Next weekend the superstars of the WWE will arrive in Glasgow for a double-header of live shows that will, for two nights, place Scotland at the centre of the wrestling world

The live broadcast of Friday Night Smackdown followed by Clash at the Castle on the Saturday evening, will bring a whole new level in American ‘sports entertainment’ to the OVO Hydro.  

Premium live sporting events have been elevated to marquee dates on the American calendar, with Superbowls, World Series and Wrestlemanias, surrounded by pomp, pyro, performance and parties. 

This weekend’s WWE events will be on another level from the touring wrestling shows which have visited Scotland over the decades. They’ll also give a glimpse of how our own key sporting dates, despite valiant efforts, look dated and delivered on a shoestring. 

Setting aside the fact that the nearest fortress to Finnieston is the beloved Château Lait, Clash of the Castle will have a distinctive Scottish feel and represent a milestone for a native wrestling community which has established itself as a global force in a sport traditionally dominated by North Americans, Mexicans and Japanese. 

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Ten Scots currently fight in the WWE across their Smackdown, Raw and NXT brands. Next Saturday in Glasgow two will walk out for the main events, competing for world titles.  

One is Drew McIntyre, Scotland’s first world champion and a man who, in his second stint with the company, stands as one of its biggest draws. The second is Piper Niven, who will face Bailey for the women’s world title.  

With McIntyre well established as Scottish wrestling’s inspirational blueprint for success, this match will finally give the 33-year-old Niven the recognition she has earned as one of the Scotland’s sporting pioneers. 

It may seem like a bold claim, but after starting out as a teenager, the Ayrshire native fought her way out of the Scottish wrestling scene, winning an ICW title before claiming further belts and accolades in Europe and  Japan, eventually reaching wrestling’s promised land, the WWE. 

“It's going to be a huge full circle moment,” says Niven on a live link from her home in the States. “I'm going to make sure to take an extra beat when I'm standing on that entrance ramp and look out. It will be my second time performing at the Hydro, the first was with ICW when we did Fear and Loathing there in 2016. It's certainly going to feel a little bit different this time.” 

Piper Niven (right) with tag team partner Chelsea Green (Image: WWE)Piper Niven (right) with tag team partner Chelsea Green (Image: WWE) (Image: WWE)

She pauses for a moment, adding: “You know, all of us that are part of the Scottish contingent in the WWE, we all dreamed of a moment like this, so I'm just going to make sure that I really absorb it and take it all in.” 

This tartan contingent is dominating at a time when the WWE appears to be entering another golden era. There have been record gates, TV ratings are exploding and WWE stock, particularly following a takeover by the TKO Group, has never been higher. Stars like the Rock and John Cena are household names, much like the Hulkster of the Nineties. 

In the ring and ‘on the mic’, Drew McIntyre, has, in the past year, reached levels that the Scot himself could never have imagined when he was released by the company, returned to Scotland and the indy scene before returning to the WWE.  

Niven recognises him as the one who shattered the glass ceiling and offered a hand up to the Scots behind him. 

"My uncle used to tell me how there was a world record set for a bench press that couldn't be beaten. One year, one person did it. As soon as that record was broken, three other people went on to break it that year because they believed it was possible. Drew made us believe it was possible for Scottish wrestlers to get to the WWE.  

Drew McIntyre (Image: WWE)Drew McIntyre (Image: WWE) (Image: WWE)

“Drew was the pioneer. He showed us there was a path and as soon as you believe something's possible, that is the catalyst. That's what spurs people on. That's what gives people hope to keep pushing, despite all the obstacles and hurdles.” 

While Niven might refuse to accept the mantle, she is earning a similar standing among Scottish wrestling fans and is now, in her early thirties, seen as a template for female hopefuls fighting in Scottish promotions. 

The route has not been easy. She has had to wrestle, like all established stars, with the odd bum gimmick and bad storyline, namely the grim and slightly insulting ‘Doudrop’. She has spoken openly about her diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy. She will also be the underdog against Bailey in her own title fight at Clash at the Castle.

However this is an opportunity that has been earned. And one that she is capable of grasping. 

“I’ve not had a straightforward path, let's put it that way,” she admits with a wry smile. “But there's two other names that you could say have had a similar trajectory.

Piper Niven in the ring (Image: WWE)Piper Niven in the ring (Image: WWE) (Image: WWE)

"One of them is Drew and one of them is Cody Rhodes (the current undisputed WWE Champion).  

“I can look back at it all now and look kindly on it, because you need these kinds of obstacles to prove yourself and show how much you love it and really prove how talented you are. I am not trying to blow my own trumpet, but I know that I'm very good at what I do. I know that I'm one of the best at what I do.  

“I've maybe had to have a few reintroductions to the crowds for them to see that, but I know that important people know that I'm very good at what I do and, and I know that's one of the reasons why I'm being featured on this premium live event. I really feel like any test has been put in front of me, I've knocked it out the park and will continue to do so.” 

There will be no reintroductions needed in Glasgow this weekend when Piper walks out. And, Castle or not, she could finally claim her crown. 

Final tickets for WWE SmackDown and Clash At The Castle at the OVO Hydro this week are available from