WWE touts latest nine recruits added to Performance Center including ex-NFL player, standout indy wrestlers Big Damo, Roderick Strong, Tommy End

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

Roderick Strong (photo credit Jim Valley © PWTorch)


WWE latest class of recruits for their Performance Center in Orlando, Fla. includes a 6-6 Army veteran and rugby player, a 6-5 college wrestler who majored in French and Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, a 5-11 former NFL running back, and a highly regarded indy wrestler from Holland, Tommy End. The nine new recruits join over 65 others training at WWE’s training facility with hopes of eventually earning a main roster spot.

WWE touts that recruits, besides being trained to be pro wrestlers (well, they don’t us that term of course), “will be immersed in WWE’s Professional Development program that focuses on four key pillars of development – Life Skills, Education, Wellness, and Career Success.

The following is WWE’s list of new trainees and the biographic information they provided on each in a press release provided to PWTorch today:


Alvin Abitz (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin) – Standing 6 feet 6 inches and weighing 285 pounds, Abitz is an Army veteran with a rugby and kickboxing background. 

Theophilus Agbi (Brooklyn, New York) – At 6 feet 5 inches and 270 pounds, Agbi attended Amherst College where he wrestled and was named to the NCWA All-American team in 2013 and 2015. Agbi graduated from Amherst College with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in French, as well as Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought (LJST).  

-Sarah Bridges (Sellersburg, Indiana) – Also known as “Crazy Mary Dobson,” Bridges trained out of the Kaientai Dojo in Japan.  With four years of wrestling experience, Bridges has worked for Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) in Scotland, HXC Wrestling in England, westside Extreme Wrestling (wXw) in Germany, and multiple companies in Japan.  She was named to Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Top 50 Female Wrestlers list in 2014 and 2015.

-Demitrius Bronson (Gilbert, Arizona) – Standing 5 feet 11 inches and weighing 215 pounds, Bronson played running back for the Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins.  Prior to his NFL experience, he attended Eastern Washington University where he played football and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.

-Tom Budgen (Amsterdam, Holland) – Also known as “Tommy End,” Budgen has extensive experience wrestling in the UK, Japan and U.S for Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW), Progress Wrestling, westside Xtreme wrestling (wXw), Evolve, Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG) and Big Japan Pro Wrestling (BJW) where he has held multiple titles throughout his career.

Taynara Melo de Carvalho (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – At 5 feet 6 inches and 125 pounds, Carvalho has a black belt in Judo and participated in the 2016 Olympic trials in Rio de Janeiro. She is fluent in Portuguese.

-Victoria Gonzalez (Harlingen, Texas) – Standing 6 feet and weighing 175 pounds, Gonzalez trained out of the Gulf Coast Wrestling Alliance (GCWA) in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Her father, Ricky Gonzalez, worked with WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels at Texas Wrestling Academy (TWA) and made appearances for a variety of independent wrestling circuits.  She is fluent in Spanish.

-Chris Lindsey (Tampa, Florida) – Also known as “Roderick Strong,” Lindsey has trained with WWE Legend Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and has more than 13 years of experience on the independent wrestling circuits with Ring of Honor (ROH), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), TNA, Dragon Gate, Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG) and Evolve.  Strong has held multiple titles throughout his career including World Champion (ROH & PWG) and Tag Team Champion (ROH & PWG). 

-Damian Mackle (Belfast, Ireland) – Also known as “Big Damo,” Mackle has trained with WWE Superstar Finn Bálor, WWE trainer Robbie Brookside, and Johnny Moss of National Wrestling Alliance UK Hammerlock (NWA).  He has had stints at Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW), Scottish Wrestling Alliance, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and TNA holding multiple titles throughout his career. 

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