Former Penn State Football Player Tyler Shoop Living Pro Wrestling Dream In Tennessee
Tyler Shoop’s pro wrestling debut, which arrived last Thursday in 127 Pro Wrestling’s Battle Royal in Grimsley, Tennessee, was a long time coming.
Fans may remember Shoop as a preferred walk-on wide receiver for Penn State football. Shoop is the son of former defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, and stayed to play football in Happy Valley even after his dad left for Tennessee.
But wrestling, not football, is Shoop’s first love.
“Guys who know me on the team knew that even when I was playing football, I loved pro wrestling more than that,” Shoop said. “If you gave me the opportunity to be in the NFL or be in the WWE, I would choose the WWE every day of the week.”
So it shouldn’t surprise anyone — especially his roommates Isaac Lutz, Michael Shuster, and Jan Johnson — that he left his final year of eligibility on the table to pursue his pro wrestling dreams after graduating last spring with a degree in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management.
“They have always known how much I have loved this business,” Shoop said. “They would always be watching football on Sunday nights while I would watch whatever pay-per-view was on that month.”
Despite forgoing his redshirt senior season, Shoop still has love for his squad.
“Obviously, I’m supporting them,” Shoop said. “I’m so happy that they’re 8-0 right now, but I do think that Jan Johnson might be salty that he’s not be the best wrestler in that apartment anymore.”
It should also be no surprise that, in his short time as a pro wrestler thus far, Shoop has found himself to be a natural heel. Heels, for those who don’t know, are the antagonists of pro wrestling — typically the cocky SOBs whose every move incites jeers and boos from the crowd. They exist to be the foils of the babyfaces — the “good guys” of wrestling.
“To be honest, my character is just me magnifying who I am. I am a confident guy, an athletic guy,” Shoop explained. “I can be sarcastic – kind of a jerk sometimes, but really I’m just confident in myself. I believe in myself and that I am better than other people.”
Growing up, Shoop admired WWE Superstars that thrived in that antagonistic role, which has helped shape his in-ring persona.
“My three favorite wrestlers all-time are CM Punk, Edge, and Chris Jerico. All three of them, you watch them talk, they believe that they are the best wrestlers in the world, and that’s what I want to be like one day. I want to be the best in the world. Everything I do I want to be the best at,” Shoop said.
Oh, and being a former Division I football player also helps in the ring. Shoop hopes to join the likes of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Titus O’Neil on the list of college-football-players-turned-WWE-superstars, yet it’s certainly no cake walk to the top.
“Obviously, I was able to use my natural athleticism to help me my first couple weeks in the ring, but there’s still a huge learning curve,” Shoop admitted. “Figuring out the ring psychology and how a match works is the biggest learning curve coming from football to wrestling.”
Fortunately for Shoop, he has a great team of coaches in his corner. Fellow pro wrestler Devin Driscoll has been working with him as a strength coach, whipping him into the “best shape of [his] life” — no offense to Dwight Galt. He has also been training under Dr. Tom Prichard, who has nearly 40 years of experience in the industry and has trained WWE Superstars like Kurt Angle, Dolph Ziggler, and The Rock.
“He has done a lot for the business and is a former wrestler himself,” said Shoop. “He’s the best coach in the business. I’ve trusted him through this process, and he’s helped me a lot. He’s going to help me do great things”
“Obviously, my end goal – I think anyone’s end goal in this business – is to make it to the top, whether that be in the WWE or AEW,” Shoop stated, emphasizing the prominence of other wrestling companies, like All Elite Wrestling (AEW) in 2019.
In the meantime, Shoop will continue to grind on the independent wrestling circuit in Tennessee. He has a full slate of matches over the next couple months, and you can catch his live streams on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook when they are available. If you live in Tennessee, you can always catch a live match, which is by far the best way to experience pro wrestling.
“Local people can [and should] come out and support independent wrestling. It’s a big thing right now,” Shoop said. “People don’t really realize how big wrestling is right now outside of the WWE, and this is the best time to break into the business.”
Whatever you do, just don’t ask him about his signature move.
“I’m still working on it,” Shoop confessed, almost half-jokingly. “I’m going to keep that one secret for a few weeks until I have my first single’s match.”
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