Welcome back to The 3 Count. Last week I discussed Becky Lynch and her meteoric rise in WWE. Every week I will be looking at the hot topic in pro wrestling, this could be WWE or otherwise. This week’s topic is WWE and the new NXT UK contractual situation.
1. The Outline
If you weren’t aware, WWE has told NXT UK talents that they will no longer be permitted to perform in certain promotions. This is across England, Scotland, Wales, NI and Ireland. Earlier this year WWE imposed a sanction that meant contracted Superstars could not perform on a show within a week of a planned NXT UK live show or taping. Fast forward to now and talents are now reportedly not going to be part of promotions outside of the ‘WWE bubble.’ Promotions that WWE have seemingly green-lit are PROGRESS, ATTACK! Pro, ICW, OTT in Ireland and Fight Club: Pro.
FCP is an interesting one, the company will be heading to Japan next year for a show at Korakuen Hall around the New Japan Wrestle Kingdom event. NXT UK Superstar Trent Seven runs FCP and you would assume he could have some pull when it comes to talent, however Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and Seven have all been pulled from that show. This aspect of the story remains a bit of an anomaly.
Even with these companies having the ability to use NXT UK Superstars they still run into a stumbling block. Superstars CANNOT be in matches against non-WWE talent and they also cannot be shown in an on-demand capacity…this all comes into play on January 1st.
2. The UK Scene
Now, if you’ve been following this site for a while you’ll likely know that I report mostly on the UK scene. I’ve spoken to several promotors who are split into two camps; 1. WWE has taken some of the biggest stars and undercut the scene here massively. 2. Now is the time for the undercard talents to step up and make themselves known.
The UK scene was absolutely booming a year ago and it has been for around 2-3 years. Stars such as Jimmy Havoc, Will Ospreay, Zack Sabre Jr, Mark Haskins et al helped build the British scene and brought international attention to the Isles. Those four names are not contracted to WWE and there are a bunch of extremely talented individuals who are ready to step up into the spotlight and become the second wave of the new generation in UK wrestling.
If you’re not a keen follower of the UK scene then here is a rough breakdown. There are 4 “top” promotions in Britain: PROGRESS (England), Rev Pro (England), ICW (Scotland) and OTT (Ireland), whilst perception varies between different fans it is fairly common belief that these are the top dogs in the region. We then move onto a de-facto ‘second tier,’ this is where the likes of Pro Wrestling: EVE (the biggest all-women’s promotion in Europe), Fight Club: Pro, ATTACK, Futureshock, NGW and PCW all sit. There are literally hundreds of performers in all of these promotions and new stars will be made.
3. Looking To The Future
Granted, WWE’s new sanctions will hurt several promotions. If you put Pete Dunne on an event poster then you are more likely to bring in fans, this is just how big of a star he has become. Before WWE decided to branch out into global NXT territories the UK scene was thriving and it is now up to independent promotions (including those WWE has green-lit) to take a chance and look to the future.
WWE has not killed the UK scene.