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Shawn Michaels On WWE NXT Recruitment Strategies

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Shawn Michaels is a key part of the WWE developmental process and he recently about what kind of athletes the company is recruiting as potential future superstars.

It was in September 2022 when two-time WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels was given a new job title – Vice President of Talent Development. That means that he is the man in charge of running WWE’s developmental brand NXT, which also means he has a big role in terms of discovering new talent for the company.

During a recent appearance on WWE’s After The Bell Podcast hosted by Corey Graves and Vic Joseph, Michaels spoke about his job running NXT. Here’s how Michaels responded when asked if WWE stopped recruiting experienced wrestlers.

“Absolutely not, no. And again, look, you still need, I don’t know, there’s still talented people out there. And so I, sometimes people feel like it’s a cop out, but no, nothing is off the table. I mean, my goodness. So I always liken it to it’s like a creative idea. Look, I’ll steal a good idea from anybody and then just make it mine, you know, I mean, to put a spin to it, that it looks original and different. But know, if there’s talent out there that we see something in, I mean, I say snatch him up. And so, but again, I go back to I think in the last couple of years, you know, with the pandemic, and everything had changed our world quite a bit, you know, those guys couldn’t go out and work that much. You know what I mean? So I think everybody kind of disengaged from that for a little bit. But you know, there’s still, you know, 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. And it really is, it’s about ensuring the future of this company. So you get those talents and those individuals that you think are best going to enhance this product.”

The WWE NIL (Next In Line) recruitment has seen the company sign dozens of college athletes with the hope that some of them are going to want to be WWE superstars someday in the future. Michaels talked about how those athletes can fall in love with the culture of what WWE provides.

“The NIL, and again, just going to this sort of recruiting system is really just a very natural step, you know, again, so you think about all the athletes out there that there may not be a pro aspect of what they’re doing, or they don’t make it to the pros. You know, again, there’s still something they love, you know, they love the athleticism, they love the team aspect. And the thing is, the people that get it, and they go out there and they feel it, they fall in love with it just like we do, just like we did. There’s a lot of them again, that may not have watched it, and I’ve watched it happen here again, because of the environment and the culture that we have here. They fall in love with it, and then they go out there. And you know, I think both of you know this but Corey, especially you when you go out there that first time and you have I don’t know what that feeling that goes through you, it’s different than football, you know, you’re under a helmet. It’s different than I don’t know, you know, baseball. It’s a very different feeling. They’re so close, it’s right there, it’s so relational. It is a feeling that you have inside that they’ve never felt before. And so that little hook man, that gets him into it, and they become just as passionate about it as the rest of us.”

Michaels was recently on WWE television on the October 10th edition of Monday Night Raw when D-Generation X celebrated 25 years as a group. Michaels appeared in the main event of the show along with Triple H, Road Dogg and X-Pac. D-Generation X was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019.

If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit After The Bell and link back to this article with an h/t to TJRWrestling.