Once an introvert, he is now Singapore’s first WWE wrestler
Once a loner, he is now looking forward to making his in-ring debut
He was a self-proclaimed introvert in secondary school and had few friends. Sports like football and basketball did not interest him.
Today, Sean Tan, 25, is a history-maker, the first Singaporean wrestler to be a part of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), after being recruited following a tryout in Shanghai in July 2019.
Tan, who has been based in Orlando, Florida, since April this year, told The New Paper: "I played a year of basketball in secondary school, but found it was not something I could focus on because I didn't have interest in it. The only sport I would watch then was WWE."
He took art as a subject for his N levels, but "everything always consistently went back to WWE".
In 2012, at the age of 16, Tan joined professional wrestling school Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW) - which surprised his parents.
Even though his father knew about Tan's penchant for wrestling and his dream to be a WWE star, he did not think his son was serious, but he came around quickly and has been unwavering in his support.
Tan, who did business studies at ITE College West and studied health management and promotion at Republic Polytechnic, said: "He even dropped by a few times to see how the training was like.
"Since then, my parents have been to every SPW show that I've been in, supporting me all the way."
During his training at SPW under the ring name "Trexxus", the SPW South-east Asia champion researched bodybuilding, weightlifting and high-protein diets to help build his body for wrestling.
While his peers hung out after school, Tan would head to the gym five times a week.
Tan, who is 1.84m tall and weighs 92kg - he was 74kg almost 10 years ago - said: "If I missed a training session, it would feel like I forgot to brush my teeth in the morning."
Mr Andruew Tang, co-founder of SPW, believes Tan can be a trailblazer.
"Sean's achievement will open doors for local wrestlers and send a message to aspiring fans that they can chase their dreams too," he said.
Tan, who first appeared on the June 8 episode of NXT, WWE's weekly TV programme that showcases its up-and-coming talent, hopes to make his in-ring debut soon.
Mr Matt Bloom, head coach and vice-president of talent development at WWE, said: "The ability to tell a story in the ring is something we look for.
"Charisma is everything for us. If you can make me either hate you or love you through the stories that you tell, that is the king of what makes our business work."