Last week on “After The Bell,” Corey Graves interviewed NXT UK star WALTER, who also happens to be the current longest-reigning champion in WWE.
WALTER talked about the current European indie scene, his unique style and his journey to WWE.
Walter talked about working the indie scene and signing with NXT UK:
“I think most of the other wrestlers were willing to do it because it was their goal from day one, or early in their career that it was where they wanted to go. For me, for the most time in my life, it was never a realistic thing that I could actually ever wrestle for WWE. When I started 10 years ago, the wrestling world was very different. The WWE was very isolated from everybody else. It was so difficult to get to WWE. They opened up a few years ago and realized how much talent there is out there still to actually work with. When everything came to talks with NXT UK at first, they talked to me right when it started and I was doing really well on the indies. I wanted to see what else comes up, and I said, ‘Wait and we’ll see what happens.’ When everything came together, and NXT UK existed a little bit, I started thinking about myself. The travel schedule on the indies was really rough. I’m aware that people on RAW and SmackDown travel a lot, like three or four nights a week, or something like that. On the indies, it’s different. Most of the guys did it themselves because you’re working for a different guy every day. You have to carry your merchandise with you. You have to organize everything. If you just rely on the promoters, there’s a big chance you’ll get stranded somewhere because somebody forgot about a plane ticket or something. So, there came a little bit of an administrative hassle as well. I was only home like two or three days a week, otherwise I was traveling. I can’t do that forever. I felt like I came home and I was visiting my girlfriend’s place. That needs to change. When NXT UK came up, we talked again. Obviously, the focus is to build something here in Europe and the U.K. is the logical first step in the process because England was the hottest place to be in Europe for wrestling. That sounds like right where I belong and I got started.”
Walter was asked what it feels like to be the face of WWE for the UK wrestling scene:
“It’s a big responsibility, of course. It’s like, I always feel that as the NXT UK champion, I will be the one that when I have a match, my match will be seen by the most people out of everybody else from NXT UK. There comes a responsibility with that to actually showcase what European wrestling is all about. That’s something I would say that I’m really proud of. I never had to change for WWE. I’m still the same person I was three years ago when I worked for everybody else, and just to be able to stick with that, and still showcase wrestling the way that I think is right in my way, and actually getting the attention for it, and get the trust of people in WWE for it, that’s a nice accomplishment.”
“What does it mean when you are referred to as a ‘throwback wrestler’?”
“Obviously, a lot of the stuff I do, I picked up from wrestlers who were in their high time in generations before now. Wrestling at the end of day, if you look how wrestling developed, some of the things never changed. I was aware that I’m never going to be somebody who’s going to be overly spectacular with athletic stuff. I think wrestling for me, wrestling has to look like competition, like, dramatic competition. There has to be drama and chaos about it. I always try to get that to the people. I’m one of the biggest guys physically, so I can’t compete when everybody else is doing exciting moves, or jumping off the top rope, or being crazy athletic. I need to connect with the people differently. I want to get them on their subconscious reactions people naturally have in them.”