Chris Hero originally signed with WWE in February 2012 and reported to Florida Championship Wrestling upon signing. Hero was in the company as FCW transformed into NXT, remaining the developmental brand for WWE.
Hero was released in 2013, going on to have one of the most memorable Independent runs in wrestling history. Hero returned to NXT in December 2016. In the years he was gone, NXT went from a developmental brand to a touring brand featuring talent who had become stars elsewhere such as Shinsuke Nakamura, Robert Roode, Asuka, and more.
By September 2019, NXT was running weekly live television and has transformed into what many believe is the third brand in WWE.
This change led to the Performance Center losing its way in terms of what the building wants from talent.
"Once they went live week-to-week, they started losing focus of what they wanted from the talent," Hero told Conrad Thompson on Can Chris Hero Save Wrestling? "The initial purpose of NXT was to have a television show to get talent ready for the main roster. They ended up with the lucrative deal with Full Sail and capitalized with the niche fan instead of the casual fan. The success of [NXT], muddies the water with the Performance Center. Are they trying to learn to wrestle so they can be WWE superstars or be for NXT? People say they are the same, they absolutely aren't the same. They are run by different people who want different things. One of the reasons those with an Independent wrestling background are so successful is because they can adapt to that. When all you know is what you've been taught in the Performance Center, it's hard to throw someone a curveball and it's difficult for them to make certain adjustments. What it boils down to is what the boss wants. If he loves it, then you're doing a good job. They have so many bodies in the Performance Center and so many classes. When you start, it is of the utmost importance to figure out who you're trying to please and what you're trying to do. You need to pick a peer whose opinion you trust. You have a coach, a head coach, and Triple H. When you have all these coaches and you move to a different class, you have to learn quick what he or she wants because it may be different. It gets overwhelming for the new talent."
Hero said that there would be over 100 people at the Performance Center, thus limiting how often people could train as they tried to get everyone in and prioritize certain classes.
Hero would breakdown the different Performance Center classes, saying Johnny Moss and Robbie Brookside led the basic class, Serena Deeb and Norman Smiley would lead footwork and technique, Scotty 2 Hotty and Steve Corino would work on personality and crowd interaction, and finally, Terry Taylor and Shawn Michaels would get people ready for television.
Hero was released by WWE in April 2020 due to company-wide cutbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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