DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A former Duke University wrestler and coach transitioned to the world of professional wrestling as he made his WWE debut Tuesday night.
Jacob Kasper, wrestling under the name Julius Creed, teamed with his brother, Drew Kasper, whose ring name is Brutus Creed. The duo won their debut match on Tuesday’s episode of NXT in convincing fashion.
The Kasper brothers joined forces with former NXT North American and NXT Tag Team Champion Roderick Strong and his faction, Diamond Mine.
Prior to the transition to the WWE realm, Jacob Kasper was a renowned wrestler at Duke. In his senior campaign in 2018, Kasper, competing in the 285-pound class, amassed a 38-4 record. He won 29 matches in a row that year.
That streak ended in a 10-5 decision loss to eventual NCAA Champion Kyle Snyder, who this summer won silver at the Olympics.
Kasper, a two-time All-American heavyweight, holds Duke’s single-season wins record. After graduating, he went on to join the Blue Devils wrestling staff as an assistant coach.
Drew Kasper was a heavyweight wrestler at Otterbein University in Ohio.
NXT is WWE’s developmental division, akin to the minor leagues in baseball. It largely features younger or up-and-coming wrestlers.
WWE has had success in the past with recruiting in the NCAA and amateur ranks. Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle are the most notable.
Lesnar won an NCAA Championship in his senior season at the University of Minnesota. He is a former nine-time world champion — eight times in the WWE and once in New Japan Professional Wrestling. He’s also a former UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Angle won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics with a broken neck. He went on to win 13 world championships in WWE and two other promotions.
Shelton Benjamin, who WWE also recruited from Minnesota, is a former seven-time champion in the WWE as both a singles and tag team wrestler.
More recently, former Olympian Chad Gable transitioned to WWE. He debuted in 2015 and is a former three-time tag team champion.