WWE Signs 16 College Athletes For “Next In Line”
WWE enterd the NIL game with "Next In Line" signing of 16 athletes for "Name, Image, and Likeness" deals to become future WWE superstars
WWE is getting into the college recruitment game. Following the trend of signing college athletes to NIL deals, WWE introduced their inaugural “Next In Line” class. They have signed 16 college athletes in preparation for beginning training with WWE once they graduate. Here’s what Triple H had to say from the press release:
“By creating partnerships with elite athletes at all levels across a wide variety of college sports, we will dramatically expand our pool of talent and create a system that readies NCAA competitors for WWE once their collegiate careers come to a close.”
Who Is “Next In Line”?
— WWE (@WWE) December 8, 2021
Included in this inaugural class are a diverse array of athletes from a variety of sports. The plan is to sign them to deals now so they can begin training to become WWE Superstars. Here are a few highlights from this group of athletes
The Cavinder Twins
Hayley and Hanna Cavinder are starting guards for the Fresno State women’s basketball. The two have hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram and TikTok.
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Also joining the group is Northwestern lineman Joe Spivak who released this incredible promo video.
I AM NEXT IN LINE! #NextInLine
— Joe Spivak (@JoeSpivak) December 8, 2021
While not a part of this class, Olympic gold medalist and Minnesota Gophers wrestler Gable Steveson has already signed a WWE deal.
What Is NIL?
NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) is the new NCAA rules that allow college athletes to earn money from sponsorships while they are in college. Previously college athletes were considered amateurs and could not accept money or gifts from sponsors. After a court decision declared that college athletes had the right to be paid, the NCAA unveiled the NIL program so athletes could earn money above board.
While most college athletes won’t make much off these deals, a few elite college football prospects have made close to $1 million dollars in endorsement deals, with a few others earning upwards of $10,000-20,000.
WWE’s History Of Signing College Athletes
Since the beginning of wrestling, college athletes have transitioned into becoming pro wrestlers. Football players, gymnasts, and of course amateur wrestlers can easily make the switch to the squared circle. Looking at WWE’s roster now, some of the top stars began as college athletes. Roman Reigns was a captain at Georgia Tech before playing in the CFL. Bianca Belair was a track star at Tennessee. And of course, Brock Lesnar was an NCAA wrestling champion at Minnesota.
In my opinion, college athletes have the easiest time transitioning to the WWE grind. Having already had to operate at a high level, they are used to the grueling training. And as top-level athletes, they have an easier time learning wrestling. And honestly, I’d rather watch a jacked athlete than a scrawny indie darling, especially on the stage of WWE.
What do you think of Next In Line? Let us know in the comments below.