It seems like a very long time ago that William Regal promised us:
“There is zero restriction on anybody working anywhere” and “This isn’t the big bad wolf coming in to take away everything from everybody, this is to give these fella’s, who we think are the best, some money in their pockets”
To be fair that was in 2016 when Stephen and the WWE were just launching the first UK Championship. Many things have changed since then, with a second UK Championship event under their belt and the recent addition the NXT UK show. The contracts that Stephen spoke about were only intended to cover the UK Championship event.
With the WWE’s continued expansion into the UK market, it was always a matter of when and not if the WWE would move to solidify its position in the UK. Reported last week by WrestleTalk, a number of NXT UK stars have been signed up to new contracts which place far greater restrictions on where and whom they can fight.
This could spell trouble for the UK independent scene. With WrestleTalk reporting that the new contracts are a direct result of the company expanding their brand in the UK.
Robin Reid has reported that there are in fact three different tiers from which the superstars can be signed.
The first is essentially the same as an NXT contract, they’re allowed to work dark matches for partner promotions. Most of the stars from NXT TakeOver: Blackpool are placed in this group. It should be noted that BritWres Roundtable’s sources have said that the reasons for not allowing the wrestlers to be filmed is because Progress Wrestling and ICW will be added to the WWE in early 2019, with EVOLVE and wXw to join them later in the year. Stars in this group have been allowed to honour their bookings until the new year.
The middle tier allows for more freedom, the wrestlers can work events streamed by the following promotions:
- Fight Club Pro
- Attack! Pro Wrestling
- Over the Top Wrestling
The bottom tier prevents wrestlers from appearing for promotions that the WWE deems to be competition or working with anyone signed to a blacklisted promotion.
From what is understood, El Ligero, Xia Brookside, Flash Morgan Webster and James Drake all have top-tier contacts. As what has been seen by many to confirm the new situation, last week Tidal Wrestling announced El Ligero’s last match with the company would be happening on Dec 15th due to contractual obligations. Tidal Wrestling commented that within 10 minutes of the announcement they’d had 9 messages offering to fill the dates. Just two days before it was announced that El Ligero, Morgan Webster and James Drake were being pulled from Pro Wrestling Chaos events due to the same reasons.