WWE searches for its next Superstar at talent tryout in Shanghai, China
Forty athletes from China and Southeast Asia have their chance to impress WWE talent scouts this week as officials hold a tryout in Shanghai, the second-ever camp that WWE has hosted in China.
WWE’s first tryout in the country, in 2016, was a boon for the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., leading to the signing of seven new recruits. Since then, several of those athletes have blossomed into full-bore NXT Superstars, such as former Mae Young Classic competitor Xia Li and Boa, who recently made his WWE Network debut in the NXT Breakout Tournament.
This week’s camp features 30 men and 10 women, with athletes hailing from mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. WWE PC Head Coach Matt Bloom is leading the tryout with help from coaches Robbie Brookside, Serena Deeb and Johnny Moss.
Several NXT Superstars are also on hand to help guide the prospects through drills. They include Xia Li, Boa, Rocky (another recruit from the 2016 China tryout), Reina González and Kona Reeves, as well as referee Jessika Carr.
The WWE hopefuls at the tryout bring a diverse set of athletic backgrounds, from sports-entertainment and mixed martial arts, to boxing and bodybuilding. Among those in attendance are:
Jiang Zhu, a 6-foot-3, 227-pounder from China who has wrestled for Japan’s NOAH organization.
Champion boxer Peng Qu, who stands 6-foot-3, weighs 210 pounds and holds a 14-2-1 professional record. He is widely considered to be one of China’s top boxers.
Japanese wrestler Sojiro Higuchi, a protégé of former WWE Superstar Tajiri who competes under the name Jiro Kuroshio. The eight-year ring veteran has faced the likes of Shinjiro Otani and former ECW Champion Masato Tanaka over the course of his career.
Alexis Lee, a 23-year-old who has been hailed as Singapore’s first female wrestler. Lee brings international experience to the camp, having competed in the United States and Australia, in addition to her native country.
Yuan Gao, a stalwart of China’s We Love Wrestling organization. The 27-year-old goes by monikers such as “The Insolent Devil” and “The Best Wrestler in China.”
Singapore Pro Wrestling co-founder “The Statement” Andruew Tang. In addition to battling Southeast Asia’s top prospects, Tang has fought matches against former WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne and former WWE Tag Team Champion René Duprée.
- The self-proclaimed “Queen of Philippine Wrestling” Vernice Crystal Gabriel. Since making her debut in 2016, Crystal has competed throughout Southeast Asia, including in Thailand and Malaysia.
Check out photos from Day 1 of the tryout below, and for more information on WWE’s talent recruitment efforts, including how to apply for a tryout, visit WWEPerformanceCenter.com.