Inaugural champion details reason behind leaving WWE

Triple H was the creative head of NXT and NXT UK! [Image credit:]
Triple H is the head of WWE's creative department. (Image source:

WWE has been making new records and expanding its reach as the biggest wrestling company in the world. Meanwhile, inaugural NXT UK Tag Team Champion Zack Gibson opened up about his release from the company.

In 2019, Zack Gibson and James Drake became the inaugural NXT UK Tag Team Champions at TakeOver: Blackpool under Triple H's creative leadership of the developmental brands. The two held the titles for over 220 days before losing the straps at NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff and eventually heading to the United States.

Unfortunately, the duo requested their release and left the promotion in 2023. During an appearance on the Daily Star, Zack Gibson opened up about their release and stated the duo felt their stock was going down, which became the catalyst for their release.

"I've done some great things over there with WWE, TNA, and AEW, and I've also been privy to some things that didn't quite go my way. That's just the nature of the job. There's no need to point fingers (...) It's already documented that we asked for our release, and there are no ill feelings towards WWE. It's just the reality of the situation is that WWE stock was going up and our personal stock was going down. We had a decision to make on how to approach that. We tried one approach, and it didn't feel like it was working out. So we took a gamble and pivoted," Gibson said. [From 16:10 to 17:00]

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Zack Gibson and James Drake spent years before leaving WWE

Zack Gibson and James Drake, aka Grizzled Young Veterans, exploded at the scene after the Stamford-based company launched NXT UK. They spent months as the inaugural NXT UK Tag Team Champions before dropping the belt and working with other teams in the division.

Later, they moved to the United States and joined the developmental brand under Triple H's leadership. Unfortunately, Gibson and Drake were stuck in limbo for a while before they joined Joe Gacy's Schism alongside Ava Raine on NXT.


However, they became the stable's henchmen and went nowhere as a tag team in the company. Last year, they faced the Creed Brothers in a Steel Cage match, their final NXT bout. They are currently working on the independent scene.

If you use quotes from the article, please credit the Daily Star and provide an H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription.

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Edited by Gurjyot Singh Dadial
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