Several weeks ago, we reported on the development of a WWE program geared for India with the expectation of a roll-out in early 2021.
Multiple sources informed POST Wrestling and Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics (who worked with us on this story) that the project was expected to tape content in January in Florida. It would air on both linear television in India and a digital outlet through the WWE Network.
As of Thursday morning, we were told by one person that there is a shooting date listed on the calendar for Friday, January 22nd with the calendar stating, “India Special”.
There was also a photoshoot this week for the Indian talent to take updated photos.
The exact introduction of the India project remains to be seen once WWE makes a formal announcement. We had heard from multiple people that the expectations were for the program to be a series, and that does appear to be the strategy. One person close to the situation indicated that it could begin with a one or two-night event to kick things off. On the surface, that sounds close to the model for NXT UK where it began with a two-night tournament in January 2017 prior to the implementation of the weekly series.
This past October, incoming WWE president and chief revenue officer Nick Khan stated on the quarterly investor’s call that they were partnering with Sony to hold an event in 2021 to focus on the development of Indian talent. It would air on Sony platforms and be distributed domestically.
We were cautioned that this has been a long-term project where plans have evolved and shifted many times, with possibly more changes before the roll-out.
We do know that as of November they were expecting to host an eight-man tournament for the project.
While it has been described to us as “NXT India”, we cannot confirm if that will be its branding. In 2019 at the WWE’s Business Partner Summit, Paul Levesque spoke of their plans for “global localization” and specifically noted the hopes of launching satellite operations under the NXT branding and listed China, India, Australia, and Japan as examples.
This past March, WWE and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) announced a five-year extension to their existing relationship.
This is an evolving story and we will continue to monitor the progress of WWE’s implementation of their plans for India.