In the main event of Wednesday’s episode of NXT UK, the tandem of Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster faced the team of Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner, dubbed The European Union. The German and Italian Superstars made their debut on NXT UK on the January 2 episode from Liverpool, where they defeated the rising duo of Kenny Williams & Amir Jordan. The following week on regular NXT, they won an easy match against two enhancement wrestlers at Full Sail University. It appears that the Union is gaining momentum and is expected to be a new tag team threat in both NXT brands, although their European ties may dictate a more solid presence on the NXT UK brand.
— WWE (@WWE) January 16, 2019
The European Union: Fabian Aichner
For many WWE Universe fans, Fabian Aichner probably is the most recognizable of the two. Aichner has been seen sporadically on the regular NXT brand, going back to September of 2017, and has faced the likes of Kassius Ohno, Ricochet and Roderick Strong. In November of 2017, he had a surprise upset win over Johnny Gargano. In December of last year, he made his NXT UK, defeating Mark Andrews in singles action, before losing Flash Webster the following week.
Fabian Aichner also made news as part of the NXT “Invasion” of EVOLVE Wrestling, when he arrived at EVOLVE 114 to challenge – and defeat – Shane Strickland for the EVOLVE Championship. He held the EVOLVE title for 48 days, before losing it to Austin Theory at EVOLVE 117, in a triple threat match that also featured NXT Superstar Roderick Strong. Aichner made his WWE debut as part of the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic, before signing with the company in late summer of 2017.
Prior to joining the WWE, Aichner competed in the European indie circuit under the name Adrian Severe. A student of former WCW Superstar Alex Wright, he made his wrestling debut in 2011 with Wright’s own promotion, New European Championship Wrestling (NEW) in Germany, where he became a 2x NEW World Heavyweight Champion. He also worked in the UK indie scene, with All-Star Wrestling (ASW), PROGRESS, World Association of Wrestling (WAW), IPW:UK and Over The Top (OTT) Wrestling, as well as other European promotions like the German Wrestling Federation (GWF) and Dansk Pro Wrestling (DPW) in Denmark.
To European indie fans, Marcel Barthel is more famously known as Axel Deiter Jr., the second generation star and son of the original Axel Deiter, who competed in the 1970s and 1980s with Austria’s famed Catch Wrestling Association (CWA). Trained by his father and debuting in 2008, Barthel would compete in multiple indie promotions across Europe, like Denmark’s DPW and Union Of European Wrestling Alliances (UEWA), Germany’s Nordisch Fight Club (NFC) and others, before becoming a regular with Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw), the company that would make him a star.
He would start out in the tag team Hot and Spicy with another WWE Cruiserweight Classic competitor (and current RISE member) Da Mack, winning the wXw World Tag Team Championships on two occasions. But it would be the faction he’d help found in 2016, Ringkampf, that he’d find his greatest success. Alongside the likes of WALTER, Timothy Thatcher, and Axel Tischer (now WWE Superstar Alexander Wolfe), Ringkampf would systemically take control of wXw, with Dieter Jr. winning the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship in late 2016.
In early 2017, Dieter Jr. left wXw and signed with the WWE, heading to the Performance Center and debuting on the NXT Live Events circuit in June. He would finally make his NXT television debut in August of last year, in a losing effort against Keith Lee, before joining Aichner in NXT UK. With WWE’s new alliance with wXw, Barthel was able to return to the company that helped establish him as one of Europe’s top stars at the wXw 18th Anniversary Show at year’s end, where he reteamed with Ringkampf’s WALTER and Thatcher to face British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate & Trent Seven). In more recent news, he was also announced for another wXw return this year, as a competitor in the 2019 edition of wXw’s top tournament, 16 Carat Gold, competing against the likes of wXw stars like Jurn Simmons, plus other top indie stars like Pentagon Jr., Fenix, Chris Brookes and Big Japan’s Daisuke Sekimoto.
#wXw16Carat 2019 feat. @Marcel_B_WWE @PENTAELZEROM @ReyFenixMx @JurnSimmons @sekimotodaisuke @DragonAztecaJr @OBEYBrookes & Timothy Thatcher – March 8th to 10th, Oberhausen – Tickets: https://t.co/6MKthv5kDR pic.twitter.com/ZLyopsQfh3
— wXw Germany (@wXwGermany) January 16, 2019
While the duo is still relative unknowns to most North American wrestling fans, Europe has been aware of them both for a decade now and they’re uniting to add some more European flavor to the NXT UK brand. It will be interesting to see if the WWE eventually reunites Barthel with WALTER into the group, or if they’ll remain separate.
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