Bodyslam Exclusive: Why Adam “Flex” Maxted Did Not Sign With WWE NXT UK
“So basically background check gets done I was in Greece at the time I get the phone call from a lady that works for the WWE, she says look Adam whats this stripper thing about we need to talk about this”
Adam Maxted is one of the fastest rising stars in the British Wresting scene with many expecting, due to his size, look, raw athletic power and one of the best dropkicks in wrestling, it was a shoe in that the Irish star would eventually sign with the WWE especially with their expansion into Britain with the NXT UK Brand. So much so that after a stint in the UK Reality television show Love Island, it was to no one’s surprise that he had been offered a place on one of their try outs and although at this time he did not sign with them many thought it was only a matter of time.
Fast forward to September 2020 It was reported by Garry Cassidy of In The Ropes in the UK that Adam “Flex” Maxted as well as others such as Rampage Brown, Aleah James and Sha Samuels, had all been present at the NXT UK Performance centre around the time of the NXT UK relaunch. It was expected that all 4 individuals would be signing with WWE and NXT UK. However where as Rampage Brown, Sha Samuels and Aleah James have gone on to appear on the UK Brand Adam Maxted would be notable in his absence.
Speaking with Tea and Tights (our weekly British wrestling podcast) Co-host Daniel Allen, Adam Maxted would talk exclusively on what had happened and why he did not end up signing with NXT UK.
Adam Maxted started by talking about his first try out with the WWE in 2017;
“I did a try out (For NXT UK) in 2017 in London, and I think I did okay, towards the end of 2016. I had just come off Love Island and I was starting to get opportunities in the UK off the back of that. That sort of wave faded, we came into 2017 I was still getting used by companies because I think they just saw the potential that I had, like I say wanted to learn, I was humble and I was working hard. So roll on 2017, April time comes I get WWE try out I’m like yes! Incredible. I had guys like Flash Morgan Webster and some other guys saying if anyone is going to get signed from this try out Adam, it will probably be you, because you’re quite an experienced.., you look how you look they could take you to America, they could mould you and make you into their own star do you know what I mean. So doing this try out and I’m like this could really happen with the Florida dream you know that everyone dreams about getting shipped off to America and that’s what I wanted so did the try out didn’t hear anything.”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted would continue the story speaking how he would continue working towards his goal on making it to the WWE, by improving his wrestling ability on British independent wrestling scene in particular with New Generation Wrestling (NGW) in Hull.
“Within that time I started wrestling consistently for NGW and All Star Wrestling. So I’m wrestling consistently I’m improving, my face is now on posters I’m staying busy, this is like 2018″Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted would note that through out all of this he has always stayed in contact with Mr William Regal in particular by sending him footage and asking for feedback on where he could still improve.
“Then I get an email from William Regal basically saying that he’d been keeping an eye on me and that I’d stayed busy and that I’d stayed at it, because I always stayed in touch with Mr Regal. I’d send him matches and things to him and ask for feed back and to be fair to him he always got back to me really quickly and gave me his honest opinion on what I needed to do to improve on things.”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted continued on
“He e-mails me and says you know we’ve been keeping an eye on you, if you have any desire to work for the company would you, at the time, would you contact Glen Joseph because we would like to bring you into NXT UK we think it would be good for your development and we think you would be good for the brand.Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted would then talked about how at time he was unable to sign with WWE due to having a guaranteed contract with NGW and that as a man of his words he felt it would not be right to just up and quit to leave for the WWE.
“Unfortunately for me I’m in a contract at the time with NGW which to be fair to them you know myself, Robbie X, Rampage Brown, Lucas Steele a few guys they decided to invest in us and give us a wage each month and really try and look after us so we basically our calendar had be to be over to them any time they needed us for a Butlins run or things we had to be there because we’re on this contract which was great I had secure money coming in every month and didn’t have to worry about, how many shows have I got this weekend to try and make money I had this it was a decent amount of money coming in so I speak to Mr Regal and stuff. I said I’m in this contract being a man of my word I feel like I should see out the terms of the contract instead of just, you know they’ve been good to me, I’ve improved to such a level that you want to bring me in to your company which is a testament to the opportunity NGW have given me so I said I don’t wanna just be like WWE want me now so thanks for everything but I’m gonna go, I said I should see out my contract and then we can talk and to cut a long story short on that bit he was like okay cool just stay in touch with me.”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted would bring the story up in the timeline up to the break out of Covid and the subsequent lockdown that at the time put a stop to all wrestling in the UK including NXT UK temporarily. Maxted would talk about how this lockdown affected his deal with NGW who were no longer able to hold up their end of deal, making Maxted a free agent once again.
“So time went on, Covid happened. Unfortunately NGW weren’t able to pay our contracts so I was obviously technically a free agent, so I messaged Mr Regal and said look this is the situation, I’m not tied down to anything any more. Then I had a call from Ken Ceman he said Mr Regal and a few others speak highly of you so we want to bring you in to our NXT UK Brand so they offered me a contract there and then, they said as soon as I finish the phone call the contract will be sent through, well the contract offer, and you know I am obviously excited I’m like here comes the next chapter I’ve worked hard for this time to step up here we go I’m not sure if you know you probably do, you’ve got to go through background checks in WWE to then get singed so that they can cover themselves.”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted would then discuss the issue that prevented him signing all came from badly researched news articles mistaking his work as a Buff Butler to that of a stripper.
“So, heres where the story takes its turn. So basically, and this is the truth, when I was younger I, when I worked in Belfast, I used to do do some work as a Buff Butler. Which involved wearing a bowtie and an apron and I’m mainly working at hen parties or you know women’s events I’m walking round with Champagne, passing their drinks, nothing crazy, and I did that because it was easy money, I was in good shape at the time, I was like 17, 18, 19, you know just trying to earn some money. So I did that, but funnily at the time I did my try out in 2017 a couple of news article came out “Belfast stripper gets WWE try out” or “Belfast stripper is close to signing with WWE” so, I didn’t think anything of those articles because I was like well no one is gonna even see those so doesn’t even matter, I knew it wasn’t true any way, I never got fully naked, you can google my name there’s nothing like that out there, you know what I mean because I checked all this and didn’t do it any way there might be the odd picture of me in an apron?”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted explained that he got the call from WWE Background checking department whilst he was on Holiday in Greece asking him about these articles.
“So basically background check gets done I was in Greece at the time I get the phone call from a lady that works for the WWE, she says look Adam whats this stripper thing about we need to talk about this”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted continued on about how he had to try and plead his case regarding the stories knowing there was no truth behind them,trying to explain to the Back Ground Checking department. Maxted would explained that his goal has always to been to be a WWE Superstar and how we would avoid anything he thought may damage his future chances including the way he conducted himself on the British reality TV show Love Island.
“I pleaded my case for about 30 minutes on the phone, I didn’t do it, WWE was always the goal for me why would I want to jeopardise myself and my career by doing something silly like that when I know you can’t be naked there can’t be footage of you out there do you know what I mean I am not silly. Even when I went on love island, I portrayed myself in a certain way as I was always worried about the cameras, how I was coming across, because WWE was always the goal. The producers took me outside one day, and told me like, you’ve never sworn once on your season of love island, you’ve never said a bad word. Because I was always thinking don’t say anything silly because you know with WWE it can always come back to haunt you.”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Eventually after Maxted pleaded his case he was told the final decision would be in the hands of the WWE PR team and there really was nothing more he could do about it;
“I pleaded my case and the lady said ok I’m going to go back to our PR team and see what happens. A couple of weeks went past and they got back to me and they said, look Adam there’s nothing we can do at the moment, it’s kind of, you’re on hold basically.”
Maxted did note that the issue was being addressed at the same time as the Speaking Out movement which exposed some ugly truths regarding British wrestling and wrestling world as whole. The Speaking Out Movement had included plenty of NXT UK talent which lead to removal of stars such Travis Banks, Ligero and Jack Gallagher as well as the temporary suspension of Mark Coffey and Jordan Devlin. Maxted said that this did play into reason the WWE choose not to go through with signing Maxted, who did speak on the initial shock and anger he had towards the decision due to knowing the stories were not true;
“I guess this happened at a very similar time that the speaking out movement came out, so one of the emails I got was basically, you don’t want the scrutiny of “why have you released some super stars from the brand, but all of a sudden you’re signing a, a stripper?” which really got to me and really annoyed me because I know that that’s not the work that I did and it wasn’t true, yeah I did some Buff Butler’ing but there was nothing ever flashing or nothing ever involved, because I wouldn’t have done that anyway, my Mum wouldn’t have let me, let me do that stuff! Do you know what I mean?, she’d have went through me if she thought I was like, to Tom Jones, swinging it around.”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
However rather than holding on to that initial anger, Maxted would speak on sympathising with PR team working for the WWE;
“I know it wasn’t true, but also the more I thought about it, I guess I see where the company was coming from. The PR team who work for WWE, they’re probably not die hard wrestling fans or they don’t know me personally as a guy, they don’t know the work I’ve done to earn that opportunity, they’re just thinking we need to protect our company we’ve got to protect the brand, and we don’t want any more negativity on the brand, because there already was some.”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted did however discuss his confusion in the decision noting that since the stories had been released he had been working for NGW who were a family friendly promotion in the UK who work alongside family friendly holiday and tourist industry companies in the UK such as Butlins.
“That’s basically the truth and the story, I was 99% ready to go down to the PC and start my training and sign the contract, do my medical, and then because of these 2 or 3 articles from 2017, I didn’t get my contract. Another thing, I have wrestled for 3 years consistently in Butlins for NGW which is family and kids, and there’s never once been, “Why is this company using a a stripper? When there’s kids here? Why? It’s never been brought up, because it isn’t a big thing, and it wasn’t what I did.”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted however would note the damage some sensationalist news articles and headlines could do to someone’s career
“These articles, they’ll use certain words to try and entice people in, and ‘stripper, obviously is one of those words.. ooh stripper? Didn’t know he did that…blah blah blah blah”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
That’s my side of the story and that’s the truth. I can hold my hands up, and be like, I can trust myself that that’s the truth. Although it sucks for me, I know its not true, I get where the companies coming from as well, they’re just trying to protect their reputation as best after everything that’s happened.Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted also reflects on the fact that things are not always quite as over as they would first seem in the world of wrestling stating that that since then he has heard back from the WWE on a couple of occasions and door is not quite shut on his dream yet;
“I’ve heard back from them a couple of times, its not a closed door, It’s not like you’re never getting signed or its never gonna happen because of this, its just, I don’t know when.”
However currently Maxted is happy with his roles in independent British wrestling promotions including Rev Pro UK and OTT as well as how grateful he is with opportunities that have been put in front of him. Although he does recognise the advantages that would have come from working on NXT UK and their performance centre;
“ I kind of just have had to put it out of my head now, and that’s why I’m so grateful for opportunities like Rev Pro and OTT have come up, because I can just focus now on getting even better and improving and who knows what opportunities are going to come up from working with these companies. If that means I end up signing or working for another company, then that’s just the path I gotta take and I’ve gotta believe in life that everything happens for a reason, I could have done with the nice contract money coming in, it would have been cool, and obviously I feel I would have improved a lot there under the system and the concentrating under the PC and being on TV and working cameras and things, I would have loved that. But I’m 29 so like, technically pride myself that I’m still young, I just gotta keep my head down and like I say I gotta look to other things and if they lead to other things then maybe that’s the path I was meant to take and I wasn’t meant to end up there.”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted would go on to talk how about despite what he went through and knowing he was not going to sign to the WWE for some period he still had to hear from major wrestling websites reporting that he was due to sign with WWE and how this did not help as it sent conflicting messages;
“That’s basically a long story, but that’s my side of things, because I know there’s constant people saying oh I thought you got signed, even after I’d been having some communication with them about this situation and telling them this stuff, there was articles coming from America saying Adams name has been on a list. Dave Meltzer put up a report saying that I’d been signed. This was after I’d been told that were not going to sign you for a while, we’re going to leave things for a bit. Then I’m getting mixed messages and I’m confused because, I’m kinda like what’s going on here? But, there’s nothing that’s happened, and I haven’t heard anything, probably since March. The last thing I had from Canyon was Sean Michaels and Matt bloom want to bring you in, they want you in the brand, but we’ve still gotta get past the PR team, so it’s basically over to the PR team to be like yeah okay we’ll bring him in then, but whether that happens”.Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
At this time though Maxted would go on to say that he is currently grateful to be doing what he loves which is wrestling and how he is happy knowing that he knows the truth behind the articles.
“I’m just grateful that I’m still wrestling and I know in here that that’s not what I did, and unfortunately I’m just being tarnished by these silly articles. But it just is what it is, I doubt the person who wrote those articles back in 2017 thought oh all this could jeopardise a potential career for him in wrestling in the WWE, I doubt that was their intention, I just gotta suck it up and be a man about it and keep pushing forward.”Adam Maxted on the Tea and Tights Podcast
Maxted is continuing to make a name for himself in the British Wrestling scene working for some some of the biggest and most established promotions in the UK such as ICW available on the WWE Network as well as Rev Pro UK and OTT among others. You can hear the full interview below where he goes into further details about his current runs with Rev Pro UK, ICW and OTT and much more.
You can follow the Tea and Tights team on Twitter Andy @GBOtaku82 and Dan on @BigDaddyDanTT as well as Tea and Tights page @TeaandTightsPod
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