Amidst a lot of talk about the direction of their developmental program, WWE announced a new Performance Center class yesterday (Aug. 30). While there are some signees with pro wrestling training, none are names from the independent scene.
The two marquee additions are Bobby Steveson, a collegiate wrestler from the University of Minnesota and brother of highly sought after Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson, and Joseph Fatu, the son of WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi, younger brother of current SmackDown Tag champs The Usos, and cousin of Universal champion Roman Reigns.
Here’s WWE.com’s bios for each of the six members of the group:
Minneapolis’ Bobby Steveson, the brother of 2020 Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson, stands 6-feet tall and weighs 220 pounds. He wrestled at the University of Minnesota, the same alma mater as his brother, former World Champion Brock Lesnar and Raw Superstar Shelton Benjamin.
Twenty-year-old Ben Buchanan is a former Alabama state high school wrestling champion from Ranbourne, Ala. He was undefeated in the 285-pound weight class during the 2019-2020 season. The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder is also the son of former WWE Tag Team Champion Bull Buchanan.
Brady Booker comes to the Performance Center from the world of college football, having played middle linebacker at the University of South Dakota. Also a skilled archer, the 21-year old hails from Lasalle, Ill., stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 245 pounds.
Jessica Woynilko is a 21-year-old gymnast, bodybuilder and CrossFit athlete from Prior Lake, Minn. As a gymnast, she specialized in tumbling and trampoline, competing on the 2016 U.S. national team.
Joseph Fatu of Las Vegas is the younger brother of SmackDown Tag Team Champions Jimmy & Jey Uso and the son of WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi. Beyond being a member of one of sports-entertainment’s most decorated families, the 6-foot-2, 240-pounder also played football in college.
Twenty-three-year-old Joshua Dawkins of DeBary, Fla., is the latest trainee of WWE Hall of Famer D-Von Dudley to be signed to the WWE Performance Center. The 6-foot-1 recruit is also the nephew of NBA legend Darryl Dawkins.
Unless The Bloodline rapidly expands, it seems doubtful any of these folks will quickly debut on television - but that’s the new NXT for you.
Place your bets on who’ll be first to get a WWE trademarked name!