From the Gridiron to the Squared Circle: Riders DE Lake Korte-Moore gets a firsthand look at the world of professional wrestling

Do you smell what Lake Korte-Moore is cooking? Apparently, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has.

The Roughriders defensive end got an introduction to professional wrestling recently, after he attended a tryout camp at the WWE Performance Center.

Riders DE Lake Korte-Moore. Photo: Sask. Roughriders

On Tuesday, Korte-Moore joined Michael Ball on the Sportscage to reflect on his unique voyage into professional wrestling.

The Roughriders 1st round selection (3rd Overall) in the 2023 CFL Draft said he was contacted by the WWE’s recruiting, leading to a meeting with his agent. Korte-Moore soon found himself travelling to Orlando for the four-day tryout.

The 24-year-old noted it was a situation where representatives from WWE initiated the contact with the Roughrider, as he never thought about pursuing professional wrestling as a career growing up.

He felt the tryout was a great way to get introduced to the sport.

“They kind of taught us about the basics of wrestling, nothing bad on your body or anything, it was very easy going, they wanted to see us move.”

Besides the physical aspect of the sport, the instructors also gave the tryout attendees some tutelage on their promo skills, which Korte-Moore found to be a different experience.

“That kind of took me out of my comfort zone a little bit, definitely something new for me, but I enjoyed it, kind of help me learn that aspect of how to really talk in front of people.”

Overall, the adventure in Orlando is one that Korte-Moore enjoyed.

“It was just fun overall and got to learn about a lot of things and meet amazing great people as well, who there with me at the tryouts as well, their coaching staff and their tight community they have there as well.”

Korte-Moore said one of his favourite wrestlers in his youth was John Cena. He added during his time at Performance Center, he got to see the wrestler turned movie star in person.

“He (Cena) kind of walked by it was neat to see the guy in-person and be like wow, you can really see him.”

Another wrestling legend Korte-Moore had a chance to interact with was “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, who oversees WWE’s development brand, NXT.

“He (Micheals) was actually helping coach me.”

After the tryout in Orlando, Korte-Moore remains unsure what will happen next with the WWE, as he will await word back to see what the future could hold for him in the ring.

In his rookie season with the Roughriders in 2023, Korte-Moore registered his first career sack in Saskatchewan, as he played in all 18 regular season games.


Korte-Moore is not the first member of the Roughriders to draw attention from WWE.

In 1995, the World Wrestling Federation (now known as WWE) hosted a TV taping in Regina. One of the matches that night featured Bret “The Hitman” Hart against “Psycho” Sid. During the match, Sid had his allies from the “Million Dollar Corporation” by his side, but the Hitman evened the odds by getting backup from members of the Roughriders. These members included Mike Anderson, Bobby Jurasin, Scott Hendrickson, and Glenn Kulka.

After the experience, Kulka developed an interest in pursuing a career in wrestling, and Hart offered to train him.

The former Saskatchewan Roughrider would sign a development deal with WWF after two years of training.

Kulka won his debut contest for the company against Sexton Hardcastle in a “dark match” in Ottawa in November of 1997. (A dark match is a contest that is held inside of arena that takes place before a TV taping.) Hardcastle would go on to be known as Edge in WWE and currently goes by his real name in All Elite Wrestling, Adam Copeland.

Before “Kulka-mania” ran wild, the former football player suffered a setback in the early stages of 1998, suffering a broken leg inside the squared circle.

In 1999, Kulka would make another appearance in a “dark match” for WWF in a television taping held in Memphis, picking up a victory by disqualification over “The Godfather” in what turned out to be his final match for the company.

He would be released from his contract in 2000 and soon retired from professional wrestling.

Kulka was a man of many sports. Before he entered the CFL, he spent time in the Western Hockey League (1981-83) and the ECHL with the Hampton Road Admirals (1993-94) before he joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1995. Following his career in professional wrestling, Kulka spent time competing in Mixed Martial Arts between 2008-09.

CFLers Turned Professional Wrestlers

There have been other examples of players from the Canadian Football League who transitioned to professional wrestling over the years.

Hall of Famer Angelo Mosca began wrestling during the offseason of the CFL season before becoming a full-time wrestler once he stepped away from the gridiron.

Stu Hart, the father of Bret and Owen Hart spent time in the CFL with Edmonton before he became the operator of Stampede Wrestling.

Gene Kiniski spent time in the CFL with Edmonton before a torn kneecap forced him to retire and move on to legendary professional wrestling career.

Wayne Coleman was with the Calgary Stampeders and Montreal Alouettes in 1968 before he decided to become “Superstar” Billy Graham and would later become the WWWF (at the time) Heavyweight Champion.

Former offensive lineman for the Montreal Alouettes (1979-81), Lawrence Pfhol ended his football career and adopted the name Lex Luger.

In 1976, Merced Solis spent some time with the BC Lions. Solis changed his name to Tito Santana, embarking on a remarkable inside the ring, eventually inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.

Before “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan carried a 2×4 to the ring, he suited up in double blue with the Toronto Argonauts.

Ron Simmons was with the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1981.

Brian Pillman played for the Calgary Stampeders, but after his playing career ended, he would train at the legendary “Hart Dungeon” in Calgary to become a wrestler.

Maybe the biggest star in professional wrestling today, Roman Reigns, was with Edmonton in 2008.

And probably the most famous case of a CFL player switching over to professional wrestling was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who was with the Calgary Stampeders before he became the most electrifying in sports entertainment.

The Football Field is the Arena of Choice For Now

Although professional wrestling may be tempting for Korte-Moore, Rider Nation can breathe easy knowing that their defensive end won’t be trading his football pads for wrestling trunks anytime soon.

“I’m still very focused on football,” said the Saskatchewan Defensive End, “football is my passion, something I wanted to do since I was young, being apart of the Saskatchewan Roughriders is my main thing right now.

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