Dealing with injuries is much more streamlined since ‘prehab’, diagnosis and rehab is all done on-site, and DeMott said everything is state-of-the-art with enough equipment and staff to deal with athletes from a number of backgrounds. Taking care of the talent is key, and WWE needs to give them every opportunity to do that, which is obvious in every aspect of the WWE Performance Center. The 5,500 square foot weight room / gym area was filled with dozens of wrestlers, each working on their own regimen through the floor space. DeMott said this space is growing quickly, making great use of it since their move from FCW in Tampa less than two years ago.
We spoke briefly about all talent in WWE, not just the men and women you see in the ring. Corey Graves was transitioned to on-air talent after an unfortunate early retirement due to concussion related issues. JoJo Offerman, who became known to fans through Total Divas, is now doing ring announcing work for NXT. These two names are just two of the many who come throught the doors, and their careers take a different path than intended. DeMott made this point and stressed that WWE will not waste their investment and they will find a way somehow for talent to succeed. He brought up how if a wrestler in the past just wasn’t working out, he or she would be let go, and they could try and find another company to work for, or get a ‘regular’ job. Today, WWE is built to help talent wherever they land, and this goes back to working as a wrestler or with the talented students at Full Sail. He said it’s amazing to see how far the company has come, and now a wrestler can sit and watch and find out why shots are framed a certain way or how sets and soundstages are built.
The final stop of the tour was the gym area full of wrestling rings, and if I wasn’t already intimidated, I was now. It’s one thing being in a wrestling ring, let alone a WWE ring, but this room had seven of them (including one with a built-in crash pad), plus a full light rigging and a ramp. Not only do they practice conditioning and movesets, but in-ring entrances are done there too. Adam Rose’s Rosebud entrance started in the same room; Finn Balor is getting rave reviews for his elaborate entrances, and while he may have had the bodypaint down on the indies, WWE is perfecting timing, cues and placement.
There was a banner on the wall that said ‘you are not here to fill a spot, you are here to take a spot’, and you can see everybody in that building believed it. The building was full of people working in different areas; DeMott says he wants people to know that they all put the work in and are proud of what they all have, and it’s much more than what people get to see on TV. He said there is constant communication between the PC and Stamford and Triple H, wanting to know how they could get better, or getting feedback on what works or doesn’t.
DeMott added that they are a product of their own success here, and the NXT brand wouldn’t be growing and talking about touring if it wasn’t working so far. He added that he doesn’t try to come off as sounding cocky, but once they reach one goal, he wants to know what else is next. Students know it is a privilege and an honor to be there, and take the opportunity to learn everything they can from it. DeMott says they are as strong as their support system is, and everyone from Triple H and Vince McMahon down to guys who aren’t even on TV, are invested in making the future a great one for wrestling.
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