It was a dream realized for WWE Executive Vice President Talent and Live Events Paul (Triple H) Levesque and those who worked on making the new state-of-the-art WWE Performance Center in Orlando a reality.
Stephanie McMahon, WWE Executive Vice President Creative, officially opened the 26,000 square-foot facility on Thursday, July 11 by ringing the original bell from Madison Square Garden. It was a monumental moment for not only the McMahon family but for the company and business.
A wealth of elected officials and dignitaries such as Florida Gov. Rick Scott, media and superstars (past, present, future) attended the celebration. McMahon said her father, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, views the center’s opening as a very significant step, comparable to when WWE became a publicly traded company in 1999.
WWE announcer Michael Cole hosted the press conference. You could see some tears of joy in the eyes of Stephanie McMahon, who couldn’t have been more proud of her husband, Levesque, and the company she represented. The WWE Performance Center starts a new beginning for WWE, preparing the next generation of WWE superstars and divas through its developmental system.
Past developmental success stories Mark Henry and Sheamus got their first glimpse of the center.
You couldn’t erase the smile from the face of NXT superstar Xavier Woods. The Big Show, Natalya, Naomi, Cameron, the Bella Twins, Antonio Cesaro, The Shield and a host of other superstars and divas were also there. Jim Ross, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes and other pillars of the business all remarked what a big day for the future of WWE.
As you walk through the halls of the facility, lined with photos and posters of pay-per-views and legendary figures, you can tell how much attention to detail was poured into this project. The center features a 12,000 square-foot world-class training room complete with seven rings. This includes a “show ring” with theatrical lighting and broadcast capability to even show to WWE’s headquarters in Stanford.
There is the sports medicine/rehabilitation area where Dr. Michael Sampson, medical director, holds regular business hours. The strength and conditioning room features cutting edge equipment throughout the 5,500 square-foot space. World-renowned strength coach Joe DeFranco was announced as a consultant.
From there, you see the promo room where WWE hopefuls will develop their microphone skills and timing. Then they can have a role in seeing their work composed in the edit and production suites. Because of the center and the company’s partnership with nearby Full Sail University, you can see WWE has fully invested in developing its future superstars and divas, mind and body.
Later that night, WWE showcased its talent at an NXT television taping at the modernized Full Sail Live at Full Sail University. Standouts Corey Graves, Adrian Neville, Leo Kruger, Alexander Rusev, Woods and others made the most of their opportunity to shine on an important day.
However, it was Sami Zayn and Cesaro who stole the show and delivered one of the top matches of the year. Further proof WWE’s future is bright. If you’re not watching NXT live or on Hulu Plus, you’re missing out.