On last night's episode of NXT on WWE Network, there was a brief interruption in between the entrances for Adrian Neville and Tyson Kidd before their first round match in the #1 contender tournament. A static-y test pattern with bits, bytes and images of circuit boards flashed on screen momentarily before the world "SOLOMON" appeared over the image of a crow.
It disappeared just as quickly, and went unmentioned by the commentary trio of Tom Phillips, Jason Albert and Alex Riley. WWE's social media team immediately picked up on it, even providing a clip of the hacked message:
We apologize for the temporary technical difficulties on tonight's @WWENXT. http://t.co/6jgh1MDZ4S— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) January 29, 2015
Indy wrestling fans and long-time followers of NXT will recognize Solomon Crowe as the WWE name of Sami Callihan. The Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) standout signed with Developmental program in 2013 and has been working dark matches for most of that period. His television debut has been rumored several times, but looks to have reached the point of no return with this angle.
The dirt screens had it that his evil computer hacker gimmick had been shelved, but those reports were either wrong, or the mainstream prominence of malicious programmers in the wake of the Sony/North Korea story has made WWE decide to take another look at the character.
Crowe is a 27 year old, light heavyweight-sized (Wikipedia lists him as 5' 10", 200 pounds) wrestler who had the most success in CZW partnering with the man we now know as Dean Ambrose in a team called The Switchblade Conspiracy. He's worked for most of the U.S. independents at one time or another; outside of Combat Zone, he's probably most well known for his work in California's Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Gabe Sapolsky's promotions Dragon Gate USA and Evolve.
Excited to finally see the Crowe fly in WWE? Get started fantasy booking his NXT debut below!