From Struggle to Absolute Power: New Faction Debuts at NXT UK Tapings

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NXT UK
Photo: WWE

A somewhat familiar European faction was reassembled at this past weekend’s NXT UK tapings in Glasgow, Scotland. Not a faction previously seen on WWE programming however, but a faction that has been a major part of Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw) as well as throughout parts of the UK and beyond. WWE United Kingdom Champion WALTER was united with former members of his wXw faction Ringkampf (which is still operational in wXw, with Timothy Thatcher) joined his side over the two nights of tapings to form a new unit known as Imperium.

Ringkampf, which translates to “ring struggle” or more simply, “wrestling”, was originally a clothing line started by wXw stars Axel Dieter Jr. (Barthel Jr.), WALTER, Axel Tischer (Wolfe) and wXw promoter Christian Micheal Jakobi in 2015. In early 2016, they decided to turn it into a stable within wXw, but Tischer had since signed with WWE and headed to NXT where he became Alexander Wolfe and joined SaNitY.

Originally a tag team consisting of WALTER and Dieter Jr. (and managed by Jakobi), they soon added a third member, when American grappler Timothy Thatcher, the then-reigning EVOLVE Champion, felt that Ringkampf’s motto, “Die Matte Is Heilig” (The mat is sacred), was his own belief. By late 2016, Thatcher was the third member of the group. As a trio, they competed throughout wXw and PROGRESS, until Dieter Jr. signed with WWE in 2017 and headed to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. He finally made his TV presence known last year, forming the tag team European Union with another European star in Fabian Aicher, and competing in both NXT and NXT UK.

With WALTER joining NXT UK earlier this year and since defeating Pete Dunne for the WWE UK Championship at NXT TakeOver: New York, the power has shifted to the mighty Austrian’s direction. In order to maintain his power, WALTER need to have absolute power – and thus Imperium was formed this weekend in Glasgow. First, on Friday night, he was joined by his former partner Marcel Barthel Jr. and his new partner Aichner, forming a new power trio.

On the second night, former SaNitY member Wolfe – who had announced his goodbye to the WWE last week – appeared and joined his old Ringkampf mates as well, turning Imperium (which is Latin for absolute power) into the new dominance of the UK.

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