While it doesn’t mean they won’t stop (or ever completely stopped) signing talent from wrestling schools and the independents, WWE is clearly focused on bringing a lot young, raw college athletes into their developmental system.
Thus far, they’ve recruited for their NIL (“Next In Line”, where they ink NCAA eligible folks to name, image & likeness contracts) program via tryouts before major events like WrestleMania. But now, they’re taking the show on the road, using some fraternity/sorority lingo, and bringing more WWE Superstars who were college athletes themselves to promote a career in pro wrestling/sports entertainment.
Here’s the official announcement of their first ever “Campus Rush” recruitment tour, where stars like Big E (who helped out at the SummerSlam tryouts) & Bianca Belair will visit schools to talk with prospective recruits. WWE has eight colleges & universities lined up for this fall, with more to follow in the spring:
STAMFORD, Conn., October 11, 2022 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced “WWE Campus Rush,” a multi-campus college athlete recruitment tour which will visit top NCAA Division I universities in search of the next generation of WWE Superstars.
WWE Superstars such as Big E, Bianca Belair, Omos, Madcap Moss and Raquel Rodriguez, all of whom have transitioned from college athletics to a career in WWE, will address student athletes at each tour stop and educate them about the global leader in sports entertainment. In conjunction with each university, student athletes will learn about WWE’s “Next In Line” (NIL) program and the resources that they can utilize including brand building, social media, fan engagement, media training and more. Each stop of the tour will include a lively competition that features student athletes facing off on the microphone to cut the best WWE-style promo.
“WWE Campus Rush” will begin tomorrow, October 12 at the University of Mississippi and will visit a total of eight universities from five conferences during the fall semester, including:
• University of Mississippi – Tomorrow, October 12
• Georgia Tech – Thursday, October 13
• Clemson University – Tuesday, October 25
• Boise State University – Tuesday, November 8
• University of Arkansas – Wednesday, November 9
• Ohio State University – Tuesday, November 15
• University of Kansas – Tuesday, December 6
• Penn State University – Wednesday, December 7
*Schedule subject to change
Looking ahead to 2023, ‘WWE Campus Rush” will visit the University of Florida, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of North Carolina, Texas A&M University, University of Oklahoma, Auburn University, University of Illinois, and Northwestern University.
“WWE Campus Rush will serve as a core pillar in our commitment to finding the next generation of WWE Superstars among today’s elite college athletes,” said James Kimball, WWE’s Head of Talent Operations and Strategy. “The talent pipeline from college sports to WWE has proven to be effective, as evidenced by current champions Roman Reigns and Bianca Belair, and we are looking forward to visiting major college campuses around the country to introduce ourselves in a new way.”
WWE launched its “Next In Line” program in December 2021 and currently has 25 active athletes with NIL partnerships. Three athletes from the inaugural class have joined the company following their graduation from school and have started training full-time at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla.
Additionally, WWE has exclusively hosted more than 100 college athletes from more than a dozen different sports at multi-day talent tryouts in 2022. WWE signed nearly 50 athletes from those events in a growing effort to find the most talented athletes in the world.
Learn more about the path to WWE at wwerecruit.com.