WWE Performance Center
FoundedJuly 11, 2013; 8 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, Global Talent Strategy & Development)
Matt Bloom
(VP of Talent Development, Head Coach)
Fit Finlay, Norman Smiley, Sara Amato, Robbie Brookside, Kenn Doane, Terry Taylor
(Assistant Head 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]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Performance Center in Orlando gained prominence in 2020 as a home arena; WWE moved 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 through August, when the company relocated these programs to a bio-secure bubble called the WWE ThunderDome. In October 2020, NXT and 205 Live's programs were moved to the Performance Center with the main arena reconfigured as the "Capitol Wrestling Center" (CWC)—a staging configuration similar to the ThunderDome. COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in June 2021, with the CWC becoming NXT's home base, replacing Full Sail University. The CWC name was phased out in September 2021 when NXT was restructured as NXT 2.0.

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 during the COVID-19 pandemic

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).[20][21][22][23]

Capitol Wrestling 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), 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 a variant of the ThunderDome concept designed to reflect the look and feel of NXT programming, with a virtual audience on an LED screen in the studio, and areas for limited outside spectators divided by plexiglass walls. The ringside barricade was also redesigned with the addition of plexiglass decorated with chain-link fencing (unlike the ThunderDome, which remained closed to in-person spectators).[24][25][26][27]

For TakeOver: Stand & Deliver in April 2021, the plexiglass wall dividers were removed and live audience capacity was increased.[28] TakeOver: In Your House in June increased capacity further to nearly 300 spectators. Nearly all COVID-19 protocols were lifted, including physical distancing requirements and the requirement to wear masks, although anyone who had tested positive within the preceding 14 days were asked to stay home. The virtual audience was also removed with the increased live audience capacity.[29] While Raw and SmackDown resumed a live touring schedule in mid-July, NXT continued to run shows from the Capitol Wrestling Center, in turn becoming NXT's home base, replacing Full Sail.

On September 14, 2021, the Capitol Wrestling Center name was discontinued when NXT was relaunched as NXT 2.0, complete with a fully redesigned Performance Center.[30]

Events hosted

The following are the events that have been held at the Performance Center while being used as a home arena, which initially started as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but became NXT's home arena in mid-2021.

Weekly television shows
Show Dates
SmackDown March 13, 2020 – August 14, 2020
205 Live March 13, 2020 – August 14, 2020;
October 9, 2020 – present
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
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
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

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
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021

United Kingdom

The British branch is located at the Great Cambridge Industrial Estate in Enfield, London[31] and was opened on January 11, 2019.[16] The center is 17,000 square feet and includes 2 rings.[32] The school will be used to train potential future professional wrestlers from across the globe.[33]

Wrestlers trained

2019
2020

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.[34][35] 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.[36]

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.[37] On May 7, 2018, Montalvo was arrested for missing his court date with WWE.[38]

See also

References

  1. ^ "WWE ushers in the opening of the state-of-the-art UK Performance Center". WWE. 11 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Jim Ross comments on the WWE Performance Center, working with the NFL, Jake Roberts suffers a relapse". Prowrestling.net. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  3. ^ a b "World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.: A New Beginning for WWE®". WWE. WWE. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  4. ^ a b Medalis, Kara (2016-01-04). "10 things you didn't know about the WWE Performance Center". WWE.com. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  5. ^ "WWE opens training center at Full Sail". CFN 13. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  6. ^ Medalis, Kara (2016-01-04). "10 things you didn't know about the WWE Performance Center". WWE.com. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  7. ^ "Through adversity came Bliss for WrestleMania 35 host".
  8. ^ Medalis, Kara (2016-01-04). "10 things you didn't know about the WWE Performance Center". WWE.com. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  9. ^ Medalis, Kara (2016-01-04). "10 things you didn't know about the WWE Performance Center". WWE.com. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  10. ^ "Former Wwe Diva Returns As Guest Trainer". PWInsider.com. 2013-11-11. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  11. ^ Ferrer, Mike (2013-12-01). "Ex CampeĂłn de la NWA irĂa al WWE Performance Center". Super Luchas. Super Luchas. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  12. ^ "Exclusive: How an indie icon ended up at the WWE PC". www.wwe.com. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
  13. ^ "Former Nfl Star Talks About His Wwe Tryout, Sandow Does A Good Deed, Miz To Hangout, This Week'S Nxt And More". PWInsider.com. 2013-11-22. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  14. ^ "Wwe Looks Back At Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Zbyszko Talks, Performance Center And More". PWInsider.com. 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  15. ^ Johnson, Mike (2014-01-28). "International star at the WWE Performance Center". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  16. ^ a b "WWE opens London performance centre as part of international expansion". Sky Sports. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  17. ^ "WWE To Launch New Version Of WWE Network "Later This Year;" Other Notes From Business Partner Summit | Fightful Wrestling". www.fightful.com. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  18. ^ Blanchette, Rob (March 13, 2020). "Report: WWE Moves Raw on '3:16 Day,' Featuring Stone Cold, to Performance Center". Bleacher Report. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  19. ^ "WWE statement regarding WrestleMania 36". WWE.com. 2020-03-16. Retrieved 2020-03-16.
  20. ^ Barrasso, Justin. "WWE Turning Orlando's Amway Center into 'WWE ThunderDome'". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  21. ^ Otterson, Joe (2020-08-17). "WWE to Establish 'ThunderDome' Residency in Orlando's Amway Center". Variety. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  22. ^ Staff, WWE.com. "WWE ThunderDome will head to Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field beginning Friday, Dec. 11". WWE. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  23. ^ "WWE ThunderDome takes over Yuengling Center". WWE. March 24, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  24. ^ "FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY SHUTS DOWN, NXT TAPINGS HEADING TO WWE PC | PWInsider.com". www.pwinsider.com. Retrieved 2020-11-02.
  25. ^ Pollock, John (2020-10-02). "NXT moving to the Performance Center beginning with TakeOver". POST Wrestling. Retrieved 2020-11-02.
  26. ^ Barrasso, Justin. "NXT Unveiling the Capitol Wrestling Center at Sunday's TakeOver 31". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  27. ^ "NXT Takeover 31: Every champion retains inside the Capitol Wrestling Center". Slam Wrestling. 2020-10-05. Retrieved 2021-06-17.
  28. ^ Thomas, Jeremy (April 7, 2021). "Note On Audience Changes at NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver". 411mania. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  29. ^ Dias, Luke (June 13, 2021). "WWE Achieves Record High CWC Attendance for NXT TakeOver: In Your House". EssentiallySports. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  30. ^ Johnson, Mike (September 14, 2021). "FIRST NEW CHANGE AS PART OF WWE NXT 2.0 IS..." PWInsider. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  31. ^ "Intelligent Insight — Glenny Databook Q3 2018" (PDF). Glenny. 1 March 2019. p. 8.
  32. ^ "WWE® Opens First International Performance Center". AP NEWS. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  33. ^ "WWE Performance Center to be opened in India: Triple H". in.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  34. ^ "Man shot by deputies at WWE Performance Center had previous problems, friend says". WFTV. August 31, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  35. ^ "Man who was 'fixated on female wrestler' shot by deputy outside WWE Performance Center, sheriff says". WESH. August 31, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  36. ^ Davis, John W. (November 23, 2015). "Video shows man shot by deputy at WWE Performance Center". Bright House Networks. Retrieved December 2, 2017.
  37. ^ "WWE Gets Restraining Order Against Poop-Smearing Fan". TMZ. April 19, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  38. ^ Carrier, Steve (May 7, 2018). "WWE Performance Center Stalker Arrested Again!". Ringside News. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
Preceded byMetLife Stadium Host of WrestleMania 36 2020 Succeeded byRaymond James Stadium