In a surprising turn of events, The Grizzled Young Veterans, James Drake and Zack Gibson, formerly known as The Dyad’s Jagger Reid and Rip Fowler in NXT, have bid farewell to WWE. This revelation comes from the trusted Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer, shedding light on the duo’s exit from the company. It marks the conclusion of a chapter that began back in April when the former NXT UK Tag Team Champions expressed their desire to be released, only to face rejection from WWE.
Throughout the summer, Drake and Gibson engaged in a heated rivalry with The Creed Brothers, a feud that escalated to the point where they forced Julius and Brutus Creed to “quit” the company in a high-stakes loser leaves town match (the Creeds would later return). The journey of these talented wrestlers commenced as a tag team in Progress Wrestling in 2017 and subsequently led them to sign with WWE’s NXT UK brand in the following year.
Their transition to NXT proper occurred in 2020, embarking on a quest to capture the NXT Tag Team Championships. While their pursuit proved elusive, their resilience and in-ring prowess endeared them to fans. Notably, in July 2022, they were reintroduced as members of Joe Gacy’s Schism faction, taking on a fresh dynamic within the NXT landscape.
Dave Meltzer shared this update on Wrestling Observer Radio: “The other two…Rip Fowler and Jagger Reid are gone. Their contract is up, and I thought there was going to be some kind of angle or something, but it’s just, they’re gone.”
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Shawn Michaels, WWE Hall of Famer and NXT consultant, expressed his perspective on The Dyad’s decision to remain with NXT following their initial release request rejection: “Yeah, obviously I do. And look, they were guys that clearly I wanted to come over and bring over from the UK. I think they’re very talented, but again, I absolutely understand… Do I want it to be here in WWE for you to have your success? Absolutely. I can’t lie about that, but really this is about wanting to help all, no matter who comes through these doors, help them to have success in this business as a whole.”
Michaels emphasized the importance of nurturing talent and providing opportunities within the wrestling industry, conveying his dedication to facilitating their growth.
While The Grizzled Young Veterans may have concluded their WWE journey, the wrestling world eagerly awaits the next chapter in their careers, which is sure to be filled with new challenges and opportunities.