The independent wrestling scene is the hottest it has been in years, and WWE is putting its money where its mouth is to try and stop its talent from leaving the company and looking elsewhere.
According to Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer, the company recently told its wrestlers that if they're offered a contract by a competitor, WWE will beat it (going as high as to double it) if the wrestler agrees to sign there on the spot. Meltzer said the reasoning behind this is because Vince McMahon does not want the idea spreading around that wrestlers can make more money in other companies.
This story comes fresh off All Elite Wrestling's signings of Chris Jericho and Neville (now going by Pac). In the latest episode of Talk is Jericho, the former Undisputed Champion said AEW offered him the biggest deal of his career to join the company.
"Then we started talking possible offers and the original offer that came in blew my mind," Jericho said. "This is a real, like an NHL-level offer, which I had never gotten before."
In the past week alone reports have hit online saying the WWE is concerned about The Revival not re-signing, Mike and Maria Kanellis both reportedly requesting their releases and Dolph Ziggler potentially on his way out at the end of the month after reportedly not agreeing to take on a backstage producer role with the company.
Elsewhere independent wrestlers are getting picked up left and right by various independent promotions. Juice Robinson (former NXT Superstar) just got a new multi-year deal with New Japan that includes a raise while Ring of Honor has signed the likes of Bandido, Brody King, Rush, PCO, Tracy Williams and PJ Black (Justin Gabriel) in recent weeks. New Japan top junior heavyweight Kushida is rumored to be on his way to WWE, as well as promising Russian wrestler Ilja Dragunov.
And then there's Kenny Omega. Recent reports have indicated he turned down major financial offers from WWE, hinting at the possibility of him joining his fellow Elite faction members in All Elite Wrestling in the near future. Omega dropped the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 13 back on Jan. 4, and indicated shortly afterwards in an interview with Tokyo Sports that he was leaving New Japan.
"If I go to WWE, the fans there will be pleased, and the fans will be pleased if I go to AEW," Omega said. "I want to be in a place where I'm going to be happy."