The WWF/WWE has had some type of developmental system for years now. Whether it was the USWA, Ohio Valley, Power Pro, Heartland, Deep South, Florida Championship Wrestling or NXT…many of the company’s top superstars got their start in at least one of them. While some developmental names like John Cena, Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, The Miz, Brock Lesnar and Charlotte Flair all made big stars of themselves by first training in developmental, others never got to see the light of day. This series will focus on those wrestlers…the ones that at some point were a lock to get called up to the main roster and never quite made it. What once was hot, suddenly became a “not” as a WWE superstar.
When Chris Atkins was a teenager growing up in Melbourne, Australia he had aspirations to one day become a WWE superstar. When he was finally of age, he began training to become a pro wrestler in Australia. After a while, Atkins dropped out of wrestling and turned his focus on bodybuilding and possibly acting. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and was discovered working out in a gym by a WWE scout. He was invited to a try out and was ultimately offered a WWE developmental deal in 2015.
Atkins was assigned to the Performance Center based in Orlando, Florida for training. A year later, Chris Atkins debuted for NXT under his real name. He would often be involved in tag teams and would wrestle the likes of Mojo Rawley, the Authors of Pain, Oney Lorcan and Eric Young. Standing 6ft 6 and weighing a solid 240 pounds, Atkins appeared destined for WWE stardom. However, in April of 2017….Chris Atkins was released from his developmental contract.
After his release, Atkins decided to quit the wrestling business and pursue his other passion…acting. Atkins returned to Los Angeles and eventually snagged several roles on film projects. He continues his acting career to this day, citing his dream role would one day star in a movie with another former wrestler…Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.