For now Tim Wiese is a retired German goalkeeper, best known for defending the sticks at Werder Bremen between 2005 and 2012. However, before long he could well be remembered as Tim Wiese, WWE superstar.
His first steps into professional soccer came in 1989, when he joined the Bayer Leverkusen youth team, before eventually switching to Fortuna Koln in Bundesliga 2, Germany’s second division, where he made his senior debut a year later.
Wiese was uWWEnderstudy to Peter Martin in his first season at the club, making just two appearances, but with the club struggling to bounce back following relegation down to the third tier, Wiese was given a place in the starting line-up for the 2001/02 season. Although, when Bundesliga side FC Kaiserslautern came calling after just six months, he jumped at the opportunity to move up to the top tier.
Initially turning out for the reserve side, Wiese had cemented his place as first choice keeper within 12 months of joining his new club. The emerging shot-stopper would make 65 appearances for FC Kaiserslautern over the next few years, before a disappointing start to the 2004/05 campaign saw him replaced with veteran keeper Thomas Ernst.
Unwilling to watch his career stagnate, Wiese opted to move to Werder Bremen ahead of the 2005/06 season. It was at Bremen where Wiese emerged as a top keeper, making close to 200 appearances for the club throughout his seven year stay.
His first season was one of ups and downs, with a fatal error in the dying minutes of Werder Breman’s clash with Juventus costing the club a place in the quarter-finals. Despite the mistake, Wiese played a vital role in Bremen’s league campaign, in which they finished just five points behind Bayern Munich.
Wiese held on to a starting place in the side for the next six seasons, winning the DFB-Ligapokal in 2006, as well as the DFB-Pokal and German Supercup in 2009. However, a poor conclusion to the 2011/12 campaign forced a shake up in the Bremen camp, which saw Wiese join Hoffenheim that summer.
Despite being named as club captain ahead of his first season with his new club, his relationship with his employers quickly soured. His first four games between the sticks were a shambles, with 15 goals finding their way past him, including four in a devastating cup defeat to third tier side Berliner AK 07.
Injuries, combined with various arguments and fallouts with club manager Andreas Mueller, saw Wiese make just 10 appearances for Hoffenheim in total before he called an end to his career in 2014, stating that he felt his best years were behind him. For many goalkeepers, calling time on their playing career usually leads them to a job on coaching. However, the German athlete wasn’t ready to settle down to a life of normality just yet.
Soon after calling time on his relationship with soccer, Wiese began training as a bodybuilder, packing on the pounds, before eventually being offered a place with Florida Championship Wrestling, an amateur wrestling company owned and operated by World Wrestling Entertainment, the largest wrestling promotion company in the world.
By June 2016 it was announced that Wiese had been personally approached by WWE Executive Vice President Triple H to join the company’s Performance Center, which puts potential stars through their paces to test whether they are ready to join the WWE roster.
“Tim is tenacious. He continues to be very vocal in his desire to prove that he has what it takes, and he has shown tremendous resilience and determination to create an opportunity for himself,” Triple H stated following the announcement. “This is his break to walk his talk. If all goes well in Florida, he will get his chance in the ring.”
That chance could come as early as November 2016, a little over two years since he hung up his cleats. His rapid transformation from soccer star to professional wrestler has highlighted Wiese’s brilliant athletic abilities, and while he never quite made it to the top of the sporting hierarchy during his time in soccer, wrestling offers him the chance to attempt it all over again.