WWE has announced that three new top talents reported to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando today to begin working under their developmental deals – Shane Strickland, KUSHIDA and Garza Jr.
KUSHIDA’s signing was first revealed over WrestleMania 35 weekend and he appeared in the front row at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. He made his NXT in-ring debut at the recent Full Sail TV tapings in a match against Kassius Ohno that could air on May 1 or May 8. Garza is the nephew of former WCW star Hector Garza and the cousin of WWE 205 Live Superstar Humberto Carrillo. Strickland, known to Lucha Underground fans as Killshot, is a former EVOLVE Champion and a former MLW World Heavyweight Champion.
Below is a Tweet with a photo of the three signees and the statement from WWE on the trio.
— Performance Center (@WWEPC) April 17, 2019
Kushida, Shane Strickland and Humberto Garza report to WWE Performance Center:
“A trio of internationally renowned Superstars have reported for training at the WWE Performance Center.
Alongside recently announced NXT signee Kushida, Stephon Strickland, a breakout star from the American independent scene better known to ring fans as Shane “Swerve” Strickland, and third-generation luchador Humberto Garza, aka Garza Jr., began this week at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Fla.
Kushida’s arrival in NXT was revealed in the hours leading up to TakeOver: New York, with WWE COO Triple H and NXT General Manager William Regal presiding over his contract signing. A multi-time champion in Japan, Kushida has more than 10 years’ ring experience under his belt. He came to prominence in sports-entertainment after going undefeated in professional MMA and grew into one of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s top competitors. At the time of his NXT signing, Triple H described Kushida as “one of the biggest international stars in the world.”
Originally from Tacoma, Wash., the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Strickland is a fleetfooted competitor with show-stealing potential. Known for his fluidity inside the squared circle, Strickland is a sudden striker who is also well versed in the submission game, having trained in hand-to-to hand combat during his time in the U.S. Army Reserves. Strickland won a trove of championships during his rise through the indie ranks, at one point serving as the top champion for three different promotions simultaneously. He counts the EVOLVE, Combat Zone Wrestling and Major League Wrestling championships among his past accolades.
Garza comes to the WWE Performance Center as a representative of one of Mexico’s most famous wrestling dynasties. The grandson of luchador El Ninja, nephew of former WCW Superstar Hector Garza and cousin of NXT and 205 Live Superstar Humberto Carrillo, Humberto Garza made his in-ring debut in 2008, while still a teenager. Standing 5-foot-9 and weighing 212 pounds, the high-flying Garza has competed for AAA and The Crash in Mexico, NOAH in Japan and numerous indies in the U.S. He hails from Monterrey, Mexico.”
S.A.M.’s Spiel: All three of these men have huge potential in WWE as they have been some of the best outside of WWE for some time now. KUSHIDA was a huge star in NJPW and has been on WWE’s radar for quite some time so I expect him to be pushed right from the start in NXT. Strickland has put in work and I enjoyed him in Lucha Underground and MLW. Garza Jr. has quite the legacy to live up to and he has done a good job so far in his career. WWE is signing some of the best talent so it will be interesting to see how they get used in NXT.