WWE Performance Center
FoundedJuly 11, 2013; 9 years ago (2013-07-11)
HeadquartersUnited States:
5055 Forsyth Commerce Road, Suite 100, Orlando, Florida, United States
United Kingdom:
Unit 30/31, Great Cambridge Industrial Estate, Lincoln Road, Enfield, London, England, United Kingdom
Key people
Paul "Triple H" Levesque
(EVP of Talent Relations, Head of Creative and Chief Content Officer)
Matt Bloom
(VP of Talent Development, Head Coach)
Sara Amato
(Assistant Head Coach)
Shawn Michaels, Fit Finlay, Norman Smiley, Robbie Brookside, Kenn Doane, Terry Taylor
(Coach)
OwnerWWE
WebsiteWWE Performance Center

The WWE Performance Center is the official professional wrestling school system of the American professional wrestling promotion WWE. The promotion currently operates two Performance Center locations, which serve as training facilities for WWE wrestlers, as well as sports science and medical facilities. The first branch, located in Orlando, Florida, was opened on July 11, 2013. The second branch opened on January 11, 2019, in Enfield, London.[1]

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the main studio of the Performance Center in Orlando became WWE's home arena, with the company moving its weekly television programs and all pay-per-views for Raw and SmackDown (including WrestleMania 36) behind closed doors at a studio in the facility from March 2020 onward. In August 2020, WWE moved its closed productions to larger, arena settings as the WWE ThunderDome—which used a larger-scale production more in line with its touring shows, and a virtual audience.

NXT and 205 Live subsequently moved to the Performance Center in October 2020, with NXT moving from its former home at Full Sail University, and its main arena being reconfigured as the "Capitol Wrestling Center" (CWC) to suit the look and feel of NXT programming. Unlike Raw and SmackDown's tenure at the Performance Center, NXT's move was permanent, and most of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in June 2021. The CWC naming was dropped in September 2021 as part of a larger relaunch of NXT, which saw a second reconfiguration of the arena.[citation needed]

History

Training facilities

The facility covers 26,000 square feet (2,400 m2) and includes seven training rings (including a special padded ring for high-flying moves), a strength and conditioning program, edit and production facilities including an ultra-slow camera, and a voice-over room that performers and on-air announcers can use to practice.[2][3] The facility was opened in 2013 and replaced the training center at WWE's former developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), which was based in Tampa and had been serving as WWE's developmental headquarters since 2008.[3][4][5]

The Performance Center trains around 65 to 70 wrestlers at any one time. Trainees have a variety of experience levels, from beginners from non-wrestling backgrounds to experienced wrestlers from the independent circuit. Wrestlers train to improve their in-ring performance, strength and conditioning, as well as working on their characters and personality. Upcoming referees, ring announcers, commentators, and backstage interviewers also train at the Performance Center. The trainees train full-time, while also performing at weekly NXT house shows and appearing on NXT television. In addition, established WWE performers often use the facility for training and injury rehab while mentoring new trainees.

The Performance Center uses former wrestlers as trainers. The inaugural head trainer was Bill DeMott, who departed the company in 2015 and was replaced by Matt Bloom.[6] Other trainers include Sara Amato, Robbie Brookside, Norman Smiley, Adam Pearce, Mike Quackenbush, Scotty 2 Hotty[7] and Sarah Stock.[8] Dusty Rhodes was responsible for developing the trainees' microphone skills and wrestling personas until his death in 2015.[9] The Performance Center includes some guest trainers, including Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.[10][11][12]

In addition to training contracted performers, the Performance Center is also regularly used for tryouts which operate on an invite-only basis and include athletes from a wide variety of backgrounds, including established domestic and international professional wrestlers, amateur wrestlers, NFL and NCAA American football players, and individuals from a range of other sporting and non-sporting backgrounds.[13][14][15]

A second Britain-based Performance Center opened in Enfield, London on January 11, 2019.[16] In April 2019, WWE announced plans to open additional Performance Centers in India and China.[17]

Use as a home arena

See also: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on television in the United States

On March 12, 2020, WWE announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic (which resulted in the suspension of many professional sports leagues), live episodes of Raw and SmackDown would air from the Performance Center without an audience until further notice, beginning with the following day's episode of SmackDown. The company had begun filming episodes of NXT without an audience at Full Sail University the previous day, although the March 11 episode was filmed at the Performance Center and was the last show produced with a live paying audience.[18] On March 16, it was announced that WrestleMania 36, set to take place on April 5 and previously scheduled for Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, would instead be moved to the Performance Center, again without an audience and would expand to two nights taking place on Saturday April 4 and Sunday April 5.[19]

The Performance Center continued to host episodes of Raw, SmackDown, 205 Live, and Main Event, as well as the pay-per-views Money in the Bank, Backlash, and The Horror Show at Extreme Rules, before the shows and pay-per-views moved to the new, larger-scale "ThunderDome" staging (under similar restrictions, but with a virtual audience on LED screens) at Orlando's Amway Center, beginning with the August 21 SmackDown and that weekend's SummerSlam. In December, the ThunderDome relocated to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida before moving to Yuengling Center in Tampa in April 2021, and being discontinued entirely in July 2021 with the resumption of touring shows.[20][21][22][23][24]

NXT moves to the Performance Center

In October 2020, beginning with NXT TakeOver 31, NXT and 205 Live moved to the Performance Center (from Full Sail University and the ThunderDome at Amway Center, respectively, as 205 Live was being subsumed by NXT), using a reconfigured version of the facility's main arena branded as the "Capitol Wrestling Center"—an homage to WWE's precursor, the Capitol Wrestling Corporation. It was designed to reflect the look and feel of NXT programming, with a virtual audience similar to the ThunderDome on an LED screen in the studio, and areas for limited outside spectators divided by plexiglass walls decorated with chain-link fencing.[25][26][27][28]

For TakeOver: Stand & Deliver in April 2021, the plexiglass wall dividers were removed and live audience capacity was increased.[29] TakeOver: In Your House in June lifted almost all COVID-19 protocols, including mask requirements and the virtual audience, and expanded its seating capacity to around 300, Those who had tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days were asked not to attend.[30] While Raw and SmackDown resumed a live touring schedule in mid-July,[24] NXT's move to the Performance Center was permanent. On September 14, 2021, the arena received a new stage design with the relaunch of NXT as NXT 2.0; the Capitol Wrestling Center name was dropped at this time.[31]

Events hosted

The following are the events that have been held at the Performance Center while being used as a home arena:

Weekly television shows
Show Dates
SmackDown March 13, 2020 – August 14, 2020
205 Live March 13, 2020 – August 14, 2020;
October 9, 2020 – February 11, 2022
Raw March 16, 2020 – August 17, 2020
Main Event March 16, 2020 – August 17, 2020
(aired March 19, 2020 – August 20, 2020)
NXT
(NXT 2.0 as of September 2021)
October 7, 2020 – present
NXT Level Up February 18, 2022 – present
Television specials
Show Date
NXT: Halloween Havoc October 28, 2020
NXT: A Very Gargano Christmas Special December 23, 2020
2020 NXT Year-End Awards December 30, 2020
NXT: New Year's Evil January 6, 2021
NXT's move to Tuesday April 13, 2021
NXT: The Great American Bash July 6, 2021
NXT 2.0: Halloween Havoc October 26, 2021
NXT 2.0: New Year's Evil January 4, 2022
NXT 2.0: Vengeance Day February 15, 2022
NXT Roadblock March 8, 2022
Spring Breakin' May 3, 2022
Pay-per-view and WWE Network events
Event Dates
WrestleMania 36 March 25–26, 2020
(aired April 4–5, 2020)
Money in the Bank May 10, 2020
Backlash June 14, 2020
The Horror Show at Extreme Rules July 19, 2020
NXT TakeOver 31 October 4, 2020
NXT TakeOver: WarGames December 6, 2020
NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day February 14, 2021
NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver April 7–8, 2021
NXT TakeOver: In Your House June 13, 2021
NXT TakeOver 36 August 22, 2021
NXT WarGames December 5, 2021
NXT In Your House June 4, 2022
Worlds Collide September 4, 2022
Halloween Havoc October 22, 2022

Locations

United States

The first WWE Performance Center facility was opened on July 11, 2013. The Performance Center replaced the training center at WWE's former developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), which was based in Tampa and had been serving as WWE's developmental headquarters since 2008.[4]

Wrestlers trained

2013
Names Notes
Adam Scherr currently competes as Braun Strowman on the Smackdown brand.
Alexis Kaufman currently competes as Alexa Bliss on the Raw brand.
Ashley Sebera currently competes as Dana Brooke on the Raw brand.
CJ Perry competed as Lana on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. Released from WWE in 2021.
Charles Betts currently competes as Chad Gable on the Raw brand.
David Harwood competed as Scott Dawson on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. Released from WWE in 2020.
Dean Muhtadi competed as Mojo Rawley on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. Released from WWE in 2021.
Eric Arndt competed as Enzo Amore on Raw and NXT. Released from WWE in 2018.
Gary Gordon currently competes as Angelo Dawkins on the Raw brand.
James Smith competed as Bull Dempsey on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2016.
Joseann Offerman competed as Jojo on the NXT brand before becoming a ring announcer for Raw and SmackDown. Left WWE in 2021.
Leah Van Dale currently competes as Carmella on the Raw brand.
Levi Cooper competed as Tucker and Tucker Knight on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. Released from WWE in 2021.
Mikael Vierge competed as Marcus Louis on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2016.
Matthew Adams competed as Buddy Murphy and Murphy on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. Released from WWE in 2021.
Natalie Coyle competed as Eva Marie on the Raw, SmackDown, and NXT brands. Released from WWE in 2017 and again in 2021.
Pamela Martinez currently competes as Bayley on the Raw brand.
Stuart Tomlinson competed as Hugo Knox on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2016.
Thomas Pestock currently competes as Baron Corbin on the Raw brand.
2014
Names Notes
Daniel Wheeler competed as Dash Wilder on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. Released from WWE in 2020.
Gionna Daddio currently competes as Liv Morgan on the SmackDown brand.
Michael Rallis currently competes as Madcap Moss on the SmackDown brand.
Noah Potjes competed as Kona Reeves on NXT. Released from WWE in 2021.
Sabatino Piscitelli competed as Tino Sabbatelli on NXT house shows. Released from WWE in 2020 and again in 2021.
Savelina Fanene competed as Nia Jax on the Raw, SmackDown, and NXT brands. Released from WWE in 2021.
Sunny Dhinsa competed as Akam on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. Released from WWE in 2020.
Stephen Kupryk competed as Steve Cutler on SmackDown and NXT. Released from WWE in 2021.
2015
Names Notes
Adrian Jaoude competed as Arturo Ruas on Raw and NXT. Released from WWE in 2021.
Adrienne Palmer competed as Ember Moon on the Raw, NXT 2.0, and SmackDown brands. Released from WWE in 2021.
Amanda Saccomanno currently competes as Mandy Rose on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Cezar Bononi competed mostly on NXT house shows. Released from WWE in 2020.
Chelsea Green competed on the sixth season of WWE Tough Enough and on the NXT and SmackDown brands. Released from WWE in 2015 and again in 2021.
Christopher Girard competed as Oney Lorcan on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2021.
Daria Berenato currently competes as Sonya Deville on the SmackDown brand.
Dylan Miley competed as Lars Sullivan on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. Released from WWE in 2021.
Gabriela Castrovinci competed as Gabi Castrovinci on the sixth season of WWE Tough Enough. Released from WWE in late 2015.
Gzim Selmani competed as Rezar on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. Released from WWE in 2020.
Joshua Bredl competed as Bronson Matthews on the sixth season of WWE Tough Enough and on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2017.
Joshua Woods competed as Preston Cunnigham Jr on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2016.
Kenneth Crawford currently competes as Montez Ford on the Raw brand.
Nhooph Al-Areebi currently competes as Aliyah on the SmackDown brand.
Patrick Clark competed as Velveteen Dream on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2021.
Radomir Petkovic competed as King Konstantine on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2016.
Sara Weston competed as Sara Lee on the sixth season of WWE Tough Enough and on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2016.
Satender Dagar competed as Jeet Rama on NXT 2.0 house shows. Released from WWE in 2021.
Thomas Kingdon competed on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2016.
2016
Names Notes
Babatunde Aiyegbusi currently competes as Commander Azeez on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Bianca Blair currently competes as Bianca Belair on the Raw brand.
Cheree Crowley currently competes as Dakota Kai on the Raw brand.
Danielle Kamela competed as Vanessa Borne on NXT. Released from WWE in 2021.
Demitrius Bronson competed on NXT house shows. Released from WWE in 2018.
Macey Estrella-Kadlec currently competes as Lacey Evans on the SmackDown brand.
Nikola Bogojevic currently competes as Otis on the Raw brand.
Sarah Bridges competed as Sarah Logan on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. Released from WWE in 2020.
Taynara Melo competed as Taynara Conti on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2020.
Victoria Gonzalez currently competes as Raquel Rodriguez on the SmackDown brand.
2017
Names Notes
Eric Bugenhagen currently competes as Rick Boogs on the SmackDown brand.
Dori Prange competed as Ruby Riott on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. Released from WWE in 2021.
Julia Ho competed as Zeda on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2018.
Kacy Catanzaro currently competes as Katana Chance on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Kavita Dalal competed as Kavita Devi on NXT. Released from WWE in 2021.
MaryKate Glidewell competed as Sage Beckett on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2018.
Shayna Baszler currently competes on the SmackDown brand.
Steffanie Newell competed as Tegan Nox on the Raw, SmackDown, and NXT brands. Released from WWE in 2021.
Thea Trinidad currently competes as Queen Zelina on the Raw brand.
Yanbo Wang currently competes as Boa on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Zhao Xia currently competes as Xia Li on the SmackDown brand.
2018
Names Notes
Allyssa Lane currently competes as Kayden Carter on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Daniel Vidot currently competes as Xyon Quinn on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Deonna Purrazzo competed mostly on NXT. Released from WWE in 2020.
Dong Jianjun competed as Taishan Dong on the NXT brand. Left WWE in December 2018.
Jessamyn Duke competed on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2021.
Mansoor Al-Shehail currently competes as Mansoor on the SmackDown brand.
Marina Shafir competed on the NXT brand. Released from WWE in 2021.
Rinku Singh currently competes as Veer Mahaan on the Raw brand.
Ronda Rousey currently competes on the SmackDown brand.
Tehuti Miles currently competes as Ashante "Thee" Adonis on the SmackDown brand.
2019
Names Notes
Briana Brandy currently competes as B-Fab on the SmackDown brand.
EJ Nduka competed as Ezra Judge on NXT house shows. Released from WWE in 2020.
Jordan Omogbehin currently competes as Omos on the Raw brand.
Nick Comoroto competed as Nick Ogarelli on NXT house shows. Released from WWE in 2020.
Omari Palmer currently competes as Odyssey Jones on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Samantha De Martin currently competes as Indi Hartwell on the NXT 2.0 brand.
2020
Names Notes
AJ Francis currently competes as Top Dolla on the SmackDown brand.
Anriel Howard currently competes as Lash Legend on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Emily Andzulis currently competes as Ivy Nile on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Gurvinder Malhotra currently competes as Shanky on the SmackDown brand.
Jacob Kasper currently competes as Julius Creed on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Sidney Bateman currently competes as Reggie on the Raw brand.
Simone Johnson currently training as Ava Raine for the NXT 2.0 brand.
Taylor Grado currently competes as Jacy Jayne on the NXT 2.0 brand.
2021
Names Notes
Benjamin Buchanan currently competes as Brooks Jensen on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Bronson Rechsteiner currently competes as Bron Breakker on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Drew Kasper currently competes as Brutus Creed on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Faith Jefferies currently competes as Nikkita Lyons on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Gable Steveson currently training for the Raw brand.
Joseph Fatu currently competes as Solo Sikoa on the SmackDown brand.
Karissa Rivera currently competes as Elektra Lopez on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Parker Boudreaux competed as Harland on the NXT 2.0 brand. Released from WWE in 2022.
Stephanie De Lander competed as Persia Pirotta on the NXT 2.0 brand. Released from WWE in 2022.
2022
Names Notes
Amelia Herr currently competes as Sloane Jacobs for the NXT 2.0 brand.
Theresa Schuessler currently competes as Fallon Henley on the NXT 2.0 brand.
Tracy Hancock currently training as G'Angelo Hancock for the NXT 2.0 brand.

United Kingdom

The British branch is located at the Great Cambridge Industrial Estate in Enfield, London[32] and was opened on January 11, 2019.[16] The center is 17,000 square feet and includes 2 rings.[33] The school will be used to train potential future professional wrestlers from across the globe.[34]

Wrestlers trained

2019
Names Notes
Marie Gabert competed as Jazzy Gabert on NXT UK. Released from WWE in 2020.
2020
Names Notes
Amy Samardzija competed as Candy Floss on the NXT UK brand. Released from WWE in 2021.
2021
Names Notes
Benjamin Timms currently competes as Nathan Frazer on the NXT 2.0 brand.

2015 shooting incident

In August 2015, Orange County Sheriff's Office deputies shot 29-year-old Armando Montalvo outside the Performance Center after he threatened them and charged at them. Montalvo was "obsessed" with female wrestler AJ Lee and made numerous attempts to trespass through the facility, despite an injunction against him by WWE.[35][36] Days after the shooting, Montalvo claimed he was bipolar when he was questioned by detectives. He faced trial in February 2016 on charges of aggravated assault, resisting an officer with violence, and trespassing. A public defender representing Montalvo has entered a written plea of not guilty on his behalf.[37]

On April 19, 2018, WWE filed an emergency restraining order against Montalvo after he returned to the Performance Center the previous month and harassed the employees. In addition, Montalvo posted a threatening message to WWE wrestlers and staff on his Instagram account.[38] On May 7, 2018, Montalvo was arrested for missing his court date with WWE.[39]

See also

References

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  24. ^ a b Dachman, Jason (July 16, 2021). "WWE Returns to the Road With 25-City Tour, Adds AR Steadicam and High-Res LED Screen". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 2021-07-21.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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  30. ^ Dias, Luke (June 13, 2021). "WWE Achieves Record High CWC Attendance for NXT TakeOver: In Your House". EssentiallySports. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  31. ^ Johnson, Mike (September 14, 2021). "FIRST NEW CHANGE AS PART OF WWE NXT 2.0 IS..." PWInsider. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  32. ^ "Intelligent Insight — Glenny Databook Q3 2018" (PDF). Glenny. 1 March 2019. p. 8.
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Preceded byMetLife Stadium Host of WrestleMania 2020 (36) Succeeded byRaymond James Stadium