When WWE popped across the pond for a couple of nights to crown a United Kingdom Champion, one of the faces in the crowd was Eorl Crabtree. The retired rugby league player spent 16 seasons with the Huddersfield Giants (he’s still only 34 somehow!) and played on the English national team. So he’s well-known over there, is my point.
As is the case with most people who pop up in a WWE Network special crowd with a lower-third graphic, he wasn’t just there to take in a show. In an interview with The Sun, Crabtree said WWE was “keen” to get him in for a tryout, and that the company is taking a hard look at rugby league players. (Rugby and rugby league are two different sports, but you have to understand a crumpet before you can understand rugby.)
“They are now looking at rugby league players. They can see an opportunity for them to get involved. We are big, athletic, not scared of contact and know some of the wrestling techniques as standard. Our guys could be ideal and there are training camps already set up, including one in Leeds.
“You’ve got to be tough, fit and physical and we fit into that category, and we enjoy the showmanship. The WWE are going to make some noise over here and I’m excited about that and the chance of pointing some league boys their way. Who knows, then they could be on their way to America and superstardom.
“They wanted to know what I was doing after rugby league but because of my age and injuries, it wouldn’t have worked out being a wrestler, even though they were really keen to get me training. There could still be a couple of cameo appearances. I’m not entirely sure yet, but it was something more than that.”
Of course, it’s not just a situation where WWE is looking at putting their eggs all in the rugby basket. As Triple H said back when he was asked about Kenny Omega, if you’re a world-class athlete, WWE is interested in getting you in for a look. Full stop. Of course, rugby league players already have a lot of experience getting punched in the face and getting slammed without any pads, so they would sure seem to have a leg up.