During the summer of 2020, WWE announced they would stream content from international independent promotions. The deals with Progress, ICW, and WXW gave fans access to archival footage of current WWE talent from Drew McIntyre to Gunther (then WALTER), and gave fans hope the biggest wrestling company in the world was done pretending it was the only wrestling company in the world.
A lot’s happened since then, and several other things now point to WWE playing well with others in the industry they’ve transformed over the past half century. But a new report says offering indie content on the Network will soon no longer be one of those things.
Today (Jan. 18), Progress and ICW confirmed the end of their contracts with WWE Network.
English indie Progress issued a statement:
ery clear reason, and they can now confirm that its very positive and long-standing partnership with WWE Network is coming to a harmonious end.
After six years and nearly 50 shows, both promotions are pursuing different digital media strategies, and fans of both WWE and PROGRESS are going to be the beneficiaries.
As one chapter closes, so they say, another one opens, and PROGRESS management can confirm that they are in discussions with a number of high profile global digital media and streaming options.
PROGRESS own an unrivalled video library containing more than a decade’s worth of the best of independent wrestling, showcasing many household names that have wrestled at PROGRESS over the course of the past 11 years.
Wrestlers such as Pete Dunne, Toni Storm, Walter (current WWE Intercontinental champion, now known as Gunther), Adam Cole, AEW World Champion MJF, Samoa Joe, Swerve Strickland, Will Ospreay and Matt Riddle, to name just a few, have competed and enhanced their careers at PROGRESS Wrestling during this period.
This extensive content library has more than 650 hours, featuring 170 shows, which resulted in PROGRESS Wrestling being the biggest independent wrestling company to feature on the WWE Network.
They also announced they’ll be holding their first U.S. show in six years during WrestleMania week in greater Los Angeles.
Scotland’s ICW offered their update via Twitter:
ICW’s contract with WWE has come to an end.
We’ll be revealing the new homes of ICW programming in due course.
In the meantime, all unaired programming will air on YouTube and ICW On Demand.
A new episode will air on YouTube every day at 5pm GMT from now till Thursday 26 January. ICW On Demand subscribers already have access to 5 new episodes, with 4 more due to air by Tuesday 24 January.
Our ICW Fight Club event on Sunday 29 January will air live on Facebook and YouTube.
Germany’s WXW hasn’t commented. It’s not clear what WWE’s plans are for Evolve’s library, which they purchased in 2020.
The news is a bit of a bummer, but WWE wasn’t really promoting this material and there hasn’t been a ton of buzz outside hardcore wrestling circles and their existing fanbases. Perhaps the positive spin is merited?
Let us know what you think, Cagesiders.