WWE stars return home for tour of UK and Ireland
November 9, 2014 - WWE
There has arguably never been a stronger British and Irish contingent in WWE than in 2014.
WWE Raw and SmackDown are coming to the ECHO Arena in Liverpool on Monday and Tuesday, November 10 and 11.
Fans attending the shows will get to see some of the biggest Superstars and Divas on the WWE roster, including a collection of homegrown talents paving the way for European talent.
Three-time world champion Sheamus is the most successful Irish wrestler in WWE history.
The 36-year-old from Dublin, Ireland has held the WWE Championship on two occasions, the World Heavyweight Championship once, and the WWE United States Championship twice.
Known for a red-hot temper that matches his fiery head of hair, the ‘Celtic Warrior’ never backs down from a fight.
After journeying from ECW to WWE in 2009, he defeated John Cena to become the first Irish-born WWE Champion in a Tables Match at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders Chairs.
In 2010 he feuded with Triple H all the way to WrestleMania 26 and in June outshone John Cena again to capture his second WWE Championship.
A spell as the 2010 King of the Ring led to his first run as WWE United States Champion, paving the way to a momentous spell at the end of 2011.
The former security guard won the 2012 Royal Rumble, entering the match 22nd and last eliminating Chris Jericho.
In doing so he earned a main event championship match at WrestleMania 28, where he defeated Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds with his Brogue Kick finisher.
In 2013 he challenged the likes of The Shield in a heralded series of matches, before a shoulder injury put him on the shelf.
Returning at this year’s Royal Rumble, he went on to win the United States Championship for a second time, before losing the belt this week to the Bulgarian brute Rusev.
A dominant powerhouse with an arsenal that includes White Noise, the High Cross, the Irish Curse Backbreaker and the Cloverleaf submission, the Liverpool FC fan will feel at home at the ECHO Arena.
It has been an incredible year for the raven-haired WWE Diva Paige.
Hailing from Norwich from one of the great families of British wrestling, Paige – real name Saraya Jade-Bevis – began wrestling at the age of 13.
Following in the footsteps of her mother and father Saraya and Ricky Knight, Paige competed across the UK before signing for WWE in 2011.
She made her name inside the NXT Arena as a gothic ‘anti-Diva’ and became the first NXT Women’s Champion in July 2012.
On the April 7 edition of Raw after WrestleMania 30 she stunned the WWE Universe by challenging and defeating AJ Lee to become the new Divas Champion.
In doing so, not only did she become the youngest woman to ever win the title, but also the first to capture it on her Raw debut.
She also made history as the first Diva to hold both the NXT Women’s Championship and Divas Championship.
With her Scorpion Crosslock submission she defeated Tamina, Alicia Fox and Naomi on pay-per-view, but lost the championship when she was stunned by the returning AJ Lee on Raw at the end of June.
The loss turned Paige from a fan favourite into a depraved villain, and the change in personality paid off as she beat her so-called “frenemy” to reclaim the title at SummerSlam.
The game of hot potato continued when AJ regained the title yet again at Night of Champions in a Triple Threat Match.
At Hell in a Cell, with new ally Alicia Fox in tow, Paige was unable to regain the title, and slapped Alicia squarely on the jaw in a post-match fit of frustration.
At just 22-years-old Paige’s accomplishments are quite frankly staggering and she has a great future ahead of her.
Another man who will feel at home at the ECHO Arena is former University of Liverpool marine biology student Bad News Barrett.
Currently injured, the grappler from Preston, better known as Wade Barrett, brings strength, arrogance and cunning to the ring.
After starting his career in British wrestling he was signed to WWE in 2007, impressing management in developmental and becoming the winner of WWE NXT season one in early 2010.
After winning NXT, he shocked the world by forming the splinter group The Nexus and staging a hostile takeover on Raw, destroying John Cena in one of the most shocking segments in the show’s history.
He eventually forced Cena to join their crew before getting him fired from WWE, but it wasn’t long before he left The Nexus and formed The Corre on SmackDown, while capturing the Intercontinental Championship.
Unleashing his ‘Barrett Barrage’ on WWE, a partially dislocated elbow kept him out of action for nearly seven months, but a reinvigorated Barrett made his return to WWE in September 2012.
Barrett recaptured the Intercontinental Title twice more along the way, including an emphatic win over The Miz the night after WrestleMania 29, when English fans raised the roof of Raw.
After a break in summer 2013, he returned to Raw that winter, and it wasn’t good news for the WWE Universe.
Barrett has taken it upon himself to be WWE’s bearer of bad tidings – “I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news…” – banging a gavel to quiet fans.
He returned to action on the Raw after WrestleMania 30 and again with many British fans in the crowd singing and chanting his praises, nearly took Rey Mysterio’s head off with a Bad News Bull Hammer Elbow en route to victory.
After capturing his fourth Intercontinental Championship at Extreme Rules, he overcame Rob Van Dam at WWE Payback, but during a brawl ahead of Money in the Bank sustained a separated shoulder, forcing him out of action.
Because of the injury, Bad News Barrett was stripped of the Intercontinental Championship, which he has vowed to recapture as soon as he’s healed.
Currently general manager of NXT – WWE’s developmental division – William Regal began his storied wrestling career back in 1983.
Regal, 46, real name Darren Matthews, started life competing across Britain.
He often teamed with Liverpool wrestler Robbie Brookside as The Golden Boys during ITV’s World of Sport days.
After touring countries including Germany and South Africa, he arrived in the United States in 1992 and debuted in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as Steve Regal.
Later becoming the villain Lord Steven Regal, he clinched the WCW Television Championship four times and contested famous bouts with Fit Finlay, Goldberg and the Japanese legend Antonio Inoki before departing for WWE in 1998.
Following a brief stint as Steve Regal – ‘The Real Man’s Man’ – he returned to WCW, but it wasn’t long before he again signed with WWE and established the most successful character of his career – William Regal.
As the stereotypical, posh English snob he won the European Championship four times, before becoming a match-making, on-screen ‘commissioner’.
In 2002 he captured the first of two Intercontinental Championships from future world champion Edge and during this spell became renowned for using brass knuckles to cheat his way to victory.
He held the Hardcore Championship five times and became a four-time tag team champion, both as a villain with Lance Storm and in comic alliances with Eugene and Tajiri.
Respected for his hard-hitting matches, unique European mat-based style and technical prowess. Regal overcame a heart defect in 2003 and returned to the ring in 2004, later becoming Raw general manager.
He was the 2008 King of the Ring and later that year captured his second Intercontinental Championship by defeating Santino Marella in Manchester, before losing the belt to another future world champion, CM Punk, in early 2009.
By 2010 Regal was wrestling less frequently and became a commentator on NXT, occasionally returning to the ring to help develop young talent and for a classic bout with Daniel Bryan at the ECHO Arena in November 2011.
Now a mainstay of NXT programming, he continues to help train and elevate the stars of tomorrow, and was revealed as the general manager of the show in July this year.
If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Newcastle’s Adrian Neville on WWE’s UK tour, then you may be watching one of the brightest stars of the next decade.
The 28-year-old, real name Benjamin Satterley, gained worldwide acclaim wrestling under the name Pac across England, Italy, Japan and America’s independent scene.
Now the NXT Champion and a former two-time NXT Tag Team Champion, he is the de facto leader of the next generation of WWE Superstars.
You don’t receive a nickname like ‘The Man Who Gravity Forgot’ by being ordinary, and Neville is anything but ordinary.
He has devoted his life to learning wrestling disciplines across the globe, earning numerous accolades and molding himself into an explosive and versatile competitor.
While not the biggest challenger to set foot in the ring, Neville’s strength doesn’t lie in his size, but in his world class technique and spectacular agility.
With a huge victory at NXT Arrival, Neville ended Bo Dallas’ 260-day reign as NXT Champion to become the brand’s fourth titleholder in a ladder match.
Debuting a new finishing move, the Imploding 450° splash, he then kept that momentum going with another huge victory at NXT Takeover in May, where he held onto the NXT Championship against Tyson Kidd.
Neville followed that up with a landmark victory against the iconic Rob Van Dam, and multiple successful title defenses against Kidd.
On September 8, Neville made his Raw debut teaming with Sami Zayn to defeat Tyson Kidd and Tyler Breeze. Neville pinned Breeze with The Red Arrow – his stunning corkscrew shooting star press.
On September 11 at the NXT Takeover: Fatal 4 Way event, Neville successfully defended his championship against Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, and Tyson Kidd in a fatal four way match.
On the October 23 edition of NXT, Neville turned back yet another challenger, this time WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil. Afterward, friend Sami Zayn challenged Neville to a title match down the line – a mouth watering prospect.
Former dancer and model Layla El was born in London.
After attending a performing arts college, she was a dancer for Carnival Cruise Lines, the Miami Heat franchise of the National Basketball Association, and also danced for Kanye West at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Layla was a contestant in the 2006 WWE Diva Search, which she won to earn a contract with the company.Initially appearing on the SmackDown brand, she moved to ECW in January 2007.
There, she formed the Extreme Exposé dance troupe with Kelly Kelly and Brooke Adams. In 2008, she was drafted to the Raw brand, where she began managing fellow Brit William Regal.
The following year she returned to SmackDown and formed a ‘flawless’ alliance with Michelle McCool, known as LayCool.
The mean spirited duo, backed by SmackDown manager Vickie Guerrero, referred to themselves as the ‘co-Women’s Champions’ and schemed their way to the top.
In May 2010, alongside McCool in a 2-on-1 handicap match for the title, Layla pinned Beth Phoenix to become the first-ever British Women’s Champion, and with that accolade, she also became the last Women’s Champion, as the title was retired shortly thereafter.
Things started to unravel between LayCool in 2011, culminating with a Loser Leaves WWE Match at Extreme Rules, which saw the end to their friendship and McCool’s departure from WWE.
Despite the victory over her ex-friend, an injury sidelined the British beauty for the rest of the year.
In April 2012, Layla won the WWE Divas Championship upon her return from a year-long absence, defeating Nikki Bella, and held the championship until September.
Layla turned against her friend, former WWE Diva Kaitlyn, to join forces with then-Divas Champion AJ Lee, joining her in tag team action in her quest to bring down the stars of E!’s ‘Total Divas’.
Earlier this year she danced her way onto SmackDown as Fandango’s new partner after he dumped Summer Rae via Twitter.
The duo waltzed and smooched their way around Raw and SmackDown until Summer returned and planted a kiss on her ex-partner.
Layla remained at odds with Summer and they faced off at Money in the Bank with Fandango as the referee.
Layla, 37, won the contest and Fandango’s heart, but when the Divas faced off again on SmackDown, they changed their tune and attacked Fandango together.
Since then, they’ve been on the manhunt together.
You can buy tickets to watch SmackDown live at the ECHO Arena on Tuesday, November 11 by calling 0844 8000 400 or by visiting www.bookingsdirect.com , where tickets to all other #WWEUKTour shows are also available.