One of the biggest names in indie wrestling never to sign for WWE is Nigel McGuinness.
The Englishman was a big star in Ring of Honor and Total Nonstop Action, but was never signed to make the step-up into WWE, under Vince McMahon.
He did agree to sign for the company in 2009, before his last match in ROH against Bryan Danielson. However, a bicep injury caused WWE to pull the offer, and set off a chain of events that led to him retiring from wrestling in 2011.
Whilst he never signed for the WWE, he actually wrestled once for the company. In this article, we’ll talk you through Nigel McGuinness WWE debut, and tell you how his first (and last) WWE match went.
Nigel McGuinness WWE Debut
Nigel McGuinness first and only WWE match took place on an episode of Sunday Night Heat.
The show took place on the 11th of September, 2005 edition of the show. At the time, Nigel McGuinness was the Ring of Honor Pure Champion, although that was not referenced upon his WWE debut.
Facing Danny Basham in a singles match, Nigel McGuinness was not given an entrance for his lone WWE appearance as a wrestler. He was brought in to wrestle on Heat, after appearing in OVW (WWE’s developmental territory).
There is no report of WWE being interested in Nigel before or after this match. He was not signed after the bout, which was a glorified squash match, used to make Danny Basham look good.
He managed a couple of punches and an attempted backslide pin, but that is all the offence that Nigel McGuinness managed in the WWE. He lost to Danny Bashma after a Scorpion Death Drop in a little over four minutes.
This was Nigel McGuinness first and last match in the WWE. They neglected to sign him until he retired from wrestling, in 2011.
Then, in 2016, he signed with the promotion as a commentator, a role that he lasted six years before being released at the end of 2022.
Nigel McGuinness is now focusing on his one night only show, which includes wrestling stories and magic, as well as an appearance in Progress Wrestling after WrestleMania 39.
What do you think about Nigel McGuinness’ first WWE match? Should they have signed the English wrestler to a contract in 2009, despite his injury? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.