According to those in attendance at WWE’s UK Championship Tournament tapings in London, WWE are set to launch NXT UK – a UK-based extension of the NXT brand.
Several people have tweeted about the announcement – which was tonight made by Johnny Saint, the new GM of WWE’s UK division, and Triple H – including Kenny McIntosh:
WOW, Johnny Saint has just announced WWE NXT UK. London is going nuts. They promise a tag team division, women’s division. Tapings start July 28 and 29 in Cambridge then tapings in Birmingham, Plymouth and Liverpool. Holy Shit. #WWEUKCT pic.twitter.com/wnkL5N1VP5
— Kenny McIntosh (@KennyMc1985) June 18, 2018
As mentioned above, the brand will include women’s and tag team divisions, and tapings will begin on July 28th and 29th in Cambridge. Other shows are scheduled to take place in Birmingham, Plymouth and Liverpool, but crucially, there has been no mention of a TV deal. Presumably, like NXT itself, these shows will air on the WWE Network.
This move by WWE fits into Triple H’s recent ambitions for the NXT brand, including the concept of ‘global localisation’. Many have speculated that The Game wishes to transform NXT into a global network of territories, perhaps inspired by the NWA, and that the UK could be the home of the first of these international brands.
It is unclear which wrestlers will be drafted in to flesh out the brand, but WWE’s alliances with promotions such as PROGRESS, ICW, and Ireland-based OTT are perhaps a clue. It’s also unclear whether NXT UK will be season-based – as the taping schedule implies – or grow into an ongoing part of WWE’s regular Network schedule.
Regardless, this represents a huge milestone in the history of UK wrestling – although quite what it means for other UK promotions remains to be seen. With ITV’s World of Sport set to make a return to screens soon, it certainly is an interesting time to be a UK wrestling fan.