WWE Is Booking More Of Its Superstars In Outside Promotions

For most of the 2000s, one word you could have use to describe WWE’s business model would have been “insular.” WWE Superstars were expected to perform exclusively for WWE. WWE would rarely mention other wrestling promotions, or reference the work done by current WWE Superstars when they were at said other wrestling promotions. While WWE is still very insular today, times are changing.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen WWE reference promotions like Impact Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Ring of Honor either on their live weekly television, or on WWE Network programming. WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne is working all over the map. Even Triple H is showing up outside WWE, making an appearance for ICW earlier this year.

In some cases, WWE has an undisclosed and unconfirmed working relationship with these promotions. Triple H’s appearance at ICW, for example, would have never happened if WWE and ICW didn’t have some sort of behind-the-scenes agreement in place, but even still, seeing Triple H in a non-WWE ring is a new development. This wasn’t happening five years ago.

The latest example of this WWE evolution features current, contracted Superstars taking bookings outside of WWE, which hasn’t really happened since Vince McMahon had working relationships with All Japan and New Japan back in the 1990s. NXT Superstar Kassius Ohno had an ICW title match back in September, and now WWE is booking a main roster Superstar in the U.K., as well.

Titus Brand client Apollo Crews will be heading overseas to wrestler for U.K.-based promotion, Preston City Wrestling. It was announced via Twitter on Saturday that Crews will be featured on their February 10th Road To Glory show.

What’s more, Beyond Wrestling announced on Sunday that NXT Superstar Oney Lorcan will be returning for one night only to the company where he helped make a name for himself on the indies as Biff Busick.

Crews is a former PCW Champion, and as you can see in the tweet above, PCW made sure to thank WWE, Triple H, and William Regal, just in case you thought Crews was going rogue with this booking. At some point, we’ll probably find out that WWE has a deal in place with PCW, and that’s why Crews was allowed to appear, but regardless, this is just smart business.

Crews isn’t involved in any major storyline on WWE TV right now. There is no reason why he shouldn’t be able to go do something like this. It’s good for Crews, it’s great for PCW, and it makes WWE look like a company that is trying to help the wrestling business, instead of acting like they’re the only game in town.

The Lorcan/Beyond partnership is much more intriguing, as Beyond hasn’t been too heavily linked with WWE in the past. Let’s just keep hoping that WWE Network will start airing some of those swank indie promotions we love so much in 2018.