no greater pay day or stage for world wide exposure like the land of Vinnie Mac’s in WWE.
29 Jimmy Havoc
With his incredibly unique look, the 12 year veteran of the wrestling industry Jimmy Havoc has been one of the most successful stars in the U.K, competing and succeeding in ICW, TNA and Progress wrestling, where he is the longest reigning Progress wrestling World Champion of all time. While he may not stand out from an in ring stand point like fellow country men Zack Sabre Jr. or Will Osperay, his command of character and ability to tell an effective, emotion inducing story have made him one of the more decorated performers in Europe for some time now, and his rivalry with up and coming star Osperay captivated the entire Progress audience, and showed just what a fantastic performer he can be given time and the right dance partner. In NXT he would no doubt find this right dance partner, with plenty of talented performers like Austin Aries, Andrade Almas and Shinsuke Nakamura, he would be a great addition to the roster if WWE is indeed motivated to give the show as unique and diverse a feel as it can possibly have.
27 Kay Lee Ray
The recent WWE draft has split the women’s division in two, despite not having the necessary amount women for this, and have had to call up 3 performers from NXT (Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss & Carmella, with Bayley assumed to be Sasha Banks’ mystery partner at Battleground), and thus both the main roster and NXT divisions will need serious replenishment. Enter Kay Lee Ray, a flame haired high flier who calls stars like Lita and Trish Stratus to memory whenever she is competing for ICW, yet manages to succeed under a heel personality, which would be perfect to oppose a star like Asuka in NXT, as she could have great matches with the Japanese sensation, yet be hated mercifully by the crowd. Along with stars like Candice LeRae, Kay Lee Ray would be a perfect addition to the WWE’s roster (as she has competed as enhancement talent on several NXT shows), and the ‘Queen of Hardcore’ would further help establish the women as serious competitors in WWE.
25 Jack Gallagher
Competing in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, Gallagher offers a completely unique look within the tournament, and following the signings of fellow competitors Kota Ibushi and Gran Metalik, would be an interesting signing to bolster the singles division of NXT. Gallagher combines his experience with Mixed Martial Arts into his wrestling performances, and in the decade he has been performing all around Europe, he has matured into one of the most fascinating characters, and credible wrestlers the continent has to offer, and his unique gimmick would no doubt get over with the intimate settings and crowd down at Full Sail University. Although this quirky gimmick may be closely associated with the Vaudevillians, Gallagher has been perfecting his character work and in ring ability since 2006, and with an impressing showing in the Cruiserweight Classic, he would be a fantastic fit for either NXT or the cruiserweight division on RAW (although fans have not heard many details about this division since it was announced last Monday night on Raw).
23 Rockstar Spud
While many know Rockstar for his time in TNA, whether he was Dixie Carter and EC3’s sidekick, the man has been wrestling all over Europe since his wrestling debut way back in 2001, and has a great ability to play a whiny heel who fans love to hate on, or an underdog baby face which no fan can hate, and with stars in WWE like John Cena who are determined to stay baby face, this kind of diversity is perfect as he can offer fans surprises and impress them with his in ring ability too. He has worked impressively for over 7 major promotions around Europe and the U.S in his career, and has also appeared on British television and as a color commentator, showing the range as a character he has, and this experience would be invaluable if he were to work with stars at the performance center or on Monday Night Raw as a featured performer in the cruiserweight division, Spud could be quite the handy pickup for WWE if they were ever interested.
Though he competes in TNA (and is currently in the midst of a storyline with great faction the Decay), Bram is the kind of star that would great to make a return to the company (he previously wrestled as Kenneth Cameron in the first incarnation of the Ascension) as he has a great, intimidating look, and can perform better than most competitors his size, while bringing a wealth of experience to the table. Since leaving due to disciplinary problems in 2012, Bram has expanded his abilities as a performer, both in the ring and on the microphone, and his experience as an actor would help him successfully portray either baby face or heel, which could potentially make him a big star in NXT, but don’t expect this to be any time in the near future, as WWE are staying away from people with shady pasts (like Moose) due to the recent problems with Reigns, Lawler, Adam Rose and Brock Lesnar.
19 Pete Dunne
The ‘Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne is a throwback to a past time when wrestling was all about brawling, and if WWE decided to give the talented young man a shot, he would provide them with a much needed diversity, and would add much more depth to the cruiserweight division, as his countering of high octane offense with his bruising, hard hitting style would make for many entertaining and intriguing match ups. With a wealth of experience all over Europe, his throwback gimmick may take time to catch on with the wider American audience, there is no doubt his talent would help improve the diversity of the product and would help WWE build their cruiserweight division into the future.
17 Joe Hendry
Joe Hendry is without a doubt the most charismatic man in all of ICW, and his parodies of some of the music industries most iconic songs like Teenage Dirtbag, Blue or Wrecking Ball have made him a fan favorite with the Scottish and British fans alike, while also bringing a legitimate Judo background to the table, as he is currently training to enter the upcoming Commonwealth games. Beyond this obvious musical charisma (which may not be allowed in NXT/WWE due to copyright issues which would arise), Hendry has the look and promo ability which would make him a big star in NXT, as well as combining strength and agility in the ring, if handled correctly could be a big time star for the WWE. With more experience (his debut came in 2013), the 28 year old ‘Local Hero’ could become one of the biggest baby faces or heels on the yellow brand, which make him the diverse star that NXT might need very soon given Nakamura, Joe and Aries logically all make their way to the main roster in the near future.
15 Mark Andrews
Mark Andrews is competing significantly in TNA, and when competing against other X Division stars such as Trevor Lee, Andrews is allowed to show off his amazing flying ability, and with a charming, boyish charisma, he could appeal to both casual and smart fans alike, and his skater gimmick he could be seen as a unique part of the NXT roster. While some may consider his gimmick a generic one, there is no doubt once Andrews steps inside the squared circle the fans will be completely enthralled in everything the British up and comer does, as there is quite possibly nothing he can’t do in a ring. While his situation with TNA may cloud the possibilities of this signing any time soon, with more NXT stars reportedly to be called up in the fall, Andrews could slide right into Full Sail, or further expand the depth and diversity of the Raw cruiserweight division.
Grado in his native Scotland is one of the most popular stars in British wrestling history, sometimes referred to as a Scottish version of indy favourite Colt Cabana for his ability to play the comedy role while retaining a high standing on the card, due to the overwhelming popularity and in ring ability. While his comedy gimmick may not translate to the wider WWE audience, as he has not become the star in TNA that he is in ICW, but his infectious positive attitude and the party atmosphere he brings, while having a good in ring ability would suit an arena like NXT if he could cater the comedy more to hardcore, American fans.
11 Noam Dar
Dar is the youngest competitor in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, and has been stunning fans in his home continent for the last few years, and has tremendous potential as a hybrid technical/high flying wrestler, and no matter how successful he is with the upcoming tournament, WWE would be wise to nurture this potential and grow him into a star at the Performance Centre. While not amazing on the microphone, WWE could mould Dar into their ideal star, as he has resemblances to NXT stars like Johnny Gargano, and with more confidence and experience, the Israeli (although he resides in Scotland) born Noam could become a huge star that could one day carry the NXT brand, and even now, he would bring a huge fan base to NXT with his diverse background.
9 Tommy End
Tommy End is a Dutch veteran of the wrestling business, making his debut way back in 2002, trained by independent legend Chris Hero, and has reportedly signed a WWE deal already, and if this is true he could be a stand out in the NXT brand after the brand split where 6 stars will be taken from developmental to pad the main rosters. The Dutch End combines a toughness with a technical and hard hitting style, which would make him perfect to match up against NXT stars like Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe, and he could give NXT another serious heel persona which he can further develop when Joe and Austin Aries eventually get promoted to the main roster.
7 Marty Scurll
The first of the British ‘Big 3’, Scurll is the more underrated of the trio, as he has yet to achieve much success beyond his homeland, despite being very successful in promotions such as Revolution Pro and Progress Wrestling. ‘The Villain’ may not be as high flying or technically outstanding as the other 2 big British stars, but does posses an amazing control over his character and the audience, as well as a unique look which would serve him incredibly well if he ever ventured into the land of NXT, as his over all ability would make him instantly one of the developmental brands biggest stars. At just 27, Scurll has been wrestling for over a decade, meaning WWE would be getting experience and youth in one very charismatic and talented wrestler, who has had great matches with the likes of Osperay and Sabre, and he is ready to take the step up to the bigger WWE stage.
5 Drew Galloway
A former WWE superstar, as Drew McIntyre, Galloway was one of the most underused performers in recent WWE memory, as his career was on the decline ever since he was introduced as the ‘Chosen one’ by the boss Vince McMahon himself. After a horrible run with jobber/comedy group 3MB, Galloway was released and returned to Europe with the mission of completely reinventing the wrestling scene in his homeland, and boy did he ever. He became ICW and single handedly took that Scottish company to the next level, as well as starring in companies like EVOLVE and Impact Wrestling, and his mission of proving WWE made a mistake by releasing him has been a complete success, becoming one of the biggest draws on the independent scene. He has won multiple world championships in these various different companies, and if a return to WWE is ever something he desired, there is no doubt WWE would be stupid to pass up the budding superstar.
3 Will Ospreay
The Aerial Assassin has been making waves in recent time, competing in the most talked about match of the year against Ricochet, all which led to him becoming the first ever British talent to win New Japan’s Best of Super Juniors tournament, all at just the bright young age of 23. The star from Essex combines incredible athleticism, timing and pure jaw dropping moves that have made him one of the brightest stars in the entire industry, with seemingly every major promotion in the world after him, with just 4 years wrestling experience under his belt, Ospreay has the world at his feet, and he will only continue to get better with experience. The WWE would be wise to captialise on the bright future of the young British star, as they could build NXT and the recently revitalized idea of cruiserweights around Osperay, who with improvement on the microphone could be a revolutionary star of this era.
1 Zack Sabre Jr.
It has been heavily rumored, even before his involvement in the inaugural WWE Cruiserweight Classic that the British technical wizard Zack Sabre Jr. was headed to WWE, and with the recent signings of fellow tournament competitors Gran Metalik and Kota Ibushi, it is becoming more and more likely that Sabre stays on with the company in NXT once the tournament is over. Competing all around the world for over a decade, the man who has been voted the best technical wrestler in the world for the past 3 years is well over due for a run in WWE, and with the upcoming brand split maybe depleting the NXT roster, guys like Kota Ibushi and Zack Sabre would be perfect to take a high profile spot in the developmental brand, as they both possess strong ability both in the ring and with the crowd.