For several years, WWE has strategically planned to extend its professional wrestling reach globally, harkening back to the territorial era, albeit with a twist - all territories under the WWE brand. One of the significant strides in this direction was the launch of NXT UK in 2018, aimed at establishing its presence in that part of the world.
However, this effort at creating a local brand was met with mixed reactions. Some wrestlers lauded it for amplifying the local U.K. wrestling scene, while others criticized it for decimating the independent circuits. The brand was eventually disbanded in 2022.
NXT Expansion: Mexico and Japan
Recently, the idea of spreading the NXT brand to Japan and Mexico, emulating the U.K. expansion model, has been brought to light. This news broke during a media call last year, where WWE veteran Shawn Michaels discussed the potential expansion.
Nick Khan, WWE's President, and Chief Revenue Officer, further mentioned the possibility of launching an NXT brand in Mexico to offer a platform for Lucha Libre, a wrestling style popular in Mexico and much of Latin America.
One prominent advocate of this idea is the Cuban-born, retired pro wrestler and renowned AAA booker Konnan. During a recent segment of his K100 podcast, Konnan commended Khan's statement. "Well, he's smart, boy," he quipped.
Konnan cited the growing Latino population in the U.S. as a significant factor for introducing a show focused on Lucha Libre, catering to the unique cultural nuances of this demographic. He reminisced about his wrestling days in the 1990s for Canada's Stampede Wrestling when his Lucha style was not well-received.
However, he affirmed that times had changed significantly, citing recent instances where crowds were fervently chanting "Lucha! Lucha!" even before he appeared in the ring. Konnan has previously praised WWE for improving its representation of diverse cultures in its programming.
He asserts that introducing an NXT Mexico branch would mutually benefit WWE and the Latino community, opening new doors for engagement and talent development.