After months of speculation, WWE confirmed via Sports Illustrated on Thursday that the WWE Network will begin airing shows from independent promotions such as EVOLVE, PROGRESS, wXw and Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) beginning this Saturday. SI's Justin Barrasso wrote that the additions will include two compilation specials highlighting Drew McIntyre and Keith Lee's rise up the independent scene (particularly in EVOLVE) in the years before they arrived in NXT.
WWE then confirmed the story on its own website, writing, "EVOLVE, PROGRESS Wrestling from England, Germany's wXw and Scotland's ICW will debut for subscribers to the award-winning streaming service, giving the WWE Universe the chance to see some of their favorite Superstars like never before. And this is just the beginning! You'll continue to see footage from their libraries, as well as new and exciting content from all of these promotions on WWE Network in the weeks and months to come."
On top of the compilations, WWE confirmed shows like wXw's Ambiition 11 and Femmes Fatale 2019, Progress' Chapter 92 and ICW's Shug's Hoose Party 5 Night 2.
"I absolutely never imagined matches from these companies, the places where I found myself in wrestling, are now going to be on the WWE Network," McIntyre told Sports Illustrated. "Hopefully they're as good as I remember."
"That's the period where I started to become the man I am today," he continued. "I found myself on the microphone and in the ring. Independent wrestling, as a whole, was really growing during that period of time. There were a number of incredible superstars in America and the U.K. that are now part of WWE, and it's going to be incredible to relive that part of history.When you watch those shows, you'll see people that were so hungry and wanted to make the industry grow. For me, it's one of the coolest eras ever, and I was so grateful to be a face of independent wrestling. I was so excited to be on these shows, and I'm blown away that those matches, my history, are going to be on the Network."
WWE's next pay-per-view, SummerSlam, takes place on Aug. 23. Check out the full card (so far) below:
- WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton
- WWE Universal Championship: Braun Strowman vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt
- Raw Women's Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Asuka
- SmackDown Women's Championship: Bayley vs. TBD
- United States Championship: Apollo Crews vs. MVP
- Raw Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits vs. Andrade & Angel Garza
- Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins