WWE UK Championship tournament: Wolfgang inspired by Jake 'The Snake' Roberts

Scotland's Wolfgang is one of 16 competitors who will battle to be crowned WWE's first United Kingdom champion this weekend. WWE

When Jake "The Snake" Roberts gave 10 minutes of his time to a Scottish teenager 15 years ago, he likely had no idea it would ultimately help reshape the landscape of professional wrestling in Britain.

Then aged 15, Glaswegian Barry Young wanted to know how he could one day achieve his goal of working in the WWE when he met the now-61-year-old legend. Roberts kindly pointed Young in the direction of British Championship Wrestling in a little place just outside Glasgow called East Kilbride.

Young trained there six hours a day and eventually became British independent wrestling scene standout Wolfgang -- and now he's one of 16 men battling to be crowned the WWE's first United Kingdom champion live on the WWE Network this Saturday and Sunday at 8pm.

"I don't speak to Jake anymore unfortunately," Wolfgang told ESPN. "I met him a handful of times. But he's someone I'd like to one day be face to face with again and thank him for everything he did for me. However miniscule it was to him, the five or 10 minutes that I got to speak with him, I learned so much.

"Not just about wrestling. A lot of life lessons came from him too. Just little things - how to communicate with people. How to treat people with respect. Manners! Nothing I hadn't dealt with before, but to have Jake "The Snake" Roberts look into your eyes ... he's a guy you can listen to for hours because he's so knowledgeable about the business. Everything he had to say, he had my full attention. He's someone I can hopefully meet again."

Unfortunately, Wolfgang has not seen Roberts since he was 16 years old. Much has changed since then -- for both men.

In 2008, Wolfgang won British Championship Wrestling, Premier British Wrestling and Scottish Wrestling Alliance's heavyweight titles, becoming the first ever Triple Crown champion in Scotland. The feats also made him just their second ever "grand slam" champion, winning everything there is to win in Scotland.

Last year was the best yet for Wolfgang. He walked into the SSE Hydro in front of 6,000 people in Glasgow -- a scenario he never thought possible -- as Insane Championship Wrestling world champion and left with the title still in hand.

Roberts, on the other hand, fell far into the depths of addiction, but he's managed to overcome his battles with drugs and alcohol that threatened to take his life thanks to the help of fellow former wrestling star Diamond Dallas Page. His journey to reclaim the family that gave up on him was told in a 2015 documentary 'The Resurrection of Jake the Snake', an official selection of the Sundance film festival, and Roberts was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.

Roberts' tale has inspired Wolfgang to always keep fighting to achieve his goals, however impossible they may seem.

"Jake is someone that's never given up," added Wolfgang. "He was at a low point in his life, but to see the turnaround, to see the change in him ... DDP Yoga works miracles for some people, and I'm so happy and proud that Jake's back to his old self, and that he's working again and involved with the WWE whenever he can be.

"He's someone that we nearly lost but I'm so happy we didn't because the guy's an absolute fountain of knowledge -- and there's a lot to be learned from listening to him talk."

There is no better way Wolfgang can think of making Roberts proud than by leaving a lasting impression in Blackpool this weekend. The United Kingdom Championship tournament is something Wolfgang has been building towards ever since he started training. It is an opportunity he thought was never going to come his way, but a phone call from William Regal last November, and a press conference in London two weeks later, and he now stands as the only Scottish representative in the tournament.

"To think millions of people from around the world could be watching us on WWE Network is an overwhelming experience," he said. "I've been preparing for it for the last 15 years, and I'm confident in my own ability that I can do everyone proud, from Jake to my mum, my dad, everyone who's gonna be watching."

Another person Wolfgang is looking to make proud is former WWE star and current TNA wrestler Drew Galloway. The pair trained together with British Championship Wrestling six hours a day, until Galloway got the call-up from WWE in 2007 following a couple of try-out matches in England prior to SmackDown tour tapings.

It turned out to be the making of Wolfgang. "A void had to be filled in Scotland, because Drew's a bit of a phenom," said Wolfgang. "He's a 6-foot-4 adonis. Leaving the rest of us pasty Scottish guys just fending for ourselves. Someone had to step up."

Wolfgang is still good friends with Galloway. They see each other regularly and speak often.

"He's still a massive influence on me, just now because since leaving WWE, he's made a bit of a name for himself as a traveling world champ, almost. He's someone who really puts all of himself into this. He's one of the best entertainers there ever was in professional wrestling. For him to come out of Scotland, he's leading by example.

"If I don't do well in this tournament next week, I feel as though I'd be letting not only Galloway down, but the pride of a nation. I've got a big responsibility on myself."

When he started out training, the dream was always to get to WWE. But along the way, the dream faded -- he became happy and content creating what he and the rest of the British independent scene have done here. The hard work and sacrifice of the competitors on the British independent scene has paid off big way.

"It's something me and the other guys have been building for 10 years," said Wolfgang. "If you know professional wrestling well enough, you'll know the British scene is absolutely on fire just now. It's because of guys like me who have been here keeping it going, working in the working men's clubs and going to the leisure centers and doing everything we can to try and build our reputation here."

With the WWE U.K. Championship tournament, and the hope of a weekly show airing on the WWE Network, prospects from Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales now have a clear path to reach the WWE.

"It's something that when you start training, you can say, OK, I can work through these levels, and the dream is to one day be United Kingdom champion," noted Wolfgang. "If I can walk in and leave Blackpool as the United Kingdom champion, that's a dream come true. It's the pinnacle of everything I've been working towards.

"It was always the case that you had to move over to America to become a wrestler. But we've shown that no, you don't. You can do this in your own time. They're coming to us now. That is validation of a life's work, almost."

And now that he has his foot in the door, Wolfgang wants the WWE to employ him full-time.

"I want a job on Raw, on SmackDown. I wanna be in the Royal Rumble, I wanna be at Wrestlemania -- I'll take Backlash, you know what I mean? This right now has just lit a fire under me. This is something I thought had been and gone, and now it seems more achievable than ever that Wolfgang could one day be on WWE Raw every week. That's what I want -- but the first goal is to be UK Champion."

It could just be that 2017 turns out to be the Year of the Wolf.