Well, that didn't take long.
Shortly after we brought you the Twitter rumors about Kevin Steen being in Orlanda, Florida at the WWE Performance Center and teasing a big announcement for today, the sport entertainment powerhouse made their latest signing official:
BREAKING NEWS: @WWE signs Kevin Steen to @WWENXT. Full details: http://t.co/jtUEsIa4pU @TripleH @FightSteenFight pic.twitter.com/OgwznkajKi— WWE (@WWE) August 12, 2014
Now that I've stopped hyperventilating, my first coherent thought is HE'S KEEPING THE NAME. No need to rethink some of the best chants in the business. Whew.
As we were just discussing last week around the signing and press concerning the signing of Fergal Devitt, WWE isn't shying away from embracing his independent and international background. The WWE.com interview with Steen that the above tweet links to makes reference to his fourteen year career (the 30 year old has been wrestling professionally since he was 16), his fame in not only Ring of Honor (ROH) but also vaunted California supershow promotion Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) and even mentions his finisher, the Package Piledriver, which he won't be using for the McMahon-controlled WWE.
Steen sheds some light on who, how - and what - got him into WWE:
William Regal came to a wrestling show I was taking part in in California almost a year ago exactly, I believe it was Aug. 31 of last year, and it was for PWG, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. The match I had that night, I think did a lot. I had never met William Regal before; I didn't know him at all. I had great respect for him already; he's actually been one of my favorite wrestlers for quite some time. To have him watch my match and take the time to tell me what he thought and give me advice was already great, but then a couple days later, I was contacted to see if I wanted to be part of a tryout camp. Just to have somebody like William Regal have enough esteem for me to go as far as to actually recommend me for a tryout meant a lot. Then I went to the tryout camp and I got through it, and what made me stand out were the promos, where we basically had to sell ourselves verbally. That's always been one of my strong suits - the way I talk and what I say. I make it count, and I think that went pretty far in getting me to where I am now.
The web site also brings up a chance encounter with one of Steen's heroes, Stone Cold Steve Austin, who told him to "never stop running your mouth". While he already knew that his mic work was a strong suit, Steen says "I don't think I would've had the success I've had if I hadn't met him."
He was at the Performance Center last week, and is looking forward to officially starting in a couple of weeks. Steen says that he has always believed that he was headed to WWE, even when others told him he didn't have the "right look".
Old friends Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville were the first names mentioned when asked about who he'd like to face in NXT. Looking ahead to the main roster, the confident Steen echoed Devitt's sentiments about wanting to face John Cena, but also mentioned Bray Wyatt as someone he'd love to work with "whether it's by his side or standing across from him in the ring".
In closing, the newest NXT roster member said:
For those of you who know me and are following me for this new chapter of my career, I appreciate that continued support. And for those of you who don't know me, you're in for a pretty crazy ride.
As a Steen Enthusiast of many years, I can't wait to see what he does on the big stage, and for fans who aren't familiar with his work experience a unique talent for the first time.
What are you looking forward to most about Kevin Steen in WWE, Cagesiders?