Inside WWE's search for the next great Superstar at the 2021 Las Vegas Tryout
LAS VEGAS – Sydney Zmrzel has been on the brink of being a part of a championship team twice over the last three years only to have her heart broken. On Thursday, she channeled that pain as she introduced herself at a WWE talent tryout in Las Vegas.
“I cheered for the Los Angeles Rams and went all the way to the Super Bowl and our team lost,” Zmrzel said. “I then cheered for the Phoenix Suns and went all the way to the NBA Finals and our team lost. I’m at this point in my life where I’m sick and tired of my championships being left in the hands of men who can’t finish the job. That’s why I’m here in the WWE; to take my championship into my own hands.”
Zmrzel delivered the message to a panel that included Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Global Talent Strategy & Development. At the end of the three-day tryout, where 38 prospects were put through in-ring training and creative evaluations, Zmrzel was one of 14 to earn a WWE developmental contract.
“You walk into this room and you’re looking at Triple H and all the coaches and it’s very intimidating but also exciting,” Zmrzel said. “I love this. This is my heart and soul. It’s everything that I love, from athleticism to entertainment and getting to interact with so many amazing athletes; it’s incredible. I still can’t believe I’m going to be going out to Orlando to train at NXT.”
The tryouts were held in a ballroom at the MGM Conference Center, tucked away from the bustling Las Vegas Strip and the never-ending pinging of slot machines. As the 14 prospects called family and friends after getting a WWE contract, Levesque smiled as he walked out of the makeshift locker room.
“We’re looking for something different,” he said. “We’re looking for Superstars. We’re looking for somebody who can break through. We’re looking for the diamond in the rough. We’re looking for the one in a million. That’s the difficult part. Right now, it’s about giving opportunities.”
Less than one year ago, Zoey Stark, one-half of the current NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions, was living in Las Vegas when she flew to the WWE Performance Center for a tryout similar to the one conducted this week where she served as a coach and got an opportunity.
“I was training not far from here when I got an email to try out, I did and 10 months later I’m here, it’s crazy,” Stark said. “I’ve had so many moments where I’m like, ‘What is my life right now?’ I’m now helping out with the WWE tryouts and 10 months ago I was one of the people trying out.”
The prospects’ backgrounds ranged from former football and basketball players to gymnasts and bodybuilders. The new signees will be flown to Orlando next month and will begin training at the WWE Performance Center. Raw Women’s Champion Nikki A.S.H. walked around the ballroom after the tryouts and congratulated several of the prospects, telling them to enjoy the moment but prepare to get to work as soon as they landed in Florida.
“Be ready and make the most of this opportunity because the hard work starts when you get the contract,” she said. “Understand you’ve been selected out of how many people and always remind yourself of that. Thousands of people want to be here, and you were selected. But buckle up because that isn’t the hard work – the hard work starts now if you want to get to the pinnacle and become a champion.”
Zmrzel is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Carmella, who was a cheerleader for the New England Patriots and was a Laker Girl before signing a developmental contract and going on to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship, WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal and the WWE 24/7 Championship.
“I admire her so much. I know she took a similar path to the one I am on,” Zmrzel said. “Now I need to finish the job like she did and win that championship.”