Posted by James Tee
This is my first time writing in the Information section, and I couldn’t think of a better place to start then listing my top 5 British and Irish Wrestlers. I must stress this is purely my opinion, and I will add that I could have had any famous name in this top 5, but I am focusing on people who have made an impact on me since I started watching professional wrestling in the mid 1990’s.
NUMBER 5: SHEAMUS
I’m not the biggest Sheamus fan in the world, mainly due to the fact I find him more entertaining as a heel. There is no denying the impact the first Irish born WWE Champion has made over the past three years. After debuting in ECW, he soon made his name as a heel who dominated opponents before ‘ending’ the career of Jamie Noble with vicious assaults soon after his Raw debut.
He got his break after winning a Battle Royal on Raw made by Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura for people who hadn’t previously been World Champion. It was set at TLC on December 13th 2009 that Sheamus would face John Cena in a Tables match. Nobody gave him a chance, and when Cena was put through a table, there were people wondering if it was a mistake after falling from the top rope. Regardless, Sheamus was a world champion, and would go on to carry that momentum through the three years that he has been at the top of the WWE pyramid. It is well known that he is a ‘Hunter Guy’, but I feel with a heel turn, this guy could be at the top of the card for as long as he wants.
NUMBER 4: WADE BARRETT
I understand that this man has never been a world champion, but in my opinion, this man has loads more potential than Sheamus, and has been in a series of more impactful storylines than Sheamus.
As the first winner of NXT, Barrett and his NXT colleagues wouldn’t wait long to make their presence felt on the main roster. On June 7th, 2010, 6 days after the end of NXT, Barrett and the other 7 NXT ‘rookies’ attacked John Cena, The Straight Edge Society, Jerry Lawler, Justin Roberts, and anybody else who was around ringside. The Nexus attack was something never before seen in WWE, and immediately, Wade Barrett was one of the most over heels in Professional Wrestling.
In the months to come, Barrett came up short numerous times against Orton and Cena, and failed to win the WWE Championship, despite arguably being the top heel in the company at that time.
Since his Nexus days, he had his forgettable stint as leader of The Corre, but now he is back to being an over heel on his own. In my opinion, it is only a matter of time before he wins a world title, in my view, preferable the WWE Title post Wrestlemania.
However, there is no doubting the fact the 2013 has the potential to be the year of the Barrett Barrage.
NUMBER 3: DESMOND WOLFE/NIGEL McGUINNESS
I understand that this is probably going to be controversial, but this guy was something special. I can’t say I was a huge Ring of Honor fan when this guy was champion, but after watching matches back on DVD and online, he is probably one of my top 5 performers of all time. When I heard that WWE were close to signing him in 2009, I was beyond excited. However, he went to TNA for reasons we now all know.
If his In-Ring career had continued beyond last year, there is no doubt that he would have been a TNA World Champion, and he was probably, along with Kurt Angle, the best technical wrestler in TNA at that time. It was a shame that illness cut short a career that was surely destined for greatness, but now he is working back in ROH as a color commentator, and if that works out for him, it would surely only be a matter of time before he works for WWE or TNA in that position.
NUMBER 2: WILLIAM REGAL
Over here in the UK, we used to have a Wrestling show called World of Sport. In the 70’s and 80’s, people would sit around the TV on a Saturday afternoon and watch wrestling. It is easy to find repeats of these shows on British TV, and recently I found myself watching a match containing a wrestler called Steven Regal.
Obviously, these days, William Regal is the young upshot that he once was, but he is still one of the most influential men in wrestling today. In a career that has gone from carnival shows in the UK, to WCW and now WWE, he has thrived in a world where bigger, taller men usually get the success.
In his time in WWE, he has been commissioner, General Manager of Raw, Intercontinental Champion, European Champion, King of the Ring, part of King Booker’s court and a commentator. The man has done everything apart from become a World Champion, and arguably, but for a wellness violation, he would have been Britain’s first world champ.
It is not just his performing pedigree that has got him to my number two spot. The man is a development god, training some of the best wrestlers in the world. The list is like a who’s who of professional wrestling: CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, Chris Hero and Brian Kendrick. Not only that, but he has helped develop the career of many superstars in the ring and on television. The man has had a massive impact on the world of wrestling, and it is better for it.
NUMBER 1: THE BRITISH BULLDOG
When I was growing up, the world of Wrestling was a world full of these American superhero types. And then there was The British Bulldog; someone who kids on this side of the Atlantic could look up to. Decked out in Union Jack’s, Davey Boy Smith was a star for the best part of fifteen years.
Initially part of The British Bulldogs along with The Dynamite Kid, both of whom worked all over the world before reaching the WWF. It was his success as a singles competitor though that has got him to the top of this list. The match that springs to mind is the main event of Summerslam 1992, where, at the old Wembley Stadium, he faced Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship. Winning the title in front of 80,000 patriotic fans, many people regarded it as one of the best matches of his career.
After this, he continually bounced back between WCW and WWF, yet still managed to find success wherever he went. One thing that can be said though is that he was equally as successful as a heel and as a face, something not many people can do.
It can be said now that he should have been the first British WWF Champion, and his untimely death at the age of 39 due to a Heart Attack was something that can only be described as a tragedy. His legacy lives on though, and he will be remembered as one of the all time greats.
Honorable mentions go to Chris Adams, Norman Smiley, Lord Alfred Hayes, Layla and Drew McIntyre.
Many Thanks for reading, and a Happy Holidays to everyone.
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