In the 40 years that World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has existed, there have been plenty of superstars to emerge. Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, John Cena, The Rock, and Stone Cold Steve Austin are among a list of legends in and out of the ring. Signed in 2019 to WWE, Jake Atlas is on his way to becoming a legend as well.
Atlas, whose real name is Kenny Marquez, started his training with WWE in January and made his debut on WWE NXT on April 1, when he faced off against Dexter Lumis. Though he did not win his first match, the future is bright for Atlas.
Atlas, who is openly gay, was interviewed as a part of People Magazine’s Pride Issue 2020. During his interview, Atlas talked about when he came out to his mom and how her reaction to his coming out was, as Atlas described, “a difficult moment.” Though painful, it was something that drove him. Atlas explained:
“I knew it was going to be really hard to make her proud now. I knew that I wasn’t going to do it in a month, or two months, even a year. I knew that I wasn’t going to make her proud until I did something with my life. Until I accomplished something big.”
In 2018, after dropping out of college, Atlas began his wrestling career and decided to do it as an openly gay man by coming out via Twitter.
I’m proud to be the first openly gay Southern California Rookie of the Year. pic.twitter.com/1kLBhFbRjq
— Jake Atlas (@iamjakeatlas) January 25, 2018
It was Atlas’ appearance on the CBS show, Undercover Boss that put him in WWE’s orbit when unbeknownst to him, Atlas shared his dream of becoming the first openly gay WWE World champion with Stephanie McMahon, WWE chief brand manager. McMahon called the interaction with Atlas as “the most surprising moment of this journey” during her appearance on Undercover Boss.
McMahon congratulated Atlas for his inclusion in People’s Pride Issue.
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) June 13, 2020
During his interview with the magazine, Atlas expressed his desire to not be known as ‘the gay wrestler.’ He explained, “but you’re not going to watch me because I’m gay. You’re going to watch me because I’m good.”
To watch Jake Atlas, tune in to WWE NXT, airing Wednesdays on the USA network.