BANKIE'S HOT TAKE #27 - Martin Stone: Grizzled Veteran
AXW champion EN Bush is in for a world of pain.
This Saturday night, at the Historic Hamburg Field House in Hamburg, PA, at “HONOR: Autism Acceptance”, Bush will be defending his championship against a world’s traveler; a man who has grinded for decades to make himself a well-respected competitor in the wrestling industry.
EN Bush puts his championship on the line against the world-renowned Martin Stone.
Martin Stone is best known as Danny Burch from NXT, but his career prior to WWE is something to behold.
Born in London, England, Stone began his career in 2003 based out of the Frontier Wrestling Academy Wrestling Academy. Hitting his nose to the grindstone, “the Guvnor” instantly went to work, performing at every UK independent he could, from IPW:UK and SAS Wrestling to 1PW and LDN Wrestling.
Whenever strong independent promotions came to England for a tour, Stone would be on the cards. In Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s UK tour in 2007, Stone put on a classic with then-PWG World champion “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson. During Pro Wrestling NOAH’s tour in 2008, Stone and Wade Fitzgerald had a strong battle with Junji Izumida & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi.
“The Strong Style Brit” became a regular for Westside Xtreme Wrestling in Germany during 2007, winning the WXW Tag Team championship with the legendary Doug Williams on July 26, 2008. His success led him to be a part of the WXW/CHIKARA Pro Tag World Grand Prix in November, making it to the finals with his Team UK partner PAC, falling short in the three way finals against Fire Ant and Green Ant of the Colony.
By the end of 2011, Stone signed on with WWE under a developmental contract. Learning under the best coaches in the world, he changed his name and became Danny Burch. Although he didn’t make much of an impact during his first run, being released in April 2014, Stone never left WWE’s radar. While building up his resume through the independents, including wrestling on Season 2 of TNA’s British Boot Camp, winning the Full Impact Pro Florida Heritage championship in 2016, and traveling across the world, WWE would use him from time-to-time, wrestling in the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament, facing top talent on NXT television, and competing as a part of NXT UK.
Finally, WWE re-signed the gritty performer in 2018, and Danny Burch gained a new lease on life. Forming a tag team with Oney Lorcan, the duo put on classic encounters with the Undisputed Era, Drew Gulak and Tony Nese, Gallus, and Breezango. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Lorcan and Burch struck gold, beating Breezango to win the titles on the October 21st edition of NXT on USA Network, with help from Pat McAfee, former All-Pro punter and distinguished host of The Pat McAfee Show.
Burch’s new union with McAfee helped put a target on his back, as he, Lorcan, McAfee, and Pete Dunne took on the Undisputed Era inside War Games at TakeOver: War Games 2020. Although he was on the losing end, his toughness could not be denied.
Sadly, after Burch and Lorcan were stripped of their NXT Tag Team championships due to an injury to Burch in March 2021, the pair were never able to gain momentum back to the gold. In January 2022, Burch was released by WWE for the second time.
This time, Burch was left in the big WWE umbrella - the gritty Martin Stone was back, meaner and badder than ever.
EN Bush is looking at the biggest test of his young career this Saturday. Martin Stone is no slouch in between the ropes. He has been tested against the best in the world. He has been to war and back.
Mary Elizabeth and Tommy Vecs might be at ringside to protect Bush as best as they could, but against “the Guvnor”, even they might be futile.
It’s time to enter British Strong Style. I can’t wait. #BANKONIT