Former NXT UK Tag Team Champions Hint At WWE Exit


Following a loss to Legado Del Fantasma, it appears as if The Grizzled Young Veterans could be on their way out of WWE.

The 19 April broadcast of NXT 2.0 saw Legado Del Fantasma’s Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro overcome The Grizzled Young Veterans in just under four minutes. This wouldn’t normally be cause for concern, however, this may have been the last we’ll see of Zack Gibson and James Drake in WWE.

Following the show, a digital interview appeared across WWE’s social media channels, with the former NXT UK Tag Team Champions indicating a departure from Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment giant. Gibson’s words all but confirmed the end for the duo in the company, either that or the beginning of a new program for the pair to embark on (h/t Sportskeeda):

“Honestly, I’m embarrassed. How long have we been saying soon now? We left our family and friends during a pandemic to move across the world, become champions, and be the same team that we knew we could be. I’m sorry, I’m done.”

Together, the duo were also in the headlines following this week’s NXT 2.0 for another reason, as they appeared to drop the Grizzled Young Veterans moniker, and were referred to as simply Drake and Gibson, sans any first names. If this is an official change, they become the latest in a long line of WWE-affiliated name modifications, following (Antonio) Cesaro, (Alexander) Rusev, and Big E (Langston).

Both Zack Gibson and James Drake joined WWE through the United Kingdom Championship Tournament, with Drake entering in 2017’s inaugural outing, and Gibson going all the way to winning the tournament the following year, in which Drake was also a competitor. Upon the creation of the NXT UK brand in 2018, they became the brand’s inaugural Tag Team Champions after a four-team tournament.

Joining the now-former black-and-gold brand weeks before the ongoing pandemic hampered plans for them, the former three-time PROGRESS Wrestling Tag Team Champions have thus far been part of two Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals, losing to The Broserweights in 2020 and MSK in 2021. The 2022 instalment saw them ousted in the semifinals at the hands of The Creed Brothers.

They last wrestled on the independent circuit in January 2020, defeating The Young Guns – Ethan Allen and Luke Jacobs – on a Fight Club: PRO card in Wolverhampton, England.