WWE may have the NXT brand that allows them to feature the young stars they are still training through the WWE Performance Center, but they also want to control the Independent scene a bit more and make sure they have the best talent in the world under their banner in some way. WWE has connections all over the planet, but they want a deeper role in the independent world and a place by the name of WWN helps there.
WWN is the parent company to promotions like EVOLVE and Dragon’s Gate USA. Gabe Sapolsky runs WWN, he was the former right hand man to Paul Heyman in ECW, and eventually went to work for WWE where he had a spot on the WWE SmackDown creative team for a short time. He is the co-founder for Indy hotbed, Ring of Honor, and has worked with Full Impact Pro, another top tier Indy promotion for a while. He then became the founder of EVOLVE Wrestling with WWN COO Sal Hamaoui in 2010. EVOLVE became a big success and it appears that Gabe is now the Vice President Of Talent Relations, Creative and Marketing for WWN.
He still holds an ownership role with EVOLVE, however.
Case in point, Gabe is a terrific person to partner with if you’re WWE. Paul Heyman, Gabe’s mentor, was very instrumental in helping the deal between WWE and WWN happen. It should be no surprise that Heyman was helpful in what could turn out to be a groundbreaking partnership.
WWE is apparently going to give WWN a six figure sum annually to help with operations, as well as keeping guys under their banner. In turn, WWE gets first dibs on the talent and can pick them out when they see fit or when Gabe feels they are ready. In other words, WWN will be like another NXT. It will simply have a bigger role on the Indy scene than an NXT, which is simply not independent, being owned by WWE.
WWE has already started to help WWN out. NXT Superstar Sami Zayn made an appearance with them off-air at recent EVOLVE events.
According to Cageside Seats, talks on what all the partnership will involve is still ongoing as both Gabe and Triple H are talking about what will work best for both brands. PWInsider claims that the plan to have Sami Zayn work the EVOLVE 49 and 50 events came together in the two weeks leading to those shows. So WWE did plan it out, but there is a thought that anything else being done will be planning in far more advance than this one with Zayn.
There is some speculation regarding what WWE will want to do with WWN. Some believe that WWE will continue to send WWE Superstars to events and some WWN guys could come in for WWE to work with NXT stars, or even the main roster for jobber roles to help get certain talent over like the old days. It does seem that WWE will dictate most of what happens of course, but with WWN getting money from WWE, they also get the notoriety.
From mentioning them on television, to using video from their library, WWE can truly help WWN become a major fixture, press wise. Being operated by Gabe Sapolsky helps them a lot. However, WWE backing the WWN brand can do quite well with recruiting and offering money to top tier stars to stay with them instead of going other places. This is something WWE is very big on, as they want to avoid people going to Japan and even TNA and ROH, instead of being under their banner earlier on.
[Image via Twitter-Ryan Jaimangal]