WWE Performance Center

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WWE Performance Center
FoundedJuly 11, 2013; 7 years ago (2013-07-11)
Headquarters5055 Forsyth Commerce Road, Azalea Park, Florida, United States
Unit 30/31, Great Cambridge Industrial Estate, Lincoln Road, Enfield, London, England, United Kingdom
Key people
Paul "Triple H" Levesque
(EVP, WWE)
William Regal
(VP, Talent Development and Head of Global Recruiting)
Canyon Ceman
(Senior Director of Talent Development and Talent Scout)
Matt Bloom
(Head Trainer)
OwnerWWE
WebsiteWWE Performance Center

The WWE Performance Center is the official professional wrestling school system for the American professional wrestling promotion WWE. The promotion currently operates two Performance Center locations, which serve as training facilities for WWE wrestlers, as well as sports science and medical facilities. The first branch, located in Orlando, Florida, was opened on July 11, 2013. The second branch, located in Enfield, London, opened on January 11, 2019.[1]

The Performance Center in Orlando gained prominence in 2020, when WWE moved most of its weekly television programs and all pay-per-views (including WrestleMania 36) behind closed doors at a studio in the facility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Raw, SmackDown, and pay-per-views were filmed at the Performance Center from March 13 through August 17, when WWE relocated them to Amway Center (and later Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida) using its new "ThunderDome" stage configuration.

In October 2020, NXT and 205 Live were moved to the Performance Center facility—with NXT moving from their long-time home of Full Sail University and 205 Live from its brief home at Orlando's Amway Center—with the main arena reconfigured as the "Capitol Wrestling Center"—a staging configuration similar to the ThunderDome.

History[edit]

The facility covers 26,000 square feet (2,400 m2) and includes seven training rings (including a special padded ring for high-flying moves), a strength and conditioning program, edit and production facilities including an ultra-slow camera, and a voice-over room that performers and on-air announcers can use to practice.[2][3] The facility was opened in 2013 and replaced the training center at WWE's former developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), which was based in Tampa and had been serving as WWE's developmental headquarters since 2008.[3][4][5]

The Performance Center trains around 65 to 70 wrestlers at any one time. Trainees have a variety of experience levels, from beginners from non-wrestling backgrounds to experienced wrestlers from the independent circuit. Wrestlers train to improve their in-ring performance, strength and conditioning, as well as working on their characters and personality. Upcoming referees, ring announcers, commentators, and backstage interviewers also train at the Performance Center. The trainees train full-time, while also performing at weekly NXT house shows and appearing on NXT television. In addition, established WWE performers often use the facility for training and injury rehab while mentoring new trainees.

The Performance Center uses former wrestlers as trainers. The inaugural head trainer was Bill DeMott, who departed the company in 2015 and was replaced by Matt Bloom.[6] Other trainers include Sara Amato, Robbie Brookside, Norman Smiley, Adam Pearce, Mike Quackenbush,[7] and Sarah Stock.[8] Dusty Rhodes was responsible for developing the trainees' microphone skills and wrestling personas until his death in 2015.[9] The Performance Center includes some guest trainers, including Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.[10][11][12]

In addition to training contracted performers, the Performance Center is also regularly used for tryouts which operate on an invite-only basis and include athletes from a wide variety of backgrounds, including established domestic and international professional wrestlers, amateur wrestlers, NFL and NCAA American football players, and individuals from a range of other sporting and non-sporting backgrounds.[13][14][15]

A second Britain-based Performance Center opened in Enfield, London on January 11, 2019.[1] In April 2019, WWE announced plans to open additional Performance Centers in India and China.[16]

Use as a home arena during the COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

On March 12, 2020, WWE announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic (which resulted in the suspension of many professional sports leagues), live episodes of Raw and SmackDown would air from the Performance Center without an audience until further notice, beginning with the following day's episode of SmackDown. The company had begun filming episodes of NXT without an audience at Full Sail University the previous day, although the March 11 episode was filmed at the Performance Center and was the last show produced with a live paying audience.[17] On March 16, it was announced that WrestleMania 36, set to take place on April 5 and previously scheduled for Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, would instead be moved to the Performance Center, again without an audience and would expand to two nights taking place on Saturday April 4 and Sunday April 5.[18]

The Performance Center continued to host episodes of Raw, SmackDown, and 205 Live, as well as the pay-per-views Money in the Bank, Backlash, and The Horror Show at Extreme Rules, before the shows and pay-per-views moved to the new, larger-scale "ThunderDome" staging (under similar restrictions, but with a virtual audience on LED screens) at Orlando's Amway Center, beginning with the August 21 SmackDown and that weekend's SummerSlam (in December, the ThunderDome relocated to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida).[19][20][21]

Capitol Wrestling Center[edit]

In October 2020, beginning with NXT TakeOver 31, NXT and 205 Live moved to the Performance Center (from Full Sail University and the ThunderDome at Amway Center, respectively), using a reconfigured version of the facility's main arena branded as the "Capitol Wrestling Center"—an homage to WWE's precursor, the Capitol Wrestling Corporation. It is a variant of the ThunderDome concept designed to reflect the look and feel of NXT programming, with a virtual audience on an LED screen in the studio, and areas for limited outside spectators (unlike the ThunderDome, which is still closed to in-person spectators).[22][23][24]

Events[edit]

The following are the events that have been held at the Performance Center while being used as a home arena during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Weekly television shows
Show Dates
SmackDown March 13, 2020 – August 14, 2020
205 Live March 13, 2020 – August 14, 2020;
October 9, 2020 – present
Raw March 16, 2020 – August 17, 2020
Main Event1 March 16, 2020 – August 17, 2020
(aired March 19, 2020 – August 20, 2020)
NXT October 7, 2020 – present
Pay-per-view and WWE Network events
Event Date
WrestleMania 36 March 25–26, 2020
(aired April 4–5, 2020)
Money in the Bank May 10, 2020
Backlash June 14, 2020
The Horror Show at Extreme Rules July 19, 2020
NXT TakeOver 31 October 4, 2020
NXT TakeOver: WarGames December 6, 2020
NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day February 14, 2021

1Main Event was recorded the same day as Monday's Raw but aired on tape delay on Thursdays.

Locations[edit]

United States[edit]

The first WWE Performance Center facility was opened on July 11, 2013. The Performance Center replaced the training center at WWE's former developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), which was based in Tampa and had been serving as WWE's developmental headquarters since 2008.[4]

United Kingdom[edit]

The British branch is located at the Great Cambridge Industrial Estate in Enfield, London[25] and was opened on January 11, 2019.[1] The center is 17,000 square feet and includes 2 rings.[26] The school will be used to train potential future professional wrestlers from across the globe.[27]

2015 shooting incident[edit]

In August 2015, Orange County Sheriff's Office deputies shot 29-year-old Armando Montalvo outside the Performance Center after he threatened them and charged at them. Montalvo was "obsessed" with female wrestler AJ Lee and made numerous attempts to trespass through the facility, despite an injunction against him by WWE.[28][29] Days after the shooting, Montalvo claimed he was bipolar when he was questioned by detectives. He faced trial in February 2016 on charges of aggravated assault, resisting an officer with violence, and trespassing. A public defender representing Montalvo has entered a written plea of not guilty on his behalf.[30]

On April 19, 2018, WWE filed an emergency restraining order against Montalvo after he returned to the Performance Center the previous month and harassed the employees. In addition, Montalvo posted a threatening message to WWE wrestlers and staff on his Instagram account.[31] On May 7, 2018, Montalvo was arrested for missing his court date with WWE.[32]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "WWE opens London performance centre as part of international expansion". Sky Sports. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Jim Ross comments on the WWE Performance Center, working with the NFL, Jake Roberts suffers a relapse". Prowrestling.net. 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
  3. ^ a b "World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.: A New Beginning for WWE®". WWE. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b Medalis, Kara (2016-01-04). "10 things you didn't know about the WWE Performance Center". WWE.com. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  5. ^ "WWE opens training center at Full Sail". CFN 13. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  6. ^ Medalis, Kara (2016-01-04). "10 things you didn't know about the WWE Performance Center". WWE.com. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  7. ^ https://torontosun.com/sports/wrestling/through-adversity-came-bliss-for-wrestlemania-35-host
  8. ^ Medalis, Kara (2016-01-04). "10 things you didn't know about the WWE Performance Center". WWE.com. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  9. ^ Medalis, Kara (2016-01-04). "10 things you didn't know about the WWE Performance Center". WWE.com. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  10. ^ "Former Wwe Diva Returns As Guest Trainer". PWInsider.com. 2013-11-11. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  11. ^ Ferrer, Mike (2013-12-01). "Ex CampeĂłn de la NWA irĂa al WWE Performance Center". Super Luchas. Super Luchas. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  12. ^ "Exclusive: How an indie icon ended up at the WWE PC". www.wwe.com. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
  13. ^ "Former Nfl Star Talks About His Wwe Tryout, Sandow Does A Good Deed, Miz To Hangout, This Week'S Nxt And More". PWInsider.com. 2013-11-22. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  14. ^ "Wwe Looks Back At Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Zbyszko Talks, Performance Center And More". PWInsider.com. 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  15. ^ Johnson, Mike (2014-01-28). "International star at the WWE Performance Center". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  16. ^ "WWE To Launch New Version Of WWE Network "Later This Year;" Other Notes From Business Partner Summit | Fightful Wrestling". www.fightful.com. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  17. ^ Blanchette, Rob (March 13, 2020). "Report: WWE Moves Raw on '3:16 Day,' Featuring Stone Cold, to Performance Center". Bleacher Report. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  18. ^ "WWE statement regarding WrestleMania 36". WWE.com. 2020-03-16. Retrieved 2020-03-16.
  19. ^ Barrasso, Justin. "WWE Turning Orlando's Amway Center into 'WWE ThunderDome'". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  20. ^ Otterson, Joe (2020-08-17). "WWE to Establish 'ThunderDome' Residency in Orlando's Amway Center". Variety. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  21. ^ Staff, WWE.com. "WWE ThunderDome will head to Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field beginning Friday, Dec. 11". WWE. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  22. ^ "FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY SHUTS DOWN, NXT TAPINGS HEADING TO WWE PC | PWInsider.com". www.pwinsider.com. Retrieved 2020-11-02.
  23. ^ Pollock, John (2020-10-02). "NXT moving to the Performance Center beginning with TakeOver". POST Wrestling. Retrieved 2020-11-02.
  24. ^ Barrasso, Justin. "NXT Unveiling the Capitol Wrestling Center at Sunday's TakeOver 31". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  25. ^ "Intelligent Insight — Glenny Databook Q3 2018" (PDF). Glenny. 1 March 2019. p. 8.
  26. ^ "WWE® Opens First International Performance Center". AP NEWS. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  27. ^ "WWE Performance Center to be opened in India: Triple H". in.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  28. ^ "Man shot by deputies at WWE Performance Center had previous problems, friend says". WFTV. August 31, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  29. ^ "Man who was 'fixated on female wrestler' shot by deputy outside WWE Performance Center, sheriff says". WESH. August 31, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
  30. ^ Davis, John W. (November 23, 2015). "Video shows man shot by deputy at WWE Performance Center". Bright House Networks. Retrieved December 2, 2017.
  31. ^ "WWE Gets Restraining Order Against Poop-Smearing Fan". TMZ. April 19, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  32. ^ Carrier, Steve (May 7, 2018). "WWE Performance Center Stalker Arrested Again!". Ringside News. Retrieved April 10, 2019.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
MetLife Stadium
Host of WrestleMania 36
2020
Succeeded by
Raymond James Stadium