WWE strengthens its "NIL" program with Exos partnership

M&F has learned of a new partnership that will support WWE's efforts to find the next larger than life artist across football, track and field, basketball, cheerleading and beyond. By tag-teaming with Exos, a global leader in human performance enhancement, prospective WWE “NIL” Program signees have the best possible opportunity to fulfill their sporting potential and make it big in the ring with an unrivaled set of resources.

Courtesy of WWE

What is WWE 'NIL'?

WWE's NIL program, now in its second year, is a forward-thinking initiative aimed at discovering and developing future WWE Superstars from the world of collegiate sports and athletics, thanks to a 2021 policy the NCAA, which now allows collegiate athletes to monetize their own name, image and likeness. Known simply as "Next In Line," WWE's mission is to provide a clear path from collegiate athletics to the bright lights of WWE, and to provide an invaluable opportunity for athletes from diverse athletic backgrounds to follow in their footsteps of icons like Drew McIntyre or Becky Lynch.

Searching the world of competitive sports for WWE's next big thing is a no-brainer when you consider that the likes of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns and John Cena were all college football stars before they became legends between the ropes. When athletes are able to harness their elite talents and combine those skills with a sizzling charisma, pro wrestling megastars are born. Current WWE Raw Women's Champion Bianca Belair is a former collegiate track and field athlete, and NIL's first official contract was Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalist freestyle wrestler Gable Stevenson. Today, 25 active athletes participate in the program and lace up their shoes at WWE's Performance Center in Orlando, FL. Athletes have traveled to Orlando from 24 different universities. Another notable signer was the recent addition of Gabi Butler, who cheerleading fans will know from the hit Netflix docu-series Cheer. Each talent hopes to complete the Next In Line process and be selected for a WWE developmental contract.

WWE will announce its next class of 15 NIL students in early 2023.

Potential WWE wrestler training at the EXOS training facility as part of the WWE NIL programCourtesy of WWE

Why is WWE Tag collaborating with Exos?

M&F anticipates that Exo's will provide WWE Next In Line athletes with a wealth of resources such as: B. the opportunity to learn and train at the many Exos training facilities across the United States. Exos has been an established force in athletics for more than 20 years, operates in 26 countries and already supports more than 12,000 game-changing athletes. The harvest includes more than 1,000 NFL draft picks, as well as over 215 Olympians and elite military athletes.

"As an industry leader in athletic performance, Exos will help improve our NIL athletes' experience as they make the transition from collegiate athletics to WWE," said James Kimball, WWE Head of Talent Operations and Strategy, in an exclusive conversation with M&F.

While working with Exos professionals, WWE NIL athletes will also be introduced to the Exos Athlete Experience Program and its many sports science and data partners. During the athlete admissions process, participants undergo rigorous performance, body composition, nutrition, and physical therapy testing. The baseline developed for the athletes then allows for tailored and fully integrated plans to ensure a foundation for optimized training.

"Exos is thrilled to partner with WWE to accompany the next generation of athletes on their journey to ensure success - physically and mentally - and continuity of care," added Exos CEO Sarah Robb O'Hagan , add.

How do collegiate athletes participate in the WWE NIL program?

Three athletes from the first NIL Class of 2021 joined WWE after graduating high school and have begun full-time training at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. In just four months

rthwestern University soccer star Joe Spivak has appeared on the WWE TV show "NXT Level Up" on Peacock under the ring name Tank Ledger. This is the pillar of WWE's renewed recruiting strategy, which now focuses entirely on former elite collegiate athletes. If you are a collegiate athlete with dreams of becoming the next big WWE Superstar, visit recruit.wwe.com for information on the application process. The next course will be announced in early 2023.

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