Recently, RauteMusik shared a video of the Hype Bros., Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley, participating in a Q&A session with the Scottish media during WWE's European tour. During the session, Rawley talked about coming to WWE from the NFL, the differing training requirements for professional wresting and professional football, and the WWE Performance Center.
Rawley shared that he got into football at an early age instead of professional wrestling because there was nowhere for children to learn how to wrestle when he was a kid. Rawley went on to say that he turned down pro football offers to sign with WWE and he remains very happy with his decision to leave the NFL.
"I played football my whole life, pretty much. Wrestling was always the first thing I ever wanted to do. You can't sign up for this kind of wrestling in school, so I went the football route first and I was successful at it. I made it to the NFL and I had an injury, a really bad injury, actually, where I was out for 18 months in football. And the doctor said it was career-ending. I came back from it and when I was a free agent, I had some offers from the NFL on the table and then, all of a sudden, this offer from WWE kind of came out of left field and I kind of left everything I knew to give this a shot and I'm glad I did because it [has] already paid off and I'm having so much more fun now than I was before it's ridiculous."
According to Rawley, the biggest differences between training for pro wrestling and pro football are preparing for WWE's lack of an offseason and increased cardio demands.
"I'd say the two major differences are: 1) there's no offseason here, so you kind of have to structure your training around having minimal days off. Actually, we don't have days off because on our off days we still train anyways. But I'd say probably the biggest difference from a cardio standpoint is that in football, every play only lasts an average of six seconds, so it was more about short bursts and then catch a breath for a second. But here in wrestling, it's turned up nonstop the entire match. Whether that match goes a minute, whether the match goes an hour, you've got to be prepared to stay hyped the whole way through. So my cardio training is a lot different. It's more endurance-based training now than powerlifting per se. More reps."
Rawley suggested that the door is always open for professional football players to transition to professional wrestling.
"I would probably have to say 'yes' because they've seen that it [has] worked with a few guys. I think WWE kind of has a storied past with recruiting former NFL players and some of them have materialized and some of them have not. But I think that door's always open from what I think WWE looks for from a recruiting standpoint, it's a lot of former NFL players or current NFL players that have a very similar skill set, so it's an easy place to draw from. Yeah, I'd say that door's always probably going to be open."
On the subject of WWE's Performance Center, Rawley stated that it has come a long way and that it has added years to people's careers in the squared circle.
"Now being in the Performance Center, especially as a guy coming from the NFL and outrageous facilities, I mean, that's comparable. That Performance Center is legit and it's a one-stop shop for everything we need. And the capabilities that it has adds years to people's careers. Whether it's from the rehab aspect and the training room, or the additional rings for everybody to go in there and get more work rather than having to wait in line for the previous six guys to finish before you get a turn, or even from the video standpoint, to be able to analyze and review your tape from every event and every practice and really study it. And again, coming from football, I know how important it is to study every minute you have and the Performance Center has given everybody an opportunity to take advantage and just become better."
If you use any of the quotes at appear in this article, please credit RauteMusik with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.