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December 2, 2016

WWE Reportedly Offering “Mark Deals” to Indy Talents to Keep Them Off UK TV, News on Possible Big Competition for WWE in the UK

According to The Wrestling Observer, ITV recently taped a pilot for the World of Sport revival, which is set to air at the end of the month. ITV is the #2 network in The UK, and WWE could end up being in a situation in which it’s no longer the #1 promotion in The UK, as Raw draws about 150,000 viewers on Sky Sports, whereas ITV could be seen by millions of people. When it comes to live attendance, however, WWE would still be the #1 promotion in The UK.

The World of Sport Revival special, which was taped back in November, will air later this month and feature commentary by WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross. A series has yet to be picked up, but it’s strongly being considered, with one idea being to hold a large taping in a few months in which about 10 episodes of TV is shot all at once.
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In related news, WWE has been very aggressive as of late in offering UK talents new deals, and speculation is that the deals being offered are simply an attempt to keep the talents off potential competitor’s TV programs. Furthermore, it appears as if WWE vs ITV is already a battle brewing behind-the-scenes, as ITV recently sent talents amendments to their contracts stipulating talents cannot appear on other major TV shows while under contract to ITV.

As it pertains to the talent deals being offered by WWE, the contracts are said not to be for the main roster or even for NXT or the Performance Center, and are being labeled “competition-killer” deals. The contracts are said to be low-dollar guaranteed deals, which would allow key UK talents to work the independent scene, but WWE would have the right to approve any and all bookings the talents take. The appeal here for the talents is that the deals would give them a financial cushion from WWE, as well as the value of being associated with a big promotion. The appeal for WWE is the company would then be able to lock the talents into deals preventing them from working for ITV.

The new deals were reportedly a hot topic at the last ICW show in Glasgow, and some talents there were urging other talents not to sign the deals, calling them “mark deals”, with the idea being WWE doesn’t actually want the talents, they just don’t want them working anywhere else.

There’s also speculation on WWE possibly doing some kind of TV show with these new UK talents for that market only. The idea is that just being associated with WWE will be a big boost to the local marketability of each talent signed.

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