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WWE has come to terms with a contract with Jonah Rock out of Australia according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer. Rock is expected to join Trevor Lee, Shane Strickland, and ACH in reporting to NXT in January. Rock is the latest name to be revealed as joining the upcoming class expected to report to the WWE PC in January. WWE also recently signed European standout wrestler WALTER, but he is expected to wrestle primarily in Europe for WWE while occasionally making appearances on the main NXT brand in the U.S.
Rock had appeared in PWG in the past, but hadn’t made an impact on the U.S. independent scene. It was thought perhaps Rock would crack the NJPW roster at one point, as NJPW has made an attempt to establish a presence in Australia recently and they have even toured there once with George Carroll and Bad Luck Fale organizing the tour in February. According to sources, Rock never got a look in NJPW because the roster is full of foreign talent right now and there wasn’t a spot.
Radican’s Analysis: Rock’s signing is a signal that WWE is getting ahead of the curve when it comes to signing independent talent. It is no longer a case of a wrestler getting buzz on the independents and having a run either in the U.S. or internationally and in the U.S. WWE signing Rock shows they are able to identify talent early on in the process of them getting over on the independent scene.
Had WWE not signed Rock, it’s likely he would have fallen into the arms of another prominent promotion sooner rather than later. Rock appearing in PWG also likely played a factor in him getting on WWE’s radar quicker than he usually would have in the past. Rock does have international experience having wrestled in NOAH in Japan previously. I’ve been told more names are expected to come out as reporting to the WWE PC in January, but the names expected to sign with WWE aren’t as big as the ones that have already come out.