WWE Announces New Athletes For Paid Promotional Program

The WWE on the eve of its live premium event, The Royal Rumble this Saturday on Peacock annonced a new class of college athletes as part of its name image and likeness program (NIL). The program which was made possible only recently due to court cases on behalf of student athletes allows the WWE to pay the students for marketing their brands, much in the same way professionals have been paid over the years.

The athletes who will be part of the “Next In Line™” – program that provides a clear pathway from collegiate athletics to WWE.

The class is highlighted by two-time NCAA All American wrestler Greg Kerkvliet from Penn State University, four-time NCAA National Champion thrower Turner Washington from Arizona State University and NCAA Champion hurdler Alia Armstrong from Louisiana State University.

The third “Next In Line” class includes athletes from 14 universities, nine NCAA conferences and seven different sports. The program welcomes its first athletes from women’s wrestling, soccer, tennis, and softball.






Abby Jacobs

South Alabama


5’ 7”

Gulf Breeze, Fla.

Alexandra Jaksec

Mary Washington


5’ 4”

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Alia Armstrong


Track & Field

5’ 4”

Baton Rouge, La.

Cameron Jones



6’ 8”, 320 lbs.

Hindman, Ky.

Dee Beckwith



6’ 5”, 235 lbs.

Florence, Ala.

Greg Kerkvliet

Penn State


6’ 3”, 250 lbs.

Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

Isaiah Iton



6’ 2”, 290 lbs.

Houston, Texas

Jaiden Fields



5’ 9”

Kennesaw, Ga.

Landon Jackson



6’ 7”, 275 lbs.

Texarkana, Texas

Mady Aulbach

Youngstown State


5’ 3”

Slippery Rock, Pa.

Nick Dawkins

Penn State


6’ 4”, 315 lbs.

Allentown, Pa.

Otoniel Badjana


Track & Field

5’ 11”, 245 lbs.

Lisbon, Portugal

Peyton Prussin

Life University


5’ 4”

Las Vegas, Nev.

Tori Ortiz

Oklahoma State

Track & Field

5’ 9”

Batavia, Ill.

Turner Washington

Arizona State

Track & Field

6’ 5”, 290 lbs.

Tucson, Ariz.

The “Next In Line” program has signed 46 college athletes since its inception in December 2021 including the program’s first signee, Olympic Gold medalist Gable Steveson. The program serves to recruit and develop potential future Superstars and further enhances WWE’s talent development process through collaborative partnerships with college athletes from diverse athletic backgrounds. WWE has signed athletes from 13 different sports including 35 members of Power-Five conferences who have collectively earned 40 NCAA All American Honors and 12 NCAA National Championships.

All athlete partnerships feature access to the state-of-the-art WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., in addition to resources across the organization including brand building, media training, communications, live event promotion, creative writing and community relations. Upon completion of the NIL program, select athletes may earn an exclusive opportunity to be offered a WWE contract.

The program’s athletes boast impressive social media followings with more than 10 million combined followers on TikTok and nearly three million combined followers on Instagram. WWE currently has one of the largest fanbases on TikTok with 20.9 million followers and more than 27 million Instagram followers.