For those who have asked about rumors regarding WWE and their developmental system working with WWN, the parent company of EVOLVE, Full Impact Pro and the now-defunct Dragon Gate USA, PWInsider.com has learned from WWE sources that there has been communication between the two sides about working together and that communication was initiated by WWE about a week ago or so ago.
That's about when Ring of Honor landed on national cable TV with their Destination America timeslot, so whether that was a factor I can't say 100%, but it looks like it could be. EVOLVE released a video thanking TNA for working with them around the same time.
In regard to stories making the rounds (some attributed to me) that WWE is buying WWN or that it will be a new "OVW" style promotion assisting developmental, there's nothing to those stories at this time - we are told that whatever this deal is, and it's not a done deal by any means, it's all still being worked out and that no "official deal" has been set in stone.
PWInsider reached out to WWN's Sal Hamaoui and Gabe Sapolsky but they did not return requests for comment. WWE has not responded to official requests for comment as of this writing, either.
MORE ON EVOLVE-NXT
By Mike Johnson on 2015-06-10 21:52:26
According to a well placed WWE source, the potential WWNLive-WWE NXT deal came about due to a number of factors:
*I noted earlier that the timing of WWE initiating contact with WWNLive was around the time ROH announced their TV deal with Destination America, but an equal or perhaps bigger factor was the Ring of Honor action figure line being released through Rhode Island-based online retailer Figures Inc. Although the action figure line was a deal ROH made well over a year ago, WWE took notice of it when a Kevin Steen (Owens) figure was announced for the first series. I am told Steen signed a deal for that figure well, well before he signed with WWE (late 2013 I believe) but it was just coming out now due to delays on Figures Inc.'s end. I am told that the Steen announcement led to WWE taking a deeper look into what Figures Inc. was doing, as the retailer are preparing their own independent wrestling action figure line.
*WWE, according to my source, did not want to get into a situation where two years from now they sign someone from the independents to a WWE deal but when it comes time to license them, they now have to go through a third party (or worse, a third party that once sued them, as Figures Inc. did over WWE allegedly double-crossing them on the production and sale of title replica belts - a suit that was settled) in order to negotiate and obtain the licensing rights.
*The source I spoke with believed the potential deal would be that as part of the WWE relationship with WWN, that WWN would start to sign "top independent talents" to exclusive deals that would include merchandising and licensing rights, so that if and when WWE wanted to bring them into NXT, they wouldn't have the headache of having to piecemeal all the licensing rights from third parties.
*The implication I was given is that if an independent talent has signed a third party merchandising deal with any sort of exclusivity, WWE wouldn't be interested in signing them. Now, there will always be exceptions to the rule, but that was the mindset that was explained to me by my source.
*The other factor I didn't write about earlier that was mentioned to me this evening was SHINE Wrestling,WWN's women's wrestling promotion. With NXT's women's division being built around strong, athletic, female workers, WWE is interested in having a group of women they can have "official" access to for potential WWE NXT use and SHINE is Florida-based.
*The basic idea that has been explained to me is that WWE and WWN would have an official relationship, so that any WWN signed talents would be available for WWE to pick up and sign without any outside hassles that could come about with those talents having signed third-party deals elsewhere.
*My source made it very clear that the deal is nowhere close to done and that there's no guarantee it will end up completed, but said it was something that was being pushed through by top WWE developmental officials. To me, that means Triple H.
That is the latest we have. As noted earlier, neither WWE nor WWN have returned official requests for comments.