NXT

WWE NXT’s Danny Burch: ‘Unless I hear the word no, anything is possible’

Ahead of his title defense against Breezango, Danny Burch talks to Daily DDT about becoming NXT Tag Team champion, teaming with Oney Lorcan, getting fired and rehired by WWE, and more.

May 13, 2013, marked the debut of Danny Burch on WWE NXT TV. Over seven years later, he remains a proud member of the black-and-gold brand, now as one-half of the NXT Tag Team champions alongside Oney Lorcan.

Additionally, The Guv’nor finds himself involved in a main event angle on the show for the first time in his career. Upon capturing the twin titles, he and Lorcan joined forces with Pat McAfee and Pete Dunne to form a faction that is bound to wreak havoc on NXT for months to come.

Before then, Burch and Lorcan will first have to overcome the obstacle of Breezango once more when the gold is up for grabs on this Wednesday’s episode of WWE NXT on USA Network at 8/7c.

“Obviously, Breezango is so unique,” Burch told Daily DDT in an exclusive interview conducted over the phone on Tuesday. “You’ve got two guys who have a long, long experience in wrestling, so it’s not like they’re new faces or anything like that. Oney and I will prepare as we always do which is we’re going to knock them down, light their boots up and we’re going to throw hands. I expect the result this time to be the same as it was a few weeks ago. The difference this time is that they’re challenging us and we’re going to have the targets on our backs, so I’m sure they’re going to be fired up right out of the gate. It’s going to be interesting.”

Danny Burch dishes on becoming NXT Tag Team champion and turning heel

In the three years they’ve spent teaming on NXT and 205 Live, Burch and Lorcan have faced virtually every tandem that has come through both brands. That includes everyone from Undisputed Era and Imperium to The Street Profits and TM-61.

Prior to turning heel, the Brit-Am alliance had been chasing the NXT Tag Team Championship for over three years. They received several shots at the belts but constantly fell short, making their ultimate title win that much more meaningful.

“I’m still pinching myself. Like, is this real?” Burch told Daily DDT in an exclusive interview conducted over the phone on Tuesday. “For me, this has been the culmination of 17 years in the wrestling business, so to get to this point when I’m holding NXT Tag Team gold is absolutely phenomenal.”

When asked about the fashion in which they beat Breezango to become champions three weeks ago, Burch acknowledged that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Thus, it took a change in mindset for the duo to finally secure the straps, even if it wasn’t ideal for fans who have long supported them.

Now as villains, Burch and Lorcan have the opportunity to reinvent themselves and do something completely different than anything they’ve done previously. In fact, we’ve already started to see them adopt a more aggressive edge in their recent segments on NXT TV with Pat McAfee.

“I know that from speaking with Oney and obviously from being with Pat, the gloves are off now,” Burch said. “We’re going to bring a completely different side to our matches, into our promos and everything. It’s great to be able to do this now.”

“The timing worked out perfectly,” he continued. “In this business, you have to constantly evolve. This is my opinion but I feel the minute you get set in your own ways, you shortchange yourself on everything. It’s great to be completely and utterly versatile.”

Burch added that he’s looking forward to not playing by the rules anymore and having more fun with his character. He also never doubted that he’d be one day be wearing gold around his waist with the incredible journey up to this point.

Danny Burch talks getting fired and rehired by WWE

What fans may not know is that Burch had been with WWE on and off long before he and Lorcan came together as a team. He was originally signed to a developmental deal in 2012, wrestled as part of Florida Championship Wrestling, and eventually had a short stint on NXT TV ahead of his release in 2014.

Nothing was going to stop him from not only returning but also realizing his dream of being a champion in WWE.

“My whole thought process is unless I hear the word no, anything is possible. That’s been my whole approach to wrestling for 17 years,” he said. “No matter how long it takes and no matter how long I have to grind for it, until I hear the word no, I know there’s always a chance. That’s exactly what I’ve done my entire career.”

If you go back and watch old episodes of NXT TV on the WWE Network from when the show aired exclusively on Hulu in late 2013, Burch can be found facing the likes of Bray Wyatt, Tyler Breeze, and Mojo Rawley. Despite primarily serving as a “jobber” during that period, he was there for that initial evolution of NXT, including its anticipated move to the WWE Network in early 2014.

In 2019, NXT graduated from the WWE Network to the USA Network in a two-hour timeslot on Wednesday nights, and Burch witnessed that transition firsthand as well. To him, there can be no denying that NXT is now the certified third brand of WWE.

“To me, it’s astounding to me just how much it’s changed,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a weekly television show and now it is its own brand. We are the third brand. The very first time I started training with this company, it was in FCW. I’ve seen it completely and utterly change from a small building in Tampa to the Performance Center to now where we’re on live TV every single week. To see that has been absolutely amazing.”

Although Burch was let go from NXT in April 2014, that technically didn’t mark the end of his time with the promotion. Rather, he was brought back regularly in the years that followed in an enhancement role under the name Martin Stone.

The bare-knuckle brawler was proud to be a part of the growth of NXT, but at the same time, he had to scratch and claw his way back and prove he was worthy of another contract. He had faith he could be rehired as a full-time member of the roster if he didn’t let up and simultaneously got himself in the best shape of his life.

“For me, that meant the door wasn’t completely closed,” Burch said about being brought in for the one-shot matches in NXT. “I literally wanted to do every single thing I could within my control to show the company that I still wanted to be here. Yeah, it didn’t work out the first time. Yes, I got released. But I wasn’t going to let that make me crawl under a rock and be forgotten about.

“Really it wasn’t until I did the first United Kingdom Championship Tournament in Blackpool that I felt like I kicked those doors wide, wide open again,” he continued. “I pride myself on the fact that I worked my backside off and was given another chance. Some people will look at my journey and say that I’m crazy for chasing something that potentially wasn’t there, but the pride in me told me it was there, I just had to earn it again. That’s the one and only time I’ll pat myself on the back and say, ‘Yeah, I earned that.’”

Danny Burch discusses teaming with Oney Lorcan and his career highlights so far

Even while not under contract to the company, Burch earned himself a regular role on NXT TV again in the summer of 2017 when he engaged in a mini-feud with Oney Lorcan. The two had a stellar series of matches that saw them trade wins back and forth and tear the house down every single time.

Of course, it was those battles that led to them linking up as a team and entering the tag ranks on the black-and-gold ranks. Their chemistry as both opponents and partners is so strong that Burch feels like he’s looking into a mirror any time they’re sharing the squared circle together.

“When I’m standing across the ring from Oney, it legit feels like I’m wrestling myself,” he said. “To be fair, I have not been hit as hard by anybody in this business than I have by Oney. Again, it’s one of those things that was born out of mutual respect. We beat the living snot out of each other and then it was, ‘Well, if we can do this to each other, what can we do to other people while teaming with each other?’ We do just have natural chemistry, so it fits like a glove.”

It wasn’t until WrestleMania weekend in 2018 that WWE finally offered Burch a formal contract to wrestle exclusively for NXT. Prior to that point, he had been doing both NXT and the independent scene so he capitalized on the momentum he had and honed his skills as much as possible.

Burch holds that phase of his career in high regard, saying, “It was great because more people saw me. I was on the show each week and that opened the gates to get more exposure on the indie scene. Eventually, Beyond Wrestling became my home and I was on each show. Eventually, I went back to Revolution Pro. It was a fantastic experience because I was getting to do that plus the indies. Again, I love to work hard, so it was a fantastic opportunity.”

He and Lorcan became the number one contenders to the NXT Tag Team Championship and wrestled Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong in their TakeOver debut in Chicago in June 2018. They received another crack at the titles nearly a year later in a grueling Fatal 4-Way Ladder match at TakeOver: XXV.

Despite coming up short on both occasions, the two matches were phenomenal and Burch and Lorcan in particular had stellar showings. Burch remembers how he and Lorcan walked into that TakeOver: Chicago II match with Undisputed Era with minimal fanfare and left to a standing ovation.

“I still haven’t watched the first TakeOver match back,” he said. “I can’t watch it back because that night will hold such a special moment for me, especially because we came out and got booed out of the building. No one believed we could be there. I think a lot of people just didn’t think we deserved to be there. So, to slay the crowd and feel that momentum shift halfway through that match is a night I’ll never forget. To have the fans embrace us by the end of that, I can’t put it into words.

“For TakeOver: XXV,” he continued, “that Ladder match was crazy. That was one of those things where you literally are one bump away from potentially permanent injury. You just pull your socks up and get to work. The atmosphere and the crowds at TakeOver are always electric. Two very, very special nights.”

NXT’s tag team division has unfortunately been on the back-burner for much of 2020. There have been some terrific NXT Tag Team Championship matches on NXT TV this year, but the belts have not been on the line at a TakeOver special since Portland in February.

Burch vowed that he and Lorcan will do everything in their power to ensure those titles get represented on a bigger stage going forward. As for who he hopes to defend the gold against, he name-dropped Imperium and The Usos as potential opponents, even if it means traveling to other brands to make those matches happen.

“My mindset is literally any tag team on any brand can step up to us,” he said. “I will thrive on that. It doesn’t matter who it is. We’ve always had exceptional matches with Imperium, so I would love to do that again. For me personally, I would love to have a match with The Usos. There’s so much talent in the tag division. It’s going to be really exciting times ahead.”

Burch got his first and only taste of the main roster to date on this year’s post-WrestleMania edition of Raw as he and Lorcan unsuccessfully took on the newly-formed tandem of Ricochet and Cedric Alexander.

Outside of wrestling on 205 Live and in the inaugural United Kingdom Championship Tournament, his WWE career has taken place entirely in NXT. With the brand currently bigger than it’s ever been before, he feels no pressure to make the move to Raw or SmackDown.

Rather, he’s more focused on continuing to carve out his own legacy as one of the greatest Englishmen to ever do it.

“For me, I just want to cement myself as the best British wrestler from my generation,” Burch said. “I came before Pete [Dunne], I came before Trent [Seven], I came before Tyler [Bate]. I just want to cement that and it doesn’t matter what brand I’m on because I don’t see us as just developmental. We are an undeniable, 100 percent third brand. I just want to continue doing my thing and take pride in the fact that I am one of the hardest-working guys on our roster and that’s something I’m always going to continue to do.”

Don’t miss Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan defend their NXT Tag Team Championship this Wednesday on WWE NXT at 8/7c, only on USA Network.