On the July 1 episode of NXT UK, the former Bea Priestley made her NXT UK debut under the new name Blair Davenport.
Davenport was one of the top female names on the Independent scene and Japan, spending her time in STARDOM after being released by AEW in August 2020 due to travel restrictions during the pandemic.
Speaking to Alex McCarthy of TalkSPORT, Davenport explained her journey to NXT UK.
"It was the right opportunity and the right timing for me. There were so many other things that I wanted to do first and I didn't want to be in the position where I would make such big jump in my career and wish I could've done things before coming here. I wanted to do everything that I wanted to do, then come to this part in my life," she said. "During the pandemic, there was a small window. Obviously, I got cut from AEW because my visa expired and there was no hope for a new via happening at that time. There was a tiny window in August where people who had Japan visas could go back, so I went back to Japan. I loved STARDOM so much, but this time I think I was the only foreigner there where before, I had a group of friends with me. I love the roster, but I did feel very isolated and I started to feel stagnant with my role and feeling like there was only so much more I could do with this company before I stay in my same position. I hate being stagnant and I wanted to be like, 'I need to do something for me now.' This is when we got in touch with WWE and we were chatting. I almost wanted a bit of time at home as well to have a bit of a rest, but I love NXT UK so much and it's definitely where I want to be right now."
When asked who she spoke to in order to secure a job with NXT UK this time around, Davenport revealed she had talks with NXT UK multiple times in the past, but the stars finally aligned for her to join in 2021.
"NXT UK reached out to me when they were first making the roster in 2018 but it was the day after I signed my World of Sport contract. They reached out again the beginning of 2019 and I spoke to Canyon Ceman. I was going to sign, but I wanted to do more in Japan and I said that to Canyon. He said, 'Okay, cool, we'll keep in touch and call you back in six months.' Literally, two days later, AEW got in contact with me and offered me the schedule where I could live in Japan but still work for them and have best of both worlds. At that point, it was great for me. This time around, I reached out to Jim Smallman, who I know from PROGRESS, and he put in connection and I had a call with Canyon again. We got the wheels moving this time. It wasn't that I didn't want to go at those (past) points, it was just the timing and my situation that fit the best," she said.
Like many stars who have built their name elsewhere, Davenport changed from Bea Priestley once joining the WWE banner.
In explaining her new name, Davenport said, "I was offered a bunch of first and last names. It wasn't my first choice, but it was put to me like, 'Can you make it work?' I'm quite confident like, 'I can make anything work, we'll work it.' It's like a fresh start. Bea Priestley is awesome but even from my last match in Japan in April, I am not that version of me anymore. I've progressed from that point and this is the new element of me. It's a new way to recreate yourself and feel refreshed. It's not a clean slate because I don't want to forget everything I've done, but this is the next level now."
Davenport made her in-ring debut on the July 8 episode of NXT UK, defeating Laura Di Matteo.
Fightful provides live coverage of NXT UK every Thursday at 3 p.m. ET. You can find results from past episodes of NXT UK at Fightful's results section.
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