What Exactly is WWE NIL Program?

Published 12/04/2021, 1:29 PM EST

WWE today is the most popular wrestling promotion in the world. However, fans have started to be disappointed with the show and are eager to see fresh faces and new storylines in the show. Therefore, WWE is looking to attract fresh talent from around the world.

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In 2012, WWE introduced the NXT brand for fresh faces from the performance center. Many wrestlers proved their worth during their run in NXT. Wrestlers like Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Big E, Shinsuke Nakamura, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, and many more made their way to the main roster.

In 2015, WWE introduced the Women’s revolution and continued its new development plans. WWE is the face of pro-wrestling, and attracts many wrestling fans.

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Recently, WWE introduced a new development project which qualifies the contender to the WWE directly. The program is called the NIL program. NIL stands for ‘Next in Line‘ or ‘Name, Image and Likeness‘. The program is for the young generation who like to pursue their passion in wrestling and want to become the next superstar.

When did WWE introduce the NIL Program?

The company introduced its program back in July when the NCAA brought a new policy regarding college athletes. It heralded the NIL era by allowing collegiate players to commercialize their name, reputation, and likeness.

On Dec 2, WWE made its official announcement of the program on its official website. “Following a historic new policy by the NCAA effective July 1, 2021, which ushered in the NIL era allowing college athletes the ability to monetize their name, image, and likeness, WWE has constructed a comprehensive program to recruit and develop potential future Superstars.”

“Dubbed “Next In Line,” the NIL program aims to enhance the talent development process through collaborative partnerships with college athletes from diverse athletic backgrounds.”

WWE Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy Paul Levesque also explained the program. According to him, the NIL program carries the potential for a new opportunity for young athletes to showcase their talents and get into WWE directly.

He stated WWE will partner with elite athletes of all levels to get into a wide variety of college sports. Eventually, WWE is preparing young wrestlers to get into the roster as soon as they complete their college.

The company states that they will provide proper access and training to the athletes at the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. They will provide training, including brand building, media training, communications, and live event promotion, etc.

Who signed the first NIL program deal?

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The first person to sign the deal for the NIL program is Gable Stevenson. He is the 2020 Olympic Gold medalist in wrestling. He competed in the weight category of 120kg at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

In the 2021 Draft, he got drafted to Monday Night Raw. Although he got drafted to Raw, he is yet to debut on the main roster. Currently, he has returned to the University of Minnesota, where he is defending his NCAA National Championship.

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It will be a wonderful opportunity for young athletes to get selected on the main roster. Let us see how many fresh faces fans will get to watch on the screen.

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Yash Sawant

262 articles

Yash is a WWE and AEW writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Yash is a BSC student and along with his studies follows his favorite sport. Being a WWE fan since 2012, Yash loves all things related to wrestling.

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