British invasion

Last Updated: 14/04/08 3:50pm

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CM Punk: coming to the UK

CM Punk: coming to the UK

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The WWE returns to the United Kingdom and Ireland this week for their latest 'Wrestlemania Revenge Tour'.

Live from London
Monday, 1am, Sky Sports 3

"The worst thing you can do is come over here and start wrestling like all of the Americans do. I tell them when they come over: keep the British style."
Finlay Quotes of the week

As part of the trip the WWE's flagship show 'Raw' will be recorded for the first time at the O2 Arena in London on Monday night.

One day later the Superstars of Smackdown step into the squared circle at the O2 for their recording.

Two men who know plenty about wrestling this side of the Atlantic are WWE Superstars CM Punk and Finlay.

Before joining the WWE, CM Punk wrestled in many different independent promotions and spent an extensive period in England and can't wait to return.

"I love wrestling in England. Some of the best wrestling fans are there." CM Punk told

"I love British Wrestling history, watching 'World of Sport'. I have a ton of DVDs on every single wacky guy you can name. I'm a big fan of that style and guys that came from there: Dave Taylor, (William) Regal and Fit (Finlay)."


It is a very apt time for the WWE to be returning to the United Kingdom and Ireland with so many wrestlers from this side of the pond contracted to Vince McMahon's company.

Current WWE Superstars include: from England, William Regal, Dave Taylor, Paul Birchill, Katie Lea and Layla. From Scotland the WWE have the Highlanders: Robbie & Rory McAllister. And representing Belfast, Northern Ireland is Finlay.

Although he was born in Canada, DH Smith has also been displaying his pride at his British heritage as the son of the late British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith.

Along with these Superstars the WWE has a whole host of young British and Irish talent coming through their developmental system. Based in Tampa, Florida Championship Wrestling, or FCW as it is known, is where all of the WWE's future Superstars are nurtured.

Last year's tours to the UK proved to be successful scouting trips for the WWE. The former ECW Champion CM Punk knows many of our nations' best talents got their opportunity to shine and is looking forward to finding out who could be next.

"The last tour we had over in England, quite a few guys got tryouts and a couple of them got signed to contracts down in the Florida Development Territory: FCW.

"I don't know who else is left. I'm looking forward to looking at the independent scene while I'm over there," said this year's Money in the Bank winner.


British and Irish stars learning their trade at the moment at FCW include Hade Vansen, Sheamus O'Shaunessy and Drew McIntyre (who briefly appeared on Smackdown).

Having wrestled all over the world for nearly 30 years Finlay knows what it takes for a non-American wrestler to make it as a success in the WWE. The tough Smackdown Superstar is not sure whether some of our talent is ready yet for the WWE but he doesn't want them to adapt their technique to do so.

Finlay said: "I think they are all trying to find their niche. I want that European influx; I want that European style because it is really good. I hope they can stay with that European style; that British style.

"The worst thing you can do is come over here and start wrestling like all of the Americans do. I tell them when they come over: keep the British style."

Before Finlay returned to active competition in 2006, the former United States Champion was in charge of teaching and training the WWE Divas and now along with his responsibilities as a wrestler he continues to guide and advise many of the younger wrestlers.

As a message to the next generation of WWE Superstars, and to any aspiring wrestlers Finlay gave this piece of advice:

"Be who you are. Not who you think you should be."

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