WWE’s website recently spoke with NXT coach and former WCW star Norman Smiley. Below are some highlights:
Some of the talents he’s worked with in the ring:
Well, after working for the WWE for almost eight years, you can imagine the quantity and quality of some of the students that I have worked with. There have been many students who came into developmental with prior experience, so I can’t make a claim to exactly training them, but I would show them different options and enforce how we do things in the WWE. Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Bo Dallas, Summer Rae, Big E, Konnor, who I have known for many years, and David Otunga I pretty much trained from day one. Sheamus, Alicia Fox, Adam Rose, King Barrett, just to name a few, are students that I spent time with helping them to adjust to the WWE style. I would estimate that I have worked with at least 80 percent of the present main roster to some degree.
The evolution of pro wrestling from him his perspective:
It has never been more evident than now that we are a television company, and it’s not a “rasslin’ show” that we produce. There is not one facet that is overlooked to give the WWE Universe the best possible product. One of the many hats I wear is that of a producer. As I am going over a match with my students, I always have in the back of my mind what would be the best camera angle to view this hold or move. Students at NXT have to be prepared for everything. Our guys and girls must all spend time in the gym, improve their speaking skills, and develop a character, all while learning the moves between the ropes. It is a full-time job with sacrifice, but it is also a dream job.
The hardest part about being a WWE coach:
I feel for those students that join NXT with no experience. Sometimes they think it will be an easy task to learn and that it is not as physical as one would think. Many students have a rude awakening of how difficult and physical it is to perform in the WWE. A professional in any sport can make it look easy. Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and Serena Williams all make their respective sports look easy. However, all of these athletes have been playing their respective sports, every day, from the age of 5 or 6. WWE takes years to learn as well. John Cena can do a seven-minute promo, alone, live on television in front of 20,000 people and make it interesting and exciting. Why? Because he has done it thousands of times and he is a natural! I find that some students can be impatient and request an opportunity that they are not ready for.