WWE realizes that they are no longer the only game in town for people to go to, and in learning that they could lose out on some major talent, they decided to do something that no one saw coming that could very well change the world of pro-wrestling for years to come. You may have heard by now, if you’re from the UK, that ITV is hoping to bring back World of Sport, but just the wrestling side of it. ITV is the #2 TV Network in the UK according to The Wrestling Observer, which means World of Sport would likely be seen by millions of people in the UK.
WWE is on Sky Sports in The UK, and they may draw about 150,000 people for WWE RAW. This would mean that WWE would no longer be the number one wrestling product in The UK if World of Sport got going with the right talent. Attendance wise and everything barring TV viewership would certainly go in WWE’s favor, but they do not want to be behind other promotions anywhere they’re broadcast. Of course World of Sport has not officially been picked up, but there are rumors according to Daily Wrestling News, that they plan to hold a large taping in a few months where they will tape ten weeks of television.
There is a two hour special airing later this month that will have commentary by WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, which if successful could be all ITV needed to bring back the show on a weekly basis. WWE sees the writing on the wall with this material and they know that this could not only cost them in the country but it could also cost them a lot of great UK talent. With the rise of major UK stars, it would be a shame if they lost them due to another popular promotion popping up. There is no telling right now if it’ll be successful, but being on a major network certainly helps them a lot.
The Observer notes that ITV vs WWE is already being discussed behind the scenes and that has led to an amendment being added to the ITV wrestler contracts. The amendment states that talent can still appear with other companies and even iPPV events and streaming services. However, they cannot appear on TV for other major networks. They would also have to give ITV first call on bookings, which is actually something TNA has been doing for years so the model is by no means a first. On top of this, World of Sport is rumored to be planning live events if the first season becomes a success like many believe it will be.
WWE realizes that in order to avoid problems, they’ll need to make sure they either sign a lot of top UK talent soon or sign them to what is being called “competition-killing” contracts. Apparently, WWE is aggressively trying to do this with UK workers right now. This is understandable, as it appears that ITV is basically trying to keep people from leaving to join WWE with their deal so WWE is countering with a new deal that is quite interesting.
WWE is reportedly offering thee unique contracts to key UK wrestlers and some with name value, or even some they deem as marketable. The question is, why are people calling these WWE contracts “competition-killers?” The reason is becauae WWE is not signing these men and women to main roster deals, WWE NXT deals, or even Performance Center material. They are low-dollar guarantees that would allow talent to remain in The UK and still allowed to work on the independent scene. Like with ITV, WWE would have the right to approve or not approve their indie dates. They would have some freedom by being away from WWE and working when they choose, plus they also have the ability to say they’re associated with WWE.
The idea behind these deals is that it would keep talent away from ITV due to the deals they have signed with WWE. It would keep them away from other promotions trying to snatch them up as well. Basically, they would allow the person to work and make money and get a guaranteed deal that would pay them regardless just to not sign anywhere else. This means more money for these indie wrestlers and no one else can offer such a deal right now.
Currently, there is no one confirmed to have signed on with WWE but they have already been offered. The Observer claimed that many of the names are fairly well-known in the “UK hardcore community.” They have also offered deals to people with no name value at all. A lot of the people who were offered deals were part of WWE try-outs in the past. WWE was not interested in signing them at the time, however they may now be far more interested due to the recent situation they find themselves in.
Many worked recent try-outs in Glasgow when WWE was there weeks back. Everyone was told to clean up their social media accounts, which is good for anyone to do. However, no physical contract has been sent to anyone. As of now, there are just offers.
Apparently, these new deals were a very popular topic backstage at a recent ICW show, and many were pressuring their peers to sign. They have been called “mark deals,” which is pretty much them saying that you’re part of WWE and that’s a big deal alone. They’re also saying WWE “doesn’t wat you, they just don’t want anyone else to have you.” This is making some rethink the idea while others are jumping at it due to what it could mean for their career.
To add fuel to the fire on WWE wanting to make sure they are THE promotion in The UK, there are talks of doing a TV show just for the UK. The plan is for it to be using the UK talent that WWE has signed to these deals and with WWE backing, it would certainly have everything it needed to succeed there. It would obviously be a huge marketability boost for the wrestlers as well, which only makes them more valuable. The TV show is not confirmed as of yet, but do not be surprised it if goes down with the success of World of Sport.
[Featured Image By WWE]