WWE announced via their social medias this afternoon that several major independent promotions will be joining the WWE Network’s library this coming Saturday. Having struck contractual deals with PROGRESS Wrestling, WXW, ICW and most recently, EVOLVE Wrestling, they’re now doubling down on their relationships and bringing their libraries to the Network.
With so many of WWE’s expanded roster having roots within these companies, there’s no surprise WWE want to lock down their content for future use. Drew McIntyre, for example, was the flag-bearer for ICW during its heydey, while pretty much everyone from NXT UK has been featured on a chapter of PROGRESS Wrestling or WXW sometime during their careers.
Whether WWE are looking to broadcast these companies entire history, similar to how they’ve published the backlogs of WCW and other historic promotions, or just a few spotlighted matches, this should be great for WWE fans who are looking to explore some of their favourite superstars’ indie highlights.
This news has been met with mixed reviews, with so many independent fans happy to see their favourite indie companies getting some much-needed TLC after the pandemic, but others worried that this will lead to a more confined scene to perform on in Europe and the United States. As we know, WWE are very possessive over their talent and will not be okay with any of the aforementioned companies booking talent that aren’t affiliated with WWE themselves.
On top of that, PROGRESS in particular has come under fire after the Speaking Out movement that swept the UK scene over the lockdown period. Many of PROGRESS’ and NXT UK headliners have been caught up in allegations and suspicions, leading many UK wrestling fans to turn their backs on the company that championed equality and goodwill. But who has ever thought WWE to be the standard bearers of morality?
Either way, this should be an exciting weekend for Network subscribers. Whether you’re a supporter of these companies or not, there’s definitely a bunch of matches worth sinking your teeth into. When wrestling has been at its best, then there’s nothing else quite like it, these promotions will prove that as a fact.
Which matches are you hoping to see featured on the WWE Network? Let us know in the comments below.
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