Not for the first time, WWE are about to make history in the UK. During the pre-Summerslam festivities and specifically at the NXT Takeover: Brooklyn event, it was announced that the company's NXT brand will embark on a seven city tour of the UK between Thursday 10th December and Wednesday 16 December 2015.
Of course, these shores are not unfamiliar to WWE. They tend to run a twice annual string of shows in April and November (tickets here for 2015) but this most recent announcement underlines the importance the company places on its relationship with UK fans.
For the uninitiated, NXT was and remains a development arm of WWE but has become much more than that. It began back in 2012 and after various growth and development initiatives the brand started to air its own shows in 2014. These shows allowed the company both to train and profile it's most promising talents. One pay-per-view became more and there are now regular NXT shows and specials on the WWE Network. Most recently, NXT has been venturing out of its home in Florida and the UK tour will mark its first showing overseas. Here's five reasons you will want to get tickets to the inaugural UK shows:
1) The Quality
Anyone that has watched an NXT show will know how great the wrestling action is. From Sammy Zayn diving through the ring-ropes to Bayley's incredible Suplexes. Speaking in advance of the tour, the current NXT champion Finn Bálor, who has been announced for the UK dates, told us he was looking forward to the opportunity "to return to where I started my career, giving fans new memories that they will never forget." With these talents all vying for places on the main roster, there is something to prove. The incentives are obvious and these young stars are giving it their all.
2) The Storylines
Already, NXT has delivered some epic tales and there are many to choose from. Just take the story of Baron Corbin. Over a year, Corbin built a winning streak by defeating his opponents in short matches. Another star, Bull Dempsey was doing much the same. This led to a game of one-upsmanship and eventually a match between the two. Corbin went on to beat the veteran Rhyno and in Brooklyn faced Samoa Joe. For over one year's worth of booking and thought to have gone into just this one storyline is praiseworthy indeed. NXT has a lot more to give.
3) The Surprises
NXT has a habit of delivering unexpected surprises. Whilst seasoned veterans Rhyno and Samoa Joe have become mainstays, we've seen Brian Kendrick, Tommy Dreamer and most recently Japan's Jushin 'Thunder' Liger make an appearance. Perhaps as NXT is coming to the UK, General Manager William Regal might show his face? You never know - that's the joy of it.
4) The Divas Revolution
NXT has delivered a divas revolution. Women have main-evented NXT events, have had longer matches and been given more prominence than ever before. Fans of WWE's Raw and Smackdown now regularly see Paige, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and others. These Divas cut their teeth in NXT and there are a whole cadre of others yet to come. Bayley, Dana Brooke and Emma have already been announced for the UK tour.
5) The Future
If one was asked to name key WWE superstars of today, the list might include Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Paige, Bray Wyatt or Cesaro. Each and every one of them came through the NXT development system. Finn Balor, Tyler Breeze, Dana Brooke and more have been announced for the UK tour. Seeing these stars in action is akin to catching an early glimpse at Stone Cold or the Rock - very exciting indeed.
Paul Levesque is WWE's Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative but better known to fans as Triple H. Perhaps he put it best at NXT's Brooklyn event: "It started as a whisper, until you screamed it at the top of your lungs. We gained momentum, you made us unstoppable. We had a vision for change, you made it a revolution. We told you we are the future, 'til you told us the future... is... now. WE ARE NXT!"
NXT's tour of the United Kingdom go onsale on Friday, 28 August at 9am through ticketmaster.co.uk Or 0844 844 0444. The tour will stop at the following locations:
• December 10: Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle
• December 11: The SSE Hydro in Glasgow
• December 12: Sheffield Arena in Sheffield
• December 13: Empress Ballroom in Blackpool
• December 14: Capital FM Arena in Nottingham
• December 15: Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff
• December 16: The SSE Wembley Arena in LondonSuggest a correction