There’s no offseason in pro wrestling. There’s no free agency period. There’s no trade deadline. There’s no “hot stove” for which to draw heat from so it is incredibly rare to have a class of signees this big.
I’ll be perfectly honest when I say, I have not heard of the vast majority of these people before today with a few exceptions. The WWE has a long history of signing people with zero background in pro wrestling and it looks like they’re still quite committed to that process.
Here are the eleven new recruits to WWE NXT performance center.
Jessica McKay (Sydney, Australia) – Jessica is one of the few trainees with Indy credentials. The Australian has made a name for herself in the states wrestling for Shimmer (an All-Women federation). Jessica can wrestle. She’s a legit ring worker and maybe this hints towards WWE moving away from signing models and trying to teach them how to wrestle.
Cassie McIntosh (Born in Sydney, resides in Melbourne, Australia) — Student of former WWE Superstar Lance Storm. (alums include Tyler Breeze, Emma to name a few). Another one that shows WWE might be moving away from the models despite the fact the former KC Cassidy is quite attractive anyhow. Most likely of the women in this group to end up on the main roster.
Nhooph Al-Areebi (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) – Former Toronto Circus trainee (I’m not kidding) with a background in rhythmic gymnastics so at least she’s an athlete. Has been training since 2011 but I can’t so much as find a single match online. Canadian who speaks Arabic. Maybe Sami Zayn is getting a new wife?
Axel Tischer (Dresdan, Germany) – He’s been wrestling in Europe since 2006. Not big (6’2’’, 230), not fast, not a great technical wrestler. I think this is strictly a “globalization” signing. LOOK AT HOW MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE WE HAVE FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES!!!
Oscar Vasquez (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico) – I can’t find anything about this guy. I have no idea why the WWE announced who they signed without saying who that person has been for the last few years. Lucha style wrestler apparently. Gotta find a way to sell masks now that Rey is gone.
Radomir Petkovic (Belgrade, Serbia) – He’s 6’9’’ (he’s the big fella in the middle of the class pic) with a lengthy amateur wrestling background. Vince probably threw out his back from ejaculating so hard at his size. He was the European Vice Champion at the 2010 European Wrestling Championships and a two-time bronze medalist at 2009 Mediterranean Games in Greco-Roman and Freestyle. He also speaks Russian and English.
Here’s his “hype” video that makes us want to punch walls and run over kids.
Peter Howard (Exeter, England) –He was a regional discus champ and another one of these guys that has no apparent background but played sports in college and has “the look.”
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Kenneth Crawford (Chicago, Illinois/Anson County, North Carolina) – When I first read this signing, I was like “Oh, a Marine with no background in wrestling, this is just one of those Support the Troops signings,” but Crawford is a 24-year- old POC with a hard knocks tale growing up in Chicago. Considering the WWE’s history of mismanaging their black athletes, I’m not getting my hopes up. More on that in a minute.
Thomas Kingdon (Traverse City, Michigan) – Bodybuilder/Powerlifter with zero background in wrestling even at the amatuer level. I would say don’t bother learning about this guy, but Mark Henry strung together a 20-year career off the same resume. Oh wait, no, Mark Henry is one of the greatest powerlifters to have ever lived and this guy is just a guy who lifts weights on occasion.
Sesugh Uhaa (Atlanta, Georgia) – Only signing that I didn’t really have to look anything up on. Uhaa, who has been wrestling for some time under the name Uhaa Nation, is a freak of an athlete. His finishing combination displays that well.
Not that tall (6’1’’), but looks like Terry Crews after doing shots of espresso. As I mentioned early, the WWE has been historically terrible at making something out of their African American wrestlers, often putting them in dated, kinda-super-racist gimmicks and storylines. Hi, WWE, it’s me, Mike Mulloy. Could you not?
Levis Valenzuela Jr. (Durham, North Carolina) – Another signee who doesn’t even have a single match on YouTube. He’s apparently a great ballroom dancer! So…footwork should be good. He’s got an afro, that’s pretty cool.
And if none of these work, at least Samoa Joe is probably maybe arriving soon?