According to a report today by Wrestlezone and the Washington Post, former NFL star Shawne Merriman has signed a deal with WWE to become a wrestling superstar. The former San Diego Charger and Buffalo Bills defensive monster has had a long established history as a WWE fan. The 3 time Pro Bowler tried out for WWE last fall but was not offered a contract at the time.
On Saturday, current WWE wrestler Rey Mysterio posted a photo of himself on Instagram with Meriman dubbing him a “future WWE superstar”. On Sunday, Merriman joined WWE Hall of Famer Booker T and broadcast host Josh Mathews as a special guest for panel discussion of Wrestlemania 30 on the WWE Network’s live pre-show. Merriman returned again on Monday to appear on the live ‘RAW’ pre and post shows. Adding more confirmation that there is a wokring relationship between Merriman and WWE, on the John Layfield and Michael Cole Show the two said that he was joining the “WWE family” and working at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. The Performance Center is where WWE develops superstars and divas for a potential spots on the main roster of ‘RAW’ and ‘Smackdown’.
Merriman who retired from the NFL last March, has continued to be active after his pro football career with his ‘Lights Out’ clothing brand and charity work. The University of Maryland star has kept his star bright after football and his post-football life could see become an athletic entertainer with this new path in pro wrestling.
Merriman has gotten physical in WWE before, when he attacked former WWE talent Chavo Guerrero in the 2008 One Night Stand pay-per-view event with a kendo stick. At the time, Merriman was in the depths of his NFL career with the Chargers. His pro career on the gridiron was limited due a series of different knee and foot injuries that contributed to his 2013 retirement.
Pro Wrestling Examiner’s Perspective: WWE has been steering it’s recent recruitment efforts to seeking out veteran independent talent and raw athletes out of the collegiate ranks. Merriman has the football player body that can be molded into a pro wrestler, but being able to pull it off as a total package performer in WWE is a different challenge. It would be interesting see Merriman introduce his infamous ‘Lights Out’ taunts that he showed off in NFL games into a wrestling act.