Former ECW champion Steve Corino spent a week at the WWE Performance Center training young wrestlers and it was basically a dream come true for him.
"It’s a place I’ve always wanted to be," he said. "Twenty-two years that I’ve been in the business of wrestling, so I wanted to make that transition over to coaching and you know, this is the Number 1 place in the entire universe, so you know where else would you want to be?"
Corino trained at an early version of the Performance Center almost twenty years ago, schooled by a future WWE Hall of Famer. "Training under Dory Funk Jr was amazing. Growing up a wrestling fan all my life, to get a chance to go up to Stamford Connecticut and train with him in 1998 was a dream come true. But you could see it was the infancy of what the Performance Center has now become," he said. "You know, back then we had one ring in a warehouse and now you look at the Performance Center, just seeing the state-of-the-art gym, the rings, the way that the training goes, it was mind-blowing. The first half of the day on Monday, I was just sitting there in awe thinking “This is Wrestling Heaven.”
He was apprehensive at first about being accepted in a WWE system that he was a stranger to, but his anxiety was soon assuaged. "As a guy who wasn’t lucky enough to be in the WWE system for the last 22 years, I felt like an outsider on Monday morning at nine o’clock, and then I felt like I belonged by 9:02.”
After a recent neck surgery, Corino used the opportunity to work at the Performance Center as a carrot to motivate him. “I doubted myself a year ago when I had major neck surgery, and I thought that my career was over. And I used the Performance Center as a tool of inspiration, you know, like “If I get back to 100% or 120%, maybe I’ll get that chance to come down for a week and be a part of this great company and this great facility, so for me it was a justification for all the pain and travel that I’ve gone through over the past two decades that I finally got here."
Corino was ECW Champion from November 2000 to January 2001.