The rise…and rise of NXT

 
 

WWE’s third brand, NXT, is now part of the “big leagues” and cannot be considered “developmental” anymore with a new, live weekly show on USA Network.

“Can’t describe this announcement in any other word than PROUD,” Triple H wrote on Twitter after the press release was issued by WWE and USA Network. “Proud of everyone involved from day one. Proud you’ve let your voice be heard and carried the banner of this brand. Proud you’ve loudly & clearly said #WeAreNXT.”

NXT first came across on WWE television in 2010 where some of the roster from the Florida Championship Wrestling development territory competed on WWE TV to join the main roster. It ran as a seasonal show with NXT rookies being paired up with WWE pros. The original format lasted four seasons, with Wade Barrett winning the first season, Kaval winning the second season, Kaitlyn winning the third, and Johnny Curtis winning the fourth.

Perhaps none of the seasons had more effect than season one as after it ended, winner Wade Barrett assembled his own heel faction titled Nexus which also featured Daniel Bryan, Darren Young, Skip Sheffield (Ryback), Michael Tarver, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, and David Otunga. The group ran riot on an episode of Monday Night Raw, destroying John Cena, CM Punk, Luke Gallows, Jerry Lawler, Matt Striker, Michael Cole, and Justin Roberts. The group also decimated the whole ringside area and their actions eventually led to Daniel Bryan being fired after he strangled Justin Roberts with his tie.

In mid-2012, WWE stopped their Florida Championship Wrestling development territory and moved all developmental to the NXT brand, signing a deal with Full Sail University where all of their shows were taped.

Spearheaded by Triple H, the brand held its first live two-hour special on the WWE Network called NXT Arrival. It was the first live in-ring show on the WWE Network just days after the streaming service started broadcasting. In total, there are 27 NXT special events, now all titled Takeover.

While all weekly Network tapings are held at Full Sail University, all Takeover specials moved out of Full Sail in August 2015 as the brand started to get more traction thanks to its talented roster. Now, NXT runs over 200 shows around the world every year.

The plan is to get NXT and the WWE Performance Center global. The first step in “taking over” was last year with the creation of NXT UK and the UK Performance Center. The NXT UK brand will present its second Takeover event on August 31 live from Cardiff.