Arkansas Football player inks historic NIL deal with WWE

Arkansas Football player signs with WWE (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Arkansas Football player signs with WWE (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
Arkansas football player WWE name image likeness
An Arkansas football player could follow in the steps of Roman Reigns and Big E as college football players-turned WWE Superstars. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

An Arkansas football player has been named to the inaugural class of 15 college signees for the WWE in a historic, first-of-its-kind deal that allows student athletes to profit off of their name, image and/or likeness while maintaining college eligibility.

Dalton Wagner, a 6’9″ and 330 lb offensive lineman, is currently a redshirt senior for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The WWE routinely signs athletes with various backgrounds (track, amateur wrestling, reality television, independent professional wrestlers, etc.) but this is the first time they have announced a batch of current college athletes.

The WWE signed Olympic Gold Medalist and current college wrestler Gable Steveson from the University of Minnesota to it’s first ever NIL deal in September.

Arkansas Football player signs with the WWE in a historic Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) deal

Under the deal, Wagner will be afforded tools to help him prepare for a chance to be a WWE Superstar. In a press release, WWE outlined what the deal will entail.

"All athlete partnerships will 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."

This is basically an opportunity for Wagner to get a leg-up and hit the ground running as a professional wrestler once he’s done playing for the Arkansas football team.

If he can make it through WWE’s rigorous in-ring training and promo-training, he would follow in the footsteps of some of the most famous WWE Superstars of all time in exchanging football cleats for wrestling boots.

Here are some current performers signed to WWE that, like Wagner, played college football before landing in WWE.

  • Dwayne Johnson, known as “The Rock,” defensive tackle for the Miami Hurricanes
  • Joe Anoa’i known as “Roman Reigns,” defensive tackle for Georgia Tech
  • Ettore Ewen, known as “Big E,” defensive tackle for the Iowa Hawkeyes
  • Bill Goldberg, known as “Goldberg,” defensive tackle for the Georgia Bulldogs

Wagner has one more season of eligibility remaining and intends to play for the Arkansas football team in 2022, according to Whole Hog Sports.

Here’s hoping Wagner keeps it kayfabe on the sidelines for the Razorbacks next season and hits somebody with a spear or a suplex wrestling move.

Hot. Hogs land major transfer from Oklahoma Sooners. light

The Hogs will face Penn State Jan. 1 in the Outback Bowl.