On Saturday night WWE presents Clash at the Castle from the Principality Stadium in Cardiff – the biggest WWE UK stadium show in thirty years.
It underlines WWE’s long-standing relationship with the UK, which dates back to the early 1990s and has seen regular WWE tours on these shores, as well as some of the company’s biggest names hail from the UK.
With that in mind and the big event just days upon us, GiveMeSport counts down the ten best WWE Superstars from the UK and Ireland.
No need to raise those eyebrow as it’s time we put some flowers on the achievements of Nikki in WWE. The Scottish star arrived in NXT in 2016 as part of the underrated heel stable SAnitY and quickly established herself as someone who was able to pull-off excellent character work as the deranged female of the quartet. She received a main roster call-up in 2019 and WWE toned down the craziness and upped the underdog factor as she found entertaining chemistry alongside Alexa Bliss.
Together, they would twice win the WWE Women’s Tag Team championships – the second time in the opener at WrestleMania 36 – before Bliss’ transition into Bray Wyatt’s warped world saw the pair end their tandem. Cross then underwent a gimmick change of her own, morphing into an ‘almost Superhero’ and winning the Money in the Bank match 2021. A day later the newly named Nikki A.S.H. cashed-in the case to become the first-ever British Raw Women’s Champion.
Back during the mid-2000s there were fewer men you’d want to mess with more than the Belfast bruiser Fit Finlay. Arriving from WCW amid WWE’s purchase of the company, Finlay was initially a trainer for WWE and worked with John Cena and Randy Orton before their move to WWE TV. However, Finaly wasn’t done yet being an in-ring competitor and became a big part of the blue brand during the ‘Ruthless Aggression’ era. Enjoying battles with Mr Kennedy, Matt Hardy, Bobby Lashley and being aided by his trusty shillelagh alongside pal Hornswoggle. Finlay would taste US Championship gold and was a SmackDown regular during a popular time for the blue brand.
He’d later go back behind the scenes in WWE and his backstage work if often looked at as even more important to than what he brought in-ring. Finlay has been credited with having a huge role in transcending women’s’ wrestling in WWE as a producer and a string of main event names have singled out the Northern Irishman as the reason behind the divisions success in recent years.
Wade made a massive splash into the WWE scene when he won the first-ever season of the company’s mentor and rookie themed version on NXT. However, it wasn’t that win that made fans stand-up and take notice. No, it was the subsequent invasion of Raw led by Barrett that saw him become the leader of Nexus and instantly mix it up at the top of the WWE card with the likes of Randy Orton and John Cena. Disappointingly though WWE never pulled the final trigger on a world title run, but Wade did enjoy five Intercontinental Championship reigns, won the 2015 King of the Ring and enjoyed a popular run as ‘Bad News’ Barrett before leaving the company in 2016.
A brief hiatus from wrestling saw Barrett dig his shoes into the acting world but was enticed back to WWE in 2020 with a commentary role on NXT. Wade is now the brand’s regular broadcaster next to Vick Joseph, but fans haven’t given up hope of seeing him back in the ring for one last run.
Someone who was literally born into wrestling, Paige’s story to get to WWE is so well known that Hollywood even made a film about it (Fighting With My Family in case you’re unaware). She arrived in WWE as part of the NXT brand and become the black and gold show’s first-ever NXT Women’s Champion in 2013 – aged just 21. One year later Paige made her main roster bow, in an unforgettable night after WrestleMania moment where she defeated AJ Lee to win the Diva’s Championship on her very night on Raw.
The Norwich native became one of pioneers for WWE’s women’s revolution and teamed with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch upon their arrival to the main roster as part of PCB. However, a succession of nagging neck injuries eventually put pay to Paige’s in-ring career, as she was forced to retire from in-ring competition 2018. She remained with WWE in both a managerial role and as a General Manager of SmackDown but severed ties with the company in 2022 when her contract expired.
Finn was already a well-known talent across the independent scene before he made his way to NXT in 2014. He arrived with much fanfare and wasn’t before long that he tasted gold with both the NXT Tag Team Championship before becoming one of the longest-running NXT Champions in the brand’s history. A main roster move seemed inevitable, and he was called up during the 2016 WWE draft and placed straight into the main event spotlight on Raw. Winning the right to fight for the inaugural Universal Championship at SummerSlam, a match he won by defeating Seth Rollins to become the first-ever holder of the belt.
Unfortunately, a shoulder injury suffered in the match saw his reign barely get off the ground and it’s a spot Balor has never quite managed to return to. However, the Irishman can boast both Intercontinental and US title reigns from his WWE CV as well as a lauded return to NXT in 2019. While his demon persona remains one of the most entertaining and popular gimmicks in all of WWE.
When they go back and look at wrestling CV’s, few can compare to that of Irish star Sheamus. The Dubliner burst onto the scene in 2009, beating John Cena for the WWE Champions within months of being on Raw and he’s never looked back since. That win was the jumping-off point for a WWE career that has seen Sheamus bag every major accolade the WWE has on offer – including four world championship reigns – with only the Intercontinental title the one title that has eluded him – although that could change at Clash at the Castle.
Alongside Cesaro as The Bar, the pair became of the era’s most defying tag teams and he is only one of two Superstars to win the Royal Rumble, King of the Ring and Money in the Bank. The Celtic Warrior has recently turned mentor as the leader of the Brawling Brutes, yet he remains as relevant and as rough and ready as he’s ever been, fella.
There perhaps hasn’t been a most important, and at times, more popular female face in WWE history than that of Irish star Becky Lynch. Part of NXT’s iconic Four Horsewomen, Lynch is a trailblazer for women’s wrestling having been called-up to the main roster as part of the women’s revolution in 2014. Since then, the achievements have just kept on coming.
She was the first-ever SmackDown Women’s Champion and the brand’ steady hand until her transformation into ‘The Man’sent her profile into overdrive. Culminating in being the first real female face of the company and the first-ever women to win in the main event of WrestleMania. A successful heel run in 2022 has also shown her adaptability as performer, who is surely destined to be talked about as one the greats of women’s wrestling in years to come.
Simply a WWE and wrestling legend, who’s contribution as both an on-screen character and as a backstage advisor in NXT has seen him be regarded as one the industry’s greatest minds. With a background in classic British comedy, Regal arrived in WWE in 1998 as ‘The Real Man’s Man’ a short-lived gimmick best remembered for its ridiculously catchy theme. Yet, it’s Regal’s work across the noughties that made him of one the most loved-WWE characters of the era – especially to British audiences. Whether it be for his tag team run with Tajiri, his ascent to the being WWE King of the Ring in 2008 or is memorable stint as Raw General Manager, Regal made the most of every opportunity and then backed it up in the ring with a hard-hitting style like no other.
After winding down his in-ring career, he worked with Triple H on NXT. First as the brand’s on-screen authority figure and making ‘War Games’ his own catchphrase, but also backstage as a talent recruiter and advisor to The Game. Regal was surprisingly released by the company last year and has taken his unique talents to AEW where he currently heads-up the impressive Blackpool Combat Club faction.
It’s arguable that without the legacy that the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith left WWE fans in the UK, some of the names on this list would never exist in a WWE bubble. Bulldog was the UK’s poster boy during the company’s first massive boom period on these shores in the early 1990s. Having cut his teeth as a tag team star alongside the Dynamite Kid, as WWE become a worldwide phenomenon, so did Davey Boy.
The image of his iconic beads and braids, the British regalia and with Matilda the bulldog by his side, Smith was one the most popular acts of the era. With his popularity hitting an all-time high in the main event of SummerSlam 1992, where he defeated Bret Hart to win the Intercontinental Championship in front of 80,000 people. He’d return to WWE in the later decade and become the face of the WWE European Championship, but he’ll always be remembered for the early 90s run that saw him became a household name both here and in the US.
From the moment Drew stepped into a WWE ring he has been dubbed ‘the chosen one’ and although his road to live-up to that moniker has been a rocky one at times, there’s no doubting his status as the greatest WWE Superstar to come from the UK. His first run in WWE back in the 2000s didn’t quite go to plan for a young McIntyre, there was an Intercontinental title run, yes, but when he was released in 2014 it was seen as no big surprise.
No, what makes Drew’s top spot all the more credible is the way he fought to get himself back to WWE. Fighting his way through the indies and starring for IMPACT before returning to the company in NXT in 2017. One NXT Championship reign later and it wasn’t before long McIntyre was back on Raw and as a more confident, more talented, and more well-rounded star he quickly made his way to the top of the WWE mountain. Winning the 2020 Royal Rumble before defeating Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania to become the first-ever British WWE Champion. Now the Scottish Warrior could be set for a third chapter in his storied WWE career, by being the main who ends Roman Reigns run at Saturday’s Clash at the Castle.
Honourable mentions: Dynamite Kid, Adrian Neville, Butch, Layla