World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is once again under scrutiny amid accusations that the sports-entertainment juggernaut is unscrupulously “raiding” a considerably smaller promotion, NXT, for talent.
Numerous top NXT wrestlers — Kevin Owens, Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Charlotte, and many others — have transitioned to WWE in recent years, leading to allegations that WWE is poaching talent in a bid to run NXT out of business.
“It’s like ECW all over again,” writes veteran wrestling journalist Dan Mutzger, referring to WWE’s acquisition of stars from the Philadelphia-based promotion in the 1990s.
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon denies allegations of poaching talent, insisting that NXT stars are “independent contractors,” some of whom have voluntarily chosen to work for the larger, more lucrative, less entertaining WWE.
Some conspiracy theorists have suggested that NXT is actually owned by WWE, serving as a kind of “developmental” farm-league for the larger promotion. But that, of course, is preposterous given the superior level of talent in NXT.