Shawn Michaels has revealed that WWE are still recruiting experienced wrestlers from the independent circuit and not just focusing on college graduates.
As NXT became NXT 2.0 in late 2021, WWE’s approach to unearthing Superstars of the future shifted significantly.
Rather than trying to sign the best wrestlers from around the world as they had done in the past with stars such as Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor and Asuka, they were now looking towards college graduates.
This was enforced by the company not inviting stars from the independent scene to their try-outs.
However, it appears that with the NXT brand giving more than a tip of the hat to it’s illustrious past, WWE’s recruitment policy is also being rebalanced. Speaking to My San Antonio, NXT’s figurehead Shawn Michaels explained that the company will continue to look towards independent promotions and Japan for new recruits.
“We are still reaching out to other people with experience that have wrestled on the independent scene or been out in Japan or in other companies. That is something NXT will continue to do in the future. Nothing is off the table. We simply want to continue to find people that are just as passionate about the WWE product as we are,”
Continuing on, Michaels reflected on the changes NXT underwent in 2021 and how that challenged not only the new Superstars thrown into the action, but those backstage.
“It was all very sudden for all of us. I’ve been with the WWE for 35 years and doing live television for almost 30 of them. When it comes to live television it is always a learning process because anything can happen, and a lot of things have happened that we had to adjust to and that is what this was. It was an event where we had to quickly make a lot of changes and get a lot of things accomplished.
Getting trained for the fire drill is what working in the WWE is from a live television standpoint. It was a good opportunity for us to come together as a team and learn and grow together. I will say one of the greatest things I had is the phenomenal team that Hunter had put together previously, and I have a lot of great people around me, Matt Bloom, Johnny Russo and numerous others. But with everything you learn to do your best and take it in stride and learn from your mistakes and we have done that here was a team and done that with the young talent.
I think the thing I am most proud of is that we are starting to be on the other side of that and we are starting to see the hard work paying off and are very excited for what the future holds for NXT and the WWE as a whole.”
It was recently reported that new signees will be given two years to prove that they are “TV ready” before being released.