Zack Gibson always pays homage to Nigel.
Prior to sporting the nice suits on the 205 Live, NXT and NXT U.K. broadcasts, former ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness was a world-traveled in-ring performer who was known for his technical abilities and hard-hitting strikes in the ring. Nigel indirectly influenced a number of stars in the wrestling business including the 2018 WWE United Kingdom Championship tournament winner Zack Gibson.
Gibson's "Shankly Gates" finishing maneuver is an altered version of Nigel McGuinness' old submission maneuver and Gibson has admitted to taking some of Nigel's move-set and pays homage to the London-native when ever he steps into the ring. Gibson recently joined 'Blood Red: The Liverpool FC' podcast and spoke about how when he first got into wrestling, he wanted to work a style similar to Jeff Hardy's but he soon discovered the work of Nigel McGuinness and Gibson went on to follow in the footsteps of the wrestler-turned commentator.
“Massive, massive influence." Gibson said of Nigel. "It was funny because when I first started watching wrestling, my favorite wrestler was Jeff Hardy. If you now watch how I work, it is night and day. It’s completely different to what he does, and that came through trail and error at training. I went to training, I wanted to be Jeff Hardy.” He continued, “I quickly found out that my body does not want to be Jeff Hardy. God doesn’t want me to be Jeff Hardy - [he] wants me to be an accountant to be honest. I had to fight against that, and then I started studying and trying to find out what worked for me, what I was good at and some of my strengths came through the actual traditional British style of catch-as-catch-can and using holds and throws and techniques, and then I stumble upon Nigel McGuinness. He’s a British guy making waves over in the states so naturally." Gibson said. "It’s easy to jump on board with him because he’s doing the very thing that I wanna do. So I found ways to find old tapes of him and watch everything I could find that he was doing… So easy to get caught up in. Battering these lads very gritty British style over in America where it can tend to be a bit more flamboyant and then there’s this British lad just punching people’s heads in and using these holds to submit people so, naturally when I started training, I borrowed a few techniques from him, tweaked one or two here and there and that actually spawned the move I put people away with the Shankly Gates. It was a move that he had started doing. He does it in a slightly different way than myself, but I took that move from him, found what works for me, heavily rebranded it and my finish… it’s always a nod to Nigel. Every time I see him I always thank him for giving me my move set”.
Zack Gibson is an influence himself as he and fellow NXT U.K. talent James Drake run their own wrestling school. Gibson and Drake will be looking to bring the NXT U.K. Tag Team Championships to their school when they challenge Mustache Mountain for the gold at NXT U.K. TakeOver: Blackpool.
If the quote in this article is used, please credit 'The Liverpool FC' podcast with an H/T to Fightful for the transcription.