During a recent appearance on the “After the Bell with Corey Graves” podcast, Shawn Michaels commented on whether WWE is moving away from signing independent talent and the company’s shift to focusing on its NIL program, what he looks for in a new talent, and more.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On whether WWE is moving away from signing independent talent and the company’s shift to focusing on its NIL program: “Absolutely not. There are still talented people out there. I know sometimes people feel like it’s a cop out, but no, nothing is off the table. It’s like a creative idea. I’ll steal a good idea from anybody [laughs]. There is talent out there we see something in? I say snatch them up. With the pandemic, it changed our world quite a bit. Those guys couldn’t go out and work that much. We’re looking at people all the time. This is all about making the WWE as prosperous and successful as we can for the future. It really is about ensuring the future of this company. You get those talents and individuals that you think are going to best enhance this product. The NIL and going to this recruiting system is really just a very natural step. You think about all the athletes out there that may not be a pro prospect in what they’re doing, well they don’t make it to the pros. They love the athleticism, they love the team aspect. The thing is, the people that go out there and they feel it, they fall in love with it just like we did. There’s a lot of them that may not have watched it, but I’ve watched it here happen because of the environment and culture that we have here. They fall in love with it. When you go out there that first time and you have that feeling that goes through, it’s different than football – you’re under a helmet. It’s different than baseball. It’s a very different feeling. It’s a feeling you have inside that they’ve never felt before, and that little hook, that gets them into it. They become just as passionate about it as the rest of us.”
On what he looks for in a new talent: “There’s a number of things, and believe it or not, character is a big thing. But to me, it’s charisma, because I feel like from an athletic standpoint now, we’re getting some machines in here. We are getting studs. So, there’s not much athletically they might not be able to handle. I think to me, it’s seeing that X-factor that everybody talks about. You can’t really describe it, but you just see it. I think if you were to be able to give it a word, it’s charisma and a comfortability with what it is we’re doing. I think that, to me, is the first thing that I look for from them, because again, you’ve got a lot of people that can chase numbers, that can push a lot of weight around, can set certain goals, and achieve every one of them from a physical aspect here in the Performance Center. But being able to understand the performance and the entertainment aspect of this, that’s what I think separates the men from the boys, so to speak.”
(h/t – 411 Wrestling)