WWE’s Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy & Development Paul “Triple H” Levesque says the next generation of Superstars will come out of WWE’s new NIL (Next In Line) program. As noted, WWE announced on Thursday that they are launching the new NIL program, which is inspired by the NCAA’s NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) program that allowed University of Minnesota wrestler and Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson to sign with the company back in the summer. The program offers several opportunities and resources to college athletes, which could result in an exclusive WWE contract offer. WWE will be announcing the first class of NIL talents in the coming weeks. You can click here for the original announcement on WWE NIL, which included Triple H’s initial comments.
In an update, Triple H spoke with Jeff Beer of Fast Company for his first interview since undergoing surgery for a cardiac event back in September, and talked about how one of the biggest recruiting challenges has been the non-traditional nature of the business. It was noted that while sports like basketball, football and baseball have long-defined pipelines from high school, college and minor leagues to the pros, but there’s never been a clear path to becoming a WWE Superstar.
“We immediately saw it as an amazing recruiting tool for us because it allows us to show athletes a path to WWE, and engage with them in a way where they can learn more about it, we can learn more about them, all while working together, and finding out if it’s a good fit before they’re even finished college, and before they need to make any decisions about what they’re going to do in that next stage of their life. In my generation, and even more recently, you sort of had to know someone. We’ve put a lot of effort into recruiting athletes and finding athletes to let them know WWE is a potentially lucrative opportunity for them if they’re interested and passionate about it.”
It was previously reported how WWE offered a contract to several talents at the SummerSlam Week Tryouts in Las Vegas, one of those being University of Alabama shot-putter Isaac Odugbesan. Triple H recalled being impressed by Odugbesan, and confirmed that he is working with the company.
“When we were done with the tryout, I was like, ‘Great let’s bring this kid in now,’ but it turned out he was still in school. That happened right around NIL, so we put a deal together, and he’ll be way ahead of the curve because he’ll be working on a lot of stuff while he’s in school.”
It was noted that compensation for WWE NIL athletes will depend on the individual, what they bring to the table, and the potential WWE sees in them. Triple H
“The deals might range from the lower end, which would still help them make ends meet while at school,” Triple H said of the WWE NIL deals. “Of course, if you’re bringing an Olympic gold medal to the table, it’s a different conversation.”
Triple H said the new WWE NIL program is key to the company’s future success.
“It opens us up to a whole world of athletes that we’ve never been able to connect with in this way,” he said. “For us, the next generation of superstars will come out of this program.”