Jake Atlas made his NXT television debut on tonight’s episode of NXT TV on USA Network. The 2019 Southern California Wrestler of the Year was defeated by Dexter Lumis by submission in his television debut.
Atlas, who is from El Monte, CA, made his professional wrestling debut in August 2016 after training at the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy in Bell Gardens, CA. After Atlas was named the 2017 Southern California Rookie of the Year, he made headlines outside of wrestling by using that opportunity to come about publicly as gay. He was later featured on a WWE episode of CBS’ Undercover Boss where he was given a brand ambassador contract with the company.
When Atlas signed with WWE, he became the first openly gay male wrestler to sign with the company. Atlas made his in-ring debut with NXT on January 31, 2020, at a house show in Citrus Springs, FL.
Atlas competed in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s Battle of Los Angeles in September, where he lost in the second round to Dragon Lee. After his performance at the Battle of Los Angeles, it was widely expected that Atlas would be drawing interest for most major wrestling promotions. The week following Battle of Los Angeles, Atlas did wrestle in a match for Ring of Honor in Las Vegas, NV, and reportedly was offered a contract but turned it down.
Shortly after his Ring of Honor tryout, Atlas was seen backstage at the first WWE Smackdown on FOX. Shortly after that, he began informing promoters he was unavailable for bookings after the new year. He made his last two wrestling appearances in Southern California in January, defeating his trainer Joey “Kaos” Munoz at a Santino Bros. event then facing Dom Kubrick and Douglas James at PCW Ultra’s anniversary show. In the match at PCW Ultra, Atlas dropped the PCW Ultra Light Championship to Douglas James.
Atlas signing was first reported on October 20, 2019. He became the first wrestler from the Santino Bros. Wrestling Academy to be signed by WWE. Kathy Campanelli, now going by Kat Marino in NXT, became the second Santino Bros. graduate to join WWE shortly after.