In May, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) cut seven of its development wrestlers currently working for its “NXT” brand. One of the budding superstars released from his contract was Percy Watson (real name: Nick McNeil), a 31-year-old former NFL star who had been a development wrestler since 2009.
Watson, a former defensive end for both the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins, began his wrestling training in Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) – the WWE developmental territory now known as “NXT.”
“Me coming in with no experience, not getting the chance to do independent wrestling, I would say that I was behind when I first arrived. But I picked it up pretty quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t learn everything, cause even the veteran’s will tell you that they’re still learning,” Watson told AlwaysAList.com.
In 2010, Watson appeared on the second season of the now-defunct WWE competition series on SyFy also called “NXT.” On the show, he was paired with WWE wrestler MVP, who was his professional coach.
Watson finished fifth on the show and “NXT” was turned into a weekly web series after being cancelled by SyFy. Show eventually ditched its competition aspect and Watson began a tag team run with fellow “NXT” star Titus O’Neil.
In 2011, it was announced that Watson would be added to WWE’s “RAW” roster. He also started performing on tour shows with the “RAW” brand.
Despite being added to WWE’s “RAW” roster, the Leland, North Carolina-bred wrestler never wrestled on television and was ultimately sent to Orlando, Florida for further development at the new NXT headquarters there.
Watson said he wasn’t frustrated that he had to spend more time in “NXT,” he was just eager to get his shot on either WWE’s “RAW” or “Smackdown” television shows.
“Frustration is probably the wrong word to use. Its more of an anticipation. You’re anticipating you getting your shot. So nah, I wasn’t really frustrated. I figured my time would come sooner or later. But also I had to work at it to get that opportunity to come back around again,” he explained, before adding: “Unfortunately, it never did!”
Watson was cut in mid-May along with six other development stars. He’s uncertain as to why.
“I can’t speak for everyone else, I can only speak for myself. I was never given a clear answer as to why I was released,” he confessed.
Last week, wrestling blogs reported rumors that Watson was canned by WWE “because of the feeling that his attitude changed” after being taken off of the “RAW” tours. Additionally, other reports claimed he “constantly missed match run-throughs and practices.”
Watson, who took time out from a gym workout to interview with AlwaysAList.com, told us that those rumblings couldn’t be further from the truth!
“I’ve never missed a training session in my life, regardless of what sport I was playing including wrestling in WWE and FCW,” he made clear. “That was truly not the case at all. My release had nothing to do, in my opinion, to my work ethic whatsoever.”
Watson is uncertain about his plans following his WWE release. He’s exploring some options and hasn’t decided whether he’ll attempt a career in either the TNA or Ring of Honor wrestling companies.
The wrestler did disclose that that he holds no animosity towards WWE. He said that if they asked him to return to the company, he definitely would.
“I’d go back. Yeah, sure,” he concluded.
AUDIO: Listen to this clip of Percy Watson talking about his departure from WWE.
Thoughts on his former “NXT” coach MVP:
Thoughts on his former “NXT” coach MVP:“He was a great person to work with and learn from. I mean, obviously he’s been around longer than me. He knows the real ins and outs. He was constantly trying to teach me that the way to go about. There’s more to wrestling than just what we do in the ring. That was one of his big things. He taught me how to be a good performer. That was one of the many things he taught me, but it was very important to me.”
Most Underutilized Wrestler: “Heath Slater! He’s one of the best talents that I’ve seen.”
Who Deserves A Push: “Michael McGillicutty. He’s now Curtis Axel and just won the Intercontinental Title. He should be getting a ton of looks, a ton of attention. He’s amazing!”
Most Helpful Behind The Scenes: “The Usos. They could easily be tag team champions in my opinion. I came in with those guys and we actually lived together for quite some time. Those guys are incredible inside and outside the ring.”
Who He Wants To Wrestle If He Returns To WWE: “Maybe Ryback. He’s a big monster. I’d love to show the public that he’s a big guy who can be taken off his feet.”