When a pair of NXT UK tapings were cancelled last week, everyone started speculating about the future of WWE’s other developmental show. Then at NXT 2.0’s Heatwave show on Tuesday, numerous NXT UK stars showed up. That set the stage for some brand vs. brand action, and turned up the volume on talk the plug was about to be pulled on the London-based program.
We got updates on all of those things today (Aug. 18) in an exclusive WWE gave to Fox News.
NXT UK will go on a “brief hiatus” after an upcoming Worlds Collide Premium Live Event with NXT Prime. As rumored, that show will happen the afternoon before AEW’s All Out PPV — Sept. 4 at 4pm ET. When it returns in 2023, it will be NXT Europe.
Shawn Michaels, whose long been new head of talent & creative for WWE Triple H’s right-hand man and who currently oversees all things NXT, positioned the change as an expansion:
“Given the success of NXT UK, we felt like it was time to expand beyond that.”
What will become of the 22 men & 12 women wrestlers, and other on-air talent currently assigned to NXT UK?* HBK gave a non-answer than made it sound like that’s currently being sorted out:
“So some of it, like everything with the WWE and NXT, that pipeline is always fluid. It’s going to be one of those situations where we’re going to have a lot of representation going into Worlds Collide.
“It’s what NXT has always been and that is to be a pipeline for the WWE in support of RAW and SmackDown. That process is going to continue. We’re going to use the UK talent that we can to go into Worlds Collide and keep that representation out there for as long as we can. And as we move things over here in the process, we’ll make all those decisions in 2023 about who’s a part of NXT Europe and who continues to stay here in NXT in hopes of getting a main roster call up.”
Michaels also wouldn’t to commit to where NXT Europe would run shows, but discussed locations all over the continent.
NXT UK’s been lost in the shuffle since the creation of AEW and a previous hiatus due to COVID restrictions in the United Kingdom. If the brand is going to continue in some form — and it makes some sense for it to as a development pipeline and a product to offer to UK and European broadcast/streaming partners — this seems as good a way to go about that as any.
Now who’s ready for 48 hours with Clash at the Castle, Worlds Collide AND All Out?
* UPDATE: The fate of some of those wrestlers has been revealed, as several announced this afternoon that they’ve been released by WWE. More on that here.