NXT's Women's division might get a lot more crowded. PWInsider reports that Kimber Lee, Heidi Lovelace, and Cheree Crowley (aka Evie) have all signed WWE contracts and will report to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida in early January.
All three wrestlers are well-known among indie wrestling fans and are considered some of the top talent currently working on the independent scene. Kimber Lee is best known as the first ever female Chikara Grand Champion, having held the title from December 2015 through May 2016. Lee (real name Kimberly Ann Frankele) became the first woman to ever win the top title in a major non-women's promotion. Lee made her first appearance on WWE TV on Wednesday's episode of NXT, losing to Ember Moon in a short match.
Heidi Lovelace and Evie have also appeared on various independent promotions for several years, including Shimmer and Chikara. Lovelace and Evie are former tag team partners and won the Shimmer Tag Team Championship in June 2016. Evie also appeared on NXT in October 2015, losing in a squash match against Nia Jax.
It's possible the signings are related to a rumored women's tournament, which will follow in the vein of the WWE's successful Cruiserweight Classic tournament. It's also possible that the WWE is simply trying to shore up NXT's women's division, which has been a bit thin since the "Four Horsewomen" (Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Bayley), Carmella, Dana Brooke, Emma, and Alexa Bliss all were promoted to the main roster over the last year and a half. Current NXT Women's Champion Asuka has had little competition since she defeated Bayley at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn over the summer.
The signings follow the earlier news that the WWE had re-signed former WWE Women's Champion Mickie James to a multi-year contract. James wrestled Asuka in a match at NXT Takeover: Toronto last month after a lengthy stint away from the promotion. Although the match was supposed to be a one-off match (as Asuka has no real credible opponents in NXT), the WWE realized that James could still go and signed her to a main roster contract.