Senior Vice President of the WWE, James Kimball, recently spoke about how difficult it is to run a developmental brand. He spoke about it on the Bleacher Report. WWE currently has two developmental brands. The most popular one is called WWE NXT.
This is also the brand that many famous indie wrestlers make their debut. Some people actually preferred watching NXT, over Smackdown and RAW as it was led by Triple H at one time and wrestlers had more creative control over themselves.
SVP James Kimball Talks About WWE Handling Developmental Talents
The other developmental brand is called WWE Next In Line. However, it isn’t that popular. WWE also had another brand called OVM. “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”. The pandemic had a huge impact on most professional wrestling promotions. WWE also suffered a bit. They actually had to even release a few of their top wrestlers to cut costs.
In fact, many people thought that Vince McMahon was thinking about selling the WWE at one time. Of course that never happened. Kimball then revealed that during the pandemic, WWE had about 90 developmental talents. Kimball stated that they do not wish to replenish the roster with those talents.
They only want the quality talent to make it to the main roster. During the SummerSlam weekend, WWE held a few tryouts. Dwight Howard, from Los Angeles Lakers also took part in that tryout. WWE is currently adding famous talents from MMA, YouTube, and college sports. They wish to just bring in big names it seems.