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From Underdog to AEW Elite: The Wrestling Journey of Dutch

The recent signing of professional wrestler Dutch to AEW has been making quite a ripple in the wrestling world, but did you know this rising star once hailed from the lower ranks of WWE’s development squad? Dutch, who has previously made an impact with the notorious faction The Righteous in Ring of Honor television circuits, has had a dynamic journey in his wrestling career.

Recently in a candid interview on the renowned podcast ‘Developmentally Speaking’, Dutch revealed the interesting tale of his humble beginnings. Starting his career in the year 2008, things didn’t become steady for him until the end of 2009. His ambition, however, led him to sign a contract with WWE’s developmental promotion, FCW, in spring 2010.

Dutch narrated an interesting anecdote wherein he skipped his college midterms, invested his own money in flying to Ohio Valley Wrestling in Kentucky, and paid a $100 fee in anticipation of his WWE developmental tryout. What awaited him there, was far from what he had envisaged.

“The tryout was a two-day event,” Dutch explained. “Participants were divided into four groups according to their skill levels, from least to most experienced. Each group had to perform a series of ring drills for almost 45 minutes with a group of around 15-20 participants. With only two or three chances to enter the ring, most of the time was spent on lessons of chain wrestling outside the ring.”

Dutch found himself among the least experienced, going through the same rudimentary wrestling moves as everyone else in his cohort. But he didn’t let that dim his shine. With the realization that the sessions were being recorded, Dutch decided to use the opportunity to stand out.

His strategy was simple but effective. “I can do a nip-up,” Dutch confided. “So every time the camera swept past me, I would execute a wristlock, roll through, perform the nip-up, then transition into another wristlock.” He may have been a novice in the wrestling world, but this future ROH star showed his potential right from the start by understanding how to play to the camera.

And the rest, as they say, is history. This once-underdog has now etched his name among the top stars of the pro wrestling circuit, proving once again that perseverance and smart decisions can take you places.

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