WWE held a tryout recently that includes several top names of the world of independent wrestling. Top WWE trainer Bill DeMott aka Hugh Morris ran the tryout and long-time official/unofficial talent scout Jim Ross was on hand to survey the talent.
Some top names from the tryout included PWG Champion and ROH TV Champion Adam Cole, DGUSA standout Samuray del Sol, ROH's Mike Bennett and longtime Indie performer and current New Japan talent, Ricky Reyes.
Some of these names are notable because they've been kicked around as potential WWE prospects for some time. Mike Bennett, for example, has been working a gimmick with Maria Kanellis that he was being groomed to move up to WWE. He's long been thought to have the look and style the national promotion looks for. Adam Cole has recently worked a feud with former WWE star Matt Hardy and is viewed as one of the top Indie talents in the country.
Of this list, Samuray del Sol is most interesting to me. He's just 5'6", but considering the company's concern about maintaining a Mexican fan base, he may be a potential solution. He previously worked with one of Mexico's top promotions, AAA, under the name Octagon Jr. He's from Chicago and speaks both English and Spanish fluently.
While the Alberto Del Rio face turn feels forced and hasn't taken with the fans and Sin Cara's language barrier will cap his potential, finding a lucha talent that can sell masks, has a natural hook to the Mexican audience and can speak English could make him attractive. At just 26 years old, he's entering the prime of his career.
Other names mentioned in the report to have been part of the tryout were Luke Hawx, Smith James and Nathan Banner, along with form NFL player, Lorenzo Hood. Those that attended the tryout were told they could hear back within the next two to four weeks if the company was interested in signing them to a developmental contract.
In recent months, the WWE has shown a keen interest in signing wrestlers from the independent scene—including recent call-ups Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley) and Seth Rollins (Tyler Black) of The Shield, Adrian Neville (PAC), Kassius Ohno (Chris Hero), Luke Harper (Brodie Lee) and most recently El Generico, who will soon be reporting to NXT for training.