Macon’s Hank Avery Jr. is among the 13 finalists for the professional wrestling reality show “WWE Tough Enough” that will air on the USA Network.
Avery, one of 40 finalists out of more than 11,000 submissions, made the cut after a three-day training camp. Competitors are trying to live out their dream and become a full-time WWE competitor. The winner earns a one-year, $250,000 WWE contract.
The former Tattnall Square standout and Mercer football player arrived in Orlando at the WWE’s Performance Center — a training center for its prospects — and made it through the first two announced cuts before being named as one of the finalists. Seven men and six women made the cut.
“WWE Tough Enough” will begin airing June 23 on USA with live results and voting each week. A special on the training camp will air at 8 p.m. on June 16 on the WWE Network.
Avery was a two-time All-Middle Georgia defensive lineman for Tattnall. He helped the Trojans win GISA titles in football and baseball. He signed a football scholarship with Air Force out of high school before returning to Macon to play for Mercer in the first year of the program’s return.
This will be the sixth season of “Tough Enough.” None of the previous winners are still wrestlers with the WWE, but finalists from the show are still in the WWE, including Cameron, Ryback and The Miz.
The WWE bio on Avery, reads, “Looking for a new ‘Face of the WWE?’ Well, Hank Avery Jr. was literally a poster boy for Mercer University football from 2012 to 2013. Standing at 6-foot-4 and topping 270 pounds, with a lingering fear of frogs, this gridiron veteran, husband and father makes his living as a pool maintenance manager. But it’s only a matter of time before he’s making a splash on a far bigger stage. Just no frogs, please.”
“WWE Tough Enough” will be hosted by WWE Superstar Chris Jericho, and he will be joined by judges Hulk Hogan, former WWE champion Daniel Bryan and former WWE Divas champion Paige.