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Mercedes Martinez headlines new WWE Performance Center class on Tuesday, works NXT on Wednesday

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This seems like it’s probably a record.

We’d heard indie legend Mercedes Martinez (real name Jazmin Benitez) had signed with WWE, so the announcement yesterday (Jan. 14) that she was one of the big names in the newest Performance Center class wasn’t a surprise. It also isn’t shocking that she’ll quickly be used on television - in addition to almost two decades in the business, she’s worked two Mae Young Classics and several NXT episodes for Triple H.

But one day between official introduction and first match has to be a record.

It was revealed on this week’s episode of WWE Backstage that Martinez will take part in tonight’s battle royal to determine the #1 contender for Rhea Ripley’s NXT Women’s title (after Toni Storm’s shot at Worlds Collide on Jan. 25, presumably).

We’ll see if this is another one-off appearance for Martinez, or if she’ll be a regular presence in the black-and-gold brand’s women’s division from here on out. Expect to wait longer before we meet the other members of her PC class...

  • Emily Andzulis - 27 year old amateur martial artist who competed on Dwayne Johnson’s Titan Games reality competition show, winning the title of Female Titan.
  • Anthony Francis - a 29 year old former NFL defensive tackle; he was with Seattle, Washington & Miami in his five year pro football career.
  • Jake Atlas (real name Kenny Marquez) - indie wrestler from California with a background in gymnastics & cheerleading. The 25 year old appeared on Stephanie McMahon’s episode of Undercover Boss and told her he wanted to be the first openly gay WWE champion.
  • Sidney Bateman - 27 year old acrobat who toured with Cirque du Soleil
  • Zechariah Smith - a seven foot, 300+ pound former college and international basketball player; the 28 year old also performed with the Harlem Globetrotters as a member of their long-suffering opponents, the Washington Generals.

Lots of potential and interesting stories in that group. We’ll see what the future brings for all of them, but for now the focus is on Martinez:

Congrats to Mercedes and the entire class! Join us in our NXT live blog tonight to see how the veteran does in her first match under a long-term WWE deal.