WWE finds its man
Ever since WWE.com announced that it was accepting applications for tryouts with World Wrestling Entertainment, thousands of hopeful future WWE Superstars flooded the Web site's mailbox. WWE officials then sifted through each application until they found approximately 50 people they wanted to look at a bit closer.
After several tryouts across the country - as well as in England - WWE has finally found one man who may have what it takes to be a future WWE Superstar. Sunday night, 22-year-old Chris Rombola received a call from John Laurinaitis (Vice President of WWE Talent Relations) telling Rombola that his performance at the tryout had earned him a WWE contract. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Buffalo native will now report to Deep South Wrestling (DSW) in February to start his training -- his next step toward one day fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a WWE Superstar.
WWE.com recently sat down with Rombola to talk about the tryout process, earning a contract, portions of his personal life that he feels will give him an advantage and much more:
WWE.com: Why did you decide to try out with WWE?
Chris Rombola: I had my heart set on this a long time ago. Every semester when registering for college, I waited to register on the very first day of classes because I was always ready to drop out and go straight to wrestling school somewhere. I also went to the Harley Race Pro Wrestling Camp in September just because I couldn't wait anymore. I only had one more semester left of school, but I just couldn't wait to get a foot in the door. I just needed to get a taste of it.
WWE.com: How does it feel to be the first person selected from the WWE tryouts?
Rombola: It makes me feel pretty good. I'm also a little nervous because I feel like I now have something to live up to, but that's a good kind of nervousness to have, I guess.
WWE.com: Can you give us an example of the things you had to do at the tryout?
Rombola: They ran us through Bill DeMott's warm-up routine in Deep South Wrestling. It was about 650 squats, broken up by running up the 100 level section of the arena.
WWE.com: What do you think caught the eye of the WWE officials watching your tryout?
Rombola: I just gave it my all. I've been working at this ever since I was 15 years old. I was 6 foot 4 then too, but I was only about 150 pounds. And I knew I had to do something to change that.
WWE.com: What types of things did you do to make the change?
Rombola: I completely dedicated myself to weight training. I remember on prom night, when kids were getting ready for their big night, I was in my basement doing preacher curls. I remember sitting there that night in the basement thinking "someday I'm going to have somebody to tell this to and it's going to pay off in the end."
WWE.com: You're obviously a fan of WWE. Which Superstar most influenced you to get into wrestling?
Rombola: The guy that first got me into wrestling was Stone Cold. He caught my eye in 1998 when I was 15. And I still remember my birthday when Austin lost the WWE Championship to Kane at King of the Ring. I was devastated. It was like losing a family member. Then the next night he got a rematch and won the title back. It was like the celebration of the century for me. It made my birthday.
WWE.com: Which Superstars of today do you look up to?
Rombola: I really like Chris Benoit. Also, Kenta Kobashi -- he's one of my all-time favorites.
WWE.com: What makes you think you can be a WWE Superstar?
Rombola: I'm willing to give it everything that I have. I know that there may be some things that I may not be able to do right off the bat. But I will be able to train my body or my mind to push myself that much further.
Also, I have a great deal of life experience that I think I will be able to draw from that can come out in the ring or in promos and interviews. I've been clinically depressed since I was 15. The depression that I have experienced is not a crutch in any way. I actually look at it as a blessing because it gives me so many different experiences and emotions to draw upon. Hopefully, I'll be able to draw upon these emotions in ways that others cannot. This isn't just about wrestling to me. It's about the emotions and connecting with the fans.