The WWE has been signing a number of talents from around the country to replenish NXT after the recent call-ups, and they aren’t finished yet. While the rumors of Roderick Strong joining NXT are the biggest news of the week, WWE.com reported on Monday that the WWE has also signed a former NFL player who trained under Booker T.
That NFL player is Brennan Williams, a former member of the Houston Texans. Houston drafted Williams in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft after he played college at North Carolina. Williams ended up drifting to the practice squads in New England and Jacksonville before turning his eyes to professional wrestling and eventually the WWE.
Since it was Houston that drafted Brennan Williams, it makes sense that it would be Booker T who he turned to for training. The WWE Hall of Fame legend runs Reality of Wrestling, an indie promotion in Booker T’s hometown of Houston, and Brennan ended up signing on to wrestle there.
Brennan Williams changed his name to Marcellus Black and took on the nickname The Shogun. Williams has a unique look, with the size the WWE looks for — six-foot-seven and 286 pounds — and an aggressive menacing look. Brennan also used tribal makeup to help him stand out from the Houston crowd. Williams is also athletic and a black belt in taekwondo.
The one thing to remember about Brennan Williams as he enters the WWE is that he is still green. While he trained under a WWE Hall of Fame wrestler in Booker T, Williams only made his in-ring debut in February of this year. Brennan has a long way to go before he can legitimately compete with the current NXT talents.
NXT has really developed its own personality away from the WWE. While it is still a stop for wrestlers looking to move to the WWE, such as Finn Balor, Bayley, and American Alpha, it is also becoming a place where the most talented indie wrestlers are getting a chance to compete in front of their biggest audiences.
Names like Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, and more have made their way to NXT, and these guys have a decade or more of experience under their belts. However, the WWE Performance Center is still the place where newcomers have a chance to make it to the big leagues. It is also an advantage because someone like Brennan Williams has not developed the “bad habits” that the WWE wants to rid indie wrestlers of.
Brennan Williams is a clean slate for the WWE to train in their format. Of course, not everyone who makes it to the WWE Performance Center will make it in the WWE and others won’t even make it to NXT’s televised roster.
For every Baron Corbin, a man who played football for the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals before getting called up to the WWE’s main roster this year, there are many prospects that never see the light of day. Shawn Merriman, a major NFL star from the San Diego Chargers, went to the WWE Performance Center to try out for a career in the WWE and was sent on his way.
There is hope for Brennan Williams that starting out with Booker T at Reality of Wrestling was a positive move for Williams. Brennan proved that he was willing to start off small, in an indie promotion in Houston, in order to train and prove himself in the ring. It ended up being good enough to impress the WWE, and the fact that Brennan took on a gimmick in ROW might have really cemented the deal.
In an interview last November with the Inquisitr, Williams talked about getting involved in wrestling with Booker T and what his goals were. It sounds like Brennan had his head on straight when it came to his eventual road to the WWE.
“My original thought was to train with Booker for a couple of months and get my feet wet. That’s exactly what he recommended. I’m a guy who doesn’t like going into situations blind and like I said, I don’t claim to know anything about pro wrestling yet but I plan on knowing a lot in a couple months.”
[Photo by NFL/AP Images]