Drake Younger, Solomon Crowe and Latest WWE NXT Developmental News
Drake Younger and Solomon Crowe, once opponents in Combat Zone Wrestling, have an opportunity to resume their rivalry at NXT.
Younger is the latest indy star to sign a WWE developmental deal, and Crowe may be altering his gimmick before he even debuts it on TV. In other news, an NFL prospect has WWE dreams, a New England Patriot supports an NXT standout and a fantastic event at Full Sail University is marred by technical issues.
From NFL connections to the WWE developmental system to the latest steps in Crowe and Younger's careers, the following is a look at all the NXT-related news of the past week.
Indy Wrestler Signs Developmental Deal
A master of the deathmatch is coming to the PG world of WWE.
PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, reports, "WWE has signed former CZW Champion Drake Younger to a developmental deal. He is finishing up his indie bookings and will report to the WWE Performance Center in early May."
Younger has made his way around the independent circuit, wrestling for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Combat Zone Wrestling, Dragon Gate USA and others. NXT is his next stop.
Fans not familiar with his work in those promotions may recognize him as a victim in a bullying segment with Ryback that aired on SmackDown last August.
Signing the man known as "The Psycho Shooter" is unexpected. Younger is 5'9'' and 190 pounds, per Online World of Wrestling, not exactly the prototype build for a WWE Superstar. In addition, much of his work has been in hardcore matches and weapon-heavy battles.
How WWE channels his talents in a far less violent atmosphere than CZW and IWA-Mid South is going to be well worth watching.
NFL Hopeful Considering WWE Future
Tyrone Ezell, a defensive tackle from the University of Pittsburgh, has visions of the WWE in his head, even as he prepares to be drafted by an NFL team.
Ezell is a fan of the business, a trait he showed when he hoisted a WWE title above his head when his team beat Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl last year. His backup plan, should professional football not pan out, appears to be heading for WWE's developmental system.
As he told TribLive.com, “I am really thinking about getting into it.” By "it" he meant wrestling, which he called his "first love."
At 6'4'', 305 pounds, per ESPN.com, with the quick feet required of a defensive lineman, Ezell would be an enticing prospect. Roman Reigns and Big E have successfully made the transition from the D-line to the ring. Could Ezell be next?
NFL Player Supports Mojo Rawley
It's not unusual to see an NFL player, rock star or boxer show up to a WWE pay-per-view or an episode of Raw. It's more newsworthy when an NFL All-Pro attends an NXT house show.
WWE had to love the added press that Gronkowski's presence generated. The Boston Herald, for example, doesn't normally cover NXT live events.
Perhaps WWE can convince the New England Patriot tight end to make an appearance on the SmackDown at the TD Garden on March 25 as well.
Technical Issues for NXT: Arrival
Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Paige and Adrian Neville made NXT: Arrival a massive success. The WWE Network's streaming of the event wasn't as impressive as those wrestlers' in-ring performances, though.
Many fans saw Tyler Breeze enter the ring, but the service cut out before his match began. The problems lasted 20 minutes for some.
WWE issued the following statement (h/t ProWrestling.net):
During tonight's live NXT ArRIVAL special, we unfortunately experienced technical difficulties, which are to be expected when launching a new digital network. We will work aggressively to solve these glitches and deliver quality service. The complete event will be available on-demand overnight.
These are the kinds of problems WWE has to iron out before WrestleMania XXX. The system is going to be taxed by increased viewership, and if that event stutters the way that NXT: Arrival did, fans are going to be soured by the Network.
WWE knows this and broadcast Main Event live on the Network on March 4 so it could work on these issues.
Solomon Crowe May Have Dropped Hacker Gimmick
Last year, Solomon Crowe debuted as a hacker, wielding some electronic device that appeared to control the lights in the arena. That angle may have been scrapped.
At the Feb. 28 NXT tapings, Crowe wasn't using that gimmick, according to WrestleZone.com. It's unclear if that was a temporary hiatus from it, though.
Crowe was still playing the role on his Twitter account on March 3.
This is a situation to keep watching but not one for Crowe fans to worry about. He is the type of electric performer to make this or just about any other character work.