WWE announces wave of arrivals, new U.K. tournament entrant

A busy 24-hour stretch for the WWE included an announcement that recent signees and independent standouts Kimber Lee and Heidi Lovelace had reported to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. Courtesy of WWE

It's been a busy 24 hours for the WWE, with two separate announcements of Performance Center arrivals and a brand-new, high-profile entrant in the upcoming United Kingdom Championship tournament.

On Wednesday night, WWE announced four women who signed WWE contracts and began training at their Performance Center in Orlando. The group is headlined by two of the biggest women's wrestling standouts not previously under WWE contract in Kimber Lee (Real name Kimberly Frankele) and Heidi Lovelace (Dori Prange). They're joined by MaryKate Dugnan Glidewell, 5-foot-11 trainee of the Dudley Boyz and former MMA fighter, model and singer Julia Ho.

Frankele, 26, was trained by WWE superstar Drew Gulak, and she's competed for CZW, Shine, SHIMMER, Chikara and a number of other independent wrestling companies. She's excelled in a number of ways, including a run, as "Princess" Kimber Lee, as Chikara Grand Champion -- the only woman ever to do so. In fact, Frankele and Prange both have an extensive record of high-profile intergender matches against men during their time on the independents, as well as time spent as rivals against one another and tag team partners.

On Thursday it was revealed that Mark Andrews, who hails from Cardiff, Wales, has joined the field of 16 for the upcoming WWE U.K. Championship tournament. As "Mandrews", Andrews had wrestled for TNA since winning their "British Boot Camp" reality show in October 2014, and competed for them as recently as October of this year. Additionally, Andrews has had a regular presence throughout the U.K. wrestling for PROGRESS, IPW: UK, Southside Wrestling and a wide range of other local companies.

Finally, three of the new recruits from China who signed developmental contracts in September reported to the Performance Center as of Thursday afternoon. Zhao Xia, Yifeng and Big Boa were among seven signings made after a four-day tryout held in June.

"Our investment in each of these potential stars further cements our long-term commitment to China and illustrates our commitment to recruiting performers from around the globe," said Paul "Triple H" Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events & Creative. "Our talent development team is dedicated to helping the world's most gifted athletes and entertainers fulfill their dreams of becoming a WWE Superstar."