Joe Spivak, former Northwestern DL, discusses WWE future thanks to NIL deal
Joe Spivak, a former Northwestern defensive lineman, is exploring his options after college, and the WWE is prominently in the mix for his future.
Spivak is a name, image and likeness signee with the WWE, and he plans to pursue that path following his pursuit of the NFL.
Spivak envisions nights when he’ll walk down the aisle and address thousands at WWE events. The wrestling organization is ramping up its recruitment of college athletes and Spivak was one of 16, including six football players, who signed name, image and likeness deals with WWE as part of an NIL program launched in December.
“(Football) was my first love,” Spivak told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg. “That was my first dream. And I need to see that through so that when I get to (WWE), I can be absolutely firing on all cylinders, I have no regrets, I’m all-in. I’m gonna ride this NFL dream until the freakin’ wheels fall off, and then I am sprinting to Orlando.”
James Kimball, WWE’s senior vice president for global talent strategy and development, said the WWE remains “100 percent supportive” of college athletes completing their goals in their primary sport before pivoting to the ring.
Kimball said WWE’s wish list for NIL targets falls into two buckets: physical (look, size, athleticism, strength) and personality (public speaking, charisma, character range, willingness to be coached).
“Ideally, you’d like to find a nice blend,” Kimball said. “It’s understanding how to transfer true athleticism from a given sport to a 20-by-20 ring, understanding spatial awareness and timing. And then it’s the ability to express themselves on a microphone. That becomes a requirement over time, whether you’re a heel or a face, or you’re heavy on promo or even light, at some point you need to be able to tell a story.”