Meet WWE’s Next Generation

NXT is about to bring some new wrestlers into the fold

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Change is inevitable.


In order for anything to evolve, it needs to move beyond its current state by introducing an evolutionary element. Professional wrestling seemingly changes on a weekly basis; championships change hands, thriving independent wrestlers find themselves in major companies, story lines take a sharp turn and cards that are subject to change…well, change.  


NXT, WWE’s developmental system and third brand of sports entertainment, tends to be affected the most by WWE’s impactful changes. Fans are used to seeing their beloved NXT superstars make the big move to the main roster once a major PPV comes to a close. That trend is starting to change a bit, however. The sweeping changes the McMahon family recently alluded to on Raw can now be seen in the way the company handles NXT talent promotions.

EC3, Lacey Evans, Nikki Cross, Heavy Machinery and Lars Sullivan were all marked for main roster superstardom once the year kicked off. What made their main roster introductions so different is the way they were delivered to the viewing audience and the time period in which their debuts took place. Every one of those individuals (except for the mysteriously MIA Sullivan) popped up during backstage vignettes and random matches. And all of this took place before one of WWE’s major PPVs even took place! Fast-forward to a month later and four more NXT stars began their ascent as WWE’s latest main roster competitors: Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black and Ricochet.

What makes their main roster call-up so surprising is the fact that they’re four of the most prominent members of the NXT roster. At the time of this writing, Ciampa still has his needy hands firmly grasped around the NXT Championship. All four of these men are the cream of the crop in NXT. But anyone who’s followed NXT since its WWE Network resurgence knows one thing all too well: Their favorites can’t stay down in Florida forever. But when NXT’s best and brightest move on to Raw or SmackDown Live, there’s always a fresh batch of talent ready to fill their spots and keep the ball rolling.

In this instance, NXT fans have nothing to worry about. Once Ciampa, Gargano, Black and Ricochet make the full transition to Monday or Tuesday nights, Wednesday nights on the WWE Network will still be worth watching. Just take a look at the list of names presented to you: Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream. These singles superstars have already risen to the occasion several times and are more than ready to put the NXT brand on their back. The high entertainment value of your usual NXT TakeOver special won’t diminish in the slightest. With those five top talents now at the helm of NXT, those special Saturday-night super cards will still deliver fantastic in-ring action. Consider the amazing sprint of a match between Lee and Dijakovic that went down on the February 27 edition of NXT. Moments like that one are proof of the good state that NXT will be left in for the months to come.

Besides the current crop of developmental wrestlers that we praise to the high heavens, a slew of incoming athletes will further bolster NXT’s roster. WWE’s latest collection of Performance Center recruits instills a sense of confidence in those who wish for NXT’s continued success. ACH, Trevor Lee, Samuel Shaw, Rachael Ellering, Karen Q, Jeffrey Parker & Matt Lee (collectively known as “3.0”) and Jonah Rock stand out from the pack as the faces wrestling fans recognize the most. Their work has been on full display in popular wrestling indies and international promotions. And judging by the quality of their work, it’s safe to say they’ll fit right in with the rest of NXT’s crop of future superstars.

Fans of NXT have nothing to fear. The singles, tag team and women’s divisions are healthy and only getting stronger. Plus, any longtime fan who’s stuck with NXT this long knows how quickly they can rebound once the biggest stars move on to bigger things. The latest transitional period for WWE’s Florida-based entity just might be the best one yet. Ciampa, Gargano, Black and Ricochet will be sorely missed on Wednesday nights. But I can’t wait to see them show the world just how amazing they are on a future WWE PPV. And I’m just as excited to see NXT’s top brass prove their worth on future NXT TakeOver specials.

The future is now and well protected down in Florida.

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