Yesterday’s report that NXT UK talent will not be able to wrestle for non-WWE affiliated independent promotions in the future was followed by another big development for Full Sail’s sibling across the pond, the signing of Austrian independent wrestling star WALTER. Wrestling fans keeping up with the Ringkampf big man and/or the moves WWE has been making in Europe didn’t have much reason to be surprised.
It had looked likely that Walter would sign with a big promotion for a while. Walter wrestled at WrestleMania Axxess this year, faced Adam Cole for the NXT North American Championship at EVOLVE 107, and WWE Performance Center coach Robbie Brookside visited the wXw Wrestling Academy in Germany, where Walter is the head coach. It also seemed like New Japan Pro Wrestling might be courting Walter after he played a high-profile role in their Strong Style Evolved UK cross-promotional shows with RevPro and was part that company’s world championship picture with Tomohiro Ishii and Minoru Suzuki.
On the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer revealed why Walter ended up going with NXT UK. He said that Walter didn’t sign with the original NXT brand because he wanted to continue living in Germany rather than move to Florida. He reportedly also rejected an NJPW offer because he didn’t want to live or do long tours in Japan. Walter apparently isn’t interested in the WWE main roster, and wrestling insiders believe that he will be a central figure in the future NXT Germany brand as WWE continues to extend their monopolistic tentacles to every corner of the globe.
If you haven’t seen Walter in action before and want to see what the hype is about, I recommend his match with Will Ospreay from OTT’s fourth anniversary show earlier this year. (And if that doesn’t give you enough of a sense of his infamous stiffness, check out these chop marks Yujiro Takahashi showed me from a match he had with Walter five days before this picture was taken.)