Gov. Rick Scott was on hand for the announcement of World Wrestling Entertainment opening its first ever Global Performance Center, which will create nearly 100 jobs and will inject $2.3 million of capital investment for Florida families.
The Performance Center is scheduled to open this summer and will serve as the new home to WWE's talent development system, recently re-branded NXT, and will house seven training rings, a world-class gym and cutting-edge edit and production facilities.
"Sometimes with the scheduling and travelling, it's nice to have everything in (a) one-stop-shop," said wrestler Corey Graves.
The new center will be the training ground for talent that includes former professional and collegiate athletes, Olympians and entertainers, and will offer a sports medicine program, creating a central location for all WWE talent to receive care both in and out of the ring.
"Our economy has created nearly 300,000 new private-sector jobs in just over two years, meaning that thousands of Florida families now have the opportunity to pursue their dreams," said Scott. "WWE could have chosen anywhere in the world to house this new Global Performance Center, and they chose the Sunshine State."
"WWE is proud to call central Florida home to the new, state-of-the-art WWE Performance Center," said Paul Levesque, WWE executive vice president, Talent and Live Events. "The creation of this world-class facility, and our continued partnership with Full Sail University, underscores WWE's commitment to the region and is an investment in our future as we develop the next generation of WWE Superstars."
The 26,000-square-foot facility will have space for strength and conditioning, rehabilitation, and even media and public speaking training. They're things Levesque, known in the wrestling world as Triple H, said are essential to a wrestler's success.
"Those superstars don't just walk off the street, we have to create them," Levesque said.
Last year, WWE and Full Sail University solidified a partnership offering students in media broadcasting concentrations the ability to gain on-the-job training while working on live tapings of the WWE NXT series.
WWE utilizes Full Sail Live, the university's performance venue, and directs all proceeds to a scholarship foundation for Full Sail students.
Just as excited are the Full Sail students and staff who will handle many productions at the facility.
"For my major, I'm a sports marketing media major, so that's a perfect opportunity for me to get in the business," Full Sail student Quinton Long said.
About 10-15 staff members will be brought in to train 80-85 wrestlers. Some of the staff will come from the Tampa center that's closing.
Levesque says their real impact will be adding a highly visible facility that will bring people to town.
"They're all going to live here, they eat a lot, they spent a lot in this area," Levesque said.