Jordan Devlin's 2020 has been an unbelievable ride. From receiving a standing ovation from Triple H, William Regal and Johnny Saint for his match with Tyler Bate at WWE NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II, to winning the NXT Cruiserweight Championship at Worlds Collide, Devlin is a man with a lot of eyes on him.
While they're few and far between now as the WWE Universe recognises the unique talents of The Irish Ace, Devlin was once at risk of living in the shadows of one of his mentors - Finn Balor.
This is something I asked Jordan about:
Obviously people are quick to compare me to Finn Balor but, for me, it was never a shadow I was in, it was always just a measuring stick to live up to. It was never reaally a weight on my shoulders - just something to aim to and try keep up with. It was never a negative.
I also had the chance to sit down with Devlin and ask about the influence of his other mentor - Irish wrestling legend Paul Tracey!
He's so underrated and so under-acknowledged as well. Finn had a much smaller influence on my career than Paul did. Finn left for America in 2006, so he only trained me for four or five years of the formative years, then he'd come home periodically and I'd pick up some stuff.
In terms of week-to-week, every single week, it was Paul for 15 years. He's so underappreciated, I feel really bad for him. I wish that he'd have been around now with all the opportunities and different promotions there are, and get the chance to wrestle now because, when he was coming through, there was only maybe, like, one show, every three months in Ireland.
Devlin would then agree with the point that you can definitely see a lot of Tracey's influence in his in-ring style, before praising his mentor:
He's a pillar of Irish wrestling.
Catch WWE NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin on BT Sport, the new home of WWE. Watch WWE NXT on BT Sport 1 every Thursday at 1am or catch up on the BT Sport App.Published 25 Feb 2020, 18:56 IST