Stone Cold Stunners and FIFA dilemmas - Noam Dar's unlikely rise to WWE stardom; EXCLUSIVE: The Scottish Supernova speaks to Mirror Sport ahead of ICW return for Fear and Loathing 11.
Scotland'sWWEstar Noam Dar has his eyes firmly set on getting championship gold around his waist as he looks to steamroll into 2019.
The 205 Live and NXT UK superstar is returning home to be part ofInsane Championship Wrestling: Fear and Loathing 11 in Glasgow tonight.
The 25-year-oldwrestlerwill compete for the promotion where he made his name in a huge six-man tag team match at The SSE Hydro.
Ahead of his one-night return, Dar told Mirror Sport's Steven Wilson exactly what he is looking to accomplish over the next 12 months.
"For me, I'm focused right now on getting the WWE Cruiserweight Championship and also perhaps winning the UK Championship. Or at least being an important part of NXT UK.
"That's what's in front of me right now and I always work best when I stay focused on what's in front of me, instead of getting distracted and going in too many directions at once."
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His return to Glasgow rounds off a whirlwind three years for Dar. Raised in Ayrshire but born in Be'er Ya'akov, he became the first wrestler of Israeli descent to compete in WWE when he was selected as one of the 32 athletes in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic.
For Noam, it was an evening just like any other when he got the call from the world's biggest sports entertainment company.
"I remember it was January 2016, just a couple of weeks after Christmas. Me and a few of my mates were just at a pal's house having a FIFA night. Obviously we take FIFA very seriously here, so phones are out the way and you're just focused on the game. So the phone rang and I just ignored it. Then when it was my turn to come off the Playstation I checked and I had a voicemail from WWE.
"So obviously I returned the call straight away, left a voicemail, then just played another game as I processed what was happening. Then the phone rang again whilst I was playing and was having this question of 'can I justify pausing a FIFA game to answer the phone to WWE?'
"And I think everyone understood in that situation that it was all totally understandable to pause, even though my mates just thought I was using a made-up excuse because I was getting beat 2-0! So I remember it like it was yesterday."
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It's fair to say The Scottish Supernova has grabbed his opportunity with both hands. After reaching the last eight of the CWC, he was quickly snapped up full time by WWE to be a part of its new cruiserweight division - something which was not a foregone conclusion when the tournament began.
It marked the latest stage of an incredible career journey to date for submission king. Having debuted at the tender age of 15, Dar went on to compete for some of the UK's most well-known promotions, such as ICW, PROGRESS Wrestling, Revolution Pro Wrestling and Preston City Wrestling.
Even before this, he was taking bumps of some sort while still at school, as Noam described when discussing his first exposure to wrestling.
"I was about 13. We were playing football down by Braehead Academy and these two guys jumped me and my mate. And I remember one guy picking up my mate and giving him a Stone Cold Stunner.
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"He was trying to do it in a real fight but he was using this thing called the Stone Cold Stunner, and I had no clue what it was. I just remember him saying 'give him a stunner man!''
"Then one of them grabbed me and his pal told him to give me a powerbomb. But obviously I wasn't in cahoots with it so he realised how hard it is to do a powerbomb. I was just a chubby kid at the time so I just ended up getting a few Glasgow kicks and a few Ayrshire kicks and they stole our football. That was the first time I'd ever heard of wrestling.
"My first positive exposure was seeing Brock Lesnar chase Team Angle about SmackDown. That was probably either just after or just before WrestleMania 19. I remember watching it and I couldn't believe my eyes.
"Then I went straight down to my pal's house who I knew was into different things like that and I asked him if he had any wrestling videos or anything like that. He had SmackDown: Here Comes The Pain and we just sat and played that. Then from there I was hooked."
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Now a regular fixture on 205 Live, Dar has also become one of the main names on the company's ever growing UK expansion in NXT UK, which next month will host its first NXT TakeOver event in Blackpool.
Talking about WWE's newfound focus on the British market, Dar said: "I love it. I've always been a massive ambassador for the British wrestling scene. I think there is so many underutilised guys here with such a plethora of different talent that have got something to provide the international market.
"NXT UK now is the perfect representation of that and I think it's going to make a massive difference to the WWE Network and how casual fans really find out about the wrestling scene here."
The magnitude of his star level was highlighted when he headlined the first episode of NXT UK on the WWE Network, challenging Pete Dunne - a man who he'd wrestled a number of times in town halls and holiday camps in the past - for the WWE UK Championship.
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It is perhaps fitting therefore that his upcoming ICW return also involves Dunne. Both men will line up on opposite teams in a mammoth six man tag team match - Dar teaming with fellow NXT UK star Wolfgang and BT Gunn, while Dunne will have his British Strong Style allies Tyler Bate and Trent Seven alongside him.
The venue - Glasgow's SSE Hydro - holds a special place in Dar's heart. It was at the Hydro that Dar made his Monday Night RAW debut just over two years ago. Despite this, he never got the chance to perform there as part of ICW.
"I missed out on that first Hydro show in 2016. It was either just after or just before my RAW debut so there was a slight bit of disappointment of leaving ICW and independent wrestling just before the hard work of the company got paid off by doing the first big arena show that obviously changed so much in terms of Scottish wrestling and ICW.
"So getting the opportunity to do it now whilst under contract with WWE is an unreal scenario that you could never really anticipate a few years ago."
Tickets are available atticketmaster.co.ukand Tickets Scotland for those aged 16+.
Credit: [c] WWE
WWE's Scottish superstar Noam Dar
Credit: [c] WWE
Noam Dar in action on 205 Live against Lio Rush
Noam Dar as the PCW Heavyweight Champion
Credit: [c] WWE
Noam Dar puts Zack Gibson in an ankle lock at an NXT UK TV taping in Cambridge
Wolfgang, Noam Dar and BT Gunn will clash with Pete Dunne, Trent Seven and Tyler Bate
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|Title Annotation:||Sport,Other Sports,Wrestling|
|Publication:||Daily Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Dec 2, 2018|
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