Northwestern football's Joe Spivak training to go pro as member of WWE's 'Next In Line'

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Northwestern University's tackle Joe Spivak wore the coveted "1" jersey this season because he embodies the values and character of the wildcat football family, and now as a grad student, he's training to bring 'the juice" to much bigger stages.

After five seasons as Northwestern football's hype man, Spivak is training to go pro as a member of WWE's inaugural "Next In Line" class.

"Me and my friends, and some strength coaches, started joking, 'Oh you'd be great at that Joe, that'd be a great fit,'" Spivak said. "What I'm passionate about in life is competition and training, and pushing yourself and chasing edges. But also, all I want to do is spread the message of positivity that my family gave me and like, where else do those two platforms merge more perfectly and I started realizing - wait, this might be it."

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"The thing that separates Joe is his personality and his charisma," said Spivak's trainer, J.R. Niklos. "A lot of athletes are talented but when you talk about intangibles, Joe has the intangibles. He raises everyone up."

Through Northwestern media friends and the school's alumni base, Spivak networked his way into the program that offers select college athletes the chance to train and try out for a WWE contract.

"I'm still training for my pro day right now. I've always dreamed of playing in the NFL and here I am one step away, and set up from a place like Northwestern. Sure that step is gigantic but I want to be able to live with myself if I didn't go for that," Spivak said. "And the WWE has been so, so, so supportive of that, saying you need to finish this dream, finish this and when you close that door, let's open up this one."

Spivak's passion and personality seem to be the perfect combination for WWE, but his ultimate motivation is to encourage and inspire others the way he was inspired by his late coach and friend, Joe Orosco, who passed away in November of 2020.

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"He used to always say in the weight room when we're squatting, 'If your juiceless you're useless.' And in some of the hardest moments of a workout, he'd say, 'If you're juiceless you're useless.' You need to have that outward enthusiasm and bring everybody with you," Spivak said.

"The energy that Joe brings, he's bringing on the legacy Orosco set forth way back when he was in high school and when he played football at North Central College," Niklos said.

"My parents taught me in life, is having enthusiasm for what you do and a great attitude for everything," Spivak said. "That was a character that I did this summer-- 'The Juice Box'-- and if the WWE wants to run with it that's great, because it'd be such a special way to pay homage to such a special guy."
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