WWE looks at recent Performance Center tryouts, Top 10 Greatest Announcer Calls

WWE issued the following on Friday, looking at the recent tryouts this past week at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.

Collegiate wrestling champion Jacob Kasper, Tough Enough alumna Chelsea Green among prospects at WWE tryout

More than 40 prospects — including a decorated collegiate heavyweight wrestler that has garnered comparisons to John Cena and a former Tough Enough competitor — are in Orlando, Fla., this week for a tryout at the WWE Performance Center.

The camp, one the most stacked tryouts since the advent of the WWE PC five years ago, began Thursday and culminates Saturday, and is being presided over by Head Coach Matt Bloom and his coaching team. WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry, who referred several of the athletes in attendance, is also on hand to observe the tryout.

Attendees’ athletic backgrounds run the gamut from amateur wrestling, independent wrestling, professional and college football and rugby, to strongman competitions, bodybuilding and fitness modeling, track and field, cheerleading and more.

Participants at this week’s camp include:

2018 ACC heavyweight wrestling champion Jacob Kasper, a two-time All-American from Duke University who placed in the 2016 Olympic Trials and holds 108 career wins. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 225 pounds, Kasper has attracted much attention from sports media and WWE experts. WWE Hall of Famer and recruiter Gerald Brisco even likened him to one of WWE’s all-time greats, telling ESPN.com that Kasper “reminds me in many ways of a young John Cena.” In addition to his accomplishments in wrestling, Kasper has also been a training partner for current UFC champion Daniel Cormier, as well as former champions Luke Rockhold and Cain Velasquez.

Tough Enough alumna Chelsea Green, a four-year wrestling veteran and product of Lance Storm’s Storm Wrestling Academy in Canada. Prior to wrestling, Green was a standout in soccer, track, volleyball, basketball and dance. She competed in the 2015 edition of WWE’s competition reality series and has since wrestled in Japan, Mexico and India, among other countries. Green has also done stunt work in movies and commercials.

“The British Amazon” Heidi Katrina Alavi, a 5-foot-9 independent wrestler from Essex, London, who is currently based in Japan. Alavi brings a background in acting and fashion and sports modeling, as well as extensive experience wrestling in Japan, including for the Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling organization, where she is a reigning tag team champion.

Terrell & Terrence Hughes, the 23-year-old twin sons of WWE Hall of Famer D-Von Dudley. Both men played football in high school, and Terrell qualified for regional and state competition in wrestling. Their sports-entertainment training began in 2012 at the Dudleys’ Team 3D Academy, and the Hughes brothers have held tag team titles on the independent circuit under the name TNT.

23-year-old Davin Addison, a 275-pounder from Laramie, Wyo., who formerly wrestled with the University of Wyoming’s Division I wrestling program.

Terence “TJ” Barnes, a 6-foot-7, 360-pound former defensive tackle in the NFL. Barnes played college ball at Georgia Tech and spent four seasons in the NFL, playing with the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Kansas City Chiefs.

Independent wrestler Gabriella Belpre, whose professional name is Gabby Ortiz. A product of the Ring of Honor Dojo and the World Famous Monster Factory in New Jersey (the same training facility that produced Bam Bam Bigelow), Belpre has appeared for ROH, Chikara and the Japanese promotion Stardom.

Terence Barnes
At 6-foot-7 and 360 pounds, Terence Barnes was one of the biggest players in the NFL. He played four seasons, including stints with the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars.

6-foot, 235-pound Philip Brandt, who was an all-state wrestler in high school and played Division I football at Washington State. Brandt also played quarterback at the College of the Sequoias, where he was a two-time team captain.

5-foot-7 Britani Birchmeier of Florida, a former shooting guard/point guard with Lansing Community College who has participated in bikini competitions and is currently a personal trainer.

Northeast independent wrestler Max Caster. The 225-pounder, who is a former high school football player and track athlete, trained under WWE Superstar Curt Hawkins at the Create A Pro Wrestling Academy.

24-year-old professional rugby player Tom Dempsey. Originally from Australia, the 6-foot-2, 250-pound Dempsey now resides in Toronto. He has also trained under former WWE Superstar Santino Marella at Marella’s Battle Arts Academy in Ontario.

Former NFL tight end Dorin Dickerson. Dickerson was an All-American at the University of Pittsburgh and spent six years in the NFL. He recorded some of the top stats for his position at the 2010 NFL Combine, including a 4.40 time in the 40-yard dash and a 43.5-inch vertical leap.

Texas-based independent wrestler Raul Humberto Escamilla, who has competed professionally under the names Max Castellanos and Max Humberto. Trained by Rudy Boy Gonzalez (who was one of the early coaches of Daniel Bryan and The Brian Kendrick), Escamilla also participates in physique and strongman competitions.

26-year-old Mike Fierro of Oak Lawn, Ill., a former college football player and strongman who has wrestled professionally since March 2017. The 275-pounder previously attended a WWE Performance Center tryout in September 2014, and has studied the lucha libre style of wrestling.

Omar Francis, aka Omar Amir, an independent wrestler from Nassau, Bahamas, who learned the ropes at the Team 3D Academy and has competed in Florida and Canada. Francis also played semi-pro rugby as a flanker for the Bahamian Potcakes rugby club.

Chelsea Green
Since competing on the 2015 edition of WWE Tough Enough, Lance Storm trainee Chelsea Green has wrestled around the world, including in Japan, Mexico and India.

Puerto Rican wrestling veteran Nilka Garcia. Going by the ring name La Rosa Negra (“The Black Rose”), Garcia has won the WWC Women’s Title three times, as well as wrestled in the U.S. and Japan.

Jacob Schreiner, aka independent wrestler Jake Omen, a 14-year wrestling veteran from Indiana. A protégé of former WWE Superstar Jimmy Wang Yang, Schreiner has wrestled in the U.S., Canada, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, as well as extensively for the Japanese-based WRESTLE-1 promotion. He has also trained in martial arts, including jiu-jitsu and kickboxing.

6-foot-5, 240-pound Thomas Stintsman, an independent wrestler from Pennsylvania who has competed under the names Thomas Sharp and Blaster McMassive. Since making his ring debut in 2012, Stintsman has wrestled for EVOLVE, Chikara and Beyond Wrestling, among other organizations, and has crossed paths with the likes of Pete Dunne and Moustache Mountain.

Six-foot-five, 240-pound Thomas Stintsman crossed paths with the likes of WWE U.K. Champion Pete Dunne, Drew Gulak and Moustache Mountain while competing on the independent circuit.
Six-foot-five, 240-pound Thomas Stintsman crossed paths with the likes of WWE U.K. Champion Pete Dunne, Drew Gulak and Moustache Mountain while competing on the independent circuit.

Wrestling veteran Rob Strauss, aka Robbie E. Since breaking in at the age of 16, Strauss has wrestled in 20 different countries and 46 states, and has captured independent titles throughout the U.S. He was also a finalist on the 25th season of CBS’ Amazing Race competition series.

Jeffrey Parker, a 16-year wrestling veteran from Montreal who has competed in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Japan, and has made appearances on NXT and WWE TV. Wrestling primarily under the name Scott “Jagged” Parker, he has won many tag team titles as part of the duo known as 3.0.

Parker’s 3.0 teammate Matt Lee, also from Montreal, who is better known by the aliases Shane Matthews and Big Magic. Like Parker, Lee is a 16-year veteran who has competed throughout North America and beyond, including for organizations like Chikara, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Combat Zone Wrestling.

6-foot, 210-pound former amateur wrestler and U.S. Army veteran Greg Kasper. Kasper was a state qualifier in high school and competed in cross country and track. He is the older brother of Jacob Kasper.

Rob Strauss
Under the name Robbie E, Rob Strauss has captured numerous titles throughout the United States over the course of his 18-year career.

6-foot-5, 235-pound Brendan Griffin of Massachusetts, a three-sport athlete in high school with a background in baseball, football and basketball. He also performs stand-up comedy.

Rory Gulak, younger brother and former tag team partner of 205 Live Superstar Drew Gulak. Rory was team captain of his high school wrestling team and spent a season with the Temple University team. In addition to coaching amateur wrestling for nine years, he has competed in independent groups such as Beyond Wrestling, Chikara and CZW, and he holds a win over Zack Sabre Jr.

Kelsey Hornack, an actor and former competitive gymnast and professional cheerleader. Hornack was a cheerleader in the NHL and the NFL and has trained in the circus arts of aerial silks, lyra (aerial hoops) and ropes.

6-foot-4, 365-pound Adam Kerr, aka Adam Payne. A U.S. Army veteran, Kerr has wrestled since October 2015 and has faced the likes of WCW Legend Crowbar during his career.

Gabriella Belpre
Gabriella Belpre has been wrestling only for a couple of years, but she has already made an impact on the independents under the alias Gabby Ortiz.

Brisbane’s Jarryd Kinerson Smith, a 6-foot-2, 265-pounder who played rugby for 10 years, has four years of MMA training and has competed in bodybuilding.

23-year-old Seth Manzanares, a former Division I linebacker who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 260 pounds. Manzanares played with the Central Connecticut Blue Devils and boasts impressive numbers in the weight room, including a 605-pound squat, a 375-pound clean and a 445-pound bench press.

6-foot-3, 220-pound Ricardo Miller. The 26-year-old played professional football with the German Football League’s Saarland Hurricanes. In college, he played for the University of Michigan (including as a member of the 2011 Sugar Bowl Champion team) and the University of Massachusetts.

Two-time ACC wrestling champion Spencer Myers. The 6-foot-4, 285-pounder grappled and played football at the University of Maryland, and in high school, he was named Pennsylvania’s Wrestler of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year. He also played in the Arena Football League with the Los Angeles Kiss.

24-year-old Brandon Moore. Moore was a member of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide under head coach Nick Saban and before that, wrestled and competed in track and field in high school.

Danielle Morrison, who manages independent wrestler Façade under the nickname Dani Mo. Morrison pole-vaulted in high school and college (setting the California University of Pennsylvania’s indoor record of 3.10 meters in 2010). She has also been a competitive bodybuilder.

6-foot-8, 325-pound football player Sunny Odogwu. Hailing from Ezeagu, Nigeria, the 25-year-old Odogwu was a lineman at the University of Miami and UCLA.

24-year-old Omari Palmer, a 6-foot-3, 350-pounder who played football at Syracuse University for five seasons. Palmer was a multisport athlete in high school, with experience in basketball, wrestling and lacrosse.

21-year-old Brandi Lauren Pawelek, better known by the ring aliases Ava Storie and Brandi Lauren, a model and wrestler. Pawelek began her ring training in January 2015 and recently faced Lacey Evans on WWE NXT.

6-foot-2, 245-pound Bill Gray, a former collegiate wrestler and bodybuilder and current independent wrestler from Colorado. Competing as Hunter Grey, he makes up one-half of the tag team The Pillars of Destiny.

Sunny Odogwu
Sunny Odogwu grew up in an impoverished part of Nigeria before moving to the U.S., where he eventually played football with the University of Miami. He now looks to use his 6-foot-8, 310-pound frame to conquer the ring.

Polish-born, New York-based fitness model Wioletta Anna Paz. The 5-foot-7 Paz was a sprinter on her high school’s track team and is active in bodybuilding.

6-foot-3, 307-pound Shaquille Powell, who played offensive line for Alabama State University.

26-year-old footballer Roston Tatum, a former wide receiver with the Portland State Vikings who also played two seasons of arena football.

6-foot-2, 250-pound Michael Wardlow, an independent wrestling champion from Ohio. Trained in boxing and jiu-jitsu, Wardlow is currently on his second reign as the International Wrestling Cartel heavyweight champion.
WWE Performance Center tryout, June 2018: photos
Check out photos from the WWE Performance Center’s June 2018 tryout, featuring independent wrestling standouts, collegiate wrestling stars, NFL and college football players, and more. PHOTOGRAPHY BY BOB CROSLIN.

For more coverage of this week’s tryout, follow WWE NXT on Instagram and Twitter, as well as the official Instagram account of WWE Talent Development, @wwerecruit. To learn more about the tryout process, including how you can apply, visit the official WWE Performance Center website.

Top 10 Greatest Announcer Calls

WWE posted their latest Top 10 countdown on Saturday, looking at the Top 10 Greatest Announcer Calls. The countdown can be viewed below.