WWE’s NXT UK brand was formally announced on June 7th, 2018, with tapings beginning the following April and its inaugural champion Pete Dunne who won the title from Tyler Bate in May 2017. It was launched in direct competition to the World Of Sport UK wrestling promotion; seemingly off air for good after a single season.
Due to a number of reasons, the WWE are now considering closing the promotion, primarily due to the impact of the Speaking Out movement currently happening in the British wrestling scene.
A number of NXT UK talent have been accused of sexual harrassment or worse over the last two weeks. The WWE has already taken action with some of these as we have seen NXT UK’s Travis Banks and El Ligero released by the company.
These are apparently not the only names currently under investigation. Sportskeeda has learned that at least four more people within NXT UK have been spoken to by the WWE and that the WWE has been contacting accusers asking for more details about Police reports that may or may not have been filed.
With action expected to be taken to root out WWE wrestlers across the board that the company considers “problematic”, as well as the recent releases of talent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple sources have explained that the closing of NXT UK would allow the majority of the wrestlers there to move to NXT, padding out numbers, as NXT wrestlers move into RAW and SmackDown. We have apparently only seen the beginning of this with Matt Riddle’s move to SmackDown.
"Problematic" NXT UK stars are being rooted out
Additionally, Vince McMahon is said to be personally upset with the financial drain of keeping all NXT UK talent on the payroll without any new product to offer. NXT UK is said to have been unprofitable outside of TakeOver events for a while now, with tapings attracting a low turnout and BT Sport not paying out a huge amount for the product.
That said, the popularity of the NXT UK brand has always been considered a major plus and a prime reason that the show was created and thrived in the mean time.
NXT UK was designed to be a stepping stone for developing talent such as Trent Seven, Toni Storm and Kay Lee Ray, taking the place of NXT, as NXT became its own brand equal to RAW and SmackDown.
With some talent, such as current champion WALTER, voicing a desire to never permanently move to the United States, there are questions as to how fit for purpose NXT UK actually is.
A WWE source told me directly that nobody is too big to be released if they have been engaging in any activities similar to those that some wrestlers are being accused of. This is also said to be true of Velveteen Dream.Published 27 Jun 2020, 17:02 IST