Oba Femi WWE NXT
Photo Credit: WWE

Oba Femi Highlights How His College Career Prepared Him For WWE

In a short period, the 2023 NXT Men’s Breakout Tournament Winner Oba Femi has seen a lot of success. He is the current NXT North American Champion. It is to be noted that before signing with WWE, Femi was a Track and field athlete in college.

During an exclusive interview with Wrestlezone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard, Oba Femi shared how his college career helped his professional wrestling career.

Prior to joining WWE, Femi (Isaac Odugbesan) was a track and field star at the University of Alabama. He won a shot put title at the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships in 2021 and 2022, and an outdoor title in 2022. He signed with WWE as part of its NIL program.

Those reps build you

“Ooh! Reps. Reps. One thing about being a thrower is, you have your circle, you have your shot put your discus, whatever implements you have,” Oba Femi explained. “Your javelin, whatever it is. And you do constant repetitions of the same thing. And it was boring. Monotonous. Sometimes, excruciatingly, painfully average. Especially on a bad day. Imagine you are not having a good day, and you just have to do the exact same motion that you are not successfully executing. Over and over again. But, those reps build you.

“That’s the same mentality I have when it comes to professional wrestling. I’m a very big drill guy. I don’t always believe in adjusting things on the fly, even though, that is another really good skill in and of itself,” he noted. “I believe if you drill something into your brain hard enough, it will stick. It will become second nature. If I want to get good at anything, the first thing I do and the first thing I think of is drills. And that’s the biggest takeaway that track and field gave me.”

Oba Femi on getting comfortable in the ring

Pritchard also asked if getting reps in the ring in the form of live event matches was a comparable situation. He said those reps are important, then highlighted another thing being a college athlete taught him.

“People will perceive the ring at the [WWE Performance Center] and the ring in the NXT arena as two different places. Because, back in the day, I had of course, we had shot put grounds, we had our stomping grounds, our own rings, and then we would travel to, I don’t know, Indiana. And we would go compete in their [facilities],” he explained.

“At some point, you have to get over the fact that this is Indiana, and it’s a different place, and it’s a different weather, and all that jazz,” Oba Femi added. “That’s the same mentality here. Some people excel very well at the PC with no eyes on them. And then when they go to the live events and they go on NXT, they fumble, they drop the ball, they mess up or whatever. You just have to remember that the ring has four corners at the PC, the ring has four corners in the NXT arena.”

Watch our full interview with Oba Femi below:

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