Amid the rise of AEW plus a handful of WWE superstars looking to get out of their contracts, Vince McMahon and officials are going great lengths to ensure they can keep their talents long-term.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Ringside News), new NXT superstars are starting to receive five-year contracts. Previously, they were being signed to three-year deals.
The Observer also noted that WWE is doing this before their NXT superstars are able to "test the free agency market." As such, they get to keep their new signings long-term before deciding what to do with them down the road -- whether that means releasing or extending the superstars.
It's a smart business move by WWE, and it gives them more power in managing their talents. Dean Ambrose (now Jon Moxley) rejected a new contract offer from WWE, and he decided not to re-sign following the expiration of his deal after WrestleMania. Moxley debuted for AEW at Double Or Nothing and has signed a multi-year contract with WWE's new rival company.
The Revival and Mike and Maria Kanellis reportedly requested to be released from their contracts in January, which WWE wouldn't grant. However, Dawson and Wilder reportedly rejected new multi-year deals from WWE, while Maria hinted that her and Mike's contracts end this month.
On top of that, Luke Harper recently revealed on Twitter that he asked to be released, which WWE refused to grant. Sasha Banks grew frustrated after WrestleMania 35 and hasn't been seen on television since, and though she hasn't said she wants out, it's highly unlikely WWE would release her anyway. The company is taking every precaution they can in order to ensure that there aren't any contract problems with their future NXT superstars.
What This Means
With a handful of WWE talents growing disgruntled and wanting out, it makes to sign their new talents to long-term contracts. This keeps their options open and creates more flexibility. WWE simply won't need five years of time to decide which NXT talents they want to go with, but as the Observer noted, it at least prevents them from being able to sign elsewhere in short time.