by Tim Birkbeck
When the Cruiserweight Classic aired on the WWE network, it was an exciting time, where casual wrestling fans to witness some of the world’s top indie talent. With TJ Perkins, The Brian Kendrick, Kota Ibushi and Zack Sabre Jr among the names in the competition, the re-creation of a Cruiserweight division and the move to Monday Night Raw and in time 205 Live seemed promising.
Despite recent moves toward positive change, Neville’s heel turn included, the people in charge are apparently at a loss with what to do with the Cruiserweights.
So when the dust had settled after the CWC, who would have thought a pale white, moustached ginger gentleman would be leading the way – and no, I am not talking about myself.
Jack Gallagher has taken the whole division by storm, and along with his trusty umbrella ‘William the Third’, his appearance at the Royal Rumble proved that the company have faith in his ability. If he is handled correctly, the company could successfully build the division around him.
Though his slight frame and well-manicured moustache might cause his opponents to take him lightly, Gallagher is all business once the bell rings, and with a title shot at ‘Fastlane’ on March 5, his stock is only set to rise.
So why is it that the WWE should put all their eggs into the Gentlemen’s basket?
A master grappler, Gallagher trained at the infamous Snake Pit in Wigan and learned from catch wrestling icon Billy Robinson. The Manchester native has showcased that he can wriggle his way free from any hold and lock on a painful submission of his own in an instant. Having made his in-ring debut at the age of 16, Gallagher is a 10-year veteran in the ring and has mastered his craft, becoming the man we see on the WWE stage today.
Despite his fun loving persona, Gallagher has proven he is an accomplished wrestler who has held titles on the independent circuit in the UK, namely at Futureshock Wrestling and Grand Pro Wrestling. During his time at GPW, his feud with CJ Banks put the Mancunian on the map, leading to a 20 minute Iron Man match and a No Time Limit match which would end the feud.
It was at Futureshock that Gallagher really cemented himself as a mainstay in the UK scene, after winning the FSW Trophy Tournament in 2010. He defeated Dave Breaks in the final, before defeating Dave Rayne to become the FSW Champion, holding the championship for fourteen months before losing it to Davey Richards.
For most people Gallagher was brought to their attention for his work at Progress Wrestling, where the Extraordinary Gentleman was born. It was at Progress that Gallagher faced of with Catch wrestling legend Johnny Kidd, and gained his opportunity to compete at the CWC.
Becoming The Gentleman
From the moment the WWE Universe were introduced to Gallagher, they seemed to take a liking to him in a way that they didn’t with his fellow Cruiserweights.
Despite losing in the second round of the CWC to Akira Tozawa, the English Gentleman would pick-up a victory on the inaugural episode of 205 Live against Ariya Daivari. As the rivalry developed, so did Gallagher’s character – seeing the announced interruption of Daivari’s match to challenging him to a duel – the gentleman was truly born.
Even though this may be a stereotypical “British” gimmick, Gallagher has grabbed the ball and run with it. He has already proven that he can talk on the mic, and he can get anything the 205 Live writing staff give him over with the crowd – the Gentleman’s Duel being one of the most entertaining segments on the show since it launched.
Gallagher’s trusty companion, ‘William the Third’ the Umbrella has now become his trademark accessory led to one of the more memorable moments to the 2017 Royal Rumble, jumping off the top rope ‘Mary Poppins’ style before being the first man to be eliminated, by Mark Henry. But it would be this said spot during the Five-Way Elimination match to determine the Number One Contender to Neville’s title, as Gallagher once again soared through the sky with his trusty brolly open to wipe out his opponents.
A True Fighter
Even though Gallagher’s gimmick may appear to be fun loving, he does mean business. With a range of submission holds in his arsenal and European uppercuts which could match Cesaro, there is no doubt he is a talent inside the ring. We have seen in previous weeks on 205 Live that once that switch is on, Gallagher can turn up the aggression, and his a 2-0 record in MMA shows that he isn’t just nice suits and perfectly groomed facial hair.
With a devastating headbutt recently delivered to the Cruiserweight champ, it is something that may not be seen as much in the WWE anymore, but Gallagher lands it with such precision it does make you hold your head and winch. Then there is the running drop kick, which, let’s be honest, looks like it would take your head clean off. Since the introduction of Finn Balor’s shotgun drop kick it seems it is a move that has again translated real pain to the audience. When you see Gallagher running full pelt, you know it is game over.
Since TJ Perkins was the first Cruiserweight Champion, we are already on to our fourth champ, so I am not going to suggest that the belt should go straight to Gallagher, because the division needs some legitimacy.
However, the Mancunian could be the perfect foil to the Geordie. If WWE play this well, this feud should be built up to at least WrestleMania, and then revisited later down the line, giving the Cruiserweights the hot feud it deserves.
Eventually the belt should be put on Gentleman Jack’s waist, but look back at how long it took WWE to put the strap on Bray Wyatt and the pay off that had for fans!
So who knows, one night when WWE visits Manchester would could see a Gentleman dethrone the King.