Is WWE’s Performance Center About to Go Global?
WWE might be looking to expand its developmental system abroad in the UK and Saudi Arabia - a rival for the company's Performance Center based in Orlando?
You would be hard pressed to find a professional wrestler inside or out of the WWE who doesn’t agree that the company’s Performance Center based in Orlando, Florida is the most state-of-the-art facility of its kind. Since 2013, it’s where prospects for the NXT brand go to train, veterans go to learn the WWE-style of wrestling, and newer hot indie stars are often rumored to be seen, setting the internet ablaze with rumors and excitement.
— SEScoops (@sescoops) October 11, 2018
Is WWE about to make their Performance Center global?
According to Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE is looking to expand its developmental system abroad with particular interest in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. This would make sense, considering WWE’s longstanding relationship and history of doing business in the UK, as well as the announcement on Thursday that the much-anticipated NXT UK brand would begin streaming on WWE Network on October 17.
— WWE (@WWE) October 11, 2018
Obviously, WWE wanting to develop talent in Saudi Arabia would also make sense, considering the Greatest Royal Rumble event held in that country in April, and the upcoming Crown Jewel show on November 2 – an event now mired in controversy due to the reported killing of a journalist by Saudi Arabia’s government.
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According to Meltzer, WWE is also looking at Japan, which could be interesting considering the popularity of New Japan Pro Wrestling in that country and with a hardcore audience in the United States and around the world. Some of NJPW’s top stars – Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, the Young Bucks, Hangman Page – have contracts that expire soon, leaving many to speculate whether or not they might end up in WWE.
What a Global Performance Center model could mean for the future of WWE and pro wrestling
It’s no secret that the hot talent that continues to come through the Performance Center in Orlando is a primary reason NXT has become so popular, and many of today’s top stars on the main Raw and Smackdown brands learned their craft in WWE’s superior developmental system.
Performance Centers in the UK, Saudi Arabia, Japan – or anywhere else around the world – could feasibly not only produce talents for WWE as it exists today, in its Raw, Smackdown and NXT forms, but what if Vince McMahon’s company is also thinking of branching out into geographically specific brands?
Is NXT UK only the beginning of such an agenda? Could there be an NXT Saudi? An NXT Japan? Or an NXT Mexico, China, Russia or virtually anywhere else wrestling fans exist – which is everywhere – to broaden WWE’s market more than anyone could have ever imagined?
We all know Vince McMahon always likes to think big.
Meaning, the 2nd quarter of our two-year game plan is about to kick off! pic.twitter.com/opzCMWkvUf
— XFL (@xfl2020) July 25, 2018
Time will tell just how far the WWE is willing to go in spreading its brand of sports entertainment to every corner of the earth, which it already does in many respects, but perhaps in the future with an even less U.S.-based product than what foreign fans are accustomed to.
Regardless, the opening of new Performance Centers outside the United States would itself be a revolution in the world of professional wrestling, with fans literally everywhere being the greatest beneficiaries.
Next Up? NXT Mars!
(h/t What Culture)