At tonight’s NXT Live Event in Orlando, Florida (not an NXT Taping), a new four-man group apparently debuted, featuring three new faces (to NXT) and a former NXT Tag Team Champion. New creative ideas are usually played around with at NXT Live Events before debuting on television, so this could potentially be something that they’re working on as a way to utilize several new talents at once.
As reported by Twitter scoop Jacob Cohen, whose in attendance at tonight’s tapings, Marcel Barthel (formerly Axel Dieter Jr. in wXw and PROGRESS), Donovan Dijak and Fabian Aichner (former European indie star Adrian Severe, who recently beat Johnny Gargano on NXT television) came to the ring as a trio and approached former NXT Tag Team Champion Buddy Murphy to join their unit. Murphy accepted and Barthel watched Dijak, Aichner and Murphy take on the 3-man unit of Sanity (Eric Young, Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe) in a 6-man tag team match.
Scoop #9: Marcel Barthel, Dijak, and Fabian Aichner are a unit out to confront Buddy Murphy pic.twitter.com/QOw29PjysY
— Jacob Cohen (@MrJacobCohen) November 10, 2017
As Axel Dieter Jr., 27-year old Marcel Barthel (which is his real name, so WWE most likely just hasn’t settled on his “NXT name” yet) was one of Europe’s most highly touted prospects before signing with NXT earlier this year. The German wrestler was one of the main event stars of Germany’s wXw promotion, where he’s a former wXw Unified World Champion and 2x wXw World Tag Team Champion. He was a member of the popular faction Ringkampf, alongside WALTER and Timothy Thatcher, who had begun working with PROGRESS in England earlier this year. He made his NXT debut in June of this year in a loss to Roderick Strong.
Donovan Dijak (who apparently is being announced by his real name of Christopher Dijak at events) was another indie star coup this year, when he signed with NXT this past summer. Dijak was a standout prospect in Ring of Honor since his debut in 2014, but he gained a lot more notoriety when he left them in the beginning of this year and went on to big matchups in EVOLVE, PROGRESS, PWG and more, including some tag team work with Keith Lee. He made his NXT debut in late September, in a loss to Aleister Black.
Italy’s Fabian Aichner has had more time in NXT, first debuting in last summer’s WWE Cruiserweight Classic, where he was eliminated first round by Jack Gallagher. Prior to his WWE debut, he was a veteran of the European indie scene as Adrian Severe, where he was a top star for NEW (New European Championship Wrestling), a German promotion owned by former WCW Superstar Alex Wright. A 2x NEW World Heavyweight Champion, he also wrestled in the UK for PROGRESS, IPW:UK and OTT. He also signed with NXT this spring, making his NXT debut in June of this year as well. He made his NXT TV debut in September, losing to Kassius Ohno, but last week pulled off a shocking upset victory over Johnny Gargano.
Buddy Murphy has been in NXT since 2013, when he came from Australia’s Melbourne Championship Wrestling (MCW) where he wrestled as Matt Silva. Murphy found success early, teamed with Blake Wesley, in a tag team known simply as Blake & Murphy. Their 219-day reign as NXT Tag Team Champions during the first half of 2015 is the second longest reign in NXT history (behind the Ascension‘s 364 days), and were the top tag team in the company when they were managed by Murphy’s real life fiancee (and current Raw Women’s Champion) Alexa Bliss. When Bliss was taken by Smackdown Live in last year’s brand split draft, Blake & Murphy’s star began to fade and they were soon split up. While he hasn’t appeared on NXT TV since August (he teamed with Tye Dillinger to defeat Bobby Roode & Elias in a match taped Down Under), he still wrestles regularly on the Live Events circuit. This could be a way to bring him back onto television.