The WWE announced the roster of athletes at the last Orlando tryouts of the year happening this week, and as usual, it featured a diverse cross-section of indie wrestlers, former pro sports stars and fitness models. Here’s a closer look at the indie talents that were invited to this week’s tryouts in Orlando, Florida.
Probably the most well-known indie star of the December crop, Penelope Ford is one of the top women’s stars in the indies, as both a singles competitor and the tag partner of Joey Janela in Janelope. Ford has had some high profile matches this past year, appearing at All In (in Janela’s corner) and facing NWA Women’s Champion Jazz at the NWA 70 PPV. A four year pro out of Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), she’s been a regular with Beyond Wrestling, CHIKARA, Game Changer Wrestling (GCW) and others throughout the past year.
A former MMA fighter in the UFC in the Middleweight division, Eric Spicely has a 10-4 record as a pro in MMA, although he’s lost his last three fights in the UFC (his last being a loss Darren Stewart at UFC Fight Night this past May). He trained in professional wrestling back in 2015 with NXT Superstar Oney Lorcan, and competed briefly with Beyond Wrestling, where he competed in tag matches with other MMA fighters Chuck O’Neill and now NXT Superstar Matt Riddle.
A 6’6″ behemoth, Van Harrison is a product of Booker T‘s Reality of Wrestling in Houston, Texas.
Ike Cross is a 3-year pro from Alabama, who has been part of the rise in Southern wrestling recently. He competes for the likes of Anarchy Wrestling, Carolina Wrestling Federation (CWF) Mid Atlantic, ACTION Wrestling and Southern Fried Championship Wrestling (SFCW).
Wrestling since 2012, Marti Daniels is a powerhouse of a grappler who currently competes out of Utah’s Ultra Championship Wrestling (UCW), where she’s the reining UCW Women’s Champion.
A 3-year pro from the West Coast indie scene, “Superstar” Jake Atlas started out of the Santino Bros. Wrestling School in California. He primarily works with Ground Zero Pro in Imperial Beach, but he’s also worked for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), Championship Wrestling From Hollywood, PCW ULTRA, Alternative Wrestling Show (AWS) and many other West Coast indies.
Another 3-year pro, New Jersey’s Tasha Steelz has been a regular with Women’s Wrestling Revolution (WWR), Chaotic Wrestling, RISE and Battle Club Pro. This past summer, she appeared for Ring of Honor in a Proving Ground match against Women of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai. Last month she won the Chaotic Women’s Championship.
The masked luchador Serpentico is one of the hot properties from Puerto Rico right now in the US indies, but he’s also been a long time indie veteran as Jonathan Cruz previously. A 10-year pro, he’s a student of The Dudley Boyz‘ 3D Wrestling Academy (where he also acts as a trainer) who has worked for FEST Wrestling, Full Impact Pro, The Crash Lucha, Major League Wrestling (MLW) and more. For much of his career, he was part of the indie tag team Los Ben Dejos with Jay Cruz, winning nine various tag team titles.
Lady Frost is relatively new to the wrestling circuit, and in many circles is known as a valet for “The Savage Gentleman” Victor Benjamin. But the two also compete as an intergender tag team called Pretty Proper, and Lady Frost is slowly emerging as a new star on the indies heading into 2019.
Emerging Canadian indie star Randy Bynoe is a student of former WWE Superstar Santino Marella‘s BattleArts Academy near Toronto, who has competed for Battle Arts as well as Canadian indies like Destiny and Border City Wrestling.
“The Supreme King” Jumal Kyng is a 4-year pro from the Michigan/Midwest indies.
Also known as Forrest Rhines, WWE describes him as “an 18-year wrestling veteran who has wrestled throughout North America and Asia.”
A second generation wrestler, Karissa Rivera actually debuted on NXT a few weeks ago in a loss to Lacey Evans. Although she was only used as an enhancement, she must have impressed enough to warrant a tryout invitation. Her father was former wrestler Jose Rivera (not the more well-known one), who competed as a jobber for the WWF in the late 1970s and early 1980s as Steve King, and wrestled on the indies and territories as Chief Cherokee.
Another second generation wrestler, Gino is the son of the late AAA and CMLL luchador El Sanguinario. Sadly, El Sanguinario died at the age of 33 from a heart attack, just as he was entering his prime. Luis Alberto Medina Montes, who wrestles as Gino, is one of the top stars with Reality of Wrestling where he’s a 3x ROW Champion (and current reigning).
Five-year pro “The Man of Tomorrow” Daniel Eads has been working the Northeast/Midwest with Pennsylvania’s Renegade Wrestling Alliance (RWA), Indiana’s Paradigm Pro Wrestling (PPW), as well as Rockstar Pro and Freelance Wrestling.
While not an indie star – he actually hasn’t wrestled a match yet – Cal Bloom comes from wrestling blood. His father is former AWA Superstar Wayne Bloom who used to compete with Mike Enos in the Destruction Crew, winning the AWA World Tag Team titles. The two eventually joined the WWF in 1991, where the two became the Beverly Brothers (Wayne was Beau). Bloom is transitioning from a college football career into pro wrestling, and has trained with his father, former WWE Superstar Ken Anderson (Mr. Kennedy), and AWA/NJPW legend Brad Rheingans.