Posts Tagged ‘WWE Performance Center’

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November 2018’s news that WWE were considering the option of opening a new Performance Center in the United Kingdom has finally come to life, with Pro Wrestling Sheet reporting that WWE are looking at establishing the facility in the near future.

Per the write-up, the NXT UK Performance Center is 17,000 square feet. It’ll have two full-sized rings, “world-class strength and condition equipment,” and “versatile content creation infrastructure,” with all 30 UK signees expected to train there.

This feels like the next logical step in WWE’s British expansion, and suggests that perhaps the company are more serious about developing the country’s talent than cynics had previously suggested.

NXT UK became a source of mass controversy when details of WWE’s restrictive new contracts claim to light. Signed wrestlers are now greatly restricted to where they can work, though it now looks like they’ll be deeply entrenched in the system, and given similar opportunities to succeed to their US-based developmental counterparts.

There’s currently no word on when, exactly, the NXT UK Performance Center will open, though it’ll surely bring some much-needed sheen and polish to the nascent British brand’s lesser talent, with the likes of Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne still standing out as its only stars.

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Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez could become the latest mixed martial arts star to cross over into professional wrestling, per the man himself on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.

Velasquez told Helwani that he’d been a WWE fan since he was a kid, and that his head was turned after visiting the Performance Center last year. “It’s an opportunity that I wanted to do,” he said, “and I would like to work with them even more so in the future,” though the UFC remains his primary focus for now.

A heavyweight fighting phenom in his younger days, Cain raced to a 9-0 record to start his career, including a resounding TKO victory over current WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at UFC 121. He has been besieged by injuries over the past few years, but is currently set to face the heavy-hitting Francis Ngannou at UFC On ESPN 1 on 17 February. It’ll be his first fight in two-and-a-half years.

If Velasquez does eventually switch sports, he’ll join Lesnar and Ronda Rousey as the third former UFC Champion on WWE’s roster. A disappointing performance against Ngannou could expedite that process.

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Recently on Talk Is Jericho, professional wrestling legend Chris Jericho spoke with WWE Superstar Sami Zayn. Among many other things, Zayn talked about loving his time off due to injury and not being in any rush to return to action. Also, Zayn talked about how he knew it was time to take time off and rehabbing at the WWE Performance Center.

On the subject of Zayn’s back-to-back shoulder surgeries, the former El Generico divulged that he has loved his time off. According to Zayn, he does not miss being on the road and is surprised that he has not missed it after several months of being away.

“Oh man, a whole lot [is going on], I would say, and nothing all at the same time,” Zayn shared. “And I know [pro] wrestling fans maybe don’t want to hear this, but I’ve been loving being off. I think maybe wrestling fans want to hear, like, ‘I can’t wait to get back and I miss everything,’ but I don’t know. I had both shoulders [operated on]. I don’t miss it! What is up with that?”

While Zayn clarified his statement saying he does miss performing, ‘The Underdog From The Underground’ admitted he is not “itching” to get back to WWE.

“Maybe I’m overstating my lack of desire to return,” Zayn prefaced. “I do miss performing, but like [Jericho] said, I’ve been doing this a super long time. We’re on the road a lot. [Jericho] know[s] how it is. I just know that when I’ll be back, I’ll probably enjoy it. But I’m not sitting there itching and clawing [to return]. And I don’t know that my employer will want to hear that, like, ‘does this guy not care?’ But, no, I’m not even close [to being cleared to return]. I need a couple more months!”

Zayn claimed that he decided it was time to take a break from WWE when he started to worry about hurting his fellow performers.

“It was really when the second one started getting bad [he considered taking time off],” Zayn recalled. “I was a little concerned for other people’s safety. If I can’t [catch someone or bodyslam someone], yeah, yeah. I’m starting to get a little worried about it and it was really when the MRI came in and it confirmed my worst fears, which is something was torn because I thought, ‘oh, it’s just bothering me.’ And we’re on the road so much just trying to maintain, but then there comes a certain point where it’s like, ‘this isn’t going away’ and so at a certain point, you have to confront it.”

In Zayn’s view, he has not been in a rush to return to action because he knew he had to exercise great patience to fully recover from his surgeries. Additionally, the former NXTChampion admitted that he has enjoyed having time off for “introspection”.

“I swear to God, this whole time off, maybe that’s why I haven’t really been drooling to get back,” Zayn considered. “One, because I knew I had a long road ahead of me, but also, in this time off, it’s more time than I ever had to just stop and think, and just think about everything. And [Jericho] know[s], me already. I’m already somewhat of a pensive person, right? Right, I don’t know. I just think about things. And now, I have more time to think about broader things, but also more time for introspection.”

Interestingly, Zayn is now rehabbing his injuries at the WWE Performance Center. While Zayn indicated that he is receiving no fanfare from up-and-coming talent at the PC, he is fine with it as he feels like “more of a complete person” and is working on his ego.

“Now I’m at the PC doing my rehab,” Zayn continued. “I don’t try to, like, pass on knowledge and what’s great is I don’t feel, it is a part of the wrestling culture and that respect, but, like, I genuinely go trying to keep my ego in check. So I walk in the PC and no one’s kissing my ass and I don’t care. It’s great!”

WWE will hold their latest set of talent tryouts at the Performance Center later this week (Wednesday 12 December), and PWInsider have the scoop on four names confirmed for this batch of potential recruits.

The most notable is Penelope Ford. Currently one of the most prominent women’s wrestlers on the independent circuit, she regularly competes for the likes of GCW, NOVA Pro, and CHIKARA. Ford also serves as Joey Janela’s valet, and played a considerable role in the daredevil’s electric ALL IN match with Hangman Page.

Former UFC middleweight Eric Spicely is also set to test his mettle, having been released from that promotion in August. Though new to the sport, the 32-year-old has already competed for Beyond Wrestling, and now looks to follow in the footsteps of Matt Riddle, Shayna Baszler, and others in changing sports.

Also confirmed are Courtney Lemmings, a 22-year-old model, actor, and bodybuilder, as well as former Maryland Football player Tehuti Miles, who has been through the tryout process before.

With ACH, Jonah Rock, and more joining the Performance Center in January, 2019 looks set to be a hectic year for WWE recruitment. Let’s see if Ford, Spicely, and co. make the cut.

Pushed strongly throughout much of 2018, Nia Jax has faded into the background in WWE lately, having vanished from television altogether in recent weeks.

PW Insider claim that the former Raw Women’s Champion was at the Performance Center for physical therapy on an injured leg this week, giving Jax an indefinite return date.

The same source reported that Nia was dealing with a leg issue last month, but the wrestler herself has noted that while she has spent time “rehabbing,” she isn’t injured.

Jax hasn’t wrestled since a Raw house show on 22 July. Her last televised bout came against Alexa Bliss at Extreme Rules 2018, where she was unsuccessful in reclaiming the Raw Women’s Championship she lost to ‘The Goddess’ at Money In The Bank, resulting in her complete removal from programming.

With Nia recently talking up the prospect of facing Beth Phoenix at Evolution (28 October), it likely won’t be long before we see her thrown back into the mix. Still, there’s no obvious place for her in the title picture at the moment, and WWE may choose not to bring her back until they’ve concocted a suitable storyline.

WWE’s official website has announced that the company will host tryouts in Germany for the first time ever this November.

The tryouts will take place in Cologne during WWE’s annual jaunt around Europe. The company expect up to 40 athletes to compete for the right to train full time at WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Also, starting today and for the first time, the official recruitment website is available in German.

WWE’s press release noted that, “elite performers with a diverse background in sports and athletics, including football, rugby, powerlifting, mixed martial arts, strongman and bodybuilding” will be part of the session. This news follows on from other recent tryouts in China, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Entrants trying out for a deal across the four-day event will overlap with WWE’s house show in Cologne’s Lanxess Arena, taking place Wednesday 7 November.

Triple H noted personal excitement in his own comments about the German tryouts, said that the country is a key area for WWE in the European market, and that he hopes finding the next German star will help expand the promotion’s horizons.

While touring with NXT in the UK, Shawn Michaels spoke with the Daily Star and gave more insight to his hesitation on working another match at the age of 52.

“I am guilty of not really wanting to work for a living. To put me in a singles match at [WrestleMania] it’s a very strenuous and anxious process, once you get in there it’s phenomenal,” Michaels said. “But to get ready for it is 100% work, and I don’t want to put myself or my family through that to go out and try and steal the show at 52 for God’s sakes.”

Instead of going the singles match route, Michaels noted how it would be cool to be in a legends versus younger wrestlers match, both in the present and earlier in his career.

“If you take the younger version of me and put me in with [the younger guys] course it would be a blast,” Michaels said. “But at the same time I would like to be the younger version of me and be the ring with Harley Race and Buddy Rodgers. That’s something that can’t happen in real life. … Fans want me to nip up and have everything look like it’s 1996 or 1997, that’s never gonna happen as Father Time waits on no man.”

After losing to The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI, Michaels retired and was then inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011. Michaels is currently one of the trainers at the WWE Performance Center. Earlier this month in an interview with Sky Sports, Michaels had left the door open for a one-off return, but has seemingly stepped back from those comments.

“I’ve been retired for eight years now and when it got to the five-year mark I thought people would start asking me but they just kind of stopped,” Michaels told Sky Sports. “I think it’s one of those that you would never say never about and if it was just for a one-off then it’s something that I would take a look at. It would have to be done the right way and just for one match rather than something that ran for longer. It could be possible but people would have to accept they wouldn’t be getting the Showstopper, Mr. WrestleMania, and that I’m 52 years old now.”

You can check out Michaels’ full interview by clicking here.