WWE NXT celebrated it’s 5th birthday this week, we take a look at episode 1, the original eight Superstar wannabes and their career progression to date.
The show originated as a “reality” TV show, replacing WWE’s ECW reincarnation and aired on Tuesday nights in the US. Eight wrestlers from WWE’s developmental territory FCW were each assigned a WWE “Pro” or mentor. It would be the first time Daniel Bryan, Ryback and Wade Barrett would appear on a global scale. The show itself featured a memorable bout between then World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan. Check it out below.
Wade Barrett ending up winning Season 1. All eight were called up to the main roster and given a decent spot in the main event, feuding with John Cena as the rebellious group “Nexus”.
Where are they now?
Originally debuting as the technician with zero personality, the “Yes!” man has since become one of the most over superstars on the roster. DB has picked up numerous titles including the US, Tag and WWE / World Heavyweight Championship. Currently hangs around the main event and is a fan favourite with all demographics.
Wade Barrett / Bad News Barrett
Barrett , now known as Bad News, ended up winning the show. He enjoyed an early push as the leader of the Nexus but since then has dropped to lower-upper mid-card status. He has enjoyed a couple of Intercontinental title reigns and currently holds the second-tier strap.
Skip Sheffield / Ryback
He debuted as the “Cornfed Colossus” Skip Sheffield but was taken off TV following his debut with the Nexus due to injury. He has since transformed to his current persona Ryback and had a main event run with CM Punk back in 2013.
All round jobber, was once a One Man Band, then a Three Man Band, then a One Man Band again. Then part of Slater Gator then back to the One Man Band again. His most memorable appearance on RAW recently was dressed up as Sting to frighten Triple H. His release could come after Wrestlemania this year.
Probably the worst in-ring worker of the original eight, but has managed to make a decent career for himself. He hasn’t appeared in a WWE ring since Wrestlemania 30, but he’s still employed by the company and mostly attends B.A. Star rallies and other corporate functions.
Decent high flyer who for some reason just couldn’t connect with the audience. His 450-splash was vicious, but wasn’t enough to keep him relevant. He spent the last number of months jobbing and appearing on NXT and was released in early 2015.
Didn’t stand out much in the Nexus. He had his best run as part of the Prime Time Players with Titus O’Neal but they broke up in 2013. He suffered an injury and took the best part of the last 6 months off. He returned last week on RAW and reunited with Titus O’Neal. I remain optimistic.
The first of the bunch to bite the bullet. Tarver was released shortly after the Nexus broke up in 2011. He had a menacing look but just didn’t have the “it” factor I guess.
NXT in 2015
NXT is now its own brand. It has replaced FCW as WWE’s developmental zone. It has the benefit of a full-time training facility for up-and-comers and a weekly show on the WWE Network. It’s the hottest brand in the WWE right now, showcasing some of the biggest stars from the independent scenes. It has top class wrestling, great storylines, character development and the best part: no McMahon at the healm.