For the last few years, WWE has built or strengthened relationships with a number of wrestling companies around the world. Insane Championship Wrestling & Progress Wrestling have been two of those companies as well as WXW in Germany.
Possibly the closest relationship though has been with the US based Evolve Wrestling, operated by former ROH head Gabe Sapolsky.
In recent years, Evolve has acted as an unofficial development league for WWE with talent being sent from NXT to appear on Evolve’s major cards. Just this week, Leon Ruff and Adrian Alanis appeared on 205 Live, specifically promoted as Evolve Wrestling talent.
It has long been rumoured that WWE have been interested in purchasing Evolve but these rumours seem to have gathered pace in recent days.
Dave Meltzer reports in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter this week that talks have been ongoing about selling various assets to WWE. Meltzer says:
“There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks regarding the future of Evolve and WWE. It’s not a secret Evolve had major financial issues and the canceling of WrestleMania week was catastrophic to them. They’ve been quiet, having not said anything. There were reports of them selling their tape library and pretty much everything to WWE but when asked, neither Evolve nor WWE would confirm or deny the story”.
It is important to take these rumours as just that at the moment. Rumours. There is no official source from either side.
The story does however make some sense. The Coronavirus pandemic has hit every wrestling company in the world hard. Independent wrestling companies have had no means to promote shows of any type over the last few months so have been reliant on VOD and merchandise income for the most part.
It is not a stretch to imagine that talks of a purchase could advance at this stage. if WWE hold a long-standing interest, now would be a good time to make a renewed bid for the company. With Evolve’s financial position weakened due to the pandemic, any suitor might well see this as a window to strike a deal at a lower price. As a corporate behemoth, WWE would be acutely aware of this opportunity.
We will keep you updated if and when this story becomes more concrete in the coming days.