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Erick Rowan had a 9 year stint with WWE

Erick Rowan points out the challenges an independent wrestler faces after signing with WWE

Former WWE Superstar Erick Rowan (aka Erick Redbeard) has laid out the challenges independent wrestlers make once they sign with the promotion.

Rowan wrestled around the world for a decade before being signed by the Stamford-based promotion in 2011. This included a stint at Japan's Pro Wrestling NOAH back in 2007. Having learned to wrestle in several indies, he has obviously developed a wrestling style of his own.


In a recent interview with Steve Fall for WrestlingNews.com, the 41-year-old discussed how once he was signed, he was forced to retrain in the "WWE-style." Rowan explained that wrestlers in the indies develop certain "bad habits," and how this can be prevented:

" You have to be untaught a lot of bad habits that you have on some of these indies if you are not working guys. And I think that's something that molds the performer is - you need to work [with] as many people as possible that are better than you... Unfortunately, there's a lot of indies where guys are stuck in certain spots and areas... and they got bad habits." [22:31 to 23:06]


WWE has streamlined its methods to train its new recruits in the exact manner they want with the Performance Center. So whether a new signee is a collegial athlete with no wrestling experience or a 10-year veteran on the independent scene, all are trained and taught at the PC in the same style.

In case you missed it, you can check out the Monday Night RAW results here.


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WWE's Head of Creative Triple H said something very similar earlier this year

WWE's Chief Content Officer Triple H resonated a similar sentiment of independent wrestlers having "bad habits" earlier this year.

Back in April, when Vince McMahon was still in charge of the company, the recruitment policy seemed to only focus on collegial athletes and not indie wrestlers. While The Game has rehired several former Indy stars, the hiring strategy on the developmental level still seems to focus on athletes with no pro wrestling experience.

The 14-time World Champion sat down with Chris Vannini of The Athletic 8 months ago, where he explained WWE's policy of hiring college athletes:

“The tryouts we did before, where there were a lot of athletes and experienced indie guys, I don’t think there’s any less of a 'That’s a rock star'. The indie stuff, half of it is, ‘He’s a good in-ring performer, but the rest is a mystery. He’s got bad habits I have to get him out of.’ This is almost cleaner. It’s a blank slate," said Triple H.
Breaking: WWE will hold a multiday tryout exclusive to current and recently graduated college athletes during WrestleMania week in early April as it looks to find a new crop of future wrestlers, The Athletic has learned.

More from @ChrisVannini: theathletic.com/news/wwe-to-ho…

WWE's NIL policy is a prime effort in this direction. The "Next in Line" program specifically targettes college athletes. Training then in image and brand building along with wrestling, with the standouts being signed with the company.

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Edited by
Ken Cameron
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