Fighting

A Glorious Champion: Bobby Roode, WWE NXT in Fort Pierce

The light is bright for NXT Champ Glorious Bobby Roode at a WWE NXT show at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Fort Pierce. NXT returns to the Havert L. Fenn Center on Saturday, May 27.
The light is bright for NXT Champ Glorious Bobby Roode at a WWE NXT show at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Fort Pierce. NXT returns to the Havert L. Fenn Center on Saturday, May 27. Photo By Jim Varsallone

WWE’s NXT returns to Fort Pierce at the Havert L. Fenn Center on Saturday, May 27, and NXT Champion Bobby Roode will lead the way.

“The Fort Pierce shows -- one this Saturday -- are very unique shows,” the champ said. “The fans who are there get a close look at their favorite NXT superstars.”

Those house shows (no TV) in Fort Pierce usually draw a respectable crowd -- somewhere in the hundreds.

It’s not like thousands packing the Allstate Arena for the NXT TakeOver: Chicago special on the WWE Network, but it’s still a good time.

“In Chicago at the AllState Arena, that place holds 15,000, 20,000 people,” Roode said. “Fort Pierce is obviously [chuckle] a little smaller than that, but that’s the unique opportunity. You get to see your favorite NXT superstars, who you watch on television, perform in a quaint situation. You can bring the family to it. Bring the kids. Bring grandma.”

Family friendly, for sure.

“The guys and girls in the locker-room go out there, and they work hard, and they have fun, too,” he added. “They make it a very entertaining show.”

As does Roode.

And whatever the attendance figure, the mindset of Roode and his fellow NXT superstars is similar.

“Everybody wants to get better. Everybody wants to improve,” he said. “The Fort Pierce shows, the Cocoa shows and shows like that are meant for [wrestlers] to get better. Go out there and experience things, try new things. See what sticks and what doesn’t.

‘When you’re performing in front of 10,000 people or more, it’s usually in a television situation, where you might be a little more restrictive to time and things that you can do; so the Fort Pierce shows and the Florida shows we do on the weekends are pretty unique. If you get an opportunity as a fan to come out, check it out, it’s definitely well worth it.”

The price is very reasonable at $10 General Admission, $20 Gold Circle Ringside. Furthermore -- no matter which price point -- three NXT superstars walk around ringside (pre-show), signing autographs and posing for photos.

Not only is it a chance to meet some on the NXT roster and see top NXT superstars in action but also watch newer talent perform.

So what makes NXT so special?

“Honestly, the guys and girls in the locker room, the talent that we have, they’re just passionate about what they do,” Roode said, “and every night they want to go out there, like you saw in Chicago, every match was a main event, and everybody wants to steal the show. That’s the intent of everyone.

“Even the guys and girls in the [Performance Center] who you haven’t seen on television yet, they have the incentive on these live shows, whether it’s on the Fort Pierce and Cocoa shows or whatever it is, to go out there and steal the show and to learn. I think that’s the difference. These guys are hungry. They’re young, and they want to be the next John Cena. They want to be the next Roman Reigns. I think that’s what makes NXT so special.”

Roode -- who celebrated birthday 40 on May 11 -- is one of the veterans in the locker room. He is a consummate professional in and out of the squared circle, very worthy of representing NXT as its champion.

“Being in that situation, it’s a pressure situation, but when you get into this business, it’s something you dream about,” said Roode, who beat Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT title on Jan. 28 at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio. “You do what you do to be a champion, and when you’re the champion, you’re the focal point of the company, the brand.

“You have an opportunity to perform in main events and have an opportunity to perform with top level talent. That’s the main thing that I truly enjoy, being able to go out there and get in the ring with top performers and be the top storylines and feel like you’re the face of the company, the face of the brand. There’s a lot of pressure that’s involved with that, but I enjoy it.”

What makes Bobby Roode ‘Glorious’?

“Everything,” he chuckled. “From the song to the robes, it has evolved into this huge thing. To ever experience an NXT show with Bobby Roode’s entrance, it’s always something special. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 12,000-seat arena or a 200-seat [venue], it’s always an experience, and I’m looking forward to Fort Pierce on Saturday [May 27].”

Preparing for Fort Pierce, a South Florida location, Roode literally and figuratively has come a long way from his native Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. He received his wrestling degree from Shane Sewell and Sean Morley (WWE alum Val Venis) in Peterborough. A quick learner with a high IQ for the profession, he is a former top champion for several indie groups across North America and a two-time TNA Wrestling Champion.

Victory is synonymous with Roode, and NXT is his latest conquest.

His Glorious moniker and entrance music are big hits.

The Chicago crowd erupted with his recent NXT TakeOver appearance in his main event title match against Hideo Itami.

“It was pretty great,” he said. “Obviously, you look forward to TakeOver events. When it comes to NXT, those are the bigger shows. Coming to Chicago, it was a great match for me. I’ve always looked forward to facing Itami. He was healthy enough to come back, and I thought we had a great match. I thought we told a great story. I was happy with the ending.”

Roode successfully defended the title against Itami, who’s battled some injuries through the years to finally recover and attain that main event title match.

“Being able to wrestle in Chicago, I never really had a chance to perform in the Chicago area too much in my career. I’ve always heard how passionate the Chicago fans are. So to be there and perform in the Allstate Arena, I got to experience that firsthand, and it was a lot of fun, a very special night.”

Five More Minutes

JV: How have fans changed, if they’ve changed, from when you were a fan, watching as a youth?

BR: “With social media and the Internet, it has exposed the business a little more. How it kind of smartened the fans up to some things that back when I was a fan, I wouldn’t be smartened up to. So it makes the passion a little higher.

“A lot of NXT fans who go to these NXT shows also go to Raw or SmackDown, but for whatever reason, they seem to be so much more passionate at an NXT live event.

“To be on the NXT roster, it’s a great experience.”

JV: Is making it in NXT, making it in WWE, or do you want more?

BR: “As a performer, you always want more. I’m not downplaying my experience in NXT and what I’m doing now. It’s been amazing. I truly think NXT is the hottest brand, but as a performer, you always want to take it to the next level, and you always want to get better, and you always want to be seen by more people, and you always want to perform in front of more people, and there’s no better place to do that than either on Raw or SmackDown and WrestleMania.

“For me the goal at the end of the day is to be a part of a WrestleMania, and I’m going to keep plugging away until I get there.”

JV: Is what you’ve experienced coming into WWE and NXT, what you expected?

BR: “I didn’t know what to expect. Being in the business for as long as I have been -- almost 19 years -- you hear some of the stories people have experienced, but until you experience it for yourself, you don’t know. That’s anything in life. I had no idea what to expect. I had an open mind. Coming in, I just wanted an opportunity to prove myself, and they gave me that opportunity; so I have zero complaints. It’s an amazing company to work for. The people who I work with are phenomenal. It’s just a hard working group. The people at the PC in Orlando, the coaches down there, top to bottom, the company has been amazing to me, so far, and I look forward to many years to come.”

Roode noted some of the current talent in NXT that he would like to wrestle, including Aleister Black, Drew McIntyre and Roderick Strong.

“There‘s a lot of people who I see I can go with and do some great things with,” Roode said. “NXT continues to build, continues to bring in extremely good talent from all over the world. So who knows? The sky’s the limit. There’s a ton of talent who people haven’t even seen yet at the Performance Center, who are just cutting their teeth in this business and going to be great.

“Whoever it’s going to be that I get in the ring with next, I’ll make sure that it’s going to be Glorious.”

http://www.wwe.com/superstars/bobby-roode

TwitterBobbyRoode

- WWE NXT in Fort Pierce

WWE’s NXT is Saturday, May 27 at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Fort Pierce.

There will be a pre-show meet-n-greet around ringside included in the price of admission.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Bell time is 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: General Admission $10; Gold Circle (Ringside) $20.

Visit NXTTickets.com.

NXTFortPierceTickets

@WWENXT

http://www.wwe.com/shows/wwenxt

- NXT in Cocoa

The prior night, Friday, May 26, NXT visits the Cocoa Armory at 7:30 p.m. in Cocoa.

Info and tickets, ClickHere

- NXT abroad

To see NXT in a city near you, check

www.wwe.com/events

- NXT on WWE Network

WWE NXT is 8 p.m. Wednesdays on WWE Network.

@WWENetwork

@WWE

- Pro Wrestling On The Web

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/fighting/

@jimmyv3

YouTube jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)

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