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  • Arc Fatigue: Season 5 really stalled halfway through, after not having a single elimination in months. They then dropped all pretense of it still being a competition.
  • Fountain of Memes: Any wrestler who has a really noticeable and repeated yell when performing moves; the crowd will pick up on this and begin chanting it when the wrestler is out. One example is Michael McGillicutty/Curtis Axel ("SHAH!").
  • Growing the Beard: The latter half of Season 5 and the subsequent shift to being a show for their developmental talent.
  • More Popular Spinoff: The Nexus is much more remembered today that the first season of WWE NXT is. Or any season, for that matter.
  • Narm: Michael McGillicutty's "Genesis of McGillicutty" promo. Hell, just the name McGillicutty counts. The fact that some will recognize it as the name of ECW valet Beulah McGillicutty or as Lucy Ricardo's maiden name doesn't help.
  • Never Live It Down: Heartwarming story of weightloss aside, people still remember when Sage Beckett was the fat TNA Knockout that ended Daffney's career by dropping all her weight on her sternum.
  • Older Than They Think: The Scottish Wrestling Alliance had a show called NXT back in 2007, which lasted for three years.
  • The Scrappy:
    • David Otunga in Season One. Despite being the worst wrestler in the group, Otunga was kept around until the finale where he came second, with the repeated assertion that Otunga had the "It" factor & deserved his spot because he was married to Jennifer Hudson. The finale saw Otunga receive several Take That, Scrappy! moments, with Wade Barrett delivering a scathing promo on Otunga & the rest of the Rookies asserting that Barrett was the obvious choice to win of the two.
    • The number of fans who like Alex Riley is growing smaller with each turn at the commentary desk. It doesn't help that his fellow commentators are Corey Graves and Renee Young. This being said, Riley has a stated desire to be a wrestler again & not an announcer, and he moved back into that role in February 2015.
    • Devin Taylor got a fair bit of hate for seemingly having no other reactions than nodding, smiling and staring vacantly.
  • Seasonal Rot: Whilst the first season had a clear end goal in mind, the second was just a complete failure with several of the Rookies clearly not being ready for TV. Season 3 seemingly featured the Divas as a direct response to this, and by the fourth season it was clear that NXT was only continuing to fulfill international contracts for X amount of WWE shows each week. By season 5, it was clear WWE management no longer had any interest in the show.
  • Small Reference Pools: Calling Bryan Danielson and Low Ki "rookies" was almost insulting to the intelligence of anyone who even knew a little about their history. Both had been around as long as John Cena, Randy Orton or Primo Colon (who they saw fit to make a "pro") and had objectively more rounded resumes as pro wrestlers (making them just like say, London and Kendrick or CM Punk), not to mention longer than either MVP or Miz (who were also "pros", the latter in fact being Danielson's "pro" for good measure). The fact Michael Cole claimed their popularity was "only" due the internet actually did push it to intelligence insulting levels even if you knew absolutely nothing about either before NXT, given everyone on Monday Night Raw had a hard on for what was trending on Twitter.
  • Smurfette Breakout: The women on NXT Season 3 fared a little better on the main roster than many of the other contestants (save Daniel Bryan, Wade Barrett, Ryback and Bray Wyatt). AJ Lee became the biggest star the women's division had seen in years - she and Kaitlyn both became Divas' Champions, but AJ held the title for much longer and had a number of high-profile angles with male talent throughout 2012 and 2013. Naomi likewise became an Ensemble Dark Horse and made it onto the Total Divas cast. Maxine became an Ensemble Dark Horse on NXT Redemption and was considered one of the best things about the show. Aksana is a marginal case of this: while she did get a regular spot in segments with Teddy Long and a managerial spot with Cesaro, she never really became a star in the women's division. Jamie Keyes in contrast requested her release before NXT Season 3 had even ended (though she did come Back for the Finale).
  • So Bad, It's Good: While the whole show was this prior to becoming the Developmental brand, NXT Season 3 in particular. The show was so ridiculously bad on purpose, that it seemed like its target audience were those who read WrestleCrap every week. It was almost as if WWE took everything that was narmy about the WWE Divas, highlighted it, and placed a few other comedy acts on the show to act as foils, such as heel Michael Cole, Goldust, and Vickie Guerrero. By Week 3, the show was so bad that you had Michael Cole banging a gong at ringside following the rookie challenges. The show's entire appeal is the ensuing Narm Charm, as well as Cole's and Josh Mathews' sarcastic remarks on everyone else involved.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Not that rookies in need of more experience competing against a wrestler who wrestled since WCW was still around in drills having little to nothing to do with wrestling while Michael Cole constantly derides the best wrestler for things that also apply to many of his less talented peers are building blocks of "good" plots, but at least season one and two presented some different matches and few good ones by WWE's five-ten minute TV standards. Season three cut back on the number of "rookies" to six, neglected to find a "really good one", showcased a couple wrestlers hardly trained at all and had Michael Cole put down everyone and everything. It didn't even have as many different matches, let alone as many good ones, since more guys already on the roster had to be brought on. Keeping the already advertised Isis the Amazon, holding onto developmental champion Savanna and bringing an Angel Orsini/LuFisto/Ayako Hamada type to keep Cole's bile limited to "the internet" while ensuring some of those different matches would be trending on Twitter for positive reasons was really seen as the worse way to go? No one even thought it was a good idea to pretend these women mattered as much as their male predecessors? Mercedes Martinez and Cheerleader Melissa had already been on Heat the way previous "rookies" Daniel Bryan and Kaval had been on Jakked/Metal, it wasn't as if WWE was oblivious to such women existing (especially since a younger peer of theirs in Paige ended up being one of the most talked about wrestlers on NXT later). Also, they kept Cole on commentary but not CM Punk, after telling listeners Punk would be back.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Season 1 was by far the most successful set of Rookies, with the immediate end result (The Nexus & Daniel Bryan), meaning that whoever were the next Rookies had their work cut out for them. As evidenced by the end results of Season 2 being a failed attempt to replicate the formation of the Nexus, it did not pan out well. In fact, season 2 actually has the lowest percentage of rookies still on WWE's active roster. Out of the seven, only Husky Harris (later Bray Wyatt of The Wyatt Family), Michael McGillicutty (later Curtis Axel), and Titus O'Neil (as half of the Prime Time Players before becoming a singles wrestler) are still with WWE. You know the season could've gone better when out of all the contestants, the season's winner, Kaval, ends up being released first.

  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Fan response to The Velveteen Dream's debut ranged from mixed responses to outright mockery of the mere idea of the gimmick. Mere months later and Velveteen Dream would be receiving genuine cheers and fan support against Ensemble Dark Horse supreme Aleister Black, despite being a heel. When Black subsequently acknowledged Dream the fans almost cheered the building down.
  • Awesome Ego: Enzo Amore's ego was so awesome that it turned both him and Big Cass face.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Dash and Dawson. There are quite a few fans who appreciate their old-school brawler tag team tactics, comparing them favorably to the Brainbusters. In contrast, another group of fans think their matches are dragging and boring and wish they would just get released already. TakeOver: London illustrated this perfectly. While they get a decent mixed reaction at Full Sail, the British booed them out of the building, although in all fairness it could have been because they were facing Ensemble Darkhorses Enzo and Cass. Didn't help that they won the match. Also, to be fair, they are heels. Later on, however, they shook off this status by establishing themselves as an incredibly good and incredibly over heel team.
    • Apollo Crews. Either he can get by on just his incredible athleticism alone, or he's just a bland and milquetoast babyface who needs to go away and not come back until he's given an actual character. It got worse after he was promoted to the main roster after less than a year in NXT, where he fell into the exact same status (and it didn't help that Finn Bálor, Bayley, and several other fan-favorites were still stuck in NXT at that time).
    • Liv Morgan attracts a lot of hate from smarks for a look and gimmick that's very similar to Carmella (though she too started off hated before getting Rescued from the Scrappy Heap) and a rather pointless 'push' where she challenged Asuka - only to tap out within a minute. On the other hand, she has a large amount of fans who feel she has a lot of potential and plays the character well (her tomboyish Girl Next Door vibes and interactions with fans on social media also help). The fact that she's a homegrown talent and very green also plays a hand - splitting fans into camps who think she's good for her level and those who feel she should be performing better. This has also prompted a small Fandom Rivalry with Carmella fans over which of them plays the character better (as Liv is actually from New Jersey, while Carmella is a Bostonian who plays a New Yorker).
    • Asuka slipped into this towards the end of her Women's Championship reign; she was considered either a great example of a dominant champion or a Spotlight-Stealing Squad that caused the entire women's division to stagnate. Mind you, some fans took a third option, enjoying her title reign but wishing more of the female competitors would get development so they could feel like legitimate threats to Asuka.
  • Creator's Pet: WWE management was determined to push Eva Marie to the moon in NXT, despite the opposition of nearly every fan at Full Sail and beyond. Even though she has shown very little wrestling improvement in the year or so she has been in developmental, she's been booked to win most of her matches and even earned a Women's Title shot in late 2015 that many fans thought she neither deserved or had done enough to earn. When WWE caught wind of fan hatred and decided to turn her heel, it was still not enough to rescue her, as her "heel who thinks she's a face" gimmick came off as a lame rehash of Bo Dallas's NXT gimmick without the talent or charisma he has. The commentators talked her up like there's no tomorrow, and even Bayley once praised her.
  • Creator Worship: Triple H, ironically enough. The level of praising he gets for his work on NXT and especially the quality of the Takeover events is such that even (most of the) people who hated him while he was an active wrestler such as Jim Cornette had to suck it and recognize his work there. Hell, the job he did in NXT was so good that when the news of him being handled 205 Live arrived, the IWC exploded with happiness. It says a lot that despite (usually) being booked as a heel on the main shows, he's ostensibly a face whenever he appears on NXT shows.
  • Designated Hero: Charlotte Flair inspires this reaction whenever she's a face, as she tends to come across as very arrogant and full of herself. It doesn't help that in one promo, she yelled at the crowd for chanting (she was meant to be the face). At the Fatal 4 Way for the Women's title, she was technically a face but was the only woman in the match to get audibly booed during her entrance. Ironically, she did seem relatively popular when she was a heel. She received further criticism of this when she was called up to the main roster and was eventually turned heel.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • The Ascension are straight up heels in the vein of the Ministry of Darkness, but the NXT crowds love watching Viktor and Konnor destroy anyone placed in front of them.
    • With their exodus to the main roster comes Kevin Owens to take their place. The man capped off day one with a violent Face–Heel Turn against his best friend, ultra-popular Sami Zayn, and despite his talk about doing this for his family has shown that he is a manipulative sociopathic Blood Knight at heart, perhaps the most sadistic wrestler in the history of NXT. Yet people continue to chant "Fight, Owens, Fight!" unless he's committing legalized assault—and when that happens, they chant "Kill, Owens, Kill!".
  • Fountain of Memes:
    • Every Enzo Amore/Colin Cassady promo seems to have at least one line that gets quoted all over the internet after the episode airs. It's at the point where the crowds at NXT have started doing the schtick along with the two of them, and they've only been around for a few months.
    • Any wrestler who has a really noticeable and repeated yell when performing moves; the crowd will pick up on this and begin chanting it when the wrestler is out. One example is Konnor/The Ascension ("YAH!").
  • Girl-Show Ghetto: Utterly averted. While the main roster women were doing everything in their power to try and shake their reputation as being the show's "bathroom break," they found themselves constantly hampered by limited airtime, inconsistent characterizations, and weak or nonexistent storylines (hence the birth of the "#GiveDivasAChance" movement by fans who desperately wanted them to break out). That was night and day compared to the women in NXT, who, thanks to an incredibly talented roster and time dedicated to building their feuds and storylines, became appointment viewing for fans, if not so far as being the highlight of the show. By the end of 2015, NXT's women were not only more popular than the main roster women, they were also more popular than some of the male members of NXT and the main roster. It's not surprising if you know that, even back in the Attitude Era, Triple H was willing to go out of his way to help female wrestlers who didn't even have agents and were treated as an afterthought to help plan their matches.
  • Growing the Beard: NXT TakeOver: R-Evolution is considered by many fans to be the point where the current incarnation of NXT went from "really fucking good" to "goddamn AMAZING."
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The use of Fozzy's "Judas" for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 3. It was the night that Tommaso Ciampa betrayed Johnny Gargano, ending #DIY.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: During his run in Impact Wrestling, it was commented how Sam Shaw's character was similar to that of Dexter Morgan. Upon coming to NXT, he was eventually given the name of Dexter Lumis.
  • Ho Yay: #DIY had a lot of this, to the point that Chuck Taylor lamented their breakup as it made his list of fifty ways they had sexual chemistry together pointless. Then again... (see Foe Yay above)
  • Hype Backlash: While it's true that NXT has its strengths and is generally better booked than RAW and SmackDown, the amount of praise that it gets from the IWC is bound to leave some viewers wanting more. Outside of its TakeOver specials, many fans consider NXT to be So Okay, It's Average like the rest of the product.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Kevin Owens, who successfully manipulated both current champion Sami Zayn and General Manager William Regal into giving him a title shot, then proceeded to beat the living hell out of Zayn to become NXT Champion within two months of his debut.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Since Solomon Crowe debuted as a hacker, blaming any incident in real life where someone (particularly wrestlers) get hacked on him has become a running gag among fans.
    • Baron Corbin yelled "You should have stayed in Ring of Honor" once at Apollo Crews. Since then, it's become a meme to portray him as yelling "Go back to X!" where X is any random promotion (or country in the case of foreign wrestlers) that his opponent isn't from.
    • The tag team The Mighty Don't Kneel have debuted in NXT as TM61. In the Pokémon games, TM61 is Will-O-Wisp, so jokes about Will-O-Wisp and Jeff Hardy have become quite popular.
    • "The Dream has no memory of that."
    • "I think Ricochet is still spinning." Said by HHH in the post-Wargames II conference call, in reference to Ricochet's double moonsault off the top of the cage.
  • More Popular Spinoff: The developmental brand version of NXT has pretty quickly become very popular with fans, who feel that despite technically being a C-show at most, there are quite a few ways in which it's actually the best show WWE has at the moment in many different ways.
  • My Real Daddy: When Vince McMahon was still involved with dictating the direction of NXT, it was filled with silly competition segments, and was largely ignored by wrestling fans. When Triple H took over, it basically became his own personal project & he essentially turned it into basically an indy show with the financial backing of WWE. Its meat and potatoes wrestling style has made it very popular among fans who are tired of having "sports entertainment" crammed down their throats.
  • Narm:
    • Since Becky Lynch's Face–Heel Turn, she attempted to preserve her rocker chick character. While it works as part of her face gimmick, it looked awkward and unnatural as a heel.
    • Finn Bálor's entrance when he's wearing body paint? Awesome. Finn Bálor's entrance when he's just in his gear? Still pretty cool. Finn Bálor's entrance when he's wearing a hoodie? Ridiculous. Finn Bálor's entrance when he's wearing a leather jacket as part of the "Bálor Club" brand? Wait, he's flashing his abs and belt instead of crawling around and it looks awesome. Carry on.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • James Storm appeared in two matches for NXT in late 2015 but was not signed to a developmental contract and eventually returned to TNA. Despite this his two appearances received some of the biggest pops of the night on the episodes they featured on.
    • The tag team The American Wolves received only a tryout match against the Ascension before being turned down and picked up by TNA and given their tag championships almost immediately.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Bo Dallas was turned heel after a colossal failure of a face run, with Dallas becoming conceited and self-absorbed to the point he was oblivious to the fans' hatred of him and seemed to genuinely think he was beloved by the NXT fans.
    • Before the FCW/NXT merge, telling smarks that you wanted Triple H to succeed Vince McMahon as owner of the company, you would have been laughed out of any forum you voiced your opinion in, on top of calling you a shill. Thanks to the success of NXT, smarks have unanimously been calling for Triple H to become chairman, citing Vince's recent running of the company as out of touch.
    • When Carmella was added to Enzo and Cass' act, fans immediately rejected the idea of someone joining the duo due to fears of the third wheel messing up the dynamic of the team. This hatedom increased, and started to turn fans on Enzo, due to the Running Gags of Enzo being sexist & being hit for it, and Enzo's frequent hitting on Carmella despite her stated lack of interest in him. The hate subsided after the unpopular gags were dropped, and Carmella began actively supporting the guys in their chase for the NXT tag team titles. Almost immediately afterwards Enzo was back to being the Ensemble Dark Horse of NXT. Carmella started out being largely booed by the crowd, both because of the above and because she was the sole heel member of the group. However, her gimmick slowly shifted to something more in line with Enzo and Cass's babyface personas and now she gets cheered right alongside them as well as when she's on her own. The fact she has since had more singles matches also helped, given the popularity of NXT's women's division.
    • Becky Lynch debuted representing almost every unamusing Irish stereotype and failed to get any heat for it. Her change in gimmick to a mosh pit girl began her redemption with the fans, and a well done Face–Heel Turn along with more chances to show off her incredible in-ring abilities completed the rescue.
    • Bull Dempsey was hated for being a generic heel with low wrestling prowess who was fat and slow with terrible cardio. After taking some time off to get back into shape and expand his moveset, his "Bull-Fit" face gimmick has been much better received.
    • Fittingly, Bull's rival Baron Corbin has also been rescued after building up fan dislike due to his repetitive, boring pattern of squash matches. A focus more on Corbin's apathetic, egotistical destroyer character and improvements in the ring have turned his X-Pac Heat into more of a Love to Hate reaction.
    • Dana Brooke had very few fans for a while after her debut due to being seen as simply far too green to deserve a regular spot on the roster. The fact she was almost instantly added to the opening title sequence following her debut (while some big names such as Enzo Amore still are not present and others like Finn Balor took weeks or months to be added to it) put her dangerously close to being a Creator's Pet. Thankfully, between her finding a spot as The Dragon to Emma, her vast improvement both in and out of the ring, and an incredibly well-received match with Asuka at Takeover: Respect, she seems to have won over many of the viewers. She fell back into Scrappy territory after she was called up to the main roster however.
    • Mandy Rose wasn't very well-liked during her appearances on Tough Enough due to being yet another blonde model with no experience, calling Sara Lee a "ring rat" (though it was later revealed to be Kayfabe) and being an Elimination Houdini that was favored by The Miz solely for her looks despite often placing last in fan votes, resulting in her being negatively compared to Eva Marie. Once she started appearing on NXT TV, she gained some supporters because A) she actually seems serious about wrestling since she spent over a year working NXT house shows to improve her ability and B) while she's by no means amazing, she can already wrestle circles around the woman she's often compared to.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Sasha Banks was cheered almost unanimously against Charlotte at the last live special of 2014 - despite Sasha unambiguously being the heel.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Bo Dallas. The reason the IWC hated him so much was because he was pushed to WWE despite being very green in the ring, and eliminated Wade Barrett in the Royal Rumble of 2013. The hatred was so bad that WWE eventually turned his character into a Heel who believes he's a popular Face and pretends to be a nice person, which spared him further X-Pac Heat.
    • Wound up happening again with CJ Parker. A peace-loving hippie gimmick in the 2010s did not go over at all with the crowd and much like the the Bo Dallas example, this eventually led to him turning heel, becoming more of a smug, whiny environmentalist.
    • And after that, Mojo Rawley began to get flack for what the fans saw as a generic face character gimmick. Then when he was given a Warrior-like gimmick combined with ass-based offense, he became by far the most unpopular male on the roster.
    • Carmella became this for those who feel that her "Princess of Staten Island" character and the associated Running Gag involving Enzo Amore being sexist towards her and constantly getting hit for it is nowhere near as funny as intended to be and actually throws a wrench into Enzo and Big Cass's dynamic. Even the NXT crowd at Full Sail was initially cold to her, showing more appreciation towards her jobber opponent, "Blue Pants" Leva Bates. Thankfully averted in recent months.
      • That being said, some fans have turned on Enzo for his sexist comments and his constant refusal to acknowledge that Carmella is not interested in him.
    • When main roster talents visit the stomping grounds of NXT, you can expect them to get every bit of pop or heat they intend to get. But when said main roster talent is perceived to be undeservedly overpushed or fast-tracked for the sake of being The Chosen One that Vince McMahon desires, such as John Cena or Roman Reigns, their babyface status will be soundly rejected with boos.
    • While Baron Corbin tends to inspire mixed reactions, almost nobody liked his rival Bull Dempsey. This is why Dempsey's push was abandoned immediately after the feud with Corbin. However, Dempsey became a lot more well liked as time went on with Corbin now the universally hated one.
    • Blake & Murphy. They're considered by a large chunk of the IWC to be boring on the mic and even more boring in the ring, and they barely get a reaction from the Full Sail crowd besides a few boos and some "SWEET BOYS" chants. This is also partly due to the fact that their main rivals, Enzo and Cass, are quite possibly the most popular guys on the entire roster. Their valet, Alexa Bliss, gets more of a reaction than they do and is much more well-received, but some fans are calling BAMF a poor man's version of The Kingdom.
    • Eva Marie. Despite having at this point being signed for two years and having received personal training from Brian Kendrick she has shown very little improvment since her disastrous matches in 2013 and legitimately forgot to kick out of a pinfall while Full Sail went nuclear once they realised what had happened. She has rapidly reached X-Pac Heat, and it only got worse after fans heard rumours that officials wanted to portray her as "an underdog overcoming adversity" against Bayley at Takeover: London.
      • It got worse when she then injured Carmella (see Rescued from the Scrappy Heap) at a live event with a kick to the head. Fans had already expressed disgust at Eva's presence in NXT to begin with (even allowing that it is a developmental system) and now have evolved into wanting her blacklisted from the company (and her defenders becoming rapid victims of Fan Hater members of the IWC as a consequence, justified or not).
    • Elias Samson has been unpopular since the debut of his Drifter gimmick. Chants of "Drift Away" and other forms of X-Pac Heat are common and he is generally seen by fans as, while not bad in the ring, rather unremarkable. However, he has won over a lot of people following his unexpected callup to the main roster in 2017.
    • The Full Sail audience have gradually become this to the rest of the fandom as of August 2015. Whilst the Full Sail audience was largely seen as passionate, as NXT became more popular over the course of 2014, a portion of the NXT fanbase began to see them as more concerned with getting themselves over than the product. However, come 2015, a portion of the Full Sail audience have begun booing any shows announced to take place outside of Florida and are being viewed as arrogant because they feel that they "deserve" to have every NXT taping & live special whilst everyone else has to make do with watching them on the WWE Network. It got to the point where Kevin Owens had to cut a Worked Shoot on them and tell them off for how selfish and entitled they were being before they began to actively support the brand's expansion again. While they have improved since the fact, they are still Twitter and Reddit's Arch-Enemy and tend to get nitpicked on every single questionable moment by the r/SquaredCircle community.
    • With the NXT roster currently considered to be at it's absolute best, Kona Reeves sticks out in the worst way possible; he is hated by a majority of the fanbase with many seeing him as a boring and incredibly basic competitor.
      • But he's "the Finest."
  • Seasonal Rot: A downplayed example; in the second half of 2016, while NXT was still considered to be miles better than the main roster (particularly Raw), many were questioning the stability of the roster (particularly the women's). The revival of the brand extension had taken in loads of NXT stars including Finn Balor, Bayley, American Alpha, Carmella, Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss, leaving a somewhat barren roster. This consensus pretty much disappeared by the spring of the following year, with many fans being won back over with the fantastic NXT TakeOver: Chicago and NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III events.
  • Smurfette Breakout: The NXT women's division on the developmental show quickly became incredibly popular. NXT has given each of its women much more time to wrestle, as well as some kind of Character Development. Each women's match on the live specials has been incredibly well received - as the women are treated like main event material.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Dana Brooke got loads of heat for her near-Creator's Pet status, and her obnoxious personality didn't help either. However, she got her just deserts at Takeover: Respect, where she decided to pick a fight with the debuting Asuka, who proceeded to lay into her with so many kicks that Dana didn't even know where she was by the end of the match. Catharsis Factor? Yes, indeed.
    • And then Asuka did it again at Takeover: London by laying out Emma with a nasty spin kick after not one, not two, but three dirty finish attempts. Seeing Dana and Emma's plans blow up in their faces was so supremely satisfying that even heel-leaning commentator Corey Graves had No Sympathy for them afterwards.
    • Eva Marie began the battle royale to become number one contender for the NXT Women's Title (on the first NXT of 2016) by being kicked in the face by Asuka and taken out for almost the entirety of the match, to fall back on the tired cliche of a wrestler not actually eliminated coming back to steal the winner's victory at the end... except after dumping Asuka out Eva promptly had the tables turned on her by Carmella and was herself thrown out, to the roaring approval of the crowd who had been prepared to riot seconds before.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • The first people to be called from NXT after it became WWE's developmental? The Shield.note  Even years after their debut, no NXT star has come even close to achieving the amount of success the Shield have.
    • The Shield isn't the only faction to have put such a high bar on future NXT stars.
    • The developmental version often inspires this reaction with regards to the main roster. For example the final live special of 2014 was regarded as one of the best shows of the year. The TLC PPV followed a few days later and was considered a dud by most fans. It has been rumoured that main roster talent are resentful of the time and attention NXT gets.
    • The "Four Horsewomen of NXT" as they have been called (Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Charlotte Flair), were the top women's stars (and some of the top stars overall on the show), and it's fair to say expectations are very high for the next wave of women's talent now that all four of them (along with other NXT mainstays like Alexa Bliss and Carmella) are on the main roster. All that's left are Asuka and a bunch of women who are too green and/or new to pose any credible threat to her, which is presumably why they brought Mickie James back to be Asuka's opponent at NXT TakeOver Toronto.
    • The Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor main event at Takeover Brooklyn was seen as underwhelming following up Bayley vs. Sasha Banks, said to be the best women's match in WWE history. It certainly wasn't a bad match by any means, especially considering the talent involved and the fact that it was a Ladder Match — it was just completely outshined by the match before it.
    • Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura at TakeOver: Dallas was the definitive version of this. It was extremely emotional from the start, with it being Nakamura's debut and Zayn's farewell as he was moving up to the Main Roster along with just being a general Dream Match. Just the entrances of both men were exceptional. The match then went on to be a legitimate MOTY contender and completely spent the audience (they even chanted "Fight Forever"). You'd think such a hot match would go on late. It went on 3rd to Last, mostly to protect the importance of the singles titles which was understandable. However the following matchups, Bayley/Asuka and Balor/Joe II, definitely suffered. The crowd was somewhat muted for the Women's Match, which says something due to Bayley's immense overness and Asuka's own following and the Balor/Joe match got hurt by Joe getting busted open above the eye within the first 30 seconds causing constant interruptions by medical staff. If nothing else, TakeOver: Dallas demonstrated why most shows actively need cooldown matches, and not just an entire card of greatness—crowds just can't go that long without a breather.
    • Andrade "Cien" Almas vs. Johnny Gargano, which says a lot about the quality of wrestling in NXT. The build-up which involves Johnny's wife, Candice LeRae, set up the stage for a grandiose encounter between the two at TakeOver: Philadelphia. Almas and Gargano made their match a wrestling clinic, leaving many fans in awe, and Dave Meltzer gave his first 5-star rating for an NXT match.
      • Amazingly, NXT managed to subvert this by actually managing to successfully follow up on it- the next TakeOver at New Orleans managed to score two 5-star ratings from Meltzer, one for the opening 6-man ladder match for the new NXT North American Championship, the second for Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa in the main event. Of course, now that is the Tough Act to Follow for whatever comes next...
    • Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole at TakeOver: New York exceeded every expectation, which says a lot, given that quality matches have become NXT's trademark. Although the match was intended to be the climactic blow-off to the Gargano vs. Ciampa feud, an unfortunate injury put that on hold, so Ciampa vacated the title, and Cole won the right to fight for it with Gargano. The match featured a lot of brutal spots and a finisher galore, but even The Undisputed Era's interference couldn't keep Johnny down, and he finally fulfilled his promise and became the NXT Champion and the first NXT Triple Crown Champion. Big Dave has also given the match an astonishing score of 5.5 stars, the first for WWE.


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