WWE has announced that the NXT UK brand has signed several new Superstars. Jazzy Gabert, Kay Lee Ray, Ilja Rukober, Oliver Sauter and Jay Melrose have been confirmed for the UK developmental brand.
Ilja Rukober is also known as popular independent star Ilja Dragunov. The newly named Rukober recently appeared at the NXT UK tapings in Coventry, England. Ilja defeated Ashton Smith in a dark match. WWE promoted Ilja in a press release saying that he had “unbridled intensity inside the ring.” Dragunov is probably the most high profile of the recent signings, along with Kay Lee Ray.
Kay Lee Ray and Jazzy Gabert
Kay Lee Ray also worked the same tapings. The former WoS Women’s Champion appeared on camera at the Takeover: Blackpool event and was expected to sign imminently. Jazzy Gabert also appear at Takeover alongside KLR, she also appeared at the first Mae Young Classic in 2017.
Melrose is known on the UK independent scene as Primate. The former DEFIANT star has made a career working in the Northern promotions in England and he now has the opportunity to ply his trade in WWE. Jay teamed with Wild Boar at this past weekend’s TV tapings to face Sam Stoker and Lewis Howley.
WWE sent out the following press release for the new Superstars:
NXT UK signs five new Superstars
“Five new Superstars from throughout Europe. Ilja Rukober, Kay Lee Ray, Jazzy Gabert, Oliver Sauter and Jay Melrose have joined the NXT UK roster. The group will join other NXT UK Superstars in training at WWE’s United Kingdom Performance Center in North London.
The 25-year-old Rukober, who competes around the world under the ring name Ilja Dragunov, was born in Russia and raised in Germany, where his career in sports-entertainment took root. Often described as “Unbesiegbar” (the German word for “invincible”), Rukober is feared for his unbridled intensity inside the ring. He turned heads at a WWE tryout in Cologne last November.
Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, the 5-foot-8 Ray has racked up numerous championship reigns over her 10-year career, including three stints as Insane Championship Wrestling’s women’s titleholder. Known for throwing caution to the wind, the Scottish daredevil recently appeared on NXT UK on WWE Network and promised to “go straight to the top” of the Women’s division.
Mae Young Classic
Widely regarded as one of the strongest women in sports-entertainment, the burly Berliner Gabert stands 6-foot-1 and has won wrestling titles in Germany, Japan and Switzerland.
Sauter comes to NXT UK from Dietikon, Switzerland. The 24-year-old was a soccer standout before training for the ring. Fast-moving and hard-hitting, Sauter wrestled throughout Europe under the professional alias of Oliver Carter. Like Rukober, he attended last year’s tryout in Cologne.
NXT UK fans, meanwhile, have already grown familiar with “Primate” Jay Melrose. The ape-mask-wearing Superstar who debuted on the brand in December. Hailing from Newcastle, England, the 220-pound Melrose served in the British army for six years. This including as a member of the British Household Cavalry, which provides direct protection for the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace.
Keep your eyes peeled for the newest signees when NXT UK streams every Wednesday at 3 ET/8 GMT on the award-winning WWE Network.”