Who will be the next breakout star?The Future Starts NowNXT
debuted on February 23, 2010 on the SyFy Channel
, replacing their ECW brand on SyFy until a few months in when it was moved to WWE.com and later Hulu
+ and now the WWE Network. NXT was originally a mix between reality television and a game show, and the main goal was for WWE
to find the next breakout star. Each of the rookies had a WWE Superstar as a pro. For it first five season it was a straight up competition for a WWE contract, and in some cases a shot at a certain title, with only the first four seasons having a clear winner, Wade Barrett
and Johnny Curtis
. During the fifth season the show slowly transformed into something different with it becoming a like a third brand/C show for mid card and lower mid card. After the fifth season concluded it was revamped and made in to show that showcased talent from their developmental system, NXT Wrestling, renamed after the show. The current incarnation of NXT tapes at Full Sail University in Orange County, Florida, and is aired on WWE Network worldwide.
As a Competition
As a Competition
Season 1 Contestants: Wade Barrett
, David Otunga, Justin Gabriel
, Heath Slater
, Darren Young, Skip Sheffield
, Daniel Bryan
and Michael Tarver.
- Aired February 23 – June 1, 2010.
- Winner: Wade Barrett.
- Season 1 was known for seven of the eight "rookies" forming the stable The Nexus and for the other one having arguably the most well-known Catch Phrase since the Attitude Era. The winner would earn a shot at the WWE Championship at any PPV he wanted.
Season 2 Contestants: Kaval
, Michael McGillicutty
, Alex Riley, Husky Harris
, Percy Watson, Lucky Cannon, Eli Cottonwood, Titus O'Neil.
- Aired June 8 – August 31, 2010.
- Winner: Kaval.
- The winner would earn a shot for the Intercontinental Tile. Known for it's Epic Fail of a season finale, where WWE decided to copy the success of The Nexus and have all the eliminated rookies attack the winner. This became an Aborted Arc, where only two, McGillicutty and Harris became part of Nexus not long after, and Riley associated himself with The Miz. Kaval left the company at the end of the year, while [McGillicutty] and season one's David Otunga later went on to become Tag Team Champions for a time before the former was sent back to NXT to be repackaged and reappear a couple of years later as Curtis Axel. Harris didn't last quite as long before being sent back. He would re-debut as Bray Wyatt in 2013.
Season 3 Contestants: Kaitlyn
, Naomi, A.J.
, Maxine, Jamie.
- Aired September 7 – November 30, 2010.
- Winner: Kaitlyn.
- Season 3 was an all Divas season. Unlike season 1 and 2, a contract was on the line, instead of a title shot. A.J. is the season's most successful alumni because of her involvement in Daniel Bryan's main-event storylines & becoming the longest reigning Divas Champion in history during 2013.
Season 4 Contestants: Johnny Curtis
, Brodus Clay
, Derrick Bateman, Byron Saxton, Conor O'Brian, Jacob Novak.
- Aired December 7, 2010 – March 1, 2011.
- Winner: Johnny Curtis
- The winner would get a shot for the Tag Team Titles with his pro. Brodus Clay is the season's most famous alumni; he is best known for his "Funkasaurus" gimmick.
Season 5 Contestants: Derrick Bateman, Darren Young, Titus O'Neil
, Conor O'Brian, Lucky Cannon, Byron Saxton and Jacob Novak.
- Aired March 8, 2011 – June 13, 2012.
- Winner: -
- Was called NXT: Redemption, and all contestants was those who failed to win season 1, 2 and 4. The winner would earn the right to get a shot at being on the next season of NXT. There was no clear winner as the rookie competition gimmick was slowly phased out in favor of the show becoming in essence "Superstars with storylines", O'Neil and Young were moved to Smackdown and Derrick Bateman stayed on NXT until the revamped version started.
- Season 5 was the by far the longest, with all the other seasons was between 13-15 episodes, season 5 didn't end until it's 67th.
As a Developmental
version of NXT began June 20th 2012. The new version saw the "competition for WWE contracts" aspects being dropped as its function is to give the developmental talent a feel to be on TV, and the location was moved to Full Sails University in Florida, and are no longer on the road with the rest of of the roster. The wrestlers from the Main Roster makes occasional visits for various matches and shorts feuds. And unlike before, where it was either live or taped a few days in advanced, it is now tapes 4 weeks of programing in advance once a month.
NXT's first live televised event, ''ArRIVAL'', aired on the WWE Network in February 2014, followed by Takeover
in May, with the stated intent being for NXT to run live specials four times a year in the future.
- Currently have three championships that are defended on NXT programming:
- NXT Champion: Sami Zayn since December 11th, 2014
- Tag Team Champions: Kallisto and Sin Cara since September 11th, 2014
- Women's Champion: Charlotte since May 29th, 2014
Tropes associated with NXT:
As a Competition
As a Developmental
- Big Budget Beef-Up: Subverted - whilst the original format of NXT was taped on the road prior to SmackDown, the Retool from a competition to an individual brand saw NXT move to Full Sails University & gain an identifiable & unique NXT set. At the same time, this trope was played straight as FCW being rebranded as NXT also saw the developmental territory gaining the WWE branding officially, and with it a more impressive arena which looks less like an indy promotion & instead like a more intimate WWE show, complete with titantron; on top of that, whilst FCW was only aired locally in Florida, NXT (At least, outside of the USA) retains the TV slots it held prior to the rebranding.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Since this is the development brand, one might think that whenever a main brand star shows up, they'll win, if only because of star power. But the show has done a good job of averting this and allowing NXT superstars to get wins over the main roster. This has allowed NXT stars to get over and allow them to seem competent.
- Dirty Old Man: William Regal & Tensei/Jason Albert are fairly shameless in their flirting with Renee Young. To be fair though, Renee Young flirts back at William Regal...
- Fleeting Demographic Rule: Regal gets into feud with a young upstart who thinks he's past his prime and they have an epic match to set their differences. Are we talking about Regal and Ohno here in NXT or Regal and Ambrose in FCW?
- Early Installment Weirdness: Some wrestlers' gimmicks are different from that of the character they play when they ]get called up. Justified that NXT tape their episodes in advance, the episode they tape air about 3-4 weeks after the fact, and if WWE call one wrestler up before those episodes has aired, or do a gimmick change for another, it's very weird watching, say, Seth Rollins play a heel on Raw and a face on NXT, until they tape more episodes and the gimmick change get acknowledged...
- Also happens to wrestlers within NXT as management tries to find the right gimmick for them or attempts to refine the one they have. The early days of their particular character/gimmick may be completely unlike the personality they ultimately settle into in NXT. One particularly blatant example might be Becky Lynch, who debuted with a stereotypical Irish gimmick and was quickly repackaged into a rocker chick in time for the next tapings.
- Once an Episode: Renee Young joining the commentary team for a match.
- Put on a Bus: Either because you moved up to the main roster or were released.
- Or you were injured. Getting sidelined due to injury is less likely to be acknowledged on air in NXT, so it looks like certain wrestlers have just disappeared without explanation.
- Real Song Theme Tune: "Welcome Home" by Coheed and Cambria, prior to NXT ArRIVAL.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- Dusty Rhodes as the initial Interim General Manager/Commissioner for the retooled NXT.
- Triple H serves as this whenever he turns up, regardless of if he's currently being booked as a heel on the main shows.
- JBL, despite playing the heel commentator on Raw and Smackdown, is similarly portrayed as objective and reasonable in his role as NXT GM.
- The current GM, William Regal is shaping up to fill this role as well.
- Retool: Started in the middle of Season 5, when they dropped the competition part of NXT, and made in to more of a third brand with storylines. They then revamped the show, moved it to Full Sails University, to essentially becoming the show for the developmental system, which once had a separate show and branding.
- Xavier Woods is billed from Angel Grove, claims to have been trained in "Hip Hop Kido" by Zack Taylor, and will sometimes shout "IT'S MORPHIN TIME!" during matches. In short, he's a giant Shout-Out to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, short of actually dressing like a Power Ranger.
- Adrian Neville's Corkscrew Shooting Star Press is named after the Red Arrows, the RAF's aerobatic display team.
- When Bayley debuted a pair of wacky waving inflatable tube men as part of her entrance, Tom Phillips declared "Wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man! Wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man!" - An aghast Byron Saxton outright asked if he was referencing Family Guy.
- Self-Deprecation: Jason Albert as commentator takes more after his Tons of Funk Tensai than his initial Tensai or Albert gimmicks. Half of his humour is him poking fun at himself such as him constantly saying, "I'm not too smart but I can lift heavy things."
- Something Completely Different: Compared to the parent shows, there's typically fewer grandiose storylines and promos per episode and there's an overall atmosphere of Lighter and Softer. As a result, however, it's also somewhat more serious and wrestling oriented because that change shifts the focus from the pure mic skills (for the superstars) or the sex appeal (for the dvias) to the ring (for both).
- The Smurfette Principle: NXT currently only have handful of Divas compared to the main roster. However, this is somewhat balanced out by how said women are treated. They have more time to actually ''wrestle'', are usually promoted as characters & skilled competitors than just merely eye candy, and their interpersonal beefs don't usually revolve around romantic interest in a guy. Also worth noting: the main roster has the Divas Championship, NXT has the Women's Championship.
- Spiritual Successor: To FCW, the former developmental system.
- You Look Familiar:
- Several of the developmental stars are well known wrestlers from the indy scene.
- If a gimmick isn't taking off, the superstars/divas are liable to be completely repackaged with no explanation of what happened to the original character.