Cody comments on the state of the U.K. wrestling scene.
The United Kingdom wrestling scene has been the talk of the wrestling world over the past week and that is because of the report that surfaced which entailed that NXT U.K. contracted talents are now restricted from working with promotions in Europe that are not partnered with WWE. Names like Pete Dunne, Dave Mastiff, Eddie Dennis, Mark Andrews, Toni Storm, Rhea Ripley, Millie McKenzie and others are signed to NXT U.K. deals. Robin Reid of 'Voices Of Wrestling' provided an update on the situation at hand and shared details of the NXT U.K. superstars' contracts and how it is broken down into tiers:
Tier 1: Wrestlers are signed to what is essentially WWE full-time deals, structured similarly to that of traditional NXT deals. Wrestlers can work dark matches for WWE-partner promotions, similar to NXT talent working dark matches for EVOLVE prior to WWE/NXT allowing those matches to be part of WWN Live broadcasts. The report indicates that PROGRESS and ICW are set to be added to the WWE Network at the "start of 2019." As previously reported, WWE is looking into adding new content to the Network and have internally discussed a tiered Network structure. A majority of those scheduled to appear at NXT TakeOver: Blackpool fall into this tier.
Tier 2: Wrestlers can appear on streaming services, but only for WWE-partner promotions (PROGRESS, ICW, wXw, Fight Club Pro, Attack! Pro Wrestling, Over the Top Wrestling and Futureshock). Wrestlers who are semi-regulars, but without a role on TakeOver, fall into this tier.
Tier 3: Wrestlers can work freely across the world, but cannot appear for major promotions such as Rev Pro, Defiant, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Impact, MLW, Lucha Underground and the potential All Elite Wrestling. This tier consists of mainly enhancement talent and one or two wrestlers who have not signed new deals.
The current IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Champion Cody who is currently in the United Kingdom for a string of shows for 'Fight Forever Wrestling' spoke with Neil Docking of Mirror Sport. Cody gave his take on the talk of WWE insuring the security of their talents and Cody brought up tweets from Pete Dunne and Will Ospreay who both noted that the U.K. wrestling scene will continue thriving.
"Well, I think it just means more opportunity. There is obviously a deep roster of talent and maybe some talent we're not seeing because we're seeing so many NXT U.K. guys, that we all know are wonderful. I saw a tweet that Pete Dunne put out that I really liked too though. There is such a tendency to jump on WWE and talk bad about them in terms of these contracts and what they are doing. But with the people they have in place - Johnny Saint, William Regal and Triple H, and how he is, there is no secret plan to destroy the indy scene in the U.K.." Cody said. "They just see a wonderful product and they want to protect their guys. It was a bit of a Wild West situation, where somebody like me from Ring Of Honor and New Japan could go over to the U.K. and mix it up with somebody who was one of the NXT U.K. talents. It was a little Wild West for a bit and it was really cool to see that. But I think also you've got so many heads involved and so many egos, this might be good. I saw another tweet I really liked that Will Ospreay put out; just have the signed guys wrestle the second half of a show and the unsigned guys wrestle the first half. There is plenty of talent and maybe it just means more opportunities for those who haven't signed anywhere yet."
The U.K. wrestling scene is thriving and come next month on January 12th WWE will attempt to do their part in showing that it is as NXT U.K. hosts its first-ever TakeOver show in Blackpool, England.