Although the British wrestling scene has exploded again over the past five years, one man who did things the hard way is Danny Burch.
With NXT UK and WWE’s affiliation with companies like Progress and ICW amongst others, the gateway from UK to WWE has truly opened for the first time.
Talents like Wade Barrett and Paige are some of the names in recent memory who did it the hard way, much like Finn Balor, Sheamus and Drew McIntyre. In fact, that goes back to William Regal, Davey Boy Smith (British Bulldog) and Dynamite Kid, too.
But, in between those generations is Danny Burch. A wrestler from London who made it to WWE’s developmental promotion FCW in 2010.
Burch would get released by WWE in 2014, but just 18 months later he would begin appearing for the company again and two years on from that, he finally re-signed.
He’s only appeared sporadically in the NXT UK brand because he is based out in America now after meeting his wife while working for WWE, but he still holds the British scene dear.
talkSPORT spoke to the 38-year-old earlier this week and we covered some ground on his recent run.
Hi Danny! We know America is your base now, but would you like to make your presence felt on NXT UK a bit more?
I would love to come back to NXT UK a lot more. I was there for the very first weekend of tapings – the birth weekend – where I got to wrestle Pete Dunne for the United Kingdom Championship and then I was there about six weeks ago. But yes, I would love to be a regular part of that roster because there are some really, really good guys.
Far be it from me to suggest you’re winding down, but do you think about life after wrestling at all? What would you like to do?
For me, I’ve had a very, very blessed life through wrestling. I’ve met my now wife, had the chance to move to America and what kid from London can say that? I moved to America for my career! It was something that was so far out of my wildest dreams when I first started wresting back in 2003. So, for me, it would 100 percent be to give back [when I retire]. Be it as a producer, as a coach or a trainer here at the PC, I would absolutely love to be able to do that.
Who at the Performance Center in Orlando has really helped you? There’s so many great minds there.
One of the guys who has mentored me the most has been Terry Taylor. I’ve learned so much from Terry and it’s been great to be able to pick Robbie Brookeside’s brain again now that he’s been a coach here. I’ve bene given some great advice from Matt Bloom and I’ve learned a lot from Undisputed Era and Tommaso Ciampa.
Your standout moment in WWE has to be that Tag Team title match with your partner Oney Lorcan against Undisputed Era. What was it like when you got backstage? Triple H must have been beaming!
Yeah, he was! That was a very, very emotional night. 15 years of scratching and clawing and trying to find my way.. just trying to somehow find a spotlight so that I can show the world what I can do. And I had the opportunity to do it that night. I remember thanking Triple H about 50 million times.
One of the first people I saw was Steve Corino and I jumped at him and gave him the biggest hug. Because Steve had been there. At one time in the British wrestling days, he was my boss when I was wrestling for him in Doncaster. I went up to Roddy [Strong] and said ‘you’ve just made me. I can’t thank you enough for that’.
Then, truth be told, I must have sat in the corner for 20 minutes and cried because I was so elated with what we’d just done. So relieved that it came off so well and that the fans got into it. Especially because they hate us at the start, but by the end they were rooting for us. That match to me was a real, true Rocky Balboa moment and something I’ll never forget.
So how did the idea for you and Oney Lorcan tagging come to be?
Originally, the idea was pitched when I wasn’t under contract. It was like ‘Hey, we’d like to try you out as a tag in Florida for the NXT live events’ and I was like, ‘yeah, sure’. We did two matches and then I didn’t really hear anything about it. The matches were good, so I wasn’t really concerned or anything like that.
And then the pitch was put into play that Oney and I would have a series of singles matches and then we’d form a team and go from there. So we had those two matches where we knocked seven bells of crap out of each other.
Then they put us together and then I got re-signed and literally as soon as that happened and I passed all the medical tests and stuff like that, the story with the Undisputed Era began that same week, we were off to the races! It was a very quick process, it was fantastic.
You can catch WWE NXT Superstar Danny Burch on BT Sport, the new home of WWE. Watch WWE NXT on BT Sport 1 every Thursday at 1am or catch up on the BT Sport App.