wrestling / TV Reports

411’s Chasing The Magic: The Nigel McGuiness Story Report

January 13, 2019 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Nigel McGuinness ROH

411’s Chasing The Magic: The Nigel McGuiness Story Report

-Air Date: 1/12/19

-Continued thoughts and a speedy recovery to Larry as he continues to fight.

-NXT UK had their first Takeover event, and in a nice surprise the show was followed by this special on Nigel McGuiness. Let’s hit it!

-Cesaro starts us off by saying that he looked up to Nigel and Seth Rollins call him a mentor. Joe and Bryan put over what he did for ROH and Angle talks about how good Nigel was inside the ring. AJ talks about the time Nigel signed with WWE, but something happened and it didn’t work out. Rollins calls him one of the greatest performers that nobody knows.

-London: June 18, 2018: We are just a few hours before the 2nd NXT UK Tournament as Nigel is getting ready in his hotel room. He talks about getting to work at Royal Albert Hall for the first time. He has always wanted to perform in the building even if it was a wrestler when he envisioned it years ago.

-Nigel says he grew up in a village about an hour away from London. He tells the story of how he became a fan and it was when his friend got a copy of SummerSlam 1990. He remembers watching the show and loved the Hart Foundation/Demolition tag team match. Then SummerSlam 1992 came to Wembley and he was able to get tickets with his friend. He was 15 at the time and had his face painted like The Ultimate Warrior. He remembers walking up to ringside and seeing Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan. He talks about how for people in the UK the United State is just something you see on TV, so seeing these guys he was used to seeing on TV every week was amazing. He got this feeling while he was at the show that he was going to be a successful pro-wrestler and he hung on to that dream.

-Back to Royal Albert Hall as Nigel does magic tricks to entertain people backstage at the show. AJ, Joe, and Daniel all put over his magic tricks with cards, and Cole says that the deck of cards is a way that he breaks the ice and opens doors to talking to people.

-We cut back to NXT Takeover Chicago II where Nigel gets clipped at the announce table by a boot during the Gargano/Ciampa brawl. After taking the shot he realized that he was glad that he wasn’t wrestling anymore, but at the same time he is conflicted because there is always the hope of “one more match.”

-At the age of 19 Nigel traveled the world before going to Kent State in Ohio for school. He sent out letters to 2 wrestling schools and opted to go to HWA in Cincinatti. Les Thatcher ran the school and promotion and he is one of the talking heads for this special. Les talks about the energy from Nigel and how he remembers how excited Nigel was the first time he stepped in a ring. Nigel says that Les made sure everyone that stepped in the ring was trained right and would be a professional.

-Nigel talks about his first match and how it was odd in that it was featured on ABC 20/20. They have the footage from the show and it was a feature they did on pro-wrestling and Nigel happened to be one of the guys covered. Great stuff here! Nigel says that the first match was magic and even if he never had another match, he had achieved his dream.

-Rollins says he saw Nigel in an odd town in the midwest and was a fan instantly. He talks about the spiked hair and Nigel says that he could do enough to stand out, but knew he wasn’t ready for the WWE. The WWE was always his goal and he knew he needed to continue to get better and that led him to ROH.

-ROH provides footage as Rollins and Joe talk about how technically great Nigel was and how he blended the UK style with Japanese strong style. Joe says that he and Gabe came up with the idea for the ROH Pure Title and how it was perfect for Nigel. He won the title from Joe and became the longest reigning Pure Champion in history and that led to a ROH Title match in England against Bryan Danielson.

-Daniel talks about the intense rivalry they had and says the 2006 match in England against Nigel is one his favorites. They were unifying the ROH World and Pure Titles. Nigel calls the match a bit of theater play as they tore the house down. The highlights are pretty sick and Nigel gets busted open with some nasty unprotected head shots to the ring post. Bryan wins after raining down elbows for a KO victory. Nigel gets a standing ovation after the match and Kurt Angle says Bryan and Nigel were the talk of the wrestling industry at the time.

-From there Nigel is given the ball in 2007 as the ROH Champion and he wanted to be a respected World Champion. He developed the moniker of being the best wrestler in the world and he admits that the style he used took a toll on his body. He was the champion for over 500 days and the concussions and other injuries started to pile up. By the end he wanted to get on to the next stage of his life and that was always getting to the WWE.

-Back at Royal Albert as Nigel and Mauro have a meeting to discuss the show that evening.

-Nigel says he reached out to Dreamer and talked to Dusty about getting to the WWE and he signed a deal. Rollins says he knew Nigel was going to be a star and he was happy to see that he had signed with the WWE. All he had to do was pass a physical and he was good to go. He mentions that Daniel Bryan was signing his WWE deal at the same time.

-Daniel says that it is sad because he was dishonest with WWE officials about his physical and that is why he is in the shape he is now, and Nigel was honest and told them about a torn bicep. Nigel had no health insurance and let the muscle scar in place over an 18 month period. The WWE doctors told him to get the surgery and then they will sign him, but he doesn’t have the money. His doctor, who worked for a local hockey team, cleared him and sent a letter saying that his arm was not going to get worse without having surgery. The WWE doctor still wouldn’t clear him, and it crushed Nigel. He was honest and yet was missing out on his dream. If he had lied he would have been in the company, but he was honest and he struggled with that for a long time. That’s heartbreaking!

-Bryan says he never wanted to be in the WWE his whole life like Nigel. He only thought about WWE when he was on the independent scene and realized he needed to make money. That is what is heart breaking to him about Nigel. It was always his dream to be in the WWE and yet, he couldn’t because he was honest about an injury.

-After the WWE deal fell through, Nigel called TNA and told them the story about his arm and how his doctor had cleared him. A week later he was in Orlando having a match with Kurt Angle and yes, we have footage from courtesy of GWN. Angle puts Nigel over huge and was amazed as the chemistry they had and how Nigel could adapt to any style.

-More heart break as Nigel gets a phone call letting him know he tested positive for Hepatitis B. Nigel says he never found out how he got the virus and he never will because of how contagious. He knows how he didn’t get it: he never shared needles, he never had unprotected sex. All he knows is he was around people who were bleeding. He does say that everyone else tested was negative though. The story gets even crazier as the virus usually leaves the body in 90 days, but Nigel was one of the 10% that doesn’t shed the virus. Now he needs medication that he can’t afford and happens to run into a doctor that has a new drug in a trial phase that can help. Nigel qualifies for the free trial and within 6 months, he not only cleared the virus, but was now immune. All this dad was put the idea in his head that making it to the WWE was going to happen.

-One week before he cleared the virus, TNA called to let him know they were releasing him. Now he had to decide if he wanted to pay for the surgery (with money he didn’t have) to fix his arm so he could go to the WWE. He ultimately made the decision to retire as he didn’t want to go back to ROH and wrestle that style.

-He decided to go on a retirement tour around the world and make a documentary out of it. There was a piece of him that held out hope that someone from the WWE would see it and give him the call.

-We see parts of the documentary as he talks to London and Kendrick about how they made it to the WWE. I wan to see the entire documentary now after seeing only a few minutes on this special. Nigel talks about all the insight he got from the documentary and you can see the respect everyone had for him and the pride his parents had for him. A young Trent Seven was one of the opponents and he puts over Nigel before their match and then we see them meeting today as Trent talks about what Nigel has meant to everyone in the UK.

-Nigel has his last match ever in Clarksburg, WV in front of maybe 150 fans if they are lucky. The next night Nigel watches as Daniel Bryan becomes the World Heavyweight Champion for the first time as he cashed in on The Big Show. Bryan actually sent a text to Nigel letting him know they have him the World Title and how he wishes that he was there to enjoy it with him. Damn! That had to be a mix of emotions from Nigel. Seeing his friend achieve that while he never got his shot.

-Mauro and Nigel talk about what he brings to the announce table and how he eventually ended up in the WWE. Nigel tells Mauro there are still moments he thinks he can do it in the ring, but admits the announcing gig is better long term.

-Michael Cole talks about how he had heard of Nigel from Seth and Daniel. Cole says Nigel is likely the greatest wrestler to never appear in the WWE and then he started watching his work in ROH as a commentator and they felt he would be perfect for their 1st UK Tournament.

-Nigel finally gets the call he was waited for his whole life and he thought it was a joke when he heard Michael Cole on the other line. Cole says everyone was blown away by how great Nigel was and we see backstage as HHH gives him a hug and tells him how good it was. Cole knew they needed to give him more to do, so they put him on the NXT commentary team.

-Angle gives Nigel a lot of credit for being able to sit there and be a commentary while knowing that he probably wishes he could still be in the ring. Daniel also knows Nigel would be happier wrestling, but he knows Nigel is much happier now than he was years ago when he was wrestling. Nigel talks about how great it is to see the kids use moves he invented and he lives vicariously through them.

-Nigel talks about the weird route he took to get to the WWE, but he ended up where he always wanted to be. He got to be at WrestleMania and call a match. For him it was the icing on the cake and proved that all he had done did mean something.

-We get a fantastic video package of his life and career to end what was another amazing production from the WWE video crew.

-Do yourself a favor and watch this when you get a chance. This was a great story and a chance to spotlight someone that a lot of fans may not know much about. This was a story of heartbreak and triumph and the weaving of his story with what Daniel was accomplishing was crazy. Again, this is another must see show from the WWE.