‘The Austrian Anomaly’ WALTER, has officially broken the 685 day record previously held by ‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne to become the longest reigning NXT UK Champion in history.
On February 19, 2021, the current and reigning NXT UK Champion smashed through Dunne’s previous record and currently stands on 686 days and counting on top of the British mountain.
After making his debut at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool on January 12, 2019, storming to the ring at the conclusion of the epic Pete Dunne vs. Joe Coffey main event to stare down the champion and state his claim on the prestigious strap, it was clear to anyone inside the Empress Ballroom that Dunne’s replacement had been found.
Following several months of skirting around the rivalry, tensions finally boiled over in Coventry, England, when it was announced that ‘The Bruiserweight’ had been given permission to defend his prize at NXT TakeOver: New York. Wasting no time and facing his destiny like a true champion, Dunne stormed to the ring and demanded NXT UK General Manager Johnny Saint and Assistant to the General Manager, Sid Scala, give him WALTER.
Having been given what he secretly yearned for, WALTER was granted number one contendership of the then WWE United Kingdom Championship and challenged Dunne at NXT TakeOver: New York on April 5, 2019. Following 25:40 of gripping and thrilling action, the Austrian countered a top rope triangle choke into a powerbomb from the summit and claimed the gold with a flying splash.
The rematch on the May 5, 2019, edition of NXT UK changed the landscape of the black and red brand forever. At the conclusion of the 16:45 stunner and with the former champion in control, Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner ran to the ring, levelled the Birmingham native with the gold and aided their new ‘Ring General’ in retaining his belt. It was in that moment Imperium were born.
Since claiming the sumptuous strap in New York City nearly two years ago, WALTER has dominated the British professional wrestling landscape with television defences against Travis Banks (May 26, 2019), an epic 42:12 match of the year candidate with Tyler Bate (NXT TakeOver: Cardiff), Joe Coffey (NXT TakeOver: Blackpool II), Dave Mastiff (March 5, 2020), another absolute extraordinary war with Ilja Dragunov (October 29, 2020) and A-Kid (January 14, 2021).
Currently, it is unknown how long WALTER will continue to reign over NXT UK but with a roster sparse of believable challengers at present then he looks set to build an insurmountable record making him one of the longest reigning champions in any promotion of the last few decades alongside NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Nick Aldis.
Inside the Ropes congratulates WALTER on this historic achievement