Former Salford Red Devils player turned professional wrestler Luke Menzies is set to make his debut on WWE’s NXTUK brand this evening.
The 31-year-old from Liversedge, who wrestles under the ring name Ridge Holland, is looking to bring some “Yorkshire grit” ahead of his debut which was announced by WWE last week. Standing 6-foot and weighing 260 pounds, the powerhouse will be looking to send a message to the likes of Tyler Bate and WWE United Kingdom Champion Walter.
Following his year in Salford, he joined York City Knights on a loan spell in March 2015 before signing for the Toronto Wolfpack across the Atlantic.
Menzies began his wrestling training under former English professional wrestlers Marty Jones and Johnny Moss while still playing for the club.
One year later, Menzies would make his debut on the UK independent circuit, facing the likes of Jurn Simmons and Saxon Huxley.
In late 2016, Menzies would impress at a WWE try-out in Scotland.
After a couple more years of competing on independent scenes, Menzies would be signed by the organisation and would relocate to the United States.
On the August 29 2018 edition of NXT, Menzies made his NXT debut against Keith Lee on the WWE Network. Just a few months later, Menzies would compete against his biggest competition to date, the King of Bros Matt Riddle.
In January 2019, he appeared ringside at NXTUK TakeOver Blackpool, citing his intention to join the brand. Appearing on a number of live shows over the last year, Menzies would spend the Summer training undefeated heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury for a high-profile match against Braun Strowman in Saudi Arabia.
In an interview with Sky Sports News, Menzies spoke about his transition from the pitch to inside the squared circle:
“I got injured and I thought, ‘you know what, I’ve always wanted to have a go at wrestling’. I sent an email to a famous wrestling coach, Marty Jones, and two days later I was in my first wrestling ring.” Menzies said.
“It’s worlds apart, but rugby league definitely served me well for the transition – the bumps, the bruises and everything you take in there. It’s also the grinding and the grafting, but rugby league was definitely character-building and enabled me to put the right foot forward in my pursuit of a career here
“It really is a grind but the guys love it, we knuckle down and we get better to entertain the fans.”
Menzies is not the first former rugby league player; nor the first Salford Red Devil to swap the AJ Bell Stadium for Full Sail University. Former Samoan international Daniel Vidot signed a developmental contract with WWE back in 2018, and may soon be joining his former Salford teammate in Cambridge every Thursday Night.
You can catch his WWE NXTUK debut this evening on the WWE Network.