James Dowell is a 28-year-old professional wrestler from the United Kingdom. He currently wrestles for the WWE on NXT UK under the ring name, James Drake.
James started his professional wrestling career in 2016 working for Progress Wrestling. In January 2017, James participated in the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament to crown the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion but lost to Joseph Connors in the first round.
Drake & Gibson Form The Grizzled Young Veterans
In 2017, James Drake and Zack Gibson formed a tag team called the Grizzled Young Veterans. The Grizzled Young Veterans won the Progress Wrestling Tag Team Championships defeating Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos of CCK. They successfully defended the titles against Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis) at Progress Chapter 59. At Chapter 61, the Grizzled Young Veterans defeated Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate and Trent Seven) to retain their championships.
Dowell’s WWE Contract
James Dowell signed with the WWE in 2017 to perform on the company’s NXT brand. He changed his ring name to James Drake. His Grizzled Young Veterans tag team partner, Zack Gibson, also began wrestling for WWE NXT UK.
On January 12 2019, the Grizzled Young Veterans defeated Moustache Mountain in the final round of a tournament at NXT UK’s debut TakeOver event in Blackpool to become the inaugural NXT UK Tag Team Champions.
James Drake and Zack Gibson defended their titles successfully against Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch, Amir Jordan & Kenny Willams, & Moustache Mountain before losing it to Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster at NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff in a triple-threat tag team also involving Gallus. In a rematch on September 11 2019, the Grizzled Young Veterans failed to regain their titles. In November, the Grizzled Young Veterans had another rematch with Andrews and Webster but lost again due to interference from Gallus and Imperium interfered as well.
On the November 28th episode of NXT UK, Grizzled Young Veterans and Andrews & Webster interfered during Gallus’ title match against Imperium and the Grizzled Young Veterans took the titles and ran but the general managers came and announced that Gallus would defend their titles at NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool II against Grizzled Young Veterans, Andrews & Webster and Imperium for the titles in a ladder match.
At NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool II, the Grizzled Young Veterans lost the match. Grizzled Young Veterans then competed in the 2020 Dusty Rhodes Classic where they defeated Kushida & Alex Shelley in the quarterfinals. They beat NXT Tag Team Champions the Undisputed Era in the semi-finals due to a distraction by Imperium and advanced to the finals where they lost to The BroserWeights (Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne).
Career Championships and Accomplishments
- Progress Wrestling
- Progress Tag Team Championship (3 times)
- Pro Wrestling Chaos
- King Of Chaos Championship (1 time)
- World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
- NXT UK Tag Team Championship (1 time, inaugural)