Saboor is Mr. WrestleMania (behind the scene’s version).
When he served as the president of the Central Florida Sports Commission, Saboor was instrumental in landing WrestleMania 24 for Orlando.
WWE was so impressed with his efforts — the first to actually pursue WWE about WrestleMania — the multi-million dollar company hired him mainly to acquire bids from cities interested in hosting WrestleMania, check the locations and work with those fortunate to facilitate the week-long extravaganza.
Based in Orlando, Saboor also notified WWE execs about neighboring Full Sail University, which offers on-campus and online degrees.
The process took a different path from the usual WWE methodology.
“John came into my office one day and mentioned this in passing that he met with these guys the other day, and there’s this university in Orlando,” Levesque said. “It just struck me as interesting as they told me about this place. It piqued my interest. I said can you send me the documentation, the books on the school, and I got it, and I looked at it, and I had interest in it.
“So I came down here and took a peak at it, and when I was here, I was blown away. It’s such a great facility, and the learning experience is so big. I saw Full Sail Live, and I was looking for a place to potentially upgrade our developmental.
“We have our developmental as it exists now in Tampa, and the television experience there was very small. It just aired in Central Florida.
“I wanted to bring it into that facility [Full Sail Live] with the ability for [WWE NXT superstars and divas] to learn how to do WWE television -- even if it’s on a smaller level but on the same professional platform.
“When I saw this facility, my visionary, Spidey senses went off, and I said, ‘This is exactly what I was looking for.’ We started to explore it further and brought some execs in to look at it and started to think about it some more and started to hash out this idea about potentially putting on a show here, and we did. We put on a show.”
It went well.
Levesque continued: “Then I started to think, I can take NXT off the road and turn that into developmental because that show wasn’t doing anything, but it was sold internationally. It can open up some time for us on the road to shoot a different show; same point and time I can shoot a really good quality show out of here and take these kids, instead of then learning out of a two-camera warehouse shoot that went no where, I can teach them on a four or five or six camera shoot with real live TV production on a smaller but same platform WWE does everywhere.”
Full Sail students, 65 of them, are mentored by the WWE production team. They are offered occasionally opportunities to do some of the work side-by-side with the professionals. Their creativity is also acknowledged and welcomed.
“The students are immersed in every one of these NXT events,” Jones said, “in actual broadcast quality recording and live events, where they get to learn what they’re studying in school at an actual professional event.”
Jones added: “When those 65 students walk out of our doors, they not only walk out with a diploma, a degree, but they will walk out with WWE on their resume. They were part of that project. They were able to learn on that project.”