Former NFL star Shawne Merriman joined Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette to talk about his personal WWE training experience. He describes it as ‘brutal,’ and he admitted he almost left while watching promo class. Merriman was then called out by Dusty Rhodes to do the promo, and the experience, as well as a conversation with Rhodes, convinced him to stay.

“I want everyone to know that their workout is brutal,” Merriman said. “I think they wanted to see if they could take me through the wringer. But it was a straight hour nonstop. I try to tell people that those ropes, there’s metal under those ropes. When I got done with this workout, my arm was bruised up. Billy Gunn was my in-ring coach and then Regal was on the grappling side and some other stuff.

“After we were done, every week at NXT, they’re down there and you do that weekly promo cut, with Dusty. I got done with my workout, I went and everybody’s there for about two hours doing their promos. This was when everybody who’s on the main stage now was down there. I’m sitting in the back and two hours go by. I tap my publicist and say ‘hey, let’s get ready to get out of here.’ Right as I’m about to get up and leave, Dusty said ’56, I bet you didn’t know I was going to do this, but bring your ass on down!’

“So no practice, no nothing. I haven’t gone over anything. I’ve got 20 seconds to figure out what the hell I’m going to say when I get up there. First off, it’s Dusty Rhodes. I’m not telling him no. Dusty tells you to get your ass up there, you do it. I was sweating bullets. I got up there and I just did what I knew best, without having anything really put together or practicing.

“And I started ripping on certain people who I saw already doing their promos because I was watching the whole time. So I just start ripping on certain people. When I got done, JBL pulls me to the side and said ‘listen, that’s one of the best promos I’ve ever seen out of anybody who’s never had any practice ever.’ That’s what he told me. So everything was good. I told my publicist ‘go back to the hotel, I’m staying here.’ Me and Dusty, we sat in a little office and we talked football for three hours. It was one of the best conversations I had.”

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