Nick Aldis Returns to the UK for Series of NWA Championship Defenses

Nick Aldis

Wrestling’s busiest and most traveled world champion, Nick Aldis, is taking wrestling’s most defended title, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, back home with him to the United Kingdom later this month, where he’ll defend the belt three times in three different promotions: International Pro Wrestling: UK, World Association of Wrestling and Preston City Wrestling.

WAW: Nick Aldis vs Ricky Knight Jr.

In 2006, fresh off his first ever professional wrestling match, Nick Aldis found his first real wrestling home, with World Association of Wrestling run by the Knight family. Aldis was trained by Ricky Knight and remained with the promotion for two years where shortly after, he joined IMPACT Wrestling as a fulltime member of their roster.

As some may know, and even more will once Fighting with My Family is released in theaters, WAW is the promotion started by Ricky Knight, father of WWE‘s Paige. Alongside his wife Saraya, Knight founded WAW in 1994 and over the past 25 years, it’s been a promotion that has fostered the growth of top British talents including Aldis and Marty Scurll, both of whom have gone on to do some pretty great things in the wrestling industry.

Another talent, who could very well be on the verge of his own breakout in the scene, is the 18-year-old Ricky Knight Jr. RKJ, who has more years wrestling under his belt than he does driving (he just got his license a few months ago), is the son of Roy Knight, grandson of Ricky and Saraya Knight and nephew of Paige and Zak Zodiac. As Aldis noted in a tweet recently, “The Knight family started me in the business and now their 3rd generation prodigy gets the chance of a lifetime.”

RKJ earned his way into the NWA championship match after defeating Tony Knight, Dale Broughton and Villman at the WAW Academy show in November.

A pro wrestler since he was just 10 years old, RKJ trained at the WAW Academy until he was 13, at which point he made his debut for the family promotion. Wearing a mask to hide how young he was, RKJ showed his promise early on. In 2015, at just 15 years old, RKJ won the WAW U23 Championship, a title that had previously been held by Kip Sabian for 891 days before he vacated the belt earlier that year. RKJ lost the championship after 379 days, but not before also winning the WAW Open Light Heavyweight Championship to make him a double champion. In his career, RKJ his won 10 titles, including the WAW Television Championship and WAW World Tag Team Championship with his father, both of which he still holds today.

RKJ has really begun to break out on the scene, wrestling for top UK promotions in Southside Wrestling Entertainment and Preston City Wrestling, as well as racking up quite the list of noteworthy opponents such as Chris Ridgeway, Matt Cross, Rob Lynch, Adam Brooks, Andrew Everett and Chris Brookes. By the time the year is over, he’ll add two other names to that list in Aldis and Jay Lethal, who he faces at the SWE Lethal London show at the end of the month.

IPW: UK: Nick Aldis vs Jimmy Havoc

Tommy Dreamer, Jonah Rock, David Starr, Matt Cross, Robbie Eagles, Flip Gordon, Brian Cage, Cody. And that’s just scratching the surface on some of the opponents the NWA’s standard-bearer has defended his title against. Nick Aldis has certainly had a who’s who of challengers but he’s never faced one quite like he will in IPW:UK. If Aldis retains against RKJ, he’ll face Jimmy Havoc for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

If you don’t know anything about Havoc, perhaps his nickname of “Suicidal” as listed on his Cagematch profile, will give you a hint of what lies beneath the surface of one of the UK’s top independent wrestling stars.

Now 34 years old, Havoc’s career began in 2005, perhaps all too fittingly with NWA United Kingdom Hammerlock. Founded in 1993, Hammerlock was NWA’s return to Europe after having previously avoided creating territories there for several decades. Some of the top names to come from the promotion: Fergal Devitt (WWE’s Finn Balor), Rebecca Knox (WWE’s Becky Lynch), Katie Lea (IMPACT’s Katarina), Doug Williams, Zack Sabre Jr. and of course, Havoc himself.

Havoc continued to wrestle for Hammerlock until 2008 (and again in 2011-12), a year before the promotion officially folded. At this point, he had also started picking up bookings for Triple X Wrestling, where he was first billed as a deathmatch wrestler and most notably, IPW:UK. By 2009, Havoc became a regular with IPW as well as one of the premier deathmatch wrestlers in all of Europe (he was a three-time winner of Hammerlock’s Hardcore Lottery Tournament) and soon after, the rest of the world. In the ensuing years, Havoc would take part in crazy showcases at Westside Xtreme Wrestling (tables, ladders, chairs & scaffold, thumbtack kick pads & light tube bundles and 200 light tubes deathmatches), Combat Zone Wrestling (ultraviolent tables, light tube bundles & thumbtack kick pads, light tube hell, light tubes treachery, three-way pains in the glass and no ropes, no canvas, barbed wire & light tubes madness deathmatches).

Known for these kinds of matches, in 2012, Havoc landed with the brand new PROGRESS Wrestling where he had an opportunity to show some of the other weapons in his arsenal. PROGRESS built their promotion around Havoc in those first few years, culminating in him winning the championship at Chapter Ten: Glory Follows Virtue As If It Were Its Shadow. Havoc held the title for a record 609 days. Now, over three years after that reign ended, Havoc’s record still stands. While most known for his time in PROGRESS, Havoc has wrestled up and down the British indies and is one of their most beloved stars. He’s also broken out globally, joining the relaunched Major League Wrestling in 2017 as a member of the roster. In his career, Havoc is a former winner of CZW Tournament of Death 16 as well as 14 titles, including the Defiant Hardcore Championship which he still holds today.

PCW UK: Nick Aldis vs Iestyn Rees

The final stop on the UK Aldis Crusade will see the NWA champion head to PCW UK to take on Iestyn Rees in a first-time meeting of the two.

Trained at the 4FW Wrestling School by Dave Sharp and Al Snow, Rees has been wrestling for 12 years. In 2008, two years after he debuted with 4FW, Rees made his way to IPW:UK, where he is a former champion, having won the title in 2009. Continuing to wrestle primarily for IPW and 4FW, Rees also picked up bookings for WrestleForce, Pro Wrestling Elite and Future Pro Wrestling, winning several championships along the way.

In 2015, Rees made his debut with PCW and Insane Championship Wrestling, the two promotions where he works primarily these days. In his first year in PCW, Rees had the opportunity to wrestle several former WWE talents including Rhino, X-Pac and Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty). He also got experience wrestling against an American style as PCW and Ring of Honor worked a joint show in November of that year. His opponents on this joint tour included Cedric Alexander, War Machine (WWE’s War RaidersHanson and Rowe) and reDRagon (WWE’s Undisputed EraKyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish). By 2016, Rees was a regular for both PCW and ICW.

Two years later, Rees joined the newly launched World of Sport, where he became the promotion’s inaugural tag team champion alongside partner Kip Sabian in the team Alpha Bad. The victory marked the 13th title in Rees’ career. He would win the 14th about a month later as Alpha Bad captured the New Generation Wrestling tag titles, belts they still hold today.

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