Grizzled Young Vets target record tag team Championship reign in UK return


Hamish Woodward

Iconic tag team Grizzled Young Veterans have targeted a record-breaking tag team title reign upon their return to Progress wrestling this year.

James Drake and Zack Gibson were released by the WWE in September 2023, following a disappointing run as part of “Schism” in NXT where they were known as “The Dyad”.

The pair were re-Christened as Jagger Reid and Rip Fowler, a far cry from the names that made their stars in Great Britain during the British wrestling renaissance.

The Englishmen were two of the most impressive talents on the UK indie scene before being snapped up by the WWE, being signed to a deal with NXT UK.

The pair won one NXT United Kingdom Champion, but struggled in NXT in the United States, and hope a return to the UK will show more promise than their run in the WWE.

Grizzled Young Veterans target record reign as tag team champions

Zack Gibson and James Drake are targetting their record-fourth reign as the Progress tag team champions after their return to the UK in 2024.

The three-time Progress Tag Team Champions made their return to the indies in October with a shock appearance at Deadlock Pro Wrestling, although they will have their first match back at Progress Wrestling’s Chapter 162 – The Light of the Dragon.

At the event, the Grizzled Young Vets will take on the longest reigning tag team champions in the company’s history, as they battle The Sunshine Machine at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, London.

On the run up to the event, Drake and Gibson spoke with Progress to lay out their plans for their return to the British wrestling promotion.

“It’s been nearly 4 years since we’ve been at the Electric Ballroom. The wrestling world has changed so much. However, you know the saying the more things change, the more they stay the same.

“We fully expect a sub-human fanbase to try and take over the show with their chants and boos in a desperate attempt to validate themselves. They should just be grateful to be in our presence again. We’re the prize here.

“Oh course we’ve got our eyes on a fourth reign you cretin! Do you think we want to travel across the world from sunny Orlando to dossy London IN JANUARY for a laugh?

“We’re well past doing this for fun now. This is our job, our careers. So yes, we do plan on capturing PROGRESS championship gold for the record fourth time.”

WWE released GYV last year after turning down their request to be released

While fans of British wrestling were happy to see Gibson and Drake back on the British indie scene, they were sad to see such talented wrestlers being let go by the WWE.

The pair were released by Triple H in September 2023, although that came nearly six months after requesting to be let go by the company, during a disappointing run in NXT.

The pair floundered as part of Schism in NXT, completely changing their characters and removing any semblance of themselves from their WWE gimmicks.

The built-in support they had from Progress or NXT UK was removed, and it was just a matter of time until their time in the WWE ran out.

Grizzled Young Veterans asked for their release from the company in April 2023, and lasted five more months until Triple H and Shawn Michaels confirmed their exit from the company in September last year.

Here’s hoping we see the return of the classic “Shoes off if you hate Gibson” chant to arenas across the UK in 2024.


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