The WWE Performance Center is one of the best concepts for aspiring professional wrestlers. They have the ability to both train with some of the best coaches and learn how to develop an engaging and convincing promo.
As seen on the Network special Breaking Ground, WWE pulls back the curtain to allow viewers to see the ups and downs of the developmental process, with not everyone making it through to even get an opportunity to be seen on a television or computer screen. While this concept has revolutionized the concept of training, there is one caveat: Each person involved in the WWE developmental training facility is someone who has been scouted and signed to the company.
With this issue at hand, former WWE stars Ken “Mr. Kennedy” Anderson and Shawn Daivari sought to find a solution. As a result, the real-life friends decided to open their own training school named The Academy: School of Professional Wrestling. The mission is to allow aspiring wrestlers, referees, managers, and valets to enter into the school, and by the time of completion, they will be confident and prepared to not only finish a match and/or promo, but excel in it.
“This is what somebody needs to be a successful sports entertainer,” said Daivari on a recent episode of the Pancakes and Powerslams Show. “But, unfortunately, you can only go there if you already have a contract. So, what do all the people do who are trying to get that contract? Well, they can learn what goes on in the ropes, so they really can’t learn much else. And then we said, ‘Why don’t we do it? We can have our own facility. We can teach them everything that they need to know to be successful, to get where they want to be to make some money and have a good career, have a career more than just independent wrestling.'”
Both stars add nearly 20 years of experience a piece. Shawn Daivari had an overwhelming amount of charisma as the manager of Muhammad Hassan, making the pair one of the most hated duos in all of WWE in 2004. Being only 20-years-old, Daivari’s ability to elicit a strong reaction from a crowd placed him opposite legendary names such as Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker within only a year of his WWE career.
Following controversy surrounding his debuting gimmick, Daivari still managed to bounce back and manage Kurt Angle, Mark Henry, and The Great Khali, names who have all been World Champions in the WWE. As Sheik Abdul Bashir, he would go on to win the X Division Championship in TNA.
As “Mr. Kennedy,” Ken Anderson was one of the most egotistically charismatic stars in WWE, debuting just one year later than Daivari, in 2005. In fact, his ego was so insurmountable that his self-aggrandizing introduction ended up with him saying his own name twice, similar to an old-school boxing prize fight intro. His villainous character propelled him to an upper midcard and main event level within the first couple years of competing, defeating names such as former world champions Booker T, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Batista, Kane, Rey Mysterio, and Randy Orton.
In TNA, Anderson would become one of the top names for the company, winning the World Heavyweight Championship on two occasions.
Both had some interesting stories to share about their time in WWE and TNA on Pancakes and Powerslams. When asked who Anderson spent much time on the road with, he shockingly mentioned Randy Orton, who was reportedly responsible for his release from the company, according to WrestleZone.
Anderson stated how Orton would have a bad temper constantly when dealing with others, as this has been widely publicized by numerous other pro wrestlers who have spent time with him. Riding with Orton for three years while on the Raw brand, Anderson discussed his unstable behavior at times.
“He was definitely a character. You never know what you were gonna get. [There were] situations at restaurants where he didn’t get what he ordered, and everybody in the restaurant knew about it. I was in the car with him one time, late at night, one o’clock in the morning, and we had stopped at a roadside fireworks stand and got a bunch of Roman candles and bottle rockets. I’m driving, one o’clock in the morning, and he’s shooting a bunch of bottle rockets and Roman candles outside the window.”
When asked if TNA still owes anyone money, Anderson affirmed (with a great deal of sarcasm), “Man. I don’t know anyone who is owed a lot of money from TNA. Like, mid-five figures. There’s this guy that yells and screams his name a lot. I can’t [figure out] who that guy may be… there was a time when I did not get paid for three months.”
Both were asked whether the reports are true about wrestlers only netting a relatively small amount of the six figure salaries they are contracted to.
Daivari stated, “I don’t believe that’s the case at all. I don’t know anyone that worked there [who] wasn’t living comfortably. The bottom guy lived comfortably, and then the guys above that lived well. I just know how comfortable I was and how much money I was making, and I was only somewhere in the middle going, ‘Man, if I made half this much, I’d still live really well, and if I made 10 times as much, I’d live even better. So, I hear a lot of guys say that, and I understand why they’re saying it. It is because when that phone call doesn’t come, ever, they can say, ‘Oh. I didn’t want to go back anyways, because I don’t get paid [anything].’ Whatever. You live in an apartment now, and you lived in a seven bedroom house then.”
Anderson added, “Guys think that they are going to make that kind of paycheck forever, and they live excessively. Not only are they living comfortably, they are living excessively. I knew guys that had five cars, and a giant house, and a giant pool in the backyard, and a Gerardo. State-of-the-art camera system in their house, and all the newest gadgets, and the nicest clothes, and Louis Vuitton luggage, and Rolexes, and then the minute they get fired, they’re like, ‘What do we do now?'”
The training school is scheduled to open on November 1.
[Featured Image by Lev Radin/Shutterstock Images]