WWE signees tend to fall into one of the following categories: complete unknowns or those brand-new to the pro wrestling game; independent wrestlers who are young and show a ton of promise, who will spend time in the Performance Center before eventually graduating to NXT; indie darling superstars with a ton of buzz and a built-in following who make their debut on NXT to lend credibility and depth to the roster; established TNA veterans who help out the NXT roster by being locker room leaders; and AJ Styles.
Now it looks like we can add some names to that “indie darling” group. We had previously reported that WWE was close to signing EVOLVE star Tommy End and Irish standout Big Damo (just don’t pay attention to the fact that we completely whiffed on Moose). Now their signings are officially official. Congrats to Big End!
On Wednesday, WWE.com officially announced that End, Damo and “Crazy” Mary Dobson (who has made appearances on NXT television before) have reported to the Performance Center to begin their employment under developmental contracts.
The full WWE press release is below:
Tommy End, Big Damo and “Crazy” Mary Dobson join WWE Performance Center
Three internationally acclaimed Superstars have arrived at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., to begin training.
Tom Budgen, Damian Mackle and Sarah Bridges — known around the world as Tommy End, Big Damo and “Crazy” Mary Dobson, respectively — are among the newest signees to WWE developmental contracts. Their official start in Orlando comes after months of speculation that all three were on their way to WWE and NXT.
Tom Budgen is a 14-year veteran from Amsterdam who boasts an extensive background in kickboxing and pencak silat, a class of Indonesian martial arts that involves grappling, striking and weapon fighting. Trained by the likes of Chris Hero, Nigel McGuinness and MMA pioneer Bob Schrijber, “The Anti-Hero” has emerged as one of wrestling’s most prolific and dangerous strikers, a tatted, black-metal mutilator whose kicks, elbows and knees threaten to cave in skulls. Budgen competed across Europe, Japan and the U.S., including with EVOLVE Wrestling, London’s PROGRESS Wrestling, Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling and California’s Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.
Damian Mackle comes to the Performance Center from Northern Ireland, where the barrel-chested brute is called “The Beast of Belfast.” Inspired by local hero and legendary tough man Fit Finlay, Mackle made his ring debut in 2005, and has studied under former WWE Universal and NXT Champion Finn Bálor and current NXT coach Robbie Brookside. At 6-foot-3 and more than 300 pounds, Mackle was a premier super-heavyweight on the independent scene, having wrestled under the banners of U.K.-based Insane Championship Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling and New England-based Beyond Wrestling, among other organizations. He has also locked horns with Samoa Joe and NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura in the past.
Indiana native Sarah Bridges, meanwhile, brings nearly brings nearly five years’ experience to the WWE Performance Center. Only 23 years old, Bridges has toured throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Europe, as well as Japan, where she also lived and trained under former WWE Superstar Taka Michinoku. Initially carving her niche in the hardcore-wrestling circuit, Bridges has competed in Shimmer Women Athletes, Shine Wrestling and Ring of Honor. She is often recognized for her war paint and for entering the ring in an eerie hockey mask straight out of “Friday the 13th.” Outside of wrestling, Bridges trains in Olympic weightlifting and has won several competitions.
Best of luck to these three, who we should begin seeing on NXT television sooner rather than later.