When Jordan Devlin was announced for the second WWE UK Championship Tournament, Irish Wrestling fans everywhere rejoiced. The Bray native had spent the past year reinventing himself in preparation for a moment like this. Another chance to show the wrestling world exactly what he’s capable of on the biggest stage imaginable. His first foray into the world of WWE didn’t exactly go as planned, with a confusing finish to his first round match and constant comparisons to his mentor holding him back. Instead of crumbling under the weight of a disappointing outing like most would, however, Devlin instead used the tournament as fuel to elevate himself from perceived rookie, to Import Killer.
Jordan Devlin’s ascent to the top of the Irish wrestling scene began last June, when he found himself standing across the ring from American wrestling stand-out Moose. What many saw as simply a showcase match for the Impact wrestling regular quickly became a catalyst for one of the best runs in OTT history. A spot in the middle of the bout that saw Moose chuck Devlin out of the ring and into the crowd garnered gasps around the packed out Tivoli Theatre, but what transpired next would cause every fan in the building to leap to their feet. Like a hero ripped straight out of the pages of a Marvel or DC comic, Devlin soared right back into the ring, covering his opponent for a pin in the process. This marked a clear turning point for the fearless fighter, as Devlin himself would put it on the OTT Podcast – “I flew onto that stage, the cocky, social elite Devlin and came back as the hero Import Killer.”
Jordan would follow this monumental, career-making performance up with a win over Matt Cross in the National Stadium, A venue that had alluded him the last time OTT held an event in its hallowed grounds. From here, a pattern emerged. Every indie star who showed up to further their momentum would fall at the hands of Ireland’s best. The very man who many had cited as nothing more than a mini Finn Bálor months prior was now holding his own against the best wrestlers in the world, and leaving with his hand held high. This progress did not go unnoticed amongst the most Hardcore of Irish Wrestling fans. You couldn’t help but get behind the man and voice your support as he crept up the card with Match of the Year contender after Match of the Year contender.
The next bout that showcased just how far Devlin had come in such a short space of time was his match against Matt Riddle at OTT’s ‘Vendetta’ event in November. Riddle, a man who many had cited as one of the best independent wrestlers in the world and a beloved hero in OTT, was the biggest test for Devlin so far. Yet, as he always does, Jordan went out there and gave it his absolute all, looking right at home in the ring opposite one of the world’s greatest. His victory over Riddle is perhaps the biggest ringing endorsement from OTT yet when it comes to his position as a main event level star capable of carrying the brand on his back. Devlin’s crowning moment would come a month later, defeating the UK’s Mark Haskins to capture the OTT-NLW Heavyweight Championship. The sight of Devlin hoisting the gold high in the air as confetti poured from the ceiling of the National Stadium was fantastic, the true culmination of all his hard work and determination.
Since that huge win in December, Devlin’s star has only continued to rise. With victories over Timothy Thatcher, Angelico and Zack Sabre Jr, It looks like the Import Killer doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. It might’ve taken us a few years, but we finally have an Irish world champion sat atop the mountain who can go toe-to-toe with the very best that Europe and the US have to offer. Where Devlin ventures next, however, is the truly interesting question. He recently participated in PROGRESS’ annual Super Strong Style 16 tournament and despite coming up short, put in yet another star-making performance. Here’s hoping he becomes a regular in the Electric Ballroom!
It’s safe to say that the Jordan Devlin who entered Blackpool last January in an attempt to capture WWE gold is not the same man who stands before us today – with a similarly promising opportunity looming in the not so distant future. For every fan who still only knows Devlin for his association with Finn Bálor, there’s countless others who have been following his journey and will be rooting for him as he looks to make history and cement his place within the biggest wrestling company in the world.
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