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WWE announces new NXT class, including Athena, Rich Swann, Biff Busick and lots of Tough Enough alumni

There aren't a ton of surprises in this morning's announcement of 19 new signees to WWE's developmental program. Many of the names have been rumored for a while, and others have been seen in NXT TakeOver crowd shots or on Breaking Ground.

It's still exciting to see their names (in the case of a couple of independent talents, names by which we're not used to seeing them refered) on

While internet fans may be most excited about Rich Swann, Biff Busick (Christopher Gerard) and Athena (Adrienne Reese), the statement heavily emphasizes the quantity of talent that company found on the latest season of their Tough Enough reality competition show. Though WWE has often signed a lot more than just the winners of that show, promoting this class like this could be seen as a sign that the TE brand is important to them moving forward. Despite low ratings for the 2015 version on USA Network, rumors is that the show will continue somewhere in some form, and they may want to send the message that fans should keep an eye on the show if they want to see future NXT and possibly main roster Superstars.

Here's the rundown of talent from the official press release:

Mada Abdelhamid (Los Angeles) — Former Tough Enoughcompetitor, standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 275 pounds. Abdelhamid was born in Egypt, where he played professional basketball until 2011 and is the former trainer for "Game of Thrones" actor Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo). He is fluent in Arabic.

Christopher Atkins (Melbourne, Australia) — Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 250 pounds, Atkins is a former bodybuilder who has competed in New Aussie Wrestling, where he trained under George Julio and Craig Cole. Atkins also trained under Shane Trikki in Professional Championship Wrestling (PCW).

Daria Berenato (Los Angeles) — Former Tough Enoughcompetitor, standing 5-foot-7. Berenato comes from a mixed martial arts background and is the former co-host of the YouTube show "UFC AfterBuzz."

Cezar Bononi (Sao Paulo, Brazil) — Competed in the Brazilian Wrestling Federation and is a former three-time state champion in the Sao Paulo Football League, where he was captain of the All-Brazilian Football Team and named "Best Tight End." He is fluent in Portuguese.

Josh Bredl (Denver) — Male winner of WWE Tough Enough and current cast member of the new WWE Network original series Breaking Ground. Standing 6-foot-7 and weighing 290 pounds, Bredl was one of the top football recruits in Colorado coming out of high school. Following a standout collegiate career at Colorado State University-Pablo that saw him named to the All-Conference team and defensive captain, Bredl had a short stint with the Green Bay Packers in the NFL.

Patrick Clark (Washington, D.C.) — Former Tough Enough competitor with experience in the Mid Atlantic Wrestling Association. Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 220 pounds, Clark spent 10 years in the JROTC program and also wrestled for Forestville Military Academy from 2011 to 2013.

Gabriel Ealy (Milwaukee) — Trained under Angel Armani at MIAW Wrestling and performed as an extra on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown in September 2014. A former Ford Model, he has been featured in television commercials and print publications. He has an identical twin brother named Uriel.

Uriel Ealy (Milwaukee) — Trained under Angel Armani at MIAW Wrestling and performed as an extra on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown in September 2014. A former high school basketball standout at Pinson Valley High School in Birmingham, Ala., he has an identical twin brother named Gabriel.

Christopher Girard (Boston) — Trained under Mike Hollow at Chaotic Training Center (CTC) in 2008 before moving to Calgary, Alberta, Canada to train with Lance Storm in 2010. He previously worked for EVOLVE, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Dragon Gate USA, wXw (Germany), Southside Wrestling Entertainment (United Kingdom), Beyond Wrestling, 2CW, Top Rope Promotions, and Combat Zone Wrestling.

Dallas Harper (Canton, Ohio) — Trained under Jimmie Lee at ASWA Professional Wrestling in Mansfield, Ohio, and also worked with Anarchy Wrestling out of Cornelia, Ga. He is a former high school basketball standout at Perry High School in Massilon, Ohio.

Adrian Jaoude (Beirut, Lebanon) — A world-class amateur wrestler who has competed in state, regional and national competitions. Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing 220 pounds, Jaoude was named "Best Brazilian Wrestler" for the junior category in 2000 and the senior category in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2012. He comes from a legendary family of Aikido martial artists and is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic.

Sara Lee (Hope, Michigan) — Female winner of WWE Tough Enough. Prior to Tough Enough, Lee was studying to become an ultrasound technician. In addition to her studies, Lee was a competitive power lifter. At 5-foot-6, she can squat an impressive 230 pounds.

Zamariah "ZZ" Loupe (Thibodeau, La.) — Male runner-up on WWE Tough Enough and current cast member on the new WWE Network original series, Breaking Ground. At 6-foot-2 and 280 pounds, Loupe was the youngest of the Tough Enough competitors at age 19. When back in Louisiana, Loupe often wrestles alligators and has one for a pet, named "Mr. Gator."

Daniel Matha (Erie, Pa.) — Trained under Matt Cappotelli at Ohio Valley Wrestling. Former offensive lineman for the University of Pittsburgh, where he played for head coach Dave Wannstedt and with current Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy. Named First Team Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AAAA All-State as a junior and senior at Erie McDowell High School in Erie, Pa.

Eddie Orengo (Newark, N.J.) — Referee who has previously worked with Jersey All-Pro Wrestling, Northeast Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling, The Monster Factory, Family Wrestling Entertainment, Pro Wrestling Syndicate, wXw Wrestling and International Wrestling Association (Puerto Rico) among others. He is fluent in Spanish and English.

Adrienne Reese (Dallas) — Trained with WWE Hall of Famer Booker T at Professional Wrestling Alliance (PWA), where she became PWA Women's Champion. Prior to training with Booker T, she trained with Rodney Mack. She has more than six years of experience wrestling for the likes of Ring of Honor/Women of Honor, Shimmer Women Athletes, Women Superstars Uncensored, Absolute Intense Wrestling and Anarchy Championship Wrestling.

Amanda Saccomano (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) — Tough Enough female runner-up and current Total Divas cast member. Standing 5-foot-5, Saccomanno was crowned the 2014 World Beauty Fitness & Fashion Bikini Champion. Over the years, she has been featured in multiple fitness publications, including "Fitness Gurls Magazine," "Fit & Firm Magazine" and "FitFemme Magazine" for her work in the industry. Saccomanno graduated from Iona College where she received a B.A. in Speech Language Pathology.

Gzim Selmani (Huizen, Netherlands) — 2013 Rough Diamond League (RDL) Kickboxing Champion and former MMA professional with Bellator MMA. He is fluent in English, Dutch and Albanian.

Richard Swann (Baltimore) — Former Dragon Gate USA Tag Team Champion and also wrestled for Dragon Gate, Japan from 2010 to 2013. He previously worked for EVOLVE Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling (USA), wXw (Germany) and Revolution Pro Wrestling (United Kingdom).

Stay tuned to see how they fare, and to see if adding them to the mix of the reported 57 other talents already training at the Orlando, Florida Performance Center leads to some releases.

Excited by the class? Surprised by any of the names? Sound off below, Cagesiders.

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