Former NFL Linebacker Shawne Merriman seems to have found a new calling in pro-wrestling, as the former San Diego Charger recently signed with World Wrestling Entertainment, better known as WWE. Merriman was spotted at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida a couple months ago and even tweeted a picture of himself where he had rope burns from training.
Merriman was said to be looking alright at the time, but he was by no means a special looking athlete. Merriman was known for being a hard hitting linebacker who was a Pro-Bowl player until he got injured. Since then, he has not been the same and Mr. Lights Out seemed to have his Pro-Bowl days behind him. It was sad to see for such a talented football player.
Merriman then found himself on the bench due to suspension for HGH…a bit apropos. WWE does not take kindly to drug addicts of any type, and despite his use for steroids or any other drug, they want to make sure any athlete coming into the company is 100% clean. The WWE also sees Merriman as a potential issue for his off-the-field troubles. So they will fully examine a lot while he is with them.
When Merriman was spotted at the Performance Center, many wondered if he signed a deal then. It did not seem likely, as he did not seem to impress and WWE does not care too much about signing older athletes with no wrestling experience. Shawne was clearly a fan and had been to plenty of WWE events in the past. So it’s not as if the guy was a scrub wash-out from the NFL who needed another outlet to unleash rage.
It is unclear what his total role will be in WWE, but one can imagine that WWE would love to use Merriman a lot if he is any good. They would not sign him to a multi-year deal or put him in the Performance Center for a while if they did not intend for him to be around for a long time.
It is said that while he is training to become a Pro-Wrestler, he will do announcing work. Merriman is known for his mouth, so this would not be a bad area to introduce him to the WWE Universe. He will most likely work with NXT for a bit, then end up on the main roster in a similar role. Once he is ready as a wrestling talent, it would be assumed he would be called up to wrestle.
If Merriman can pick up wrestling well enough, he will potentially be a great member of the WWE talent pool.
While Merriman has a lot of wear and tear on his body, he is only 29 years of age. Obviously no one intentionally tries to hurt anyone in the ring, but Merriman does stand a better chance at getting hurt more than most. The reason is due to the fact that he has been hurt a lot in the past.
Despite what people think, WWE’s style of wrestling among other types of Pro-Wrestling is very strenuous on the body. It is far harder to be a WWE Performer than an NFL football player. Some are simply called to do one over the other, such as a Roman Reigns or Rock type…despite impressive football skills in their past.
WWE will obviously keep a large eye on Merriman and how well he picks things up. Due to his age, they’d like to pull him up to the main roster as soon as possible. However, it all hinges on how good he can be for the WWE. They will examine this and see. If he cannot fit the WWE mold then they will cut him and think nothing of it. In WWE, name recognition matters sometimes. In Merriman’s case however, that is not the case.