Plenty of big news came out of today’s press conference at the O2 Arena in London, with one of the most exciting reveals being that famed British grappler Nigel McGuinness will serve as co-host for the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament, live and exclusively on the award-winning WWE Network this January.
Widely considered to be one of the greatest competitors to never have a major run in WWE, McGuinness was a contemporary of Superstars like Daniel Bryan, Cesaro and Samoa Joe, and shared the same global path through the wrestling world as those men. A swaggering London native with peroxide hair and a Johnny Rotten attitude, McGuinness entered the ring to a blistering Oasis anthem and attacked his opponents with the recklessness of a soccer hooligan after a losing game. His series of bouts against Bryan in the mid-2000s were so unrelentingly physical that you watch them and wonder why the cops didn’t intervene mid-match.
Injuries brought an early end to McGuinness’ career, but his influence is present in WWE today, whether you knew it or not. Seth Rollins cites him as a key opponent in his evolution as a ring performer, and the wild rebound lariat Dean Ambrose throws with abandon on SmackDown LIVE is done in tribute to the great McGuinness.
Outside of his in-ring physicality, McGuinness also possessed great intelligence and ring acumen, which he used to his benefit in retirement as he transitioned to the announce booth. He’ll bring those skills to the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament on January 14 & 15, 2017, live on WWE Network, and the WWE Universe will finally be introduced to one of England’s — and sports-entertainment’s — greats.