WWE is constantly trying to bring in new talent to become the superstars of tomorrow, and the February class at the WWE Performance Center is looking like one of their most stacked groupings yet. With big names like Trevor Lee and ACH, NXT could be getting very interesting with some fresh faces in the near future.
Two key reports, one from Fightful Select and another from Wrestling Inc, lay out February’s WWE Performance Center Class as a stacked grouping featuring some of independent wrestling’s most promising stars.
According to a Fightful Select report in October, WWE had four big names on their radar. The first of which was Sam Shaw, who is most known for winning TNA’s Gut Check tryout program back in 2012. While Shaw had a few years of independent experience by this point, that was the biggest part of his career at the time.
Shaw was initially assigned to OVW, TNA’s developmental territory at the time, but slowly worked his way back to the main roster. He came short of winning championship gold but remained a key player on TNA’s roster until 2015. He’s spent the last few years honing his craft more on the independent scene and looks to make a big impact at the Performance Center.
Fightful Select also reported WWE was targeting two big names in women’s wrestling. Karen Q, a young talent coming into her fifth year, has made her name in Beyond Wrestling, RISE Wrestling, ROH’s Women of Honor, and in WWE’s Mae Young Classic. She’ll continue her progression now as a member of the Performance Center who will surely be a welcome addition to NXT’s women’s division.
The other name Fightful Select reported to be on WWE’s radar was up and coming second-generation star Rachael Ellering. The daughter of WWE Hall of Fame manager and NXT-alumnus Paul Ellering, Rachael has already made a name for herself in just over three years on the independent scene.
Ellering initially graduated from wrestling legend Lance Storm’s Storm Wrestling Academy, which has boasted other graduates such as Tyler Breeze, Tenille Dashwood, Peyton Royce, Oney Lorcan, Taya Valkyrie, and Chelsea Green. Despite her young career, Rachael competed in both the inaugural and second WWE Mae Young Classic.
She’s also made appearances working with Shine Wrestling, RISE Wrestling, and Impact Wrestling. Prior to entering the world of professional wrestling, Ellering was also a world-class powerlifter. She competed at the World Power Lifting Championship in 2014 which took place in South Africa and left with the Bronze Medal.
The fourth and final name first reported with Fightful Select is Nick Comoroto, who they indicated was in the process of signing with WWE. The 27-year-old is coming into the sixth year of his career and has primarily cut his teeth in Monster Factory Pro Wrestling, which has played host to recent NXT superstars Jay Cutler and Matt Riddle in the past. Comoroto has also made appearances with Ring of Honor, Evolve Wrestling, and CZW in the last few years.
Further reporting by Wrestling Inc indicates all of those names will be part of February’s class and fills out the class with several other independent stars. The first one will be recognized by most fans, and that’s former Impact Wrestling X-Division Champion Trevor Lee. PWInsider.com reported Lee’s departure from Impact Wrestling back in November.
They also indicated interest from WWE, but it wasn’t confirmed until Trevor Lee announced his signing with WWE after a CWF Mid-Atlantic show on January 12th. The news was widely reported after Lee publicly informed the crowd, and there has been quite a bit of buzz about the 25-year-old with nearly 12 years of experience.
After honing his craft primarily at CWF Mid-Atlantic for the first few years of his career, Lee burst onto the national stage after competing at PWG’s Mystery Vortex II in a three-way match against Andrew Everett and Cedric Alexander. Lee slowly became a staple of the company, even defeating former PWG World Champion Kevin Steen in his final match for the promotion.
Throughout his five years with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Trevor Lee proved himself against stars such as Johnny Gargano, Michael Elgin, Adam Cole, Chris Hero, and Roderick Strong. He also captured the PWG Tag Team Championship with Andrew Everett, ultimately losing it to indie veterans and All Elite Wrestling founders The Young Bucks.
Trevor Lee also competed with Impact Wrestling during this period, during which he became a TNA World Tag Team Champion with Bryan Myers, known as Curt Hawkins in WWE, and captured the X-Division Championship on three separate occasions.
Another name confirmed by Wrestling Inc, and initially reported by The Wrestling Observer, is Australian big man Jonah Rock, has competed all over the world in the past several years. Rock initially cut his teeth in Australian promotion Wrestle Rampage before starting with Melbourne City Wrestling in 2011.
After expanding his horizons with stints in Pro Wrestling NOAH and later in Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Rock has burst onto the scene in the last year. Just in 2018, Jonah Rock competed in PWG, wXw, Fight Club: PRO, NJPW, OTT Wrestling, Revolution Pro Wrestling, House of Hardcore, and PROGRESS Wrestling. Jonah Rock looks to continue his career now as a part of the WWE Performance Center.
Wrestling Inc exclusively reported that another Australian star, Elliot Sexton, will be part of the class. Sexton, like Jonah Rock, is a veteran of Wrestle Rampage, MCW, NJPW, and Progress Wrestling. With a decade of experience under his belt, Sexton will now join his countryman at the Performance Center.
Wrestling Inc also exclusively reported three other names, including Scott Parker and Shane Matthews who have competed in Canada as tag team 3.0. The duo first competed as 2.0 in Chikara back in 2006, rebranding in 2010 as 3.0. They’ve primarily found success in Canada’s International Wrestling Syndicate as well as Chikara.
After brief single appearances with Ring of Honor, NXT, and WWE in the last few years, 3.0 now looks to bring their talents to NXT and be a part of a tag division with a rich history of spectacular competitors.
The final name reported exclusively by Wrestling Inc is perhaps the biggest member of the entire February WWE Performance Center Class. Albert Christian Hardie Jr., who competes via his initials ACH, is a 12-year veteran of the squared circle who has been lighting up the independent wrestling scene for years.
The native of Austin, Texas got his start primarily with home state promotions Anarchy Championship Wrestling in Austin and NWA Southwest in Dallas. In the following years, ACH became a staple of promotions like ROH, NJPW, CZW, AAW, ROW, AAA, and many more. ACH captured gold in AAW, ACW, and several other independent promotions across the country.
With extensive experience across the United States, Japan, and Mexico, the veteran now sets his sights on WWE. Known for his uncanny agility and neverending stamina, ACH put on an instant classic against fellow Performance Center signee Trevor Lee at AAW Pro’s “Unstoppable” event where the two wrestled to a 60-minute time limit draw.
Trevor Lee vs. ACH Trailer
This past Saturday night, ACH and Trevor Lee took each other to the limit in a 60 minute classic.UnstoppableComing soon to aawondemand.com Highspots Wrestling Network Smart Mark Video
Posted by AAW Pro on Monday, November 26, 2018
After such an incredible career on the independent scene, the 31-year-old ACH has new challenges on his horizon as part of the WWE Performance Center. While it’s not clear when he’d find his way to NXT, it’s not difficult to imagine the kind of instant classics we could see when he squares off with the likes of Ricochet, Keith Lee, and the rest of NXT’s roster.
For anyone keeping score at home, that’s ten huge names who will round out the WWE Performance Center’s February Class. According to these various reports, the class includes Sam Shaw, Karen Q, Rachael Ellering, Nick Comoroto, Trevor Lee, Jonah Rock, Elliot Sexton, tag team 3.0 consisting of Scott Parker and Shane Matthews, and finally ACH.