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Byrons Articles

A new path forged: Are Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan the tag team of the future?

The 1974 boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman has been widely recognized as one of the greatest moments in sports history. The match, dubbed the “Rumble in the Jungle,” saw Ali score an incredibly shocking victory over then-World Champion Foreman in the eighth round of the bout. But arguably just as remarkable is the close friendship both fighters would develop with each other in the wake of the historic event. The “Rumble in the Jungle” is simply one example of a common theme in sports: Two athletes who push each other to the limit soon develop a mutual respect from the moment of battle.

Enter NXT Superstars Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, who have done just that. After Lorcan and Burch engaged in ultra-physical matches against each other, they agreed upon an alliance as an NXT tag team.

“The relationship between Oney and I is simple,” Burch explained. “It’s built around one word: respect. After we had our first match together on NXT, he gave me another chance, one more match, one more time, when he didn’t have to. He’d beaten me, but he’s a man and a competitor and thrives on competition.”

Lorcan and Burch wrote the first chapter of their newly created tag team book with a loss to the team of Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss. While understandably frustrated by coming up short in their NXT television debut as a tandem, Lorcan believes the team has a promising future.

“I like that Danny hits just as hard as I do,” Lorcan said. “From now on, all we can do is work hard and stay focused on winning future matches.”

On paper, an alliance between Lorcan and Burch seems like match made in bruising heaven. Lorcan, a 10-year ring veteran, trained at the much-heralded Killer Kowalski School of Wrestling in Massachusetts before traveling to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to train with former WWE Superstar Lance Storm and, later, San Antonio, Texas, to train under another former WWE competitor in Funaki. Lorcan’s extensive schooling and wide-ranging travels have earned him a reputation as one of the most dangerous and hardest-hitting strikers in NXT. Surprisingly, Lorcan doesn’t necessarily agree.

“Up to this point, I see my NXT career as a failure. For more success, I must hit harder. Simple as that,” Lorcan revealed.

On the flip side, Burch, a 14-year veteran with a similar smashmouth style, embarked on his sports-entertainment career on the British wrestling circuit under the tutelage of trainers Tony and Dino Scarlo. Though he spent several years in WWE’s former developmental system, Florida Championship Wrestling, “The Guv’nor” began to make his mark on a worldwide stage during the first-ever WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament. To Burch, his history has only prepared him for his present-day goal.

“I look back on my past as a learning experience with bumps in the road. I went away, and I’ve come back fitter, stronger, close to 60 pounds lighter,” he said. “I took all the knowledge I learned and applied it in every ring I’ve stepped in since and have become so much more polished.”

It’s clear that Lorcan and Burch are driven in their own personal ways, but can their alliance truly thrive? Can both transfer the aggression they once had for each other to teams that oppose them? Burch believes their choice to unite will prove to be the best decision of their NXT careers thus far.

“We think the same, and we have the same type of style,” he said. “We have to work the kinks out and mesh together as a team and get on the same page, which I have no doubt will happen. Once we do, I foresee an opportunity to challenge for the NXT Tag Team Championship.”

Follow Oney Lorcan on Twitter @_StarDESTROYER and Danny Burch @Strongstylebrit.