Will Indie Wrestlers Be Included In Upcoming WWE Tryouts?

Call them "sports entertainers", call them "superstars", but it always seems that WWE ends up needing "wrestlers".

This week's "Wrestling Observer Newsletter" is reporting that, despite WWE's commitment to hiring athletes and entertainers from outside the wrestling world and then training them to be wrestlers, WWE has still contacted an undisclosed number of independent wrestlers for tryouts in Nashville, TN during SummerSlam weekend.

WWE had a penchant for signing independent talent about 10-11 years ago, but with the renewed focus on the WWE NXT brand, the company pivoted to recruiting college athletes, Olympians, MMA fighters, YouTube personalities, and even Grammy Award-winning rapper Bad Bunny on a per-appearance deal, letting competing promotion AEW take their pick of independent talent over the past few years.

WWE recently launched the Next In Line (NIL) program in December of last year, with the first NIL signing being Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson. Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy & Development Paul "Triple H" Levesque, who oversaw NXT's initial expansion, was very positive about the prospects of the NIL program, saying it would "dramatically expand our pool of talent and create a system that readies NCAA competitors for WWE once their collegiate careers come to a close."

Despite being drafted to the Raw brand and even making an appearance at WrestleMania 38, it was recently reported that Steveson is interested in returning to amateur wrestling.  This came after just teasing a retirement this past March. How his return to amateur wrestling competition would affect his WWE NIL partnership is not clear at this time.

It was originally noted that WWE's new focus on "look" over popularity in the independent wrestling world would be a case-by-case basis, and the news that indie talent is once again being contacted suggests that SummerSlam weekend is one of those cases.