Has WWE found its next John Cena? Hall of Famer and WWE recruiter Gerald Brisco certainly thinks so.
Brisco recruits many amateur wrestlers for WWE. A former amateur-turned-pro wrestler himself, Brisco set his eyes this season on Duke heavyweight Jacob Kasper, and Kasper recently agreed to attend an NXT Tryout Camp later this month.
Kasper grew up a wrestling fan in Ohio and he finished fourth in the NCAA this past winter, despite battling a Crohn’s Disease flare up shortly before the tournament.
Brisco told ESPN that he’s been following Kasper for some time, and it’s not just his wrestling ability that makes him a standout. With a 106-38 record in his career at Duke University, Kasper has all of the physical tools. But Brisco says it’s the combination of Kasper’s personality and skill that should have WWE interested in signing him.
“In my nearly 50 years in the wrestling business, I have seen only a few wrestlers who have such powerful personalities that when they come into a room, everyone there knows that person has arrived,” Brisco said. “Jacob Kasper has that type of personality, and he reminds me in many ways of a young John Cena.”
That’s obviously high praise.
Brisco said in the interview that the most important part of the upcoming tryout for Kasper will be the one-minute promo he’ll have to cut, telling WWE why they should invest time and money in him as a character.
“If Jacob signs with the WWE, I will spend more time helping develop him than I have with any other prospect I have ever signed,” said Brisco.
Kasper isn’t as big as Brock Lesnar — at least not yet — but there are certainly comparisons that will be made. Kasper is 6-foot-3 and legitimately 230 pounds and Lesnar is also 6-foot-3. Lesnar weighs 286 pounds now, but he was significantly lighter when he wrestled as a heavyweight at the University of Minnesota.
Shelton Benjamin also came from Minnesota to the WWE. Even more recently, Jack Swagger was an NCAA wrestler who was recruited to the WWE.
Simply put, the precedent is there for big-time amateur standouts to shine in WWE’s spotlight.