NXT UK could be shutting down in the near future, with a number of the talent fearing losing their jobs. These rumours came about after WWE cancelled two sets of TV tapings, on the 8th and 9th of August, leaving talent in a lurch about their future with the company.
WWE have treated NXT UK as a developmental brand since it’s inception and originally opened it as a response to ITV’s World of Sport Wrestling. However, since the British wrestling show was cancelled (couple with the #SpeakingOut scandal in British wrestling) the show has been an afterthought by WWE.
Upon it’s inception, NXT UK was set to be the first in a long line of NXT promotions, with Triple H’s vision for global domination planned to span across the globe. The plan was for WWE to open a number of promotions across the continent, including a South American, Africa and Asia. WWE notably attempted to purchase All Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling NOAH in attempts to kickstart NXT Japan, but negotiations faltered and the plan to expand fell flat.
This left NXT UK in a bit of purgatory. There was very little mobility from NXT UK to NXT and the main roster, with only a handful of top stars making the jump to America. Meanwhile the talent was paid very little to appear on the show, with the average wage for a wrestler on the show being £15,800 dollars (according to Dave Meltzer). This is well below the average wage in the UK and would not be enough for the stars to make a living simply wrestling for the WWE.
Is NXT UK Shutting Down?
The show seemed to be a drain on WWE but was kept alive due to existing TV deals with BT Sports. The show has been filmed in the BT Sports Studios since the pandemic and they have forged a great relationship with the telecom giants. However, a report in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter claimed that two tapings for the show were cancelled, leaving wrestlers fearing for their jobs with rumours of NXT UK shutting down.
While in previous years the tapings had been moved, they were outright cancelled this time. This was theorised in many ways with the most likely rumour being that they simply forgot to book the studio and lost the slot due to the upcoming football season starting last week.
NXT UK talent were given no information about the taping being shut down and were left in the dark about their future with the company. Dave Meltzer wrote in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter;
“There is a lot of uneasiness within the NXT U.K. crew. The next two sets of television tapings were canceled on 8/9. The reason given was that BT Sports Studios, where they tape, had to be used for football/soccer coverage. But as you can imagine with the talent how the reaction is, given you could tape somewhere else and shutting down tapings is never a good sign. Nobody really has been told anything.”
The NXT UK brand has produced some stars for the WWE, including GUNTHER, Butch, Toni Storm, Rhea Ripley and more. It’s list of world champions is one of the most star-studded in all of wrestling, with Tyler Bate (twice), Pete Dunne, WALTER and Ilja Dragunov all holding the gold since it’s inception in 2016.
Tyler Bate was the first champion, after he defeated Pete Dunne in the inaugural tournament final. He eventually lost the Pete Dunne at NXT Takeover: Chicago at one of the best NXT matches of all time. It elevated the championship to incredible heights, but not quite as much as when WALTER defeated Dunne for the title and became the most dominant champion in WWE in years.
WALTER defeated anyone that dared cross him until he finally fell to Ilja Dragunov at NXT Takeover 36. It ended his reign at 840 days and gave Dragunov the chance to forge his own legacy in the UK. However, injury forced him to relinquish the title in 2022 and it was won by Tyler Bate in another tournament.
NXT UK Champion Tyler Bate vs NXT Champion Bron Breakker could face off at Clash at the Castle in September in Cardiff, Wales. NXT UK shutting down has yet to be confirmed but has been heavily rumoured in recent weeks.