This coming Monday and Tuesday, WWE will come to Glasgow, Scotland to host their weekly episodic shows RAW and Smackdown for the first time, after previously only coming to this country for house shows.
The decision to have the top weekly wrestling shows in Scotland, instead of England, continues the growing impact this great land is having on the industry, with TNA having previously recorded episodes of Impact in the Hydro, and Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW), a Glasgow orientated Indie company modelled after 90s ECW (just for those who aren’t aware of the now global phenomenon) , selling out shows all over the UK. As we continue to make waves across the globe, we profile the Scottish wrestlers leading the William Wallace style charge.
We can only start this list with the chosen one himself. Originally a graduate of Glasgow Caledonian University, Galloway turned his hand to wrestling in 2003 on the UK circuit, where he caught the eyes of the powers-that-be at WWE. Originally debuting as the tag team partner of Dave Taylor, Drew resurfaced on Smackdown in 2009, where Vinnie Mac himself declared him as the future of the company, the ‘Chosen One’. Despite a promising first year which saw him win both Intercontinental and Tag Team gold, the higher ups in the company soured on Galloway, leading to his eventual release in 2014 after two years in the jobber stable 3MB. Since leaving the big time however, Drew’s career has arguably sky rocketed. After a sensational return to his homeland with ICW, he has established the company’s main championship as a world title, defending it around the globe in his year long reign. His work around the Indie circuit, which includes a run as TNA world champion, has seen him labelled the hardest working wrestler on the planet. At just 31, the sky is the limit still for Galloway.
In the era of UK wrestling in the 70s and 80s, it wasn’t uncommon for wrestlers to lack the traditional sculpted look we know today. One man, currently, who doesn’t fit the ‘bodybuilder’ style look is a man born as Graeme Stevely from the tap end of Stevenson, Ayrshire. A regular feature of the UK scene for many years, Grado shot to its forefront after a documentary by VICE made it’s way onto YouTube, eventually leading to the now famous ‘Get Grado Booked’ campaign that lead to his ICW debut. A colourful character known more for his charisma than his technical ability, Grado’s fame grew exponentially in 2014 when the BBC aired its successful documentary ‘Insane Fight Club’, which profiled ICW, with Grado at its forefront. His catchphrase ‘It’s yer self’ and his entrance which involves him dancing his way to the ring to Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’ have made him a cult icon in the industry, and arguably one of the most loved stars on the UK scene. His success has also transitioned to the small screen, with appearances on Scottish soap River City, as well as comedy Scot Squad, on top of a regular weekly column in top Scottish news title The Daily Record. He was picked up by TNA in early 2015, where he is largely a comedy jobber, but it is his work in ICW that he should be most proud of, where his improved ring work was rewarded last year when he won the ICW world title to one of the biggest pops in the history of British wrestling.
Now that we have talked about Grado, let’s discuss his best pal in the biz. A fixture on the British wrestling scene since his early teens, Noam Dar arrived in Scotland as a young child from his native Israel. Now 23, Dar has a crafted a skilled technical ability, combining a fast offence with a ground and submission based attack. He was that good in his teens, that ICW owner Mark Dallas was recently quoted as saying that he was that desperate to get him on the card, that he has to sneak Dar through the back of the clubs they held their shows, since he was underage at the time. A finalist in TNA Boot Camp in 2014, Dar hit prominence to a world wide audience when he was announced as one of the 32 participants in the inaugural WWE Cruiserweight classic, where he reached the final eight.Now signed permanently with the company as part of RAWs cruiserweight division, he is due to debut at any point now on WWE TV, most likely next week on his return home to Glasgow at the Hydro.
On a week where Womens wrestling made history at Hell in a Cell this past Sunday, we can’t miss out ‘The Greatest in the Galaxy’ from our list, especially since she is beginning to make her name stateside. Born Nicola Glencross in 1989, Nikki made her name in wrestling originally as ‘Nikki Storm’, moving away from a career as a personal trainer. Trained by WWE personnel Robbie Brookside and Finn Balor, Storm became a fixture not just throughout the Scottish wrestling scene, but also in Japan and the US, where she appeared regularly for promotions such as Shimmer and Global Force Wrestling, developing an unstable and frantic style of wrestling. After appearing on TNA Boot Camp, as well as competing for the ICW Womens Title, Storm got her big break early this year when she was picked up by WWE. As recently as last month, she made her debut in development brand NXT, as part of the Eric Young led heel stable SAnitY, under the name Nikki Cross. With the stable favourites amongst many to win the second Dusty Rhodes Invitational at the upcoming Takeover special in Toronto, expect to see big things from Cross in the years to come.
Tickets are still available for both RAW and Smackdown Live this coming Monday and Tuesday night at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow. Visit the venues site for more information.