Since arriving at the Black and Gold brand, Dominik Dijakovic has climbed his way to the top prospects. Before his official arrival, Dijakovic had a rough time getting his foot in the WWE door. Dijakovic recalls his first tryout for FCW in 2013, and how disappointed he was for not getting a callback.
"It was an interesting experience," Dijakovic stated recently on WWE's The Bump. "It was one of those experiences that it felt like it was a lifetime ago because everything was so different about the WWE and what's now the Performance Center. The whole facility was as big as where I'm doing this interview now. It was a couple of rings and incredibly hot... It was difficult for me to accept that I didn't have what it took at the time to be in the WWE. It was kind of like a harsh reality. At the same time, you use that as motivation, an experience, a stepping stone to learn what it takes to get to the WWE level, especially the developmental level."
Standing at 6'7", Dijakovic focused on what he could do with his height in the ring. Along with finding out what he is capable of doing, he credits many, including his trainer, Brian Fury, for helping him find his groove in the ring.
"I kind of developed my style on my own," Dijakovic began. "I took a lot from my trainer Brian Fury. I also trained with Ivar from The Viking Raiders. So, I took a lot from them. I also took it from guys who I watched growing up like The Undertaker, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar and Triple H. They were bigger guys and well renowned in their in-ring ability."
While in NXT, he mentions that Triple H and Undertaker, as well as a few others have helped him reach his current success on the roster.
"I work the most with Shawn Michaels and Triple H," Dijakovic noted. "Those are the guys who we see every Wednesday. The Undertaker has also been here, as well as Mark Henry. Those are the guys that I've worked closely with."
Many have stated that Dijakovic and Keith Lee's back-and-forth feud, especially for the NXT North American Championship have stuck out as matches that fans should watch closely. Dijakovic was asked if he feels the pressure to create a better match each time he steps in the ring with WWE.
"The pressure is to never have a good match or to top a match or anything," Dijakovic informed. "It just naturally happens. There's a lot of chemistry there. It works out, because he's a big guy, and I am as well, so that correlates between the two of us. For me, the pressure is always the championship platform. I mean, I've been talking about the NXT North American Championship for over a year now. So, anytime that comes into play, that's my focus and where I put the pressure on myself."
Last year at WWE World's Collide, Dijakovic faced off against Luke Harper. Though many did not see this match, he believes this match alone was a pivotal one in his career.
"The match with Luke Harper is a great example of the efforts I'm putting forth in the WWE," Dijakovic announced. "These are the kind of things that you can look back and watch. I'm very proud of this match, even though, it was a match that not many people saw. This was before World's Collide was a live event. It got a lot of praise from those who did see it live. The reality is, not a lot of people got to see that match. Now, the eyes are on. The TakeOver's are happening, and the fans are finally starting to see the sort of things I've been putting on the table for years now. That's the exciting part of it."
You can view Dijakovic's full interview above (starts at the 57:57 mark). If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE's The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.