Thanks in part to the many English and Irish stars who are dominating the WWE landscape, such as Finn Balor, Paige, Becky Lynch, Neville, and Sheamus, to the rise in UK promotions like Progress, Revolution Pro and the brilliant upstart What Culture Pro Wrestling (WCPW), to the domination of such British indy darlings like England’s Zack Sabre Jr. and Will Ospreay, the wrestling world’s eyes are now watching the UK indie scene with an eye unlike any time in the Isles’ history with the sport. Granted, they’ve always had legends, from Billy Robinson, Johnny Saint, Big Daddy, Mick McManus, Johnny Kidd and Fit Finlay to the Dynamite Kid, Robbie Brookside, William Regal, Chris Adams, Nigel McGuinness, Magnus and Doug Williams, but British stars never saw as much integration into the mainstream wrestling culture like it has now.
There’s no denying that England has been the dominant country to represent the British Isles in wrestling history. And Ireland has made a solid comeback in the past few years. But Scotland, true to it’s people’s scrappy and determined nature, are making some real noise on the indie circuit. They no longer have to rely on half truths like Rowdy Roddy Piper (he was of heritage not birth or upbringing) or stereotypes like The Highlanders. They’re now being pushed as wrestlers instead of token nationals.
Here’s six wrestlers from Scotland that are making waves in the world of professional wrestling.
Three years in the Scottish indie circuit from 2003 to 2006, saw Galloway dominate in British Championship Wrestling (BCW) and the popular Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) – both out of Glasgow – before ending up in WWE in 2006. “The Chosen One” was rebranded as Drew McIntyre and was reported as being one of Vince McMahon‘s coveted projects. But somewhere, the experiment soured with McMahon. After a quick Intercontinental championship run, he was reduced to the bottom of the card, ending his run with WWE in the job squad known as the 3 Man Band in 2014. He returned home to ICW and eventually showed up in TNA under his real name. Finally able to show his true charisma and brutality, Galloway realized his World Championship dreams in TNA and became one of the world’s top indie draws with appearances world wide, including an amazing run in Evolve that is still on-going. Whether he returns to the WWE or not, his stock has never been higher.
Although billed from Israel in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, Dar was raised from a young age in Scotland. Another product of ICW, he began wrestling at the age of 15. He had stints in Progress, Preston City Wrestling and even TNA, before emerging into the WWE Universe this summer as a participant in the Cruiserweight Classic. His recent announcement that he’s heading to Raw for the new Cruiserweight division means that Scotland has finally returned to the WWE for the first time in two years. Before he heads to WWE this fall, he’s also been a star in the emerging sensation WCPW web series.
The only one on this list currently signed and actively wrestling for WWE, Storm was one of the world’s top international indie prospects before she signed to NXT and reported to the WWE Performance Center earlier this year. Another product of Glasgow’s ICW, she’s also competed across North America in Shimmer, Shine, and Jeff Jarrett‘s Global Force Wrestling and in Germany’s famed wXw. She recently made her NXT debut under her real name, Nikki Glencross, but it’s being reported her name once she becomes more of a presence is likely to be Nikki Cross.
Grado does not look like a wrestler at all. Clearly in the comedy mold of characters like Santino Marella or Eugene, Grado is a ponchy, rubber faced lad from Stevenson, Scotland, trained in part by Drew Galloway in Glasgow’s BCW. But his charisma and comedy made him a star in the “pub wrestling” circuit that the UK feels like, garnering chants reserved for legends and creating moments out of thin air, during his time in ICW. He’s gained some notoriety as the comedic element of TNA Impact in the past year, but if you’re not watching him in WCPW right now, you’re missing one of the year’s best performers.
If you haven’t seen What Culture Pro Wrestling yet, you should. It’s like the most beautiful combination of ROH and NXT, with a hint of Lucha Underground, and a whole lot of Monty Python. And one of it’s stand out stars is Edinburgh’s Joe Hendry. The least experienced of the names here – he began in ICW in 2013 – Hendry has become WCPW’s breakout star on the internet, with “The Local Hero”‘s intro music – re-recorded parody songs that poke at his opponent and his usual tag partner Joseph Connors – stealing the headlines and his thrilling and entertaining ringwork, has propelled him to indie cult status. He’s a haggis made from Chuck Taylor and Dalton Castle, but unique unto himself. He’s the single biggest reason to watch WCPW – and they’ve had Will Ospreay, Jay Lethal and Damien Sandow so far, with Cody Rhodes and Kurt Angle queued up.
A brute of a wrestler, Coffey is another Scot that’s gaining worldweb notoriety with his work in WCPW. He debuted in 2009 and has been a mainstay in ICW as well as performing in Japan’s Zero-1. He was the first Scottish heel to work Japan’s legendary Korakuen Hall, Japan’s Madison Square Garden. While perhaps the least ready for the main event of the lot, he’s got great presence and personality and it could only take a brief run in the North American indies to boost his stock immeasurably.
Main Photo: Collage by Jamie Greer featuring photos from impactwrestling.com, insanewrestling.com, and pintrest.com