Jordan Devlin put himself well and truly on the map at NXT UK Takeover Blackpool II over the weekend, and proved why he should be a major player in 2020.
The Irish Ace is known for his brash confidence in the ring, and that same level of pride is on full display meeting the man himself before he faced Tyler Bate in the match of the night at Winter Gardens as WWE’s British brand took centre stage.
‘In 2021 if we sit down together again, I will be the UK champion,’ he told Metro.co.uk in a bold prediction for the next 12 months. ‘I worked very, very hard for 15 years to get signed from WWE, and I think it would’ve been remiss of me to take my foot off the gas.
‘I think that now that I’ve got my foot in the door, it’s time to double up the effort. Every single opportunity I’ve had, I’ve tried to take with two hands and prove I’m the kind of guy you can build a brand around.’
My view during @Tyler_Bate vs @Jordan_Devlin1 at #NXTUKTakeOver. Absolutely incredible match. #WeAreNXTUK pic.twitter.com/0lJwZrh5Sf
— Triple H (@TripleH) January 12, 2020
Rewinding 12 months to NXT UK’s first ever Takeover event, Devlin faced off in a surprise match against his real-life mentor Finn Balor in a face-off fans were clamouring for ever since he first took to the ring during the United Kingdom Championship Tournament back in 2017.
As well as Finn training Jordan, the pair also share somewhat of a passing resemblance – and a hometown in Bray, County Wicklow.
‘He’s one of the best wrestlers in the world. There’s no getting away from it, he’s from the same hometown as me, he trained me. You’re obviously going to get comparisons,’ Delvin – who found out about their match just hours beforehand – smiled.
‘It would be worse for me if I was being compared to someone I’d describe as a bad wrestler. While the comparisons can be a little bit annoying, they’re also quite flattering. That’s the most PC way I can put it!’
There is clearly some frustration there, with Delvin admitting a rematch is in the back of his mind, while he enjoyed getting to ‘trash talk’ his mentor in front of such a heated crowd.
‘You can see on the footage that I cover my ears. That isn’t me playing up to the cameras, it was deadening, unreal,’ he said, reflecting on Balor’s surprise entrance. It was fun being able to trash talk him all the way through… it was good to get out all the pent up aggression I’ve built.’
And getting to show off a more antagonistic side to himself in the ring is something he thinks ‘comes naturally’.
An unforgettable night for @NXTUK in Blackpool, England on Sunday. THANK YOU for supporting our Superstars and representing YOUR brand. #WeAreNXTUK #NXTUKTakeOver pic.twitter.com/VaHv8r7k7V
— Triple H (@TripleH) January 14, 2020
‘I don’t know what that says about me,’ he laughed. ‘If you’re a good guy and you come to the ring and slip on a banana peel, you look like an idiot. If you’re a bad guy, you can talk it off – you’re untouchable. [Being a bad guy] speaks to me on a spiritual level.’
Looking to the future, Devlin is keep to see the NXT UK brand grow with more European stars at the forefront, while he believes the show can bring back older fans missing the edginess of the famed Attitude Era in the 1990s.
He said: ‘Everyone’s hitting their stride at the same time. Everyone all fell in love with the same people, we’re Attitude Era kids. We all know why wrestling’s awesome, and we just want to bring it back to that. If we can bring in another Attitude Era or something similar, we’ll all be buzzing.’
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