Kesahun Moore’s six sisters could not believe what they were hearing. Particularly his four older sisters that watched him grow up as a professional wrestling fan. Moore, a senior defensive end and outside linebacker at Hampton University, was going to be a part of a select group of Division I student-athletes preparing to enter a pathway to what could end in a WWE contract. Their brother might be the next WWE super star. “They were amazed that I could really be a part of something like WWE,” said Moore during an interview with The Atlanta Voice.
Moore, 23, will be the first HBCU student-athlete member of WWE’s Name, Image & Likeness (NIL) program, “Next In Line.” He is part of a very diverse group of 15 student-athletes that is 50% non-white, according to WWE.
Moore is an example of the athlete WWE is recruiting for “Next In Line,” says WWE Senior Vice President, Global Talent Strategy and Development James Kimball. “Keshaun has the size, stature and presence that combined with is maturity and work ethic will give him every opportunity to earn a WWE contract at the conclusion of his collegiate career,” said Kimball.
WWE unveiled the 15-member class of “Next In Line” athletes in a release Monday, the first day of the inaugural NIL Summit, a gathering of minds and athletes involved in the NIL space. The summit will include hundreds of student-athletes sharing their experiences with NIL and about navigating a whole new world in college sports.
Moore believes his skills as a college football player will help him the talent development process that “Next In Line” athletes will have to go through. “I think the skills I learned playing football translate well,” he said. “I’ve always been an aggressive athlete and enjoy contact sports.”
The “Next In Line” program also prepares the athletes for the other side of being a professional athlete. Along with being able to physically train at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, athletes will get prepped in media training, live event promotion, and community relations, according to a release from WWE.
A publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: WWE), the business of professional wrestling comes with more than just wrestling. “I am really grateful for the opportunity, I would have never thought professional wrestling might become a career,” said Moore, who is also a fan of mixed martial arts and boxing.
“Our goal through this NIL partnership is to arm him with the tools and resources necessary to realize his dream,” said Kimball.
Moore, a marketing major, understands that you don’t become The Rock overnight. “It kind of fits my personality,” said Monroe of professional wrestling. “I can talk to anybody about anything.”
The Virginia native is making his first visit to Atlanta for NIL Summit. He plans on making the most of his three days in town. “It’s going to be a great opportunity to network, and get to witness the culture of Atlanta,” he said.
Moore mentioned the culture of Atlanta as another reason he was excited to be making the trip. The Atlanta University Center, home to Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, Spelman College and Morehouse School of Medicine, is just blocks away from the College Football Hall of Fame. The College Football Hall of Fame’s HBCU football exhibit was recently expanded.
NIL Summit takes place Monday, June 13 through Wednesday, June 15.