WWE Performance Center coach Robbie Brookside drills prospects at wXw Wrestling Academy in Essen, Germany


WWE Performance Center coach Robbie Brookside recently returned to his old place of work: The German independent league Westside Xtreme Wrestling, where he competed from 2001 to 2005. Listening to Brookside’s words on a rainy September Sunday in Essen, it became clear that he had a good time between the ropes of the wXw. Yet the purpose of Brookside’s visit wasn’t to reminisce; he was there to instruct up-and-coming wrestlers who are hoping to get onto WWE’s radar.

Joining Brookside was Senior Vice President of Talent Development Canyon Ceman, who watched the action at the wXw Wrestling Academy very closely, looking for potential fresh talent to become part of WWE’s development program.  This occasion holds a special significance, because WWE will hold its first German tryout this November in Cologne, where select grapplers from the German independent scene will be invited to compete for the chance to earn a WWE developmental contract.

Ahead of that tryout, 20 independent wrestlers — from the athletic Swiss Oliver Carter and Dutchman Jurn Simmons, to Bobby Gunns from Bremen and wXw Wrestling Academy graduate Francis Kaspin — made their way to a small warehouse in a suburb of the Ruhr metropolis to learn under Brookside. The prospects listened with great devotion to the words of the WWE PC coach.

“I'm telling you this now: Never, I say, never stop learning throughout your entire career,” Brookside said. Knocking on the ring mat, he added, “Art is created on canvas, and this canvas is also about art.”

Six intensive hours of drills, basic training and inspiring lessons followed. It got intense, it got loud and athletes were pushed beyond their limits. At the end of this day, the participants should become aware of something: Whoever does not master the basics of art cannot become a great artist.

“It was a very good experience for me,” said Marius Al-ani from Erfurt. “Once again, I noticed that you have to concentrate on the basics and convey a feeling.”

Whether Al-ani or any of the other prospects’ performances in Essen were enough to earn an invitation to WWE’s first Germany tryout will become clear this November in Cologne.

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