Marc Middleton over at WrestlingInc.com (via Wrestling Observer Newsletter) reports that the WWE has recently signed Missouri independent wrestler Ryan Drago to a developmental deal. The news was first made official by Drago himself, who confirmed the signing last Saturday at a Metro Pro Wrestling event in Kansas City.
Drago, who, according to the Wrestling Inc. article, was originally trained by the WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race, will head to Florida to work with the WWE's developmental territory, NXT Wrestling. His signing with the WWE provides a great opportunity for the rising star, but whether he will be successful with the world's largest wrestling promotion remains to be seen.
The news of Drago's signing comes on the tail end of recent news of other independent stars, such as the Mexican luchador Samuray Del Sol and ROH wrestler Sami Callihan, also being signed. With the current NXT Wrestling roster already filled with talented wrestlers, including Adrian Neville (formally known as PAC) and Sami Zayn (the former masked wrestler El Generico), Drago's chances of "making it big" seem limited, but given his past work, he may be a perfect fit for the WWE's landscape.
Though most likely to change once he is officially part of the NXT Wrestling roster, Ryan Drago's current gimmick is not a thing to miss. Billed as a "Gentleman Bruiser," the talented wrestler plays a Victorian Era bodybuilder—an interesting character to say the least.
Curiously, the WWE's latest additions to their roster are smaller men—Drago himself is reported to be 6'1" and weighs 215 pounds. However, with the success of smaller superstars such as Daniel Bryan, Drago is now part of a trend that emphasizes skill over large bodies and bulging muscles.
Despite his comedic character, Drago is a skilled wrestler capable of competing at the high level that the WWE demands, though it still remains to be seen whether his gimmick will be overhauled or whether he will remain a perpetual joke (see Santino Marella).