WWE SVP Explains How Developmental Releases Prevent 'Bottlenecks'

Running a developmental brand can be a bit of a juggling act.

Bleacher Report recently reported on WWE's approach to new and developing talent, and WWE Senior Vice President James Kimball explained the company's current philosophy behind running their developmental programs, both WWE Next In Line and "WWE NXT."

"We come into each [tryout] week with gaps that need to be filled," Kimball said, explaining the schedule of churning the roster through evaluations. "At that two-year mark, if you've not made it on NXT TV on a regular basis, it's just not for you and it's not for us." According to Kimball, the evaluations come every six months. Kimball also said that the company is preventing "bottlenecks" in developmental by never signing too many people of similar heights, weights, and builds, opting for a wide variety of shapes and sizes for their limited spots.

With tryouts often comes cuts, as the developmental program usually begins the churning process around the same time as tryouts. "Our goal is to add volume, quality and depth to developmental," Kimball said. "Coming into this week, we have a 110 talents in developmental. The goal at the end of this year is 130. The sweet spot for us long-term is around 150."

According to Kimball, WWE developmental shrank to as low as 90 talents during the pandemic, noting that replenishing that roster isn't the sole focus, as they want to make sure the roster is replenished with "real premium, quality talent."

WWE recently held tryouts over SummerSlam weekend, with the Los Angeles Lakers' Dwight Howard taking part, as the company continues to look to talents in college sports, MMA, YouTube, and other mediums outside the world of professional wrestling.

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