NXT may be considered the developmental training ground for future WWE superstars, but a recent trend has been showing established stars pop up in NXT to immediately make a huge impact. One of the biggest names to do so to date has been a “Glorious” superstar by the name of Bobby Roode. Roode first showed his face in NXT as one of the many fans in attendance to witness NXT TakeOver: Dallas, and finally stepped into the ring a few months later, defeating Andrade “Cien” Almas in his official debut. Roode hasn’t spent much time in the WWE Universe, and he’s already made quite a splash in the brief months he’s been there. In truth, though, the biggest successes of his career happened already all around the world over an impressive nearly two-decade year career.
As is the case with most wrestlers, Roode’s story doesn’t exactly begin when he stepped inside the ring, either. Roode’s inspirations are in certain ways as relevant to fans as his accomplishments, and interviews have proven wrestling has been part of his life since he was a young man, as is the case with many superstars. Roode started young in the ring, too, and has showcased his talents as a superstar all around the world, most notably for TNA, and perhaps most surprisingly in WWE—way back in the early 2000s. Roode’s official tenure in WWE has just begun, though, so there’s still plenty of time for him to shine in ways that make this whole list history. With that in mind, if you’re the kind of person who wants to know the whole story, keep reading and learn 15 interesting facts about Bobby Roode WWE isn’t going to tell you.
15. He Considered A Career In Law Enforcement
There are plenty of children who dream of becoming pro wrestlers when they grow up, but the reality is the dream will eventually have to die for most of those kids. Even the wrestlers who became successful realized there was a chance of this, and that’s why many of them had backup plans if the whole wrestling thing didn’t work out. For Bobby Roode, the backup plan was a career in law enforcement, and he actually got pretty far in his training to be a Corrections Officer before he realized sports entertainment seemed like the better gig for him.
Roode explained to Colt Cabana on The Art of Wrestling podcast that he actually studied to become a CO for an entire year, but never had any particular passion for the job. Roode claimed he was only looking for a way to make money and support himself while pursuing his passions on the side, which were mostly hockey and wrestling. He decided he didn’t have the passion for hockey, but it turned out he did have the passion required for wrestling, so he quit studying and started training to get in the ring.
14. He Extensively Studied Curt Hennig
No matter how much wrestling one views, they need some sort of formal training before they enter the ring. This doesn’t mean that watching certain wrestlers can be extremely helpful before that point even comes around, and many people who made it in the industry would likely agree Curt Hennig is definitely one of those textbook performers everybody can learn from by watching his old matches. Bobby Roode would certainly agree with the assessment, as he claimed that prior to actually receiving any training, he started his wrestling education by watching dozens of Hennig’s tapes and DVDs to begin learning the craft.
Roode lived in rural Canada and didn’t have much access to any wrestling outside of WWE, but when it came to studying Hennig, he knew there was more to the story than just the Perfect part of the story. Roode’s tape collection covered Hennig’s career in the AWA onward, and this no doubt allowed a young Roode to start picking up on some fundamentals decades of training may not have covered. Roode still considers Hennig one of the best of all time, and though he feels he’s differentiated himself from his idol in many ways, he remains honored when people find ways to compare the two.
13. He Was Trained By Val Venis
Most true wrestling superstars never stop learning how to better themselves as entertainers, but they all had to start somewhere, and they also tend to be able to pick one person most responsible for the talent they would become. Roode has several people to thank for his successes throughout his career, but the first wrestler to enter his life, and thus perhaps the most important, was Val Venis. Venis is not particularly known for his talents as a trainer, and in fact only met Roode through a chance encounter at their shared gym.
Roode asked Venis for advice on entering the industry, and Venis did Roode much better by teaching him some of the fundamentals of wrestling in Val’s backyard. Venis had only recently signed with WWE when he trained Roode, but was already a well known success in Mexico, where he was a former CMLL World Heavyweight Champion competing as “Steele.” Despite these successes, Venis was willing to take time out of his busy schedule to help Roode out. Shortly after learning the basics from Val, Roode met wrestling trainer Shane Sewell to begin his development as a performer in earnest.
12. He Was “Total” Lee Awesome
If every wrestler was judged solely by the very first name they used when they stepped in the ring, dozens of certified legends of the industry would blink out of existence in a heartbeat. Triple H was Terra Ryzin, John Cena was The Prototype, The Undertaker was Texas Red, The Rock was Flex Kavana, and that’s just a few of the worst examples of a future superstar not quite understanding the concept of the name making the man. However, all of those stupid names merely seem misguided when compared to the first ring name chosen by Bobby Roode, which was “Total” Lee Awesome. No, seriously.
“Total” Lee Awesome turned into Bobby Rude, which eventually became Bobby Roode, and the rest was history. Despite slight variations of Bob/Bobby/Robert and the spelling of his last name, Roode has been sticking with his real name ever since he realized how silly his initial gimmick sounded. In addition to being an atrocious pun, it didn’t help that Mike Awesome was starting to grow famous around this time, and there was just enough of a resemblance for it to feel like a bit of a rip off.
11. He Had Dozens of WWE Tryouts
Not everybody gets their dream job after their first interview, but Bobby Roode suffered a long series of disappointments prior to becoming a superstar. According to Roode himself, he’s neck and neck with indie wrestler Joey Ryan as one of the two people to have received the most tryouts with WWE and not get a job. We can’t even tell you how many tryouts Roode was given between 1998 and 2004, and Roode can only really remember that there were a lot of them. More than one of Roode’s matches were considered good enough to air on WWE C-shows like Jakked and Velocity, including one match in which he teamed with future partner and rival Austin Aries.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Roode’s part-time tenure with WWE is the fact he was never hired. It is especially confusing Roode didn’t earn a job through his various performances, as he claims none other than WWE owner Vince McMahon himself told Roode he was impressed after one of his Velocity matches. Despite McMahon’s interest, no other WWE executives saw him as a talent they needed to hire, and in fact some were pretty upfront about it…
10. WWE Execs Told Him To Go To TNA
Roode had Vince McMahon and a few wrestling friends on his side when he was trying to get hired by WWE. Despite this, for whatever reason, the executives in charge of talent relations just didn’t see any future in him. Roode desperately wanted to work for McMahon’s company, but he saw the writing on the wall when he still couldn’t get a job despite the boss’s stamp of approval. Something even worse came next, though; several WWE executives started telling him he should leave and prove himself somewhere else.
According to Roode, Tom Prichard, John Laurinaitis, and Sgt. Slaughter all approached him at various points and told him he was too good to need training, but that WWE didn’t have any use for him yet. Prichard and Laurinaitis in particular told him he should go and get over “somewhere else,” something he took both as a challenge and a veiled accusation he wouldn’t be able to do so. Roode also took the executive advice for what it was, and followed it by leaving his WWE aspirations behind and looking for employment elsewhere.
9. He Debuted In TNA as Part of Team Canada
The evil Canadian gimmick is a standard throughout wrestling history, and it has had its ups and downs in the various promotions that utilized it. TNA is no different from other wrestling companies in this respect, and this is how Bobby Roode made his mainstream wrestling debut as a member of the villainous Team Canada. Team Canada was lead by Scott D’Amore, the owner of Border City Wrestling, which is a company Roode regularly worked for while still seeking his big break.
Team Canada were actually one of the more dominant forces throughout the early years of TNA, but they still were a little bit cartoony in comparison to the glorious wrestler Roode would become. They would enter the ring carrying Canadian flags on hockey sticks, and in general relied on the hockey theme perhaps a bit too much. Nonetheless, Roode stood out as the enforcer of the group, with many fans immediately recognizing Roode had serious potential for gloriousness not far down the line. In fact, when Team Canada disbanded, group leader Scott D’Amore accurately predicted Roode would be a future TNA World Champion.
8. His Character Mistreated Women
Once Team Canada split, Roode started calling himself “the hottest free agent in TNA,” and began fielding potential managers, all of whom were dying for him as their client. Roode turned down legends like Bobby Heenan and Sherri Martel and ultimately chose Traci Brooks as his manager. Brooks and Roode dominated TNA together for short of a year, feuding with some major names we’ll discuss shortly, but it wasn’t long before the two broke up as all wrestling couples eventually do. That said, the circumstances of their breakup were a little bit rougher than usual.
Despite their initial successes working together, Roode eventually started to grow angry with a recent string of losses he was blaming on Brooks. He took out his anger not only on Brooks, but on all women, regularly verbally abusing his manager and insulting the other females in the company. Roode harassed TNA interviewer Crystal Louthan, Sharmell Sullivan, and even former TNA President Dixie Carter on various occasions. While he never resorted to actual violence against women, some critics were calling misogyny part of his gimmick, which definitely wouldn’t fly in WWE. Well, not anymore, that is.
7. He Has Teamed and Feuded with WWE Legends
If the caliber of one’s opponents is any indication of their success, Roode started to get successful very quickly after Team Canada broke up. It was only a few months after going solo that Roode was in feuds with the likes of WWE Hall of Famers Sting and Booker T. Roode’s feud with Booker T was particularly extensive, helping build his own reputation as someone who could easily stand in the ring with a legend. Roode was regularly aligned with WWE legend Christian during these battles, and a few years after leaving Christian’s Coalition, Roode became a member of Fortune under the leadership of Ric Flair.
Roode is often cited amongst the most successful TNA Originals, but his connection to these WWE icons shows his career wasn’t exactly free of intervention from outside companies. The funny thing is, now that Roode is in WWE, none of these major battles and partnerships will ever be mentioned on television, since they happened elsewhere. While it wouldn’t make sense for decades-old feuds to continue, it couldn’t hurt the product to mention Roode has exchanged elbow locks with Hall of Famers, but for some reason, WWE has made it policy not to do so.
6. He Formed Beer Money, Inc. with James Storm
Bobby Roode entered WWE as a solo wrestler, which is slightly new territory for him considering the fact he was usually in some sort of team or faction throughout the majority of his TNA career. In fact, despite the early successes we’ve already discussed, the true breakout moment of Roode’s career was the formation of Beer Money, Inc. with partner James Storm. Roode and Storm had actually teamed on rare occasions for several years before making their team official in 2008, christening it with the name Beer Money in response to Storm’s love of alcohol and Roode’s desire for wealth. WWE Hall of Famer Jacqueline occasionally managed the team.
Beer Money, Inc. were almost definitely the most dominant tag team in TNA history, and that’s without considering anything the duo managed after they split up and resumed solo careers. Beer Money hold the record for the most reigns with the TNA World Tag Team Championships, and also hold the records for the longest continuous reign, and most time holding the belts overall. Ric Flair lauded Beer Money for their similarities to Ole Anderson and Tully Blanchard, and the team continued to prove the comparison accurate until they split up when greater gold came between them.
5. He Is The Longest Reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion
One part of what made Beer Money, Inc. such a legendary tag team in TNA was the fact they continued to shock fans even as they broke up. The team officially split in November of 2011, when Roode broke a beer bottle over Storm’s head, capturing the TNA World Heavyweight Championship for the first time as a result. Storm had just won the belt from Kurt Angle days prior, but Roode’s reign would be significantly longer than that of his former partner. In fact, Roode would go on to be the longest reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion to date.
Roode held the TNA World Championship for 256 days, from November of 2011 to July of 2012. He lost the title to Austin Aries, a wrestler he knows well, as we’ll explain momentarily. Roode’s first reign wouldn’t be his only impressive feat with the title, however, as he regained the belt two years later in 2014 by defeating Lashley. Roode’s second reign lasted only half the length of his first, but was still mildly impressive considering how often TNA was changing their champions at the time. With his two reigns, Roode has held the title for the second longest time of any superstar, only behind 6-time champion Kurt Angle.
4. He Has Teamed with Austin Aries
Bobby Roode and Austin Aries have far more in common than WWE has lead on, despite the fact several of their similarities are glaringly obvious. The two are both veteran TNA superstars and former World Champions who made their long awaited NXT debuts in 2016. As a matter of fact, Aries won his first TNA World Championship by defeating Roode, creating the rule that the X Division Champion would have the option to vacate their title and challenge the World Champion at Destination X. In addition to their various similarities and connections, Roode and Aries formed a successful tag team in TNA.
It should come as no surprise that Roode and Aries were very successful when they started teaming in TNA. They were both former World Champions and still big stars in a promotion that was losing talent rapidly, and as such, they became TNA World Tag Team Champions very shortly after forming their tag team in 2013. The duo were known by the on the nose moniker “Dirty Heels,” and Roode proved to be the dirtier of the two when he turned on Aries to ally with Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. Now that both wrestlers are in NXT, it is unlikely they’ll be feuding or teaming for a little while, despite how easy it would be for that particular war to reignite.
3. Tommy Dreamer Thinks He’s Hardcore
Considering Bobby Roode’s start and stop career in WWE with multiple tryouts, and the fact it took him several years as a background enforcer before he truly shined in TNA, he may have done better in the business were he around a few years earlier and been able to try his hand in ECW. One person who agrees with this theory at least would be Tommy Dreamer, who hired Roode and several other TNA superstars on a regular basis to work at his House of Hardcore events.
Roode’s debut for House of Hardcore occurred when he was still TNA World Heavyweight Champion, appearing as a surprise opponent for Dreamer himself and defending his title. Roode’s later appearances were generally as a part of the team with Aries, challenging indie sensations The Young Bucks and The American Wolves, both times in losing efforts. None of the matches were particularly hardcore, but the fact Dreamer is using Roode in such a high capacity still says he understands Roode’s star power, further making it confusing that so many in WWE didn’t for so long.
2. He’s Childhood Friends with a Famous Lacrosse Player
WWE and professional wrestling in general love it whenever they can manage any sort of crossover with mainstream media, and that might be doubly true if they can somehow involve themselves with so-called legitimate sports. This remains valid even if the sport isn’t one of the most popular of televised sports in the world, such as lacrosse for example. Despite the fact lacrosse isn’t on TV as often as football or basketball, the average audience recognizes the game still takes a great deal of talent and athleticism to play, and would be generally impressed to learn someone is a world-caliber lacrosse athlete. One such expert of the game is Tracey Kelusky, relevant to our article in that he has been a friend of Bobby Roode since childhood.
Kelusky’s name might not have the same mainstream value as a Shaquille O’Neal or Pacman Jones, his resume proves he was no slouch when it came to his profession. Kelusky was the National Lacrosse League Rookie of the Year for the 2000-2001 season, and later was named the MVP during the 2005 NLL All-Star Game. In late 2001, Kelusky stepped off the lacrosse field and into the wrestling ring for a segment with Roode. Kelusky supported his longtime friend the way athletes do, by getting into a minor brawl.
1. He Made His WWE Universe Debut at NXT TakeOver: Dallas
Bobby Roode had been hoping to be a true part of the WWE roster since as early as 1998. Roode’s dream waxed and waned over the years, and for a long time, it seemed he might have truly been happy enough in TNA for an appearance in the WWE Universe to be indefinitely off the table. To the surprise of TNA officials and Roode’s many fans, that changed in March of 2016, when he announced he was leaving the company. One month later, he appeared in the crowd of NXT TakeOver: Dallas, providing only one small, glorious hint at what was about to come.
Roode’s appearance was so brief some fans may not have even noticed it, and it was over two months before he even appeared on NXT television again. Roode walked past NXT General Manager William Regal during an interview at the following NXT TakeOver, The End, and finally made his debut in the ring to give a speech in early August. Roode’s in-ring debut was a victory against Andrade Almas, and fans have been singing his theme music ever since. While we understand any fans who wanted Roode to make his debut as soon as possible, it’s almost fitting that his long journey to WWE featured a slow burn debut at the end, and could be a sign that the various trends in his career could repeat themselves. Whether or not this means championship success in the near future, one thing about Bobby Roode is for sure—his career will continue to be glorious.