WWE Not Hiring Any More Independent Talent?

Aug 28, 2021 - by James Walsh

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that WWE is no longer looking at independent talent for scouting purposes for the company. Although it was suggested this will eventually change over time, as WWE has gone back and forth in the past.

The feeling is that companies like AEW can have all the independent names. The company is planning to scout by looks and not because wrestlers have got themselves over elsewhere. Instead, they’ll teach people with the right look how to be wrestlers. It was noted that WWE isn’t the only industry that does this, as everything from movies to TV and even local news scout based on looks. WWE plans to bring in more athletes and do more tryouts like what they recently had in Las Vegas going forward.

8 Responses

  1. What? says:

    Local news sometimes hires based solely on looks. National news doesn’t.

    To put it another way: “no experience necessary” is fine when you’re getting your foot in the door at most professions, but it’s pretty rare at the highest levels. You don’t generally, for example, hire someone who’s never worked in retail to manage a big box store. Newly drafted baseball players almost always start in the minors unless they are extremely exceptional talents, and in those cases, they’ve still played somewhere else before, be it internationally or in school.

    Hiring based on looks and not proven ability, whether in-ring or to get over with an audience, didn’t work before (which is why they abandoned it in the first place). Unless the new plan for NXT is to lean into it even more as a “farm system” and make the financial and time investment needed to give new hires long stints there before even appearing on TV, I don’t see it positively impacting the product this time either, especially given WWE’s (translation: Vince’s) propensity to fast-track people they’re excited about before they (or creative) are truly ready.

  2. art123guy says:

    @What?–But this goes beyond no experience necessary. The newscasters have to know how to read and the minor baseball league players have to know how to play baseball before given a chance. I would think HHH HAS to be insulted by this approach as he trained like crazy to become a wrestler. This basically says it takes no skill to be a wrestler and anyone can do it.

  3. Joseph says:

    It’s not saying you don’t have to have skill to become a professional wrestler. It’s saying that the WWE wants people they can train in their wrestling school.

  4. art123guy says:

    @Joseph–Possibly. But it still sounds like they’re putting look before skill.

  5. Joseph says:

    @art123guy,

    I want to first clarify that when I say skill I’m not talking about wrestling skill. I’m talking about someone who has the ability to make it through a tryout to see if they can even get into their wrestling school.

    Look at Daniel Bryan. Did he have any wrestling skill before he went to train at Shawn Michael’s school? As far as I know he didn’t. He went there and he was learned how to work. After that he went and worked in Japan and a few other places to hone his skills. The WWE is simply doing the same thing except they’re simply not brining in people who have been trained by other people and who have worked for other companies. They’re looking at people they think will make it through their school and become stars.

  6. Rob Dam Van! Shirt Typo! says:

    I hate the idea of getting back to the “failed nfl guy #8” roster spot and “bikini model johnny ace found in a magazine” days, but breaking someone in based on looks isn’t new.

    Many of our legends were meatheads at a gym when the local booker or a top guy noticed them and thought if they could hang at all there was money to be made.

    You brought them in, put em through hell, and if they stuck they stuck.

    It isn’t all that different of signing a dude based on looks and having him at the PC and seeing if he can hang.

  7. art123guy says:

    @Joseph & Rob Dam Van! Shirt Typo!–True, but there was a mix of who they were looking for. To go all indie guys or all homegrown guys isn’t a good idea. I was just listening to Cornette’s podcast and he said it would take at least 2 years to train someone from scratch. If that’s the case, we won’t see an influx of new, homegrown talent for quite a while. I don’t think any of the brands can handle that.

  8. Joseph says:

    @art123guy,

    The WWE performance center has been active in Florida since 2013 and in London since 2019.

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