WWE underwent a huge change last year when it came to hiring talent and having them go through a difficult process to determine whether they are worth keeping or not. This is mostly to do with NXT, and that is not changing anytime soon.
The company started holding large-scale tryouts during major event weekends with recently graduated or current college athletes attending and implemented its NIL program for college athletes.
While speaking Speaking to Graham GSM Matthews for Bleacher Report, WWE SVP of Talent Operations and Strategy James Kimball discussed the recruiting process. He explained how harsh the recruitment process has become.
“Literally, six-month intervals. Two-year mark, you’re up or out. Obviously, there is a constant evaluation at the Performance Center. Coaching staff, our staff, on-site, all the time, constantly evaluating, but formal, deliberate evaluations occur in six-month periods. At that time…these all kind of flow around the same entry points. We’ll do a tryout and then a set of releases and churn out. Right now, our goal is to add volume, quality, and depth to developmental.
Coming into this week, we have 110 talents in developmental. Our goal by the end of the year is 130. Sweet spot for us, long-term, is about 150. During COVID that number got below 100. We’re replenishing it, but we’re replenishing it with what we believe to be real premium, quality talent. To do that and to do it consistently, you have to make sure there are no bottlenecks.
That boils down to archetypes too. Right now, in this tryout, there are 3 to 4 females who are 5’3” to 5’5”, 130 to 140 pounds, generally the same type of look. Eventually, it’s the same type of character. We have a few of those same archetypes and frames in developmental. We need to now be discipline. You have so many slots for this profile and that make-up. We come into the week thinking, while there may be some gaps, we need height on the female side. Here is a full system in place from a churn and a schedule against where evaluations take place and at that two-year mark, if you’ve not made it on NXT TV on a regular basis, this is not for you and it’s not for us
Following the WWE SummerSlam tryout, WWE offered 14 athletes contracts to the Performance Center. We’ll have to see how the recruits will fare once they debut in the ring.
What’s your take on WWE’s recruitment process? Sound off in the comments!