NXT United Kingdom Championship
|NXT United Kingdom Championship|
|Date established||December 15, 2016|
|Current champion(s)||Ilja Dragunov|
|Date won||August 22, 2021|
The NXT United Kingdom Championship is a professional wrestling championship created and promoted by the American promotion WWE. It is primarily defended as the top championship of their NXT UK brand division, a sister brand of NXT based in the United Kingdom. It is also occasionally defended at NXT events and had also been defended on independent wrestling shows in the United Kingdom before the COVID-19 pandemic. The current champion is Ilja Dragunov, who is in his first reign.
Established on 15 December 2016 as the WWE United Kingdom Championship, the title was first awarded to Tyler Bate, who won the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament on 15 January 2017. The brand’s show of the same name had its first tapings in August 2018, which began airing in October on the WWE Network. From its inception up until the debut of NXT UK, the title was primarily defended on the NXT brand and shows produced by UK-based independent wrestling promotions. In January 2020, the title was renamed to reflect its status as the top title of NXT UK.
In a press conference at The O2 Arena on 15 December 2016, Triple H, the chief operating officer and head of NXT for the American professional wrestling promotion WWE, revealed that there would be a 16-man single-elimination tournament to crown the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion for the promotion’s new United Kingdom division. The tournament was held over a two-day period, 14 and 15 January 2017, and aired exclusively on the WWE Network. Tyler Bate won the inaugural tournament to become the first WWE United Kingdom Champion.
Following the inaugural tournament in 2017, the title began being featured on WWE’s NXT brand when Bate debuted during the 28 January 2017, tapings of NXT in San Antonio, Texas, which aired 1 February. During the 1 February tapings at the brand’s home base of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, the title’s very first defense took place, where Bate defeated Trent Seven (aired 15 February). The title was defended for the first time outside of WWE when Bate retained the title against Mark Andrews on a show for the London-based promotion, Progress Wrestling; the show took place in Orlando, Florida, on 31 March as part of WrestleMania Axxess. The first title change, as well as the first defense to air live, took place on 20 May 2017 at TakeOver: Chicago, where Pete Dunne defeated Bate to become champion. Although unsuccessful, Johnny Gargano was the first wrestler from outside of the United Kingdom division to challenge for the UK title on the 18 November taping of NXT (aired on 22 November).
When the championship was unveiled in December 2016, it was announced to be the top championship of a new WWE Network show, produced in the United Kingdom. However, it was not until mid-2018 when WWE formally established NXT UK as the brand for their United Kingdom division and sister brand of their American-based NXT. The brand’s show, also titled NXT UK, had its first tapings in August, which began airing on 17 October. On the premiere episode, Dunne retained the UK Championship against Noam Dar. During the 17 January 2020 taping of NXT UK, the title was renamed to NXT United Kingdom Championship to reflect its status as the top title of NXT UK.
14 January 2017
15 January 2017
15 January 2017
15 January 2017
Championship belt design
The base design of the belt is similar to the WWE Championship belt (introduced in 2014), with notable differences. Instead of a large cut out of the WWE logo, the center plate is modeled after the United Kingdom’s royal coat of arms, featuring a lion and a horse (instead of the traditional unicorn) on either side of the arms, with a shield at the center; atop the shield are the crown jewels. The banner atop the arms reads “United Kingdom” while the banner below reads “Champion”. Gold divider bars separate the center plate from the belt’s two side plates. In what has become a prominent feature of WWE’s championship belts, the side plates feature removable center sections that can be replaced with the current champion’s logo; the default side plates feature the WWE logo on a red globe. The plates are on a black leather strap. When the championship was originally introduced as the WWE United Kingdom Championship, the shield at the center of the main plate featured the WWE logo, but that was changed to the NXT UK logo on 17 January 2020 when the title was renamed to NXT United Kingdom Championship.
As of 31 March 2022, there have been four reigns between four champions. The inaugural champion was Tyler Bate, who is also the youngest champion, winning the title at 19 years old. The oldest champion is Walter, winning the title at 31. Walter also has the longest reign at 870 days, while Bate has the shortest reign at 125 days.
|WWE United Kingdom Championship||15 December 2016 – 17 January 2020|
|NXT United Kingdom Championship||17 January 2020 – present|
|No.||Overall reign number|
|Reign||Reign number for the specific champion|
|Days||Number of days held|
|Days recog.||Number of days held recognized by the promotion|
|+||Current reign is changing daily|
|No.||Champion||Championship change||Reign statistics||Notes||Ref.|
|1||Tyler Bate||15 January 2017||United Kingdom Championship Tournament||Blackpool, England||1||125||125||Defeated Pete Dunne in the tournament final to become the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion. Bate subsequently defended the title on the NXT brand and at independent shows in the United Kingdom.|||
|2||Pete Dunne||20 May 2017||TakeOver: Chicago||Rosemont, Illinois, U.S.||1||685||685||The title became the top championship of NXT UK when the brand was established in July 2018, but continued to occasionally be defended on NXT and at independent shows.|||
|WWE: NXT UK|
|3||Walter||5 April 2019||TakeOver: New York||Brooklyn, New York, U.S.||1||870||870||The title was renamed NXT United Kingdom Championship in January 2020.|||
|4||Ilja Dragunov||22 August 2021||TakeOver 36||Orlando, Florida, U.S.||1||221+||221+|||
Soucek, Andrew. “SOUCEK’S WWE UK CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT REPORT 1/15: Ongoing coverage of night two of UK Championship tournament”. Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
- “NXT TakeOver pre-show TV taping & dark match results”. Wrestling Observer Newsletter. January 28, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
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- James, Justin (November 22, 2017). “11/22 NXT TV Report: Pete Dunne vs. Johnny Gargano in main event, Ruby Riot vs. Sonya Deville in likely their final NXT match”. Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
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- “WWE announces Johnny Saint as UK brand general manager”. 7 June 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
- “NXT UK joins WWE Network’s already packed Wednesday line-up”. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
- Gleed, Haydn (October 17, 2018). “Gleed’s NXT UK TV Review: Premiere edition with Pete Dunne vs Noam Dar for the WWE UK Championship, Mark Andrews vs Joe Coffey, Dave Mastiff vs Sid Scala, and Toni Storm vs Nina Samuels”. Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
- Satin, Ryan (January 17, 2020). “New NXT UK Championship Unveiled At TV Taping”. Pro Wrestling Sheet. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
- Soucek, Andrew. “SOUCEK’S WWE UK CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT REPORT 1/14: Ongoing coverage of night one of UK Championship tournament”. Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
- WWE Superstars – WWE.com
- Powell, Jason. “4/5 Powell’s NXT Takeover: New York live review – Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole in a best of three falls match for the vacant NXT Championship, Pete Dunne vs. Walter for the WWE UK Championship, Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle for the NXT North American Title, NXT Women’s Title four-way, NXT Tag Title match”. Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
- Moore, John (August 22, 2021). “NXT Takeover 36 results: Moore’s live review of Karrion Kross vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship, Raquel Gonzalez vs. Dakota Kai for the NXT Women’s Title, Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly in a best of three falls match, Walter vs. Ilja Dragunov for the NXT UK Championship”. Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved August 22, 2021.