Since Triple H’s shakeup of WWE developmental, the main roster has prospered from an influx of talent.
Independent stars such as Jon Moxley, Tyler Black and Claudio Castagnoli saw their characters rebranded and established themselves as major players on the WWE scene. Under their new monikers, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Cesaro, many believe them to be the future of the business.
But it’s not just indie stars whom the WWE have poached. The likes of Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns, held in equally high regard as their aforementioned colleagues, have made quite the impact since bursting onto WWE TV in the last couple of years.
It’s a far cry from the days of John Laurinaitis’ management, when “Johnny Ace” would allegedly pick new talent from a catalogue. It was presumably this kind of carelessness that once led to his embarrassingly (and now infamously) signing the wrong one-legged wrestler.
But having emerged from these dark days of shoddy recruitment, there was speculation that the WWE could be reverting back to its former ways. Ben Kerin of WrestlingNewsSource.com reported that the WWE had signed an “actress and model” earlier this week.
However, more recent news has suggested that this model is not necessarily in the same mould as Laurinaitis’ former recruits. Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc.com) reported:
We noted earlier this week that WWE has signed 24 year old model & actress Leyvonna Zakari Swaggart to a developmental deal and she is currently in Orlando to begin training at the Performance Center. She's reportedly of Samoan decent and is either friends with or a relative of The Usos. She went through the same WWE tryout camp that Sarah Stock (Sarita, Dark Angel) went through.
First of all, it’s worth noting that the model in question may actually be Leyvonna Swygert. I could of course be wrong, but a personal website and videos of Swygert seem to match the description of the aforementioned Swaggart. For the purposes of the article, we’ll go with her modelling name.
Name disputes aside though, the biggest news for me here is that Swygert appears to at least have an affiliation with wrestling. Her modelling bio suggests she’s a friend of the Usos rather than a relative, but even so this could mean that she is indeed somewhat familiar with the pro wrestling business.
And that is very much a good thing.
Furthermore, she went through the same tryout camp as former TNA Knockout Sarah Stock. At the time of writing, Stock has not been offered a WWE contract, so we can conclude that Swygert was the more impressive performer on the day.
To shine brighter than a competitor with over a decade of experience in the pro wrestling industry is no small feat and a very encouraging sign for Swygert and fans of the Divas division.
Initially, I had been rather sceptical at the prospect of WWE signing another actress and model. With the recent rise of Paige and the higher quality of Diva matches that we’ve observed of late, revisiting the Laurinaitis formula seemed a step in the wrong direction for the female division.
But upon finding out this more recent news of Swygert’s affiliation with the Usos, and more importantly her assumed outperformance of Stock, this suddenly looks like it could be a shrewd acquisition for the WWE.
And to think I almost doubted them…
Of course it’s still very early days, and anything could happen from here on in. Swygert may not make the grade in WWE Developmental, or she could have a mountain of untapped potential just waiting to be capitalised on by the WWE.
Only time will tell, but in the meantime please feel free to share your views on this recent news.
Is Swygert another actor-turned-wrestler who looks set to have a tough time adapting to her new trade? Or do the signs suggest that she could make the grade and add to the talent in the WWE Divas division?