The current NXT UK champion, WALTER, made his huge return to the US this past week, setting up a tantalising match with Tommaso Ciampa just in time for TakeOver: Stand & Deliver. WALTER’s brief appearance managed to break headlines across the world, generating a crucial buzz around the promotion as they build towards their first-ever two night TakeOver event.
WALTER has forged a successful WWE career so far as part of the NXT UK brand, holding down the fort since the departure of Pete Dunne in 2019. During that time, he has put on some incredible performances against the likes of Tyler Bate, Dave Mastiff and, most recently, in a match that many consider to be the 2020 Match of the Year against Ilja Dragunov. WALTER’s mainstream appeal has grown exponentially, with many expecting him to follow the previous NXT UK champion overseas once he is dethroned.
Even though, ‘The Ring General’ has in the past been reluctant to move to Florida and compete for NXT on a full-time basis, it almost feels like his star power has eclipsed the rest of the UK roster, and his future success awaits him in America. The response to his minor cameo during the segment with Ciampa, as well as his prior appearances during the main roster/NXT brand war, has made him seem like one of NXT’s hottest products, someone that could easily transition into their main event scene.
With WALTER set to defend his NXT UK Championship against Rampage Brown at Prelude, it could very well be the opportune time to crown a new face of NXT UK as well as give WALTER the chance to move onto bigger things if he so wishes. The Austrian has done more than enough to help continue to development and progression of NXT UK, but should he stay there beyond his record-breaking UK Championship run, then the chances of him becoming an even bigger, marketable star will start to diminish.
US fans, much like the UK audience, have come to adore ‘The Ring General’ over the years, learning of his potential during his time wrestling for PWG and other smaller indies. There’s no doubt that he’d receive a huge reaction from a live audience if he were to declare his intentions to join Imperium on US soil, and would be a natural fit to challenge the NXT Champion, whoever that may be, following Stand & Deliver.
As much as I appreciate the sheer wealth of talent on the NXT UK roster, there isn’t much left for WALTER to sink his teeth into. After the match with Rampage, a man that many believe to be the only one worthy of taking the title away from WALTER, any other feud would feel beneath him. Whereas there’s plenty of intriguing dream matches for WALTER to tick off his bucket list over in the US.
Last year, NXT writers teased a clash between the Austrian and ‘The Prince’ Finn Balor just before the pandemic hit, a match which I sorely wanted to see before having it ripped away, thanks COVID. With other fellow hard-hitters like Karrion Kross, Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole all ready to mix it up with fresh talent, there’d be plenty for ‘The Ring General’ to keep busy with on his path to gold. And that’s all before we even consider the main roster.
WALTER has the potential to become an even bigger star than he already is under the WWE umbrella, a superstar that could really shake things up on both NXT and then later RAW and SmackDown Live, if WWE wish to push him that far. His size and destructive in-ring style lends credence to comparisons made to the likes of Brock Lesnar and Goldberg, there’d be no shock if it were to come out that Vince McMahon’s head was turned by ‘The Ring General’.
Unless WALTER chooses to remain loyal to the BritWres scene and NXT UK, then the sky would truly be the limit for a wrestler with as much potential as him. Time will only tell as to whether the creative team are ready for WALTER to pass on the torch to Rampage Brown, or even if he’s willing to consider making his brief time in NXT more than just a flying visit. Regardless of the future, keep your eyes on the WALTER/Ciampa feud, and definitely do so once Timothy Thatcher gets involved. That’s going to be an absolute banger.
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