WWE NXT Superstar Dante Chen recently spoke with Yahoo News Singapore Editor Chia Han Keong and revealed how he learned of his NXT 2.0 debut just hours before the match happened.
Chen made his official debut on the September 21 NXT 2.0 episode, defeating Trey Baxter in singles action. A vignette for Chen aired on this week’s NXT show, but he will make his WWE 205 Live on tonight’s show against Malik Blade. Regarding the match with Baxter, Chen revealed how he got the phone call notifying him of his debut that same morning, just hours before NXT hit the air at 8pm.
“I didn’t even know that I was scheduled to compete, or even who my opponent will be, until the very day itself,” Chen said. “I was asked to be at the arena at 11am, and a couple of hours later, I was told that I would be making my debut facing Trey. There were only a couple more hours to prepare by then.
“I’ve known Trey as we’re all under the same umbrella of the WWE Performance Center, so we met and had a quick huddle to work out what we wanted to do in the match. Then it was like ‘good luck and see you later’.”
Chen, previously known as Sean Tan and Trexxus, is billed as WWE’s first Singaporean Superstar. He was signed this past July after participating in a July 2019 tryout camp in China. That tryout featured two more wrestlers from Singapore – Alexis Lee and Andruew Tang, co-founder of Singapore Pro Wrestling. Chen began his career for SPW back in 2012. He commented on how he’s had to change his style for WWE.
“I’ve been competing in Singapore for many years, and I found myself plateauing in terms of improvement. So I came into the Performance Center with an open mind to learn as many things as possible,” Chen said. “Sometimes, I even had to un-learn what I’ve been taught in the past, and re-learn the basics again, just to get things right.
“My daily routine consists of ring trainings and gym sessions. On Sundays, we have what we call ‘style sessions’ whereby we watch footage and analyse what we did right or did wrong. On top of all these, we have training matches a couple of times a month. It’s a lot of things to learn, but it was really eye-opening for me.”
Chen was originally inspired to get into pro wrestling after playing WWE video games as a teenager. His idol then was WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, who also works behind-the-scenes at NXT. Chen commented on getting input from Michaels and Triple H, via his coaches, and how he felt when he debuted.
“I don’t exactly see him [Michaels] or Triple H every day, so whatever inputs that they might want to give me, it’s usually passed down to my coaches and then to me,” Chen said. “But I’m comfortable living and training in Orlando with all the coaches. When I made my debut and entered the ring, I was surprised that I didn’t feel as nervous as I thought I would. It has so far been a great experience.”