Shayna Baszler, Eddie Kingston among prospects at WWE tryout
Nearly 40 athletes, including Ronda Rousey teammate Shayna Baszler and independent wrestling veteran Eddie Kingston, reported today to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, for an invitation-only talent tryout.
In addition to 19 men, the camp will welcome 19 women and one female referee — the largest number of female prospects to ever attend a WWE tryout.
“The fact that this is the most women ever at a single tryout reflects the rise of the Women’s divisions in NXT and WWE,” said Canyon Ceman, WWE’s Vice President of Talent Development. “This tryout includes women from all over North America, and more female athletes have been invited to a European tryout in November and an Australian tryout in December.”
Baszler, who is nicknamed “The Queen of Spades,” previously fought in the UFC and is a member of MMA’s “Four Horsewomen” stable alongside Rousey. She also trained under former UFC fighter and New Japan wrestler Josh Barnett as well as catch-wrestling legend Billy Robinson, and has competed on the American independent wrestling scene for the past year.
Joining Baszler at the tryout are Heidi Lovelace, who has held titles in Illinois-based Shimmer Women Athletes and Ohio-based Absolute Intense Wrestling; Kimber Lee, who “Pro Wrestling Illustrated” ranked the 18th best women’s wrestler in the world in 2015; Nicole Savoy, Shimmer Wrestling’s current Heart of Shimmer Champion; and Su Yung, who formerly competed in Florida Championship Wrestling, the WWE developmental territory that predated NXT.
Among the male prospects attending the camp are “War King” Kingston, a 14-year veteran who has brawled against the likes of Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose and Samoa Joe before they joined WWE; 6-foot-6, 300-pound Cedric Rougeau, the 23-year-old son of former WWE Superstar Jacques Rougeau; “Samoan Werewolf” Jacob Fatu, a member of the Anoa’i wrestling dynasty and son of The Tonga Kid; and Jeff Parker & Matt Lee, a Canadian tag team that faced The Revival on NXT TV in April.
The tryout also features a number of athletes from other sports, such as former Buffalo Bills fullback Corey Knox and sponsored endurance athlete Ella Anne Kociuba.
UPDATE: Take an exclusive look inside the tryouts with this exclusive video, courtesy of the WWE NXT Facebook page: