Meet Potential WWE Superstar and Current Minnesota Golden Gopher, Tony Nelson

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Meet Potential WWE Superstar and Current Minnesota Golden Gopher, Tony Nelson
Photo from gophersports.com

A great college wrestler has caught the eye of the WWE.

WWE, during its continual search for brawny and athletic talent, has led them to take a look at a University of Minnesota wrestler named Tony Nelson.

Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via wrestlinginc.com) wrote that Gerald Brisco recently attended a collegiate wrestling event to scout Nelson, in addition to Oklahoma Sooner, Alan Gelogaev.

With his power, it's easy to imagine Nelson powerbombing jobbers in a WWE ring. 

Don't get the ring gear ready just yet, though. It's a scouting session, not a contract or offer.

Still, WWE fans are generally intrigued by new blood. If WWE is sending Brisco out to look at a guy, it's a big enough move to get the curiosity glands pumping.

WWE and collegiate wrestling are obviously two different worlds, but the company has plucked many a star from the sport, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger being two of the most recent among them.

In fact, Nelson wrestles at the same school that Shelton Benjamin, the legendary Verne Gagne and former WWE champ, Brock Lesnar did.

Tony Nelson on why he chose Minnesota

Who is Tony Nelson? Simply put, he's a beast of a wrestler.

The 2012 NCAA National Champion is 285 pounds of tightly-packed muscle, and every inch of his 6'4" frame seems to be made of stone.

And at only 22 years old, he's sure to get bigger.

An announcer calling one of Nelson's matches joked that Nelson didn't need to drill through the ice to ice fish; he could just punch a hole through it.

Power that invites hyperbole like that is a big part of what WWE looks for in a signee.

Regardless of their actual wrestling skill, WWE has a long history of coveting big and powerful dudes like Nelson. The All-American isn't just a powerhouse, though, he's a true athlete. 

U.S. National Coach Zeke Jones told Craig Sesker of themat.com, "Tony's got a huge upside." Was Brisco thinking the same thing as he watched Nelson in action? 

Nelson winning the NCAA National Championship

Nelson has put together an accolade-heavy amateur record.

With another year left at Minnesota, he's already won an individual national championship, earned All-American honors and was also a Big Ten Champion. 

Nelson earned 25 consecutive wins in the 2011-2012 season, en route to a 32-2 record.

Success in collegiate wrestling doesn't automatically equate to success in WWE, but having the basic building blocks of mat skills is supremely helpful.

One thing WWE scouts have to consider is how Nelson would handle the acting/performance side of WWE.

He's clearly not the next Rock in terms of charisma, but he appears to be a likeable guy. If WWE believes it can draw out a compelling persona out of him, he becomes a lot more appealing as a prospect.

The bigger question though is whether or not Nelson is even interested in WWE.

With the options that he has ahead of him, the grind that is the WWE schedule might not be all that appealing.

Nelson said on goldengopherfund.com that his career aspiration is to find a job within his major, which happens to be mechanical engineering, not suplexing men through tables.

It will be interesting to see if WWE approaches him once his college days are over and even more so if decides to follow the career path of fellow Golden Gophers, Gagne, Benjamin and Lesnar.

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