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Indie wrestlers need not apply to WWE tryouts during WrestleMania week

WWE issued the following statement today, providing details on upcoming talent tryouts during WrestleMania week:

STAMFORD, Conn., March 3, 2022 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that it will host a multi-day talent tryout, exclusively for current and recently graduated college athletes, as part of WrestleMania Week in Dallas.

The three-day event begins Wednesday, March 30, and will take place in Frisco, Texas, at the Ford Center at The Star, home of the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters and state-of-the-art practice facility. WWE will host more than 50 male and female participants with collegiate athletic backgrounds across football, basketball, track and field, wrestling, volleyball, gymnastics, cheer and dance. Several NFL Draft-eligible college football players are scheduled to participate in the invite-only event.

Athletes will partake in performance evaluations, individual and group promo evaluations, in-ring technical sessions and sit-down interviews as part of the tryout process. Additionally, current college athletes will participate in assessments as WWE continues its search for the next class of its “Next In Line™” program.

WWE launched its official NIL (Name, Image & Likeness) program in December 2021 to establish a clear pathway from collegiate athletics to WWE. Participants in the WrestleMania Week tryout will be considered for entry into the company’s second NIL class which will be unveiled in the coming months.

WWE’s inaugural 15-person NIL class included athletes from 13 universities, seven NCAA conferences and four sports. The comprehensive program serves to recruit and develop potential future Superstars, and further enhances WWE’s talent development process through collaborative partnerships with college athletes from diverse athletic backgrounds.

The statement makes clear that these tryouts are exclusively for college athletes on an invite-only basis. It’s consistent with WWE’s plan to move away from signing independent wrestlers and instead teach the WWE style to athletes who have Vince McMahon’s preferred look.