The new project previously reported to be a WWE NXT India series looks to be filming on Friday, January 22.
It was reported before, via POST Wrestling and Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics, that the project was expected to film in Florida for a roll-out in early 2021, perhaps in late January. POST now reports that as of Thursday morning, there was a filming date listed on the internal calendar for Friday, January 22, with a title of “India Special.”
The report noted that a photo shoot was planned for this week with various Indian wrestlers who will be participating, so they could take updated photos.
It’s been expected that the project will be a new series for WWE, and that looks to be the plan still. One source close to the situation indicated that it could begin with a one or two-night event to kick things off. This would be similar to the model for NXT UK, which began with a two-night tournament in January 2017, before the weekly series was rolled out.
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As of November, it was expected that an eight-man tournament would be held for the new India project. John Pollock of POST recently noted on Twitter that WWE has not locked down the name for the new project. “NXT India” may be the larger idea or future step with the potential of the tournament/show receiving its own name as well.
There’s no confirmation on talent for the new project, but Sportskeeda reported a few weeks back that there was hope of a functioning WWE India Performance Center being up and running by 2022, but that depends on what happens with the COVID-19 pandemic. That report also noted that stars expected for the new project are Jinder Mahal, The Bollywod Boyz, Indus Sher, and Jeet Rama, among others.
It was also noted that this has been a long-term project where plans have evolved and shifted many times, and more changes may happen before the official roll out.
The new India series is expected to air on linear TV in India, along with a digital window through the WWE Network. WWE currently has a distribution deal with Sony Pictures Networks in India. A five-year renewal for that deal was announced in March of this year. The deal also includes Sony having the rights to the WWE Network for its audiences through SonyLIV, which is their own OTT (Over-The-Top) streaming platform.
WWE President & Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan revealed during the recent WWE Q3 earnings call that WWE would be holding a talent-focused event in India next year, in conjunction with Sony. The event would focus on developing new Superstars from India, and would air on Sony in India, but be distributed here in the United States. Khan did not mention this being a new NXT India brand, but he didn’t provide a lot of details.