Tampa’s Jakob Novak

Danica Jordan, Staff Writer

   Chasing a life long WWE dream

   Sweat and blood collect on his brow, as he glares at Derrick Bateman, the reigning Florida Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion, and he fearlessly heads to his side of the ring. Thousands of fans go silent as Jacob Novak performs his fatal finishing move, the Novak Attack, and defeats Bateman in the ring.

   Novak makes lifting a 270 pound man look almost effortless, and the crowd goes quiet as Bateman’s body smacks onto the mat. Silence erupts into ear ringing applause as Novak’s frown turns up into a cocky smirk, and he throws his hands into the air, as FCW Champion.

   A few years ago, Jacob, born Drew Molzhon, in Kent, a sleepy suburb of Seattle, Washington, would have probably laughed at the idea that he’d one day entertain thousands of fans. Molzhon was always a fan of World Wrestling Entertainment, and idolized stars from the 90’s like The Rock, Randy Savage, and Bret “Hitman” Hart. When he graduated high school in 2005, he bought his mom’s mini van with cash he’d scraped together waiting tables, and packed up for California with a couple hundred dollars to his name, now Jacob Novak. Eager for any opportunity to wrestle, and with no formal training, Novak was signed on to wrestle in New Mexico.

   Scouts felt that his size and dedication were enough to get him started, and over the next year, he learned the ins and outs of professional wrestling. World Wrestling Entertainment’s developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, contacted Novak about making a move to Tampa to further his career. Without a second thought, he drove his minivan straight to Tampa, and signed his contract with WWE. Novak was shocked that his dream job wasn’t exactly lucrative. “Wrestlers get paid way less than people think,” he explained. “I started out making only 500 dollars a week for the FCW. It’s just kind of weird to have thousands and thousands of twitter followers, and to get fan mail daily, yet receive tiny paychecks.” Novak was always hoping for that next big break.

   Opportunity knocked when he was selected to compete on WWE NXT in 2010. Fans responded to his cocky personality and fan blogs predicted that he would be selected as a finalist, and contender for a lucrative touring contract with World Wrestling Entertainment. However, Novak’s dreams of stardom came to an abrupt halt after a hip injury forced him out of competition.

   World Wrestling Entertainment released him from his contract, as it was indefinite how long rehabilitation would take. Drew was crushed, but didn’t give up. He continued grueling three hour per day workouts at Tampa’s choice fitness. He fought depression, as he worried that his lifelong dream had been ripped away from him. Today, Novak is debating wrestling opportunities in Japan, China, and Mexico.

   He’s also considering re-auditioning for WWE, now that he is fully rehabilitated. “I honestly could see myself being happy anywhere,” says Drew, “As long as I’m wrestling and doing what I love I’ll be a very happy man. I’m honestly just grateful for the journey.”