While announcing their newest Performance Center signees, WWE has confirmed the addition of two independent wrestling standouts.
Mercedes Martinez and Jake Atlas have officially signed with WWE. Martinez joins the company after appearing in the Mae Young Classic in both 2017 and 2018. She made it to the semifinals in the first tournament before losing to Shayna Baszler. In 2018, she lost to Meiko Satomura in the second round.
Martinez tweeted today: "See that SMILE??!!! who says dreams cant become a reality?!! I worked for this moment for 19yrs!! I'm where I'm SUPPOSED to be at this moment in time. Sacrifice, determination, hardwork, motivation, & staying humble got me here. THANK YOU @WWEUniverse @WWENXT"
Martinez was the 21st entrant in the Casino Battle Royale at AEW All Out in August and also wrestled one match on AEW Dark that was taped in October.
Atlas broke out on the Southern California indie scene. Last year, he made it to the quarterfinals of PWG's Battle of Los Angeles. He defeated Jungle Boy in the first round and then lost to Dragon Lee in the second.
Atlas wrote about signing with WWE: "First in my family to turn a dream into reality. 'Superstar' wasn’t just a moniker, it was a vision I set for myself. Proud of who I am & where it lead me because I’m right where I belong. @WWENXT - Let’s change the world. #WeAreNXT"
Atlas appeared on the WWE-themed "Celebrity Undercover Boss" episode that aired in 2018 and said that his goal is to become the first openly gay WWE World Champion.
"Titan Games" competitor Emily Andzulis, former NFL defensive lineman Anthony Francis, acrobat Sidney Bateman, and former college basketball player Zechariah Smith were also announced as signing with WWE:
Emily Andzulis of Powell, Tenn., brings a diverse athletic background with her to Orlando. The 27-year-old is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and trains in Taekwondo. She competed on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s “Titan Games,” and was crowned the first female Titan.
Anthony Francis is a 6-foot-5, 330-pounder with five years of NFL experience under his belt. The former defensive tackle played for the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins.
Sidney Bateman is a 27-year-old acrobat from St. Louis, Mo. Bateman was a cast member for Cirque du Soleil’s “LUZIA” show, where he specialized in hoop diving.
Zechariah Smith towers over the new recruits at 7 feet tall and 310 pounds. The Oklahoma native played college basketball for Morgan State University before going pro internationally. He also played for the longtime rivals of the Harlem Globetrotters, the Washington Generals.