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The WWE Performance Center is the official professional wrestling school of WWE, as well as a training, sports science, and sports medical facility. It is located in Orlando, Florida, and was opened on July 12, 2013. It is not open to the general public. It is also close to Full Sail University, home base for NXT productions and live events. On December 2, 2015, it granted full access to a selected members of the public.
The Performance Center is home to WWE’s talent developmental system, WWE NXT. The facility covers 26,000 square feet and includes seven training rings, a world-class strength and conditioning program, cutting-edge edit and production facilities, and a voice-over room that performers and on-air announcers can use to practice. Leading up to the opening, the headquarters for WWE's former developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, was shut down as WWE transferred NXT's headquarters to the Performance Center. Ring equipment and other materials held at the FCW Arena in Tampa were broken down on June 28, 2013, and items WWE decided to keep were transferred to the new facility. An ultra-slow camera and special ring for high-flying moves were moved to the Performance Center.
Attending the opening were Paul "Triple H" Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Talent and Live Events; Stephanie McMahon, Executive Vice President, Creative; Ken Goldstone, Chief Operating Officer of Full Sail University; John P. Saboor, WWE SVP of Special Events; and Rick Scott, Governor of Florida. Scott stated: "I love anybody that brings jobs to our state. They have all this talent here. Everyone, when they come here to work here, they want to stay here. Every job is important."
The Performance Center uses former wrestlers as trainers, including Bill DeMott (head trainer until his resignation in March 2015), Matt Bloom (current head trainer), Billy Gunn (until November, 2015) and Joey Mercury. Norman Smiley also is an assistant coach, WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes trained future wrestlers on how to best express themselves on the microphone and let their personalities shine through until his passing. NXT GM and Talent Scout William Regal also joined the trainers' ranks and also fills the void left by Rhodes.The female wrestlers have their own female trainers, Sara Amato (also the assistant head trainer), and Sarah Stock amongst the ranks. Other trainers include striking coach Seth Petruzelli, former WWE wrestler and OVW trainer Nick Dinsmore (until October 2014), and British wrestler Robbie Brookside, who also trains new Performance Center trainees. The Performance Center includes some guest trainers, including Mickie James, Mike Quackenbush, and Adam Pearce (who eventually became a full-time trainer in 2015, and was responsible for reinventing the character of Tyler Breeze). Many current NXT and WWE Superstars like Tyler Breeze, Sami Zayn, Bayley, Apollo Crews and Daniel Bryan still train and rehab from injuries, while inducting and mentoring new trainees, including current and former WWE Tough Enough winners.
The Performance Center has been used for tryout sessions. Individuals including NFL player Shawne Merriman, tag team The American Pitbulls who had a brief stint in NXT and Kenta Kobayashi (now signed to WWE under the name Hideo Itami). Former NFL players Baron Corbin and Tino Sabbatelli also switched codes and trained as a wrestler.
2015 shooting incident
On August 31, 2015, Orange County Sheriff's Office deputies shot 29-year-old Armando Montalvo outside the Performance Center after threatening them and charging at them. Montalvo was obsessed with an unnamed female wrestler and made numerous attempts to trespass through the facility, despite an injunction against him by WWE. Days after the shooting, Montalvo claimed he was bipolar when he was questioned by detectives. He faces trial in February 2016 on charges of aggravated assault, resisting an officer with violence and trespassing. A public defender representing Montalvo has entered a written plea of not guilty on his behalf.