Former Total Nonstop Action (TNA) and current EVOLVE superstar Tony Nese is reportedly drawing interest from WWE after a recent tryout with the company, according to Daily Wrestling News.
Nese, 30, is an 11-year veteran of the independent wrestling circuit, having made his debut in 2005 with the New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC). After being a staple for years on the east coast independents, wrestling names such as Daniel Bryan, Amazing Red, and others, Nese got his first chance at stardom in mid-2011.
TNA was looking to rebuild its X-Division and decided to debut Nese and his chiseled physique as part of its new direction. On the July 6, 2011, edition of IMPACT, Nese faced Jesse Sorensen and Jack Evans in a triple threat match as part of the X Division Tournament showcase. After an acrobatic bout, Evans pinned Nese to advance in the tournament.
Not too long after that first match, Nese and four other competitors were signed to TNA contracts, per Pro Wrestling Torch. When he was notified of his new deal, Nese was excited to be part of a division he had always wanted to compete in.
“Initially, to get the call that they wanted to sign me and the first few months being there was pretty awesome,” Nese said to ReviewFix in late 2014. “It was a great honor because when I broke into wrestling is when the X-Division was at its hottest, it’s pretty much when TNA kinda broke out. That was what I was watching and that was the guys I wanted to be like, to wrestle with, tour with, and all that stuff.”
Alongside Nese, names such as Sorensen, Mark Haskins, Zema Ion, Kid Kash, and others were signed to the company as well. At the same time, Austin Aries was brought in as well, and the company’s goal was to give the X-Division — a part of the program that once carried the company — a much-needed boost.
However, with names like Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan carrying a lot of influence backstage, TNA was in a constant state of uncertainty. That led to several ideas being nixed as TNA tried to find its identity.
“They were gonna have a big surge of the X-Division again and then all of a sudden they decided to take that away. Now they have all these guys they signed but not enough time on TV because they don’t want to push the X-Division anymore.”
While Nese was under contract and getting paid, he was mostly relegated to watching from the sidelines as the company’s lack of communication become a frustrating for the Ride, New York, native.
“Unfortunately, I got the bad end of that and I would just constantly be sitting at home, waiting for my next TV booking or whatever and it would just never come through. A lot of unanswered e-mails and phone calls.”
Nese left TNA in 2012 and resumed his career on the independents. He has enjoyed a lot of success since 2012 on the indies, including reigns as Five Borough Wrestling champion, Family Wrestling Entertainment Tag Team champion (with Jigsaw), and Open the United Gate champion (with Caleb Konley and Trent Barreta).
In addition to the championships, Nese has also wrestled the likes of Adam Cole, Brian Myers, Johnny Gargano, Kenny Omega, and PJ Black.
Known as the “Premiere Athlete” Nese was recently the subject of a WWE.com article in which five EVOLVE superstars were examined as possible future NXT superstars.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) October 15, 2015
As NXT puts emphasis on becoming a touring brand and the WWE/EVOLVE relationship blossoms, Nese is likely one of many stars who are WWE-bound at some point.
[Featured Photo by Sulaiman Larokko]