He’s been the unspoken beast at non-televised live events. He’s the freakishly big handed Performance Center raw recruit that has had WWE Superstars like Sasha Banks and Kevin Owens tweeting about since his training days in NXT in 2015. His name is Lars Sullivan, and he just may be the NXT Big Thing.
Lars Sullivan – real name Dylan Roode – joined the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida in October of 2013, after WWE officials were impressed with his strength, size and agility – he floored them with a 37-inch vertical leap. He continued to train hard at the Performance Center, and in 2015, he began to work NXT Live Events under the name Dylan Miley, beginning with a match at Axxess for WrestleMania 31, where he beat another trainee, Marcus Louis. That match caught the attention of WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar, who began to train with Miley at the PC in Orlando.
By 2016, he began to work NXT Live Events more frequently and on through the early parts of 2017, feuding mainly with Patrick Clark (aka The Velveteen Dream). But his NXT appearances were still just enhancement.
In May of this year, he was repackaged as Lars Sullivan – a name handpicked by Triple H. According to the lore, Triple H intentionally gave him an Irish last name in hopes it would endear itself to Vince McMahon, who has a bit of a soft spot for his Irish heritage. He continued to job more than win, but at the NXT event at the Download Festival in England this past June, he scored a big win over UK Superstar Trent Seven.
Sullivan also began to appear in tag team matches on NXT television, but his tag partner would always end up getting the pin. Lars would go into a blind rage and decimate his opponent post match, in losses to #DIY, Heavy Machinery and The Street Profits, becoming a Full Sail favourite for his actions. On live events, he feuds with Oney Lorcan, but he’s just entered into his first major singles feud, with No Way Jose. With rumours that No Way Jose may be close to getting a call up to the main roster, a demolition from Lars Sullivan could just be the ticket to write Jose off of NXT television and begin the story of a new monster in NXT. At 6’2″ and 300 lbs, with hands closer to the size of Andre the Giant than Triple H (see the comparison below), Lars Sullivan is as freakishly good as he is to look at.
While NXT has become a new safe haven for many former indie darlings in the past few years, with the likes of Adam Cole, reDRagon, Kassius Ohno, Ruby Riot, Kairi Sane and many many more, sometimes you forget that they’ve been slowly creating some future Superstars of their own at the Performance Center as well. Bianca BelAir, one of the standouts in the Mae Young Classic, is also a homegrown PC talent.
Hopefully Lars Sullivan’s slow build continues and he continues to become a force in NXT.