Jordan Devlin on Being the WWE's 'Irish Ace' in the Hole
The normally brash Jordan Devlin couldn’t hide the happiness on his face as he celebrated winning the NXT cruiserweight championship at the Worlds Collide event. Winning his first WWE title is the light at the end of the tunnel of a long journey that began at the age of 6 or 7. Making it even more real was taking the ceremonial picture with exec Paul “Triple H” Levesque after the fatal 4-way victory.
“He was my favorite wrestler growing up, even though others around me were ‘Stone Cold’ guys or Rock guys. I was a big Triple H fan,” Devlin said. “To have him be my boss now and get a photo with him as I have my first title in WWE is dream-come-true stuff.”
The “Irish Ace” is following up the milestone with appearances on NXT and 205 Live. Despite the increased exposure, Devlin remains dedicated to NXT UK. He believes there is still much to do in helping build the brand.
“NXT UK has made stars out of guys like the British Strong Style, Travis Banks and myself. For us to be able do independent dates in the UK as well and get people to come and see us,” the superstar said on the success of NXT international expansion.
“It’s really good for the UK scene. It has breathed life into us. To have the UK Performance Center as well and learn from the best minds in the business...NXT UK has grown so much in the last three years. I couldn’t have imagined we’d be here if you’d ask me three years ago. Maybe we can be a company or brand that tours across Europe and not just the UK. I’d love to see NXT UK TakeOver Dublin. There is talk of maybe going to Germany and other parts of Europe. I’d love to take the show on the road. It would be awesome for the brand.”
Devlin credits an easier-than-expected transition to the States thanks to learning the WWE way of doing things over the past couple of years across the pond. Technically sound, he had an eye-opening experience learning about being in front of the camera, working the microphone and doing interviews. Names like Terry Taylor, Shawn Michaels and William Regal have been especially helpful in the process.
“Now people recognize us in NXT UK. Every person may have a little bit of anxiety where they go out and adjust to the fact people know who they are,” he said. “I’m surprised how recognized I am when I work at NXT events or Worlds Collide and people react on the other side of the curtain.”
It’s almost surreal for Devlin to think he works for the same company as fellow Irishman Finn Bálor. Someone who was instrumental in his training. Devlin met the then 21-year-old performer at age 12 and been connected ever since.
“He was the best wrestler in Ireland then and probably now,” Devlin said. “He was the person I most aspired to be like. He was always the guy I wanted to measure up to and up with. He went from Ireland to Japan to train, as did I. He went to New Japan Pro Wrestling. I went to Zero-One. He went to the States and WWE. I was a couple of years behind him when WWE signed me. We’ve been running the same path for a long time.
“I’ve always aspired to be like him and share that same work ethic he does. He was an inspiration to me, so to get to wrestle him in a WWE ring at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool was something we both enjoyed a lot. So it has been cool to catch up with him and share a workplace and call each other colleagues.”
Devlin takes pride in seeing the Irish eyes smiling on WWE thanks to the success of Bálor, Becky Lynch and Sheamus.
“It is hard to say what it is about Ireland that produces great fighters, great entertainers and great talkers,” he said. “It’s a good time to be an Irish pro wrestling fan. You have your pick of what to get behind. The latest addition is Valkyrie Cain. I have high hopes.”
The cruiserweight champ has big plans to take the gold to new heights around his waist. Devlin plans to run with the ball.
“Now that I’ve won the title and run my mouth for so long and asking for these opportunities, they've come and have the title on my shoulder. It’s really time to pick up the pace and push the goal post back and see how far we can go with this,” Devlin said.
“I’m looking forward to defending the title across the three brands in NXT UK, NXT and 205 Live. I’m not the typical cruiserweight that you’d see on 205 Live. I’m more of a junior heavyweight style wrestler.
"I look forward to meeting a Lio Rush and Angel Garza, who’d want a rematch down the line. I’d like to meet Isaiah Scott as well. I’ve wrestled him a couple times on the independent scene. I never had a bad match with him. I’m ready for any and all comers.”
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