By Colm McAlinden
A professional wrestler from Belfast is set to compete in the biggest event of his career after being selected to take part in a new UK-wide tournament organised by pro-wrestling giants WWE.
Paul Gallagher – better known to fans of the local grapple game at Tucker – is among 16 hopefuls selected by WWE from all corners of the United Kingdom to compete in the inaugural WWE UK Championship tournament.
“Around six weeks ago I got an email in my inbox. There had been rumours online that WWE were scouting for UK talent so I opened the email but I had to do a double-take and thought 'that has to be a hoax',” he told UTV.
“But then when I read it through I realised that this was legit.
“I went over for a try-out. The try-out went really well, I got a follow-up email and a phone-call and the next thing you know, I’m here.”
This is the elite of the elite. The best 16 in the UK have been selected, so I know I have to up my game and be on top form.
Tucker, who regularly competes for local wrestling promotion Pro Wrestling Ulster and currently trains with Uprising Pro Wrestling in Belfast, recently recovered from a potentially career-ending knee injury.
The 26-year-old describes himself as “the Ultimate Underdog”, but insists he is fully focussed on winning the tournament.
“This is the biggest opportunity of a lifetime. I’m looking to take it all the way. I want to be talked about like George best is talked about, like Carl Frampton is talked about.
“I want to bring wrestling into that conversation like Fit Finlay did all those years ago. I want wrestling to be back on the map in Northern Ireland – where it deserves to be.”
The WWE UK Championship tournament will take place in Blackpool on 14 and 15 January and will be screened live worldwide on the WWE Network.
WATCH: Full interview with Paul Gallagher aka Tucker