Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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A Look Back on the NXT UK Women’s Champions

The NXT UK Women’s Championship is a prestigious title created in 2018. While the title has not been around too long, there have been some amazing champions holding the belt. With NXT UK coming to an end this past week, I thought it would be fitting to take a look back at some of the women who held the belt.

Rhea Ripley

Rhea Ripley came into WWE in 2017 as one of the competitors in the inaugural Mae Young Classic. She lost in the second round. In 2018, she would come back with a new look but would lose in the semifinals to Io Sharai/ IYO Sky.

Rhea would go on to be an original member of the NXT IK roster being the inaugural NXT UK women’s champion in August 2018. However, Rhea would hold the title for 139 days. WWE only recognized 44 days leading to her having the shortest title reign.

She would go on to NXT where she would become the NXT Women’s Champion before making her way to Monday Night Raw and holding the women’s title there once. She would also become a one-time tag team champion with Nikki ASH. Rhea is the first former NXT star to defend the NXT title at WrestleMania.

Toni Storm

In 2017, WWE announced that Toni would be one of the first four contenders for the 2017 Mae Young Classic. On July 13th, she entered the tournament but was eliminated by Kairi Sane in the semifinals. From there she would go on to participate in the United Kingdom tournament to become the #1 contender for the NXT Women’s Champion. She won but was defeated by Shayna Baszler. She won the finals in the second Mae Young Classic. However, she would lose to Rhea Ripley in the tournament to crown the inaugural NXT UK Women’s Championship.

Eventually, she would defeat Rhea at the NXT UK Takeover” Blackpool and become the new NXT UK champion. She would hold the title for 230 days before losing to Kay Lee Ray in 2019.

Toni is now wrestling in AEW.

Kay Lee Ray

Kay Lee Ray made her first WWE appearance in 2015, in a match against Nia Jax on NXT. She would lose that match and we wouldn’t see her again until 2017 in the inaugural Mae Young Class. She lost in the first round to Princesa Sugehit. Ray would participate in a six-woman team match with Jazzy Gabert and Tessa Blanchard.

We wouldn’t see Kay Lee Ray in WWE again until 2019 when she appeared at NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool. She was officially under contract. Later on, that year, she would beat Toni Storm at NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff making her the first British born wrestler to hold the title.

Kay Lee Ray would go on to have many amazing title defenses matches before losing her belt in 2021, to Meiko Satomura. She held the title in a record-setting reign at 649 days.

She is now on NXT under the ring name Alba Fyre.

Meiko Satomura

Before coming to WWE, Meiko had been wrestling all over Japan since the 90s. She held many championships in several companies such as Chikara and Stardom.

During the Mae Young Classic in 2018, Meiko would make it to the semifinals before losing to Toni Storm.

In 2020, Meiko signed with WWE being part of the WWE NXT UK brand. She had a few matches on NXT UK before defeating Kay Lee Ray on June 10, 2021, to win the NXT Women’s title. Meiko is the first Japanese wrestler to hold the NXT UK Women’s Championship.

She is currently the WWE NXT UK Women’s Champion and technically the last official champion, as the titles are set to be unified at Worlds Collide where she will be facing Mandy Rose, the current NXT Women’s Champion, and Blair Davenport. Her total reign so far is 447 days.

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