There was a time when WWE did not have its own developmental brand. NXT did not exist, so the WWE had to partner up with smaller indie wrestling promotions. They sent their talented wrestlers there to train and develop. Some wrestlers that became WWE legends came out of such promotions.
Ultimate Pro-Wrestling was one of the promotions that the WWE regularly worked with. John Cena, The Miz and Samoa Joe are the wrestlers that trained at Ultimate Pro-Wrestling. Rick Bassman owns Ultimate Pro-Wrestling. He spoke about starting the promotion on the WINCLY podcast.
"So I wanted to start a school and I started a school. It was called Ultimate University and started a promotion that was attended to that was called Ultimate Pro-Wrestling, or UPW. Not long thereafter, I signed my first development deal with WWF...," said Bassman.
"I had two different contractual periods with them under UPW, and in that period of time I discovered, trained and delivered. When I said trained, I did a little bit of it myself. I'm not a worker; I trained promo class.
I think I'm pretty good at that... I did a little bit of psychology work and in-ring training, but I had great trainers. When I say I, I never mean I. It's we, us, our, it was a whole collective effort”. NXT is now a big brand and the WWE really doesn’t need to work with any indie promotion now.