It’s a special moment in British Wrestling history. World of Sports Wrestling will soon be back on iTV, the UK wrestlers are revered around the world to the point of making WWE, NJPW, Impact Wrestling and many other companies in the world more than eye on them. At a moment when people started to think WWE in the UK was just a dream, the announcement of Johnny Saint being appointed General Manager of WWE’s United Kingdom brand is completely changing the game.
The United Kingdom quoted as a WWE brand is opening the gates for new possibilities. As the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament events are going to take place on June 18 and 19, and stream on WWE Network on June 25 and 26, the idea of having a specific General Manager for the UK market is obviously letting think of a real brand, with maybe a weekly show, live events and why not pay-per-views.
This idea is confirmed by Saint himself who told WWE: “For the guys who are in the wrestling scene here in the U.K., the worldwide exposure is a wonderful thing. It’s something that we never really had before, so the new product is going to be tremendous for them.” So it seems like we’re going to witness the beginning of something new in the UK.
Like Robbie Brookside, Johnny Saint is a wrestler you can only know if you were able to witness their matches in the UK in the 70s and 80s. Coming to NXT suddenly make them become internationally known faces. While Robbie Brookside became the rookies’ trainer at WWE Performance Center, Johnny Saint spent 6 months there last year to work with the top stars of NXT as a guest trainer.
Saint is widely considered as a pure grappler. After finishing school at 15, he became an amateur boxer, like his father was. But one day Saint met British wrestling Legend Billy Robinson and started to train at his father’s gym. He wrestled his first match on June 1958. On 3 November 1976 Johnny Saint won his first World Lightweight title and would be featured in World of Sport. He would win it 9 more times, become a 2-time European Lightweight Championship and the British Lightweight Championship.
In 1996 he moved to Japan to work for Michinoku Pro and, on October 10, 1996, Johnny Saint defeated Naohiro Hoshikawa in what was considered as Saint’s retirement match. But 10 years later, on November 27, 2007, Saint returned to the ring for LDN Wrestling and wrestled a few matches for them, including two bouts against 3- time LDN British Heavyweight Champion ‘Gentleman’ Jon Ritchie.
He made his first steps in the USA working with CHIKARA. He was defeated by Mike Quackenbush at Chikara’s Tag World Grand Prix 2008 by KO, took part of King of Trios Tournament in 2009 and Chikarasaurus Rex: King Of Sequel event in 2011. This is where he met the best indy wrestlers that soon became WWE and NXT Superstars, Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, Adam Cole, Sami Zayn or Johnny Gargano.
In 2015, at 74, the unstoppable Johnny Saint was still in a ring, wrestling in Italy. In March 2016, Saint worked as a guest trainer at WWE Performance Center. In December 2016, Saint announced he was starting a six-month stint as a trainer for WWE. He worked there with fellow World of Sport and British wrestling veterans William Regal, Robbie Brookside, Fit Finlay and Norman Smiley. Men he wrestled in the UK a few years ago and who have become trainers for WWE and NXT.