In celebrating five years since one of the industry's premier training schools opened its doors, WWE.com posted a number of revealing pictures including one superb group shot that captured the first very first cast of characters to emerge from the Orlando's prestigious Performance Center.
Triple H's brainchild, the building was the literal wrestler factory Vince McMahon had needed but never particularly wanted - his prior strategy of expecting local feeder companies such as Ohio Valley Wrestling and Deep South Wrestling had failed, with John Laurinaitis' Florida Championship Wrestling going much the same way. Musty old buildings are often called "toilets", but FCW's training facility lacked literal facilities - the only sh*ts being taken were squarely in the middle of the ring by professionals not remotely ready to be between the ropes.
In comparison to those projects, the Performance Center/NXT model as it is currently should be considered an unqualified success. WWE has perhaps the best ever handle on up-and-coming talent that it's ever had, with the building and trajectory itself the sales pitch to first-timers and indie darlings alike.
This is not to say those that have gone through the system have faired best when put to the biggest test. Few have managed to make it all the way from the petri dish to the promised land, and even fewer have thrived on the main roster as they did in developmental. For some of the scant 2013 PC graduates, just sticking around has proven reward enough for their toil.
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.