Drake Wuertz (September 10, 1984) is an American retired professional wrestler. He is currently a referee, signed to WWE, on their developmental territory NXT, under his real name. He has worked for a number of major independent promotions under the ring name Drake Younger, including Combat Zone Wrestling, IWA Mid-South, EVOLVE, Dragon Gate USA, Chikara, and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG). He is known for his deathmatch wrestling style.
Professional wrestling career
Early career (2003–2006)
Drake became a fan of wrestling at an early age, attending WrestleMania VIII and became a fan of Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart, before discovering wrestlers such as Sabu and Cactus Jack, both of whom would become major influences. Drake tried his hand at wrestling joining Crazy Ass Wrestling, a backyard wrestling group run by Diehard Dustin Lee. A few years later, Drake, along with fellow Indianapolis natives Scotty Vortekz, Cliff Crunk, xOMGx, & Diehard joined the R.A.A.G.E. Dojo, training under American Kickboxer, after already debuting for Insanity Pro Wrestling in Indianapolis. In 2002, Drake disappeared from wrestling for over a year citing personal issues. During this hiatus, Drake was in a car accident which gave him the gash on his shoulder.
Insanity Pro Wrestling (2006-2009)
In March 2006, Drake returned to Insanity Pro Wrestling in a losing effort "Diehard" Dustin Lee. In June 2006 Drake and Dustin Lee went at it once again but this time at IWA Mid-South's King of the Deathmatch tournament. He defeated Dustin Lee in the 1st round in a cage match, but lost in round 2 against JC Bailey in a barefoot thumbtack deathmatch. On January 5, 2008, Drake defeated Carlton Kaz for the IPW Grand Heavyweight Championship (which Younger made into the IPW World Heavyweight Championship, by defending the Grand Title in Germany), making him a two-time champion by also winning the Jr. Heavyweight Championship a few years back. On January 3, 2009, Younger lost his IPW World Heavyweight Championship to Jon Moxley at Animosity 09 in a Dog Collar Match.
Combat Zone Wrestling (2006–2014)
Drake debuted for Combat Zone Wrestling in July 2006 in the fifth annual Tournament of Death. Drake lasted to the finals but was eliminated by Nick Gage. The following year, he made it to the finals again and defeated Brain Damage to become the TOD 6 Champion. On July 12, 2008, Younger defeated Nick Gage in a "Tangled Web" Deathmatch for the CZW World Heavyweight Championship, making him a dual champion as he also held the CZW Ultraviolent Underground Championship. On September 27, 2008, Younger defeated Sami Callihan and Claudio Castagnoli in the finals of the 2008 Ted Petty Invitational, to become the first wrestler to win both a technical wrestling and a deathmatch wrestling tournament.
On October 11, 2008, Younger gave his CZW Ultraviolent Underground Championship to Danny Havoc at Decision'08.
On January 30, 2010 Drake Younger would lose his CZW World Heavyweight Title belt to B-Boy at High Stakes 4 - Sky's The Limit. On February 13, 2010 at the CZW 11th Anniversary Show Fan Appreciation Deadly Doubleheader Younger would win the afternoon show defeating Drew Blood but would go on to losing at the night show to J.C. Bailey. On April 10, 2010 at Swinging For The Fences, Drake Younger teamed with Eddie Kingston to win the CZW World Tag Team Champions by defeating The Best Around.
On July 10, 2010, Younger and Kingston were stripped of the CZW World Tag Team Championship, after Kingston quit the company. On September 9, 2010 at CZW's "It's Always Bloody In Philadelphia" Drake Younger turned heel when he turned on the Suicide Kings and his friend Scotty Vortekz.
On April 12, 2014, after signing with WWE, Younger made his farewell appearance for CZW, winning the Best of the Best XIII. He is the only competitor to ever win both the Best Of The Best Tournament and the Tournament Of Death.
Hall of Fame (2016)
On February 13, 2016, Younger returned to CZW and was inducted into their Hall of Fame.
Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South (2007-2011)
On December 1, 2007, Drake Younger competed in the third IWA Deep-South Carnage Cup where he wrestled a Three Way Deathmatch against Viking and WHACKS. In the match WHACKS dropped himself from the ceiling on Drake Younger who lay on a table with light tubes on top of him. The shattering of the light tubes caused a big tear in Drake's left ear due to which he could not finish the tournament. The injury caused him to wear ear protection for the next couple months.
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (2012–2013)
Younger made his Pro Wrestling Guerrilla debut on July 21, 2012, at Threemendous III, PWG's nine-year anniversary event. He wrestled and lost against long-time associate B-Boy. Younger returned to PWG in September to compete in his first Battle of Los Angeles tournament, the 2012 Battle of Los Angeles. He was eliminated in the opening round by Roderick Strong on September 1. The next evening, Younger teamed with B-Boy and Willie Mack to defeat Kyle O'Reilly, Davey Richards, and Joey Ryan. On December 1 at Mystery Vortex, Younger wrestled Sami Callihan in a losing effort. After the match, it was announced that Younger and Callihan would participate in a best of three match series to determine a number one contender for the PWG World Championship. At the 2013 Dynamite Duumvirate Tag Team Title Tournament, which took place on January 12, 2013, Younger fought Callihan in a non-tournament knockout or submission-only match. Younger won the bout by knockout, tying the score. On March 22, 2013, Younger defeated Callihan in the third match, a Guerrilla Warfare match, to win the series and become the number one contender to the PWG World Championship. He received his title shot the following day, but was defeated by the defending champion, Adam Cole. In late August, Younger made it to the semifinals of the 2013 Battle of Los Angeles, before losing to eventual tournament winner Kyle O'Reilly.
WWE (2013; 2014-present)
On the August 16, 2013 episode of SmackDown, Wuertz appeared in a segment as a backstage worker who was bullied and attacked by Ryback. In December 2013, Wuertz attended a tryout at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
In March 2014, it was reported that he had signed a contract with WWE. By May 2014, Wuertz had completed his farewell match on the independent circuit, as well as acknowledged in an interview that he would be working for WWE. Later that month, it was reported that Wuertz had worked as a professional wrestling referee at a house show for WWE's developmental system NXT. Wuertz made his television debut as a referee on the July 10, 2014 episode of NXT, and continues to referee on NXT, normally refereeing the main events for their TV tapings and TakeOvers.
- Finishing and signature moves
- Drake's Landing (Kudome Valentine)
- Paralyzer, Whiplash
- "The Psycho Shooter"
- Tag teams and stables
- Theme music
Championships and accomplishments
- IWA Mid-South Deathmatch Champion (1 time) (First)