Former Port Vale goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson to become WWE wrestler

Dirty Tackle

Stuart Tomlinson turned professional in 2003 with Crewe Alexandra and has played in goal for the likes of Barrow, Port Vale and Burton Albion. Having gained experience in a sport where participants throw themselves to the ground, pretend to be injured, try to con officials, act like divas and play up to the crowd, he has now decided to make the natural progression into professional wrestling.

Tomlinson was forced to retire from his position between the posts over the summer due to anterior cruciate ligament damage. Even though some opposing fans mistakenly gave the 26-year-old abuse for being enjoying pies a little too much, he earned the nickname "The Tank" due to his ridiculously muscle-bound frame and passion for bodybuilding. His enviable physique has actually landed him on the cover of Men's Health magazine twice.

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On Friday, Tomlinson announced on Twitter that he is moving to the USA to join the WWE on a developmental contract. Local newspaper StaffsLive has more detail:

The Chester-born footballer, who also played for Crewe Alexandra and Burton Albion, would have met WWE representatives during the American show’s European tour last month. He has now been offered the chance of a lifetime with the most popular wrestling company in the world.

Tomlinson will now join WWE’s newly opened Performance Centre in Orlando, Florida where he will undertake lessons in wrestling, sports science and medicine. Opened earlier this year, the developmental centre in a state of the art wrestling school designed to train rookie wrestlers to WWE standard before allowing them to make their debut on shows like NXT and Main Event.

Don't expect to see Tomlinson choke-slamming John Cena on Monday Night Raw anytime soon, however, as the WWE has been known to keep its stars in development for up to a year before they are allowed to grease up, purge their body hair and pretend to fight other men in the squared circle.

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Ryan Bailey is a writer for Dirty Tackle on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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