Many wrestlers come from all over the world, places like the land of the rising sun in Japan, our neighbors to the south in Mexico, our friends to the north from O Canada, eh? But some of the most influential and top wrestling talent in the industry have come from the United Kingdom.
I’m sure there’s a few names jing-a-linging in your brain currently, but never fear for SciFighting is here to provide organization to your mind of muttle and chaos as far as the top wrestlers in the UK are concerned at least.
Time to restore order.
Here are the top 5 tea drinking, soccer watching, pub going, bagpipe listening, Leprechaun following to the end of the rainbow best Wrestlers from the United Kingdom.
Birthplace: Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland.
Dave Finlay has been around the game for a long time and first got his chance at a major stage in 1995 as the Belfast Bruiser in the WCW and started a short rivalry with fellow European, Lord Steven Regal (foreshadowing, hint, hint).
He changed his in-ring name to Fit Finlay and started a feud with Chris Benoit and Booker T for the World TV Title and even got victories over the two. When the WCW was bought, Finlay was used as a trainer and worked with young talents.
Talents like Randy Orton and John Cena, he was then placed in charge of training up the Divas and received acclaim for his implementing of making the women more respectable wrestlers and less of just body showing.
Then he made a comeback.
Promos began to be made about Finlay saying “My name’s Finlay and I love to fight.” and fight he did even garnering the nickname of the “Fighting Irish Bastard” and when I say that in my head I think of John Bradshaw Layfield saying it.
Then he got a sidekick. “The Little Bastard” was considered comic relief but on many occasions he made the save for Finlay even helping him defeat then United States Champion, Bobby Lashley while Finlay was apart of “King Booker’s Court”
Who else still says “King Booker” like “Kanngg Boookaaahh” ?
Fit Finlay and The Little Bastard went on to feud with The Boogeyman and Little Boogeyman and defeated the pair. Finlay would compete in a few money in the bank ladder matches as well as elimination chambers but his most memorable bout in my mind was when he took on JBL at Wrestlemania XXIV in a “Belfast Brawl” which was essentially a street fight. JBL would win but the weapons and brutality in the match were a feast for the eyes.
Finlay would go on to the brand of ECW and challenge for the title unsuccessfully a number of times before his eventual release from the WWE.
He would return to help out behind the scenes and has been witnessed a number of times breaking kay-fabe fights up.
The Belfast bruiser will always be remembered for his willingness to fight, his incredible mat skills and his wonderful training ability.
WWE Accolades: U.S. Championship 1x However Finlay has trained the likes of former WWE Champions, CM Punk and Kurt Angle and a “Who’s Who” list of Divas including: Ashley Massaro, Candice Michelle, Christy Hemme, Gail Kim, Jilian Hall, Maria Kanellis, Maryse Ouellet, Melina Perez, Michelle McCool, Molly Holly, Torrie Wilson, Eve Torres and Trish Stratus.
4. Wade Barrett
Birthplace: Preston, Lancashire, England
Wade Barrett has an origin story that wrestling promoters dream about pitching.
He was a legit bare-knuckle boxer in Liverpool where he was an underground champion and for legal reasons never goes on elaborating on that part of his life.
Barrett was extended invitation to the former developmental facility for the WWE at Ohio Valley wrestling and stayed there until the WWE ended their relationship and then went to Florida Championship Wrestling and competed in the first season of NXT. Barrett went on to oust the likes of Justin Gabriel, David Otunga, and Daniel Bryan to win the season finale and the inaugural show itself.
Following this historic accomplishment, Barrett became the leader of one of the most villainous factions ever formed known as The Nexus. The Nexus burst onto the scene being compiled of rookies from the NXT season and caused havoc all over the WWE and cost many wrestlers Titles, Title shots and main events.
The group even went on to defeat various groups of long standing veterans including John Cena, Randy Orton and Edge. Barrett even defeated John Cena to force him to become a member of the group for a short while and even received a few cracks at the WWE title but was unavailable to get the belt.
He then entered into a feud with CM Punk who became the leader of Nexus in Wade Barrett’s absence. Wade formed “The Corre” which somewhat underwhelmed, then he started going on his own and received success and a lengthy winning streak.
He competed in Elimination Chambers and Money in the Banks matches but was unsuccessful, most recently he’s used the “Bad News Barrett” gimmick which fans enjoy where he comes out and tells a minor positive then buries it with an incredible negative.
Hence the bad news.
He was the current reigning Intercontinental Title holder but had to relinquish the belt due to an injury.
WWE Accolades: Intercontinental Champion 4x
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Sheamus made his splash in Florida Championship wrestling chasing titles in 2009, he was unsuccessful in his challenges early on but that didn’t stop the WWE from calling him up to the big stage later on that year. Sheamus got critical acclaim in one of his first feuds coming against Goldust then furthering his time as a heel he retired Jamie Noble.
The man that enjoys saying “Fella” went on to compete in a 30 man battle royal featuring only combatants that hadn’t held the WWE title before.
Sheamus won the contest and challenged then champion, John Cena to a tables match at that year’s TLC ppv. He went on to defeat Cena and became the champ, and in doing so became the first ever Irish Born WWE Champion and was the 2nd fastest in terms of debuting and winning the title at the 166 day mark.
Sheamus then defeated Randy Orton at the Royal Rumble but lost his belt to HHH at the Elimination Chamber event then lost to Hunter Hearst Helmsley once more at Wrestlemania. The Irish Brute got revenge at The Extreme Rules ppv by Brogue kicking HHH an un-godly amount of times.
Sheamus got his belt back by again defeating John Cena then winning in their rematch, he defended against Randy Orton but eventually lost to him. He bounced back to win the King of the Ring and the US Title and entered a feud with Daniel Bryan.
Then a feud with Christian catapulted into the World Heavyweight Title picture and he went on winning streaks of 14 and 12 in a row. He won the Royal Rumble of the following year and defeated Daniel Bryan in a jaw dropping 18 second bout at Wrestlemania to win the now retired big gold belt.
Sheamus went on a lengthy run with the strap before ultimately losing it to the Big Show, but finished out that year with the most TV/PPV matches that year with 98, the most TV/PPV wins with 77, and the most TV main events with 29.
Sheamus had a brief feud with the uprising of The Sheild and later he battled Mark Henry. He took some time off and is now back better than ever and has brought legitimacy to the US Title.
WWE Accolades: World Heavyweight Champion 1x, WWE Champion 2x, WWE United States CHampion 2x, King of the Ring 2010 and Royal Rumble 2012 Winner.
2. The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith
Birthplace; Wigan, Greater Manchester, England
The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith began his first stint in the WWE in the 80’s alongside The Dynamite Kid and the pair feuded with teams like The Hart Foundation which had Bret Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and defeated The Dream Team consisting of Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine.
The Bulldogs held the title belts for 9 months before losing them to the Hart Foundation. The pair exited the promotion for awhile until Davey Boy Smith returned in the early 90’s. He came back to the WWE in a bigger mass but with the same gimmick and was a smash hit in England and in the UK all together. Smith was a frequent winner on European tours winning many Battle Royales, and it was suggested behind the scenes that the annual Summerslam Event should be held in Wembley Arena and Bret Hart should lose the Intercontinental Title to The Bulldog and it would improve business in England.
Smith picked up the victory and many describe his performance as the most top notch of his career. However controversy between himself and The Ultimate Warrior and a growth hormone from a pharmacy in England caused their departure from the company. He jumped straight into the main event scene in WCW and feuded with Sid Vicious and wrestled Big Van Vader for the promotion’s World Heavyweight Title before returning to the WWE once more.
Smith jumped straight into a feud between Bret Hart and his brother Owen Hart and teamed with Bret in a few tag matches against Owen and Jim Neidhart.
Then Smith competed in the 1995 Royal Rumble and was part of one of the most iconic Royal Rumble moments in history where he and Shawn Michaels were the last 2 men remaining and Davey Boy had seemingly eliminated Shawn and turned to celebrate while Michaels feet were shown not touching the mat and he was allowed to re-enter and win the match.
Smith turned heel and received a shot at the WWE title against Diesel at In Your House 4 and went on to win but only by disqualification on interference from Bret hart. The pair tangled again at In Your House 5 in a rematch from their amazing bout 3 years prior for the WWE title, but this time Hart won but the bout still was a spectacle and somewhat controversial as Bret became bloody and the WWE outlawed bleeding in matches at that time.
Smith joined different factions following In Your House showings before entering a feud with the champion at the time Shawn Michaels. The feud was based on the fact that Shawn allegedly hit on Smith’s wife and it culminated into a match for the title to main event In Your House 8 and ended in a double pin where Michaels suplexed Smith but both combatants shoulders were on the mat and 2 referees counted for both.
They re-matched at King of the Ring but this time Shawn pinned The Bulldog cleanly. After this Smith had signed with WCW to become the 4th member of the NWO but the day he was meant to join the famed faction he instead signed a 5 year contract with WWE. He then formed a tag -team with Owen Hart and the two gained the WWE tag titles in a hurry by defeating the Smoking Guns and defended the straps against Vader and Mankind and The Legion of Doom.
Then Smith won a tournament in which he had to defeat his partner Owen in the finals to become the first ever WWE European Champion. Bulldog and Owen joined forces once more and aligned themselves with Bret Hart, Neidhart and Brian Pillman to re-form the Hart Foundation but this time all as heels and the group victimized american wrestlers like Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels and Dude Love.
Davey Boy Smith then was scripted to defend his European Title against Shawn Michaels at the next British event known as “One Night Only” but Shawn convinced Vince to let Michaels win to set up the rematch with Bret Hart and another rematch at the next UK event against Smith.
The fans at the event displayed their displeasure by trashing the stage, Smith then left once more for the WCW along with Bret Hart and Neidhart. But only for a year and Smith returned to the WWE after the death of Owen Hart. Smith began dawning jeans instead of his old school union-jack attire and began a bid at the hardcore title in a triangle feud between himself, the Big Bossman and Al Snow. The feud began focusing more on Snow and Bossman and thus began Smith’s run at the WWE Title.
Smith would headline Unforgiven 1999 in a 6 man challenge match which ultimately HHH went on to win. Smith began a feud with The Rock but after the People’s Champion dismissed him at No Mercy, Davey Boy went back after the Hardcore title and defeated Bob Holly in his last televised match in England.
WWE Accolades: WWE European Champion 2x, Hardcore Champion 2x, Intercontinental Champion 1x and Tag Champion 2x
1. William Regal
Birthplace: Codsall, England
Regal began in WCW as a face for a brief period of time but finding more success as a heel winning the WCW TV title 4 times. Then he became a tag team partner with Jean-Paul Levesque who would go on to become “The Game” HHH. Bobby Eaton would take Triple H’s place when he went on to the WWE and Regal would began training the ‘Bama raised Eaton in the finer arts of European dining in humorous videos. The pair would come ever so close to WCW tag-team gold but to no avail.
Then slight controversy occurred when Regal was sent to “job” to the rising star known as Goldberg, the matahc was competitive and according to officials it was meant to be a squash match. However Regal denies that he was told this and said instead that he was told to keep the match close for 6 solid minutes.
His first entrance into the WWE was short lived as he suffered a leg injury and was addicted to pain medication. However he faced X-pac in the first round of a tournament for the WWE title, the match ended in a double count-out eliminating both men. Shortly after William entered rehab and was consequently released. He had an even shorter stint when he went back to WCW where he only competed on various tag teams throughout a year’s time and lost a “Career vs Career” match so that he could be written off of tv and was released.
Regal came back to the WWE and saw immediate success as a heel and a stereotypical English snob, he won the WWE European title and then transitioned into the on-screen general manager of WWE. He was fired in the “Invasion” storyline by Linda McMahon but re-hired by her son Shane for the Alliance’s commissioner after costing Kurt Angle the WWE Title on multiple occasions.
Regal left for a brief period due to nose surgery but returned to feud with Edge for the WWE Intercontinental Title which he won and defended against Edge but lost it to RVD at Wrestlemania 18 but then defeated Diamond Dallas Page for the European Title in the span of a week. This is where he began his “Power of the Punch” moniker where he utilized brass knuckles to sneak in to matches and win.
He held the European title for a 4th time after winning it back from Spike Dudley, but lost it to Jeff Hardy but then won the Hardcore title for the 3rd time after that. Regal then joined the Un-Americans with Lance Storm, Christian and Test. Regal and Storm later split off and won WWE tag titles by defeating Booker-T and Goldust only because of the power of the punch of course. Storm and Regal lost to The Dudley’s but regained it within 24 hours after they put Bubba Ray Dudley through a table.
Regal then was ordered by then General Manager of Raw, Eric Bischoff to babysit the kayfabe mentally challenged wrestler, Eugene. Regal was annoyed by the chore but later became friends with Eugene and won the tag-team titles against a somewhat newer versions of the un-americans known as La Resistance.
Afterwards, Regal was traded to Smackdown and formed a short alliance with Scotty 2 Hotty but turned on him to go back to his former heel image. However his only substantial rivalry was against Paul Burchill in a weird pirate type feud that didn’t last long and didn’t garner a ton of attention as it was lower mid-card.
Then Regal joined King Booker’s court like Finlay did aforementioned. He joined Finlay in a tag-team but also battled him for the US Title from time to time. After a loss to a returning Chris Benoit he was banished from the court.
Regal returned to former Blue Blood teammate Dave Taylor but were unable to capture the tag team gold. Regal then went back to Raw to serve as interim general manager and he was the one that introduced the “Beat the Clock Challenge”
He involved himself in feuds between Orton and Cena, HHH and Ric Flair, and even won the prestigious King of The Ring tournament by defeating Hornswaggle, Finlay and CM Punk all by submission.
Regal went on to win the Intercontinental title in a 40 second squash match over Santino Morella. Then William took his talents to ECW where he was immediately put into the major title picture and challenged the ECW Champion Christian on a number of occasions but was unable to relinquish the gold from Captain Charisma’s waist. Regal formed the group known as “The Ruthless Round Table” alongside Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson. After the group split, Regal assisted Jackson in defeating Christian to become the last ever ECW Champion.
After ECW folded, Regal became apart of WWE NXT where he competed in lower mid-card matches then served as a color commentator and now serves as the shows General Manager.
WWE Accolades: WWE Tag Champion 4x, Hardcore Champion 5x, European Champion 4x, Intercontinental Champion 2x and 2008 King of the Ring.
However his biggest accomplishment maybe his out of the ring training of superstars such as; CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Brian Kendrick, Samoa Joe and Chris Hero to name a few.