Today has been a big day for WWE NXT. There are a ton of news and notes coming from Full Sail University, the site of WWE NXT tapings on Thursday. This night is set to give us the much un-anticipated Eva Marie versus Bayley match, but also give us potential debuts of some major names that few saw coming to WWE. Across the internet, pictures of Austin Aries popped up by the Full Sail Arena.
On top of that, James Storm is back for another taping with NXT and Gunner from TNA is also said to be backstage and could appear. However, perhaps the most shocking person that is rumored for the NXT taping on Thursday is AJ Styles. The NJPW and TNA stand-out has been rumored to jump to WWE at the first of the year when his deal with NJPW is up. However, there is a picture hitting the internet appearing to be AJ that has made rounds on seemingly every wrestling-centered Facebook page.
So why is WWE bringing in so many top tier indy performers?
According to The Wrestling Observer, WWE is wanting to sign a lot of indy performers from both Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground, and even TNA, among other places in the world. They feel that if the stars are up for it, they can offer them plenty to come in and be part of NXT. The plan is for NXT to tour in 2016 and be able to tour almost as much as WWE RAW and SmackDown by 2017. This means WWE needs bodies to make live events work out.
They don’t just want anyone either. They need people who will be able to draw for them as well as those who will be projects for a time. As of now, NXT has done well when it has gone on the road. However, it has not been in arenas that RAW and SmackDown broadcast out of.
It is thought that those WWE looked over before would now easily be considered. So, those, like AJ Styles, who WWE looked over due to age and size may be a top player for them to bring in simply due to name value alone. On top of it, AJ has expressed interest. Many other top independent stars are said to be interested as well. The problem for many is the timing.
Some signed new deals with companies like NJPW and ROH, while others are free within the next few months. WWE is targeting those that will be free now and within a year. The feeling is that if they can be present in 2017, they will go after them. That leaves The Young Bucks on WWE’s list for example.
WWE knows that independent shows cannot truly work with it being WWE. However, since NXT has become sort of a top-tier indy show in some ways, the thought is that they can come across as one for live events whether they are for the WWE Network or simply for the audience only. The feeling is that it will be marketed and branded as a WWE show, but work like a Ring of Honor event. So matches will be booked exactly as they would there.
This could be where WWN also comes into play. With people going there first who need more training, WWE can continue to get young stars coming through to them that have been trained in a style that fits for today’s audience. On top of this, WWE conversing with people like Gabe Sapolsky allows for them to learn how to book shows that indy crowds or towns will flock to and enjoy.
Basically, WWE wants to be your best top promotion and your best independent promotion. They have the cash to drop to not only bring you through in small steps in a place like WWN, but to get you noticed quick with NXT. Which then eventually gets you on WWE’s main roster.
It is thought that 2016 and 2017 could be massive years for WWE and NXT as Triple H will be changing the game, literally and ironically. It is truly all about the game and how you play it. It is said WWE is aggressively going after top names. So NXT could be housing some of the biggest names in the world by 2016.
[Image via WWE]