The Righteous' Dutch Explains How He Originally Wound Up In The WWE System

Though he is currently part of the villainous stable known as The Righteous, who have been appearing on Ring of Honor in recent months, recent AEW signing Dutch was once one of the many young wrestlers in the WWE developmental system. Appearing on the podcast "Developmentally Speaking," Dutch described how he came to sign with FCW quite early in his career.


"I had my first match in 2008, but didn't really start getting consistent bookings until the end of 2009," Dutch said. He then explained how he went on to sign with WWE's Florida-based developmental promotion in the spring of 2010. Dutch skipped his college mid-terms, flew himself to Ohio Valley Wrestling in Kentucky, paid the $100 fee, and found his WWE developmental tryout was not what he expected.

"It was a two-day tryout," Dutch continued. "They split everybody up into four groups from like experienced to most experienced. So one group, they had you in [the] ring doing drills for 45 minutes. ... You got 15 [or] 20 guys doing the same drill for 45 minutes, you're only getting in the ring maybe two or three times. After that, 45 minutes [of] chain wrestling on the outside."


Dutch stated that he was in the least experienced group and that nearly everyone in his group was doing the same basic set of wrestling moves. However, the future ROH star noticed that the session was being filmed, and he made a purposeful effort to play up to the camera when it got near him.

"So I can do a nip-up," Dutch stated. "Any time the camera would come near me, I would get in a wrist-lock, roll through, and nip-up, and then transition into another wrist lock. Every single time the camera came by. It was the only thing I knew."

Promo class with Al Snow

After that, Dutch's group spent 45 minutes watching wrestling matches on tape. The performer said he couldn't complain, however, because it was a nice break. They were apparently shown a series of matches that Jim Cornette believed every wrestler should watch.


Dutch recalls wrestlers such as Rip Rogers and Al Snow being in attendance at the tryout, and the group followed up their tape session by spending 45 minutes focusing on promos. The tryout attendees lined up to do promos in front of Snow, with Dutch recalling that he was the last person in line for his group, leaving him to cut a promo alone in a room with Snow. According to Dutch, the focus of his promo was WWE megastar John Cena. Because he was the last one in line, Dutch remembers getting some extra feedback from Snow, indicating that he was on the right track.

The tryout went on to a second day, and the wrestlers began having matches against each other. However, instead of straightforward matches, everyone was put in eight-man tag bouts where they each had roughly 30 seconds to show what they could do. Dutch reached out to John Laurinaitis in person before leaving, and he credits that or the performances in front of the camera for getting him an offer to join FCW.


Less than two months after the tryout, Dutch received a call from WWE letting him know they were offering him a three-year contract. It was, understandably, a life-changing moment for the young performer, even if the money wasn't quite what he thought it would be. Though he didn't stay with WWE long-term, Dutch's dedication eventually led to a contract with AEW.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "Developmentally Speaking" with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.