WWE News: EVOLVE Wrestling And WWE Working Together? All The Latest On WWE-WWN Deal

Over the past 24 hours, one of the biggest rumors going around in wrestling involves the prospect of WWE NXT working with WWN. WWN is the parent company of one of the top independent wrestling companies in the United States, Gabe Sapolsky’s EVOLVE Wrestling, as well as Full Impact Pro Wrestling and the now-defunct Dragon Gate USA.

The deal is apparently business motivated, reports Mike Johnson at PWInsider, due to WWE running into several recent circumstances where talent they felt were under WWE contract had signed merchandising contracts prior to their entrance into WWE and NXT.

Johnson notes that one problem that came up recently involved Kevin (Steen) Owens, who had signed on in late 2013 to have a Ring of Honor action figure made of him by Figures Inc. out of Rhode Island. There were delays on the manufacture of the item, and the Owens figure was only recently just released by ROH, getting the attention of WWE.

Though Owens signed the contract for the figure nearly two years ago now, prior to signing with WWE, WWE still was not happy with the situation. According to a report by WrestlingINC, this was one of the driving factors in WWE looking to make a possible working agreement with WWN.

The action figure line has caused WWE to look deeper, from a business perspective, at what independent wrestlers are doing with merchandising and how that could affect an eventual WWE career. Merchandising is one of the primary factors in developing talent in WWE, and the company does not want to get into a situation where they have to work around previously-agreed-upon merchandising contracts made by their talent before they made their way to WWE or NXT. According to the Johnson report at PWInsider, WWE will no longer be interested in signing talent that have signed third party merchandising deals.

The possible deal between WWE and WWN would also involve companies such as EVOLVE signing talent to contractual deals, including merchandising rights, and then serving as a kind of minor league feeding system to NXT and WWE. This would work in a similar fashion to what Ohio Valley Wrestling once did for WWE in the early 2000s. Under an arrangement like this, WWE could bring in talent from EVOLVE or Full Impact Pro without having to worry about prior merchandising conflicts.

Finally, another motivating factor involves the NXT women’s division. WWE is very high on building up a roster of athletic women wrestlers in NXT, and WWN also owns the Florida-based SHINE Wrestling promotion. SHINE is a successful promotion based around women’s wrestling, and it also happens to be based in the same state as NXT. WWE is interested in using WWN’s SHINE Wrestling as a source for bringing in women to NXT in the future.

The situation is still a fluid one, as no deal has been made between WWN and WWE as of Thursday morning. Johnson notes that the deal is being pushed by a top WWE developmental executive, with Johnson speculating that this most likely is Paul Levesque (Triple H).

[Image via OnlineWorldOfWrestling.com]

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