|Today's signees are diverse and anchored by indie standouts|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
WWE has officially welcomed in a new class of recruits into the Performance Center today. Among the throng were two names expected to sign and a third who came out of leftfield, as well as some other relative unknowns. The full list can be found at the article, but four that may be familiar to fans of the world indie scene are profiled after the jump:
Uhaa Nation (Sesugh Uhaa) - Nation burst onto the scene early at the start of this decade and immediately became a fan-favorite both in America, England, and Japan for his HOSS-heft and stunning acrobatics. He's a thick-framed brick shithouse who can do a standing shooting star press. He's been rumored to have been en route to WWE for awhile, and he unofficially signaled his signing in Japan a month or so ago with his farewell show for Dragon Gate Japan. He's known for competing for Dragon Gate USA/EVOLVE, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and various English promotions, and he should be a glove-fit for WWE with his size and athleticism.
Jessie (Jessica) McKay - McKay's signing was a surprise because she didn't have the rumors swirling around her that Nation or fellow Aussie KC Cassidy did. In fact, she somewhat fell out of American consciousness, as her last Stateside appearance was for SHINE two years ago. However, for awhile, she was just as much a part of SHIMMER's Down Under invasion as anyone else. While I would count her maybe the fifth best out of the five major players (Evie, Kellie Skater, Shazza McKenzie, and Madison Eagles), she was still a solid performer. Finishing fifth among that group is not shameful in the least. She should be able to hone her skills at the Performance Center, and I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up sitting in front of the infamous NXT Evil-Inducing Mirror of DOOM forming an alliance with Becky Lynch at some point.
KC Cassidy (Cassie McIntosh) - Cassidy is not a name I'm familiar with, but she comes highly regarded from several circles. She trained with Lance Storm and went back to her native Australia to conquer the rings there. She had been linked to WWE for a few months now, so this signing comes as no surprise.
"The Axeman" Axel Tischer - Tischer is a veteran of the German indie scene, working primarily for Westside Xtreme Wrestling. WXW is perhaps the most highly regarded indie promotion on continental Europe, booking not only the best German and Lowland Country wrestlers (like Bad Bones and Tommy End, respectively) but imports from England and America. Adam Cole, Ricochet, and Nation are all alumni of the promotion. I'm not too familiar with the promotion's in-ring quality, but Tischer does come with high marks from those who do.
Tischer, Cassidy, McKay, and Nation are only four of 11 signees announced in this round. The other seven are names I don't necessarily recognize, but two - Oscar Vasquez and Levis Valenzuela, Jr. - both have worked for CWF Mid-Atlantic in North Carolina. The emphases noted for the performers tend to focus on physical feats of athleticism but also on bilingualism or multiculturalism, which of course is an attempt by WWE to emphasize that it's a worldwide promotion. The number of countries represented, either by birth or by residence, might point to a more diverse company in the future. Diversity is good, for the record.
But in the meantime, the names that are familiar are good names. Nation in particular should flourish in short time, barring injury or SURPRISE RACISM. The emphasis on indie wrestlers continues to be a promising sign for both the far future of WWE and the near future of NXT, where wrestlers like Finn Bálor, Adrian Neville, and Kalisto are on their way to conquer the main roster.