A former ROH World Champion has recalled “negative” experience with their WWE tryout.
Dalton Castle debuted in Ring of Honor in 2013 and over the course of nearly a decade, he became one of the promotion’s breakout stars.
Winning the ROH World Championship once and Six-Man Tag Team Championships twice, Castle still remains one of the most popular figures of the past few years. Before his run in the company, Castle had a WWE tryout in the early 2010s.
Speaking with Wrestlejoy, Dalton Castle recalled his experience during the tryout and noted that he got all “negative feedback.” On his WWE tryout, he said:
“It was probably 2013 or 2014, I started getting a lot more bookings and traveling on the road. I wasn’t doing the act that you see today, I was still Dalton Castle, I was still a peacock, but I wasn’t coming out in the jumpsuit with The Boys.”
“I had tassels and a lot of color, but I didn’t really have a lot of direction in what I was doing. But because I was still functional in the ring and was still charismatic, I got the opportunity to try out with WWE.”
“Being young, I was on the radio at the time, and I hated my job, and I got called down. At the time, I was like, ‘This is it, this is everything I’ve been working for’. I go down to WWE, I go to one of those 3-day tryouts at FCW.”
“I felt like I was crushing it. I felt so good! Day 3 was promo day, they said come as you want, come comfortable, come as you are. I wore flip-flops, and went up, and I did my promo.”
“Like, there’s no doubt in my mind that I didn’t crush it, because I’m really good! Even then I was really good, I obviously got invited down.”
On the experience being mostly negative and Dusty Rhodes being the only nice person he interacted with, Dalton stated:
“They just dressed me down the second I stopped talking. They didn’t say one positive thing about the way I talked. They just shit on me for wearing flip-flops.”
“Seven men that I looked up to, that I grew up watching and respecting, they were just running me down. I think the only person who didn’t say something mean and was just kind of nice, was Dusty Rhodes. That was something, that’s kind of nice.”
On his reaction to the tryout and how he responded to it, Castle said:
“That crushed me. I thought I was done. It was clear I wasn’t getting the job. I went home and I thought it was over. I got to the top of the mountain and they said no. For 3-4 months, I was going through the motions of taking bookings and feeling like it was over. One day, I was flying into New York.”
“I texted Rhett Titus and asked ‘Is there any way I can come help set up Ring of Honor?’ Final Battle was that weekend, I got there early and helped set up the ring and the chairs and everything, and I stayed for the opening.”
“The second the Jethro Tull song played, I’m standing in the wings of the Hammerstein Ballroom, it was this energy that I’ve never felt in my life. People are banging on the boards, and with the music and the lights, the crowd was just so unified as this tight knit group, it all just clicked.”
“I was like, ‘Holy shit. THIS! This is where I belong!’ Whatever I thought I wanted before, I don’t need that, I belong here! I could come here and be myself!”
“Then I started working hard on trying to get their attention. I eventually got invited to do the Top Prospect Tournament. Two years later, I had finally developed the Dalton character, and I brought that to ROH and they gave me a shot.”
Dalton Castle has been regularly appearing on AEW and ROH programming since Tony Khan purchased Ring of Honor in March 2022.
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