James Wilder Jr. is about to jump off the top turnbuckle in hopes of landing a spot in the WWE.
After Wilder broke the news himself on Twitter that he had received a tryout with the WWE, the chiseled running back detailed how the opportunity came about.
“I sent out an email with my resume, pictures and telling them about yourself. I just sent it over and they hit me back and told me they’re interested and want to send me into the select few invite only tryouts. I definitely want to take advantage of it. Wrestling and football – I was born in 1992 in that era wrestling was everything,” Wilder said on 620 CKRM The SportsCage.
The WWE knows Wilder plays in the CFL and that he wants to keep doing so. And the Toronto Argonauts aren’t concerned with the 2017 Most Outstanding Rookie and Grey Cup champion taking a shot inside the squared circle.
“It would be no conflict. It’s not really starting an actual career, it’s just a tryout so as of right now that’s all what it is,” Wilder said.
“I let it be known and the WWE they’re aware that I’m going to be playing football this season.”
Wilder likely came of age during the tail end of the what was known as the Attitude Era in WWE (then the WWF) and the Monday Night Wars between the World Wrestling Federation and their chief competitor, World Championship Wrestling (WCW). WCW went out of business in March 2001 when they were purchased by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
Wrestling has experienced boom periods. The first major boom taking place before Wilder was born in the 1980s thanks to Hulk Hogan and the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling era. The next boom began in the mid-1990s when WCW created Monday Nitro to go head-to-head with the WWF’s flagship show, Monday Night Raw.
During this era, the one where Wilder likely found his love of pro wrestling, gave us the New World Order (nWo) of Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hollywood Hulk Hogan in WCW and the emergence of guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, D-Generation X and a whole host of other household names in the WWF.
It is interesting that he wants to continue to play football while also trying to make it in WWE. I’m not sure how easy that will be, since neither is a part-time job, but if he can do it, he would be a very unique type of two-sport athlete.
“I actually talked to Titus, he’s from Tampa, just to get some extra feedback on what to expect from the tryout. They’re going to fly me out to Orlando in late April,” Wilder said.
“Titus told me to keep training as normal if you were training for football, don’t change your routine, just be yourself and have fun. They’re bringing me in and they’re not expecting any wrestling experience. It’s always been a dream to be in the WWE.”
The Titus in question is Titus O’Neil, current WWE superstar and former Florida Gator. By all accounts Titus is one of the truly good dudes in WWE. Sadly, for him (but hilarious for all of us), he will best be remembered for this:
It is truly one of the funniest things to ever happen in a WWE ring, but Titus, being the great guy that he is, took it in stride and probably even made a few bucks thanks to this absolutely tremendous t-shirt.
Heel or babyface is also the question when it comes to being a pro wrestler, and it seems as if Wilder wants to compete on the side of good.
“More of a babyface. It’s going to be a new world for me, I have a lot to learn,” Wilder said.
And of course, what would a wrestler be without their ring name. Wilder seems to have a few names in mind.
“I narrowed them down to three: Wild Man Wilder, Wild Thing and Wilderbeast. I got some mic skills but I can’t let you hear it too early,” Wilder said.
The types of names Wilder has chosen for himself definitely speaks to a guy who is living in the past a bit when it comes to wrestling characters. The current product is more reality focused, and guys don’t have highly gimmicky names like the Wilderbeast (although that is definitely an awesome nickname).
Names like Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan are more common in today’s product, but maybe Wilder could be a throwback to the times of George “the Animal” Steele and Gorilla Monsoon.
You can definitely tell that Wilder is a fan and that will likely help him try to transition into the insane world of pro wrestling.