The indys are home to a beast of a man in Uhaa Nation who would flourish in WWE's savannas.
Nation is an acrobat stuffed into a powerhouse, an explosive athlete who looks like something a comic book artist would dream up. His athleticism, build and presence should have him atop WWE's wish list.
WWE has stocked its collection of NXT prospects with top indy stars like Solomon Crowe (Sami Callihan), Sami Zayn (El Generico) and Kevin Steen. In its continued pursuit of wrestling greatness, the company needs to look at Nation next.
Age: 27 years old
Height/Weight: 6'0'', 240 pounds
Finisher: Uhaa Combination (Gorilla press into standing moonsault into standing Shooting Star Press)
- Exciting, varied move set
Like Steen, his in-ring arsenal is not what one would expect at first glance. With his bodybuilder physique, Nation looks like he'd just fill his matches with forearm shots and powerslams.
There's a high-flyer hidden under all those muscles, though.
Nation's standing Shooting Star Press is gorgeous. Same goes for his dives over the top rope and moonsaults. At times, he looks as if he models his offense on Adrian Neville's.
In the following fan-made tribute video, one can see Nation hit those high-flying moves along with some power-driven offense:
It's clips like these that make it no surprise how much he's being talked about. His combination of agility and strength is rare. WWE officials have to look at him in action and see a bright future ahead.
Some of his best work to date has come alongside and against AR Fox. The two have battled as tag team partners and have competed on opposite sides of the ring for Combat Zone Wrestling, Dragon Gate USA and Absolute Intense Wrestling.
In a match against Fox for AIW, Nation showed why NXT has to be on the horizon for him:
(NSFW note: The crowd briefly breaks out into a non-PG chant)
Nation is fluid, fast and exciting here. During one sequence, he hops over Fox with a leapfrog and hits an impressive dropkick. Despite being far bulkier than his foe, Nation manages to keep up with Fox's rapid pace.
Beyond the obvious physical gifts he displays here, though, he also uses showmanship to enhance the match.
When the opponents both struggle to get up from the mat, Nation lets out a roar following a kip-up. He emotes well at other points, displaying frustration, pain and intensity. He's not elite in this department yet but clearly shows potential in these nuances of the art form.
Things to Improve
- Mic Work
- In-ring timing
Nation is not without need of polishing, though.
In the ring, he sometimes looks as if he's waiting to get hit. It's not egregious but enough to take away from the sense of realism in a match.
Early on in a Triple Threat match for Pro Wrestling Kingdom, Mark Andrews brought him down to his knees, and Nation then appears to be waiting on all fours for the next move:
It's a minor issue, one that can be addressed by some good coaching and more experience. Details like that are teachable; being 240 pounds and able to do a standing moonsault is not.
In the above match, one also sees that Nation is not yet a high-level seller. Pete Dunne has him in the corner at one point and is pounding him with right hands. Nation doesn't no-sell the blows, but he doesn't react to them dramatically enough either.
Again, a veteran in his ear and more time between the ropes will help him improve.
He has a stockpile of talent to work with. It just needs refining.
That's true for his mic work as well.
Nation has personality and presence, but it hasn't yet translated to top-tier mic work. DGUSA produced a special covering his recovery from a knee injury:
In the clip, Nation is not as compelling as John Cena or Dolph Ziggler would be in this situation, but there's a lot to like as well. He comes off as genuine, likable and a touch larger than life.
WWE has to see this as a strong foundation to build upon.
Nation is equal parts Seth Rollins and Bobby Lashley.
The obvious comparison is Lashley, who is similarly jacked, around the same size and an impressively explosive athlete. Lashley, though, doesn't have as much acrobatic skill in him. That's where Nation's parallels to Rollins begin.
Both men zip around the ring and soar at their foes with little effort.
With his unique combination of skills, Nation would make an impact on NXT right away. Beyond that, his ceiling with WWE would depend on how he developed as an in-ring storyteller and a talker. He has potential in both areas.
He has a more varied offense than fellow powerhouses Big E or Rusev. With as fitting a gimmick as the latter has, championships are sure to come his way.
Nation offers a surplus of physical talent that's waiting to be harnessed.
When WWE scours Japan, Europe and North America for the next blue-chipper to send to NXT, it should head to Atlanta. There's a big hoss with springs in his legs ready for the spotlight.