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‘Is NXT a breeding ground for midcarders?’ A multiple-choice question

What even is NXT? That’s the subject of today’s test!

Seth Rollins NXT Championship

Here’s your question:

Is NXT...

A) the place where mid-carders can go to enjoy main-event pushes?


B) the place where main-event talent gets to flourish before being wasted on Raw or SmackDown?

Which is more accurate?

Now before you answer, let’s look at some absolutely unbiased and purely objective facts not opinions, okay?

Let’s start with another question: Who are the big NXT names that have achieved a similar level of success on the main roster?

To start with, we have to set aside the female alumni of NXT (such as the Four Horsewomen, Alexa Bliss and Asuka); they are benefiting from a corporate-driven social media-focused hashtag-obsessed marketing strategy spearheaded by literal god of all things women, Stephanie McMahon.

That’s not to take away the immense talents of those NXT ladies; it’s just that they have been set apart from the rest and deemed from on high an important segment of the show to push each week. The men, on the other hand, are the usual part of the show and get no special treatment.

So, just looking at the men, who were the top superstars in NXT that went on to be top superstars in WWE? There are a handful of names that may come to mind...

Bryan Wyatt never won the NXT title but he was basically the show’s Undertaker while there. He was a special attraction gimmick character that was very over. And even though he held the WWE Championship, I don’t think anyone would look at Bray Wyatt and say he’s at the same level on Monday Nights that he was in NXT.

Finn Balor was a tremendously popular NXT babyface main-eventer and Champion. After an injury-shortened Title win, he’s been an upper-midcarder on the main-roster, however.

Kevin Owens was a tremendously popular NXT heel main-eventer and Champion. He had a “keep the belt warm for me” Universal Title run but mostly has been used as an upper-midcarder, despite maintaining a high level of popularity while lesser acts like Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal clogged up the top of the leaderboards.

Sami Zayn was basically the face of the NXT brand, like the Tommy Dreamer of the show, but on the main-roster he’s been a notch below Owens, Balor and Wyatt.

Bobby Roode was NXT Champion and has the exact perfect “look” you want in a WWE main-eventer. I mean he basically is the love child of Ric Flair and Triple H, and I say that with every possible 2004-era WWE joke you can think of in my head. And yet, on the main-roster he’s floundering.

Let’s not even talk about Bo Dallas.

It seems to me like the only legit NXT main-event carry-over success story is Seth Rollins.

Guys like Elias Sampson and Big E Langston don’t really count as they went to the main-roster and either found success there that wasn’t in NXT (Elias) or transitioned to a non-singles role where that kind of success is not in the same playing field (Big E). Also in that category are guys like Braun Strowman or Tyler Breeze, who had gimmick and/or character changes. Ditto to Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, whose time in Florida was spent mostly in FCW than in NXT.

In terms of the number of NXT superstars who had big success on Monday Night, there’s a very small list of guys who had anything close to that success on the main-roster and arguably only one to equal or surpass it.

With all that said, let’s return to our opening question: How are we supposed to view the yellow brand?

And despite the options at the top of the article, if we’re being precise I see one of three ways in which it could be regarded:

A) It is a place where main-show midcarders can go and be the top stars...But that’s damning with faint praise isn’t it?

B) It is a place where the writing and storytelling is so superior to the main-shows that even main-show midcarders can succeed as main-eventers...I suppose that would be the “glass half-full” look at it.

C) It is a place where the writing and storytelling is so superior to the main-shows that the guys who jump to Monday and Tuesday nights SHOULD be top stars—because they proved they could be on NXT—but they aren’t top stars because no one knows how to run a railroad anymore up in Stamford See Tee.

Which option do you choose?


I feel like I should mention Drew McIntyre here, a guy who was a well-established WWE main roster star who went to NXT after a run on the independents and won the top title like Hulk Hogan in 1994 WCW. I don’t know if that strengthens one option or the other, especially since Drew kind of flopped as NXT Champ, but I thought it needed to be mentioned.

Let us know how you view NXT—is it a breeding ground for midcarders, or a playground for would-be/should-be main-eventers?—in the comments below!

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