It’s truly a new era in pro wrestling. AEW may not be competing for ratings anytime soon, but they’re already competing for talent. With that, plus NJPW making inroads, and even Impact managing some good signings, WWE is doing their best to hold on to the huge pool of tightly controlled independent contractors that they call Superstars. Part of that is not letting anyone out of the contracts they already have, but it’s apparently also affecting the new contracts they’re asking people to sign.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE has started asking new NXT recruits to sign five-year contracts. Three years was the previous standard, but now they’re looking to hold on to talent for a longer time before they have the option of going elsewhere. It’s understandable that WWE doesn’t want to pay to train someone for three years just to see them go to AEW, but with stars like Jon Moxley, Sasha Banks, and Luke Harper making WWE contracts look a lot less attractive than they used to, it’s probably going to take more than money to get some people on board for five years. This is especially likely when you consider that WWE will still have the option of releasing a wrestler at any time, but the wrestler won’t have that same freedom to leave.