WWE NXT is an American professional wrestling promotion cum brand produced by Paul “Triple H” Levesque under WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) banner. It was founded in 2010, with the intention of serving as a farm system (developmental territory) for WWE’s main roster.
But as time progressed, wrestling critics and fans became fond of it and got attached to its distinct entity. So it ended up becoming a global brand of its own that now serves as WWE’s third major “Triple Crown” brand (along with Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown). NXT’s status was upgraded last year’s September as it was moved to the cable network in the USA leaving the WWE Network. Moving forward, the brand was also involved in the 2019 Survivor Series PPV.
WWE NXT shows primarily used to be hosted from Orlando, Florida but it expanded reach, over time as the roster went on to have national and international tours and earned acclamation from the pundits for its wrestling quality and intense storylines that often brings back old-school feels.
WWE NXT started its journey back in 2010 once the ECW brand got extinct to become the new supply of talents to the mainstay league. Initially, the WWE NXT trademark faced a dispute as Scotland’s Scottish Wrestling Alliance’s (SWA) developmental division was also known by the same name. WWE made a deal to secure the NXT trademark for their new production, as SWA’s developmental branch got renamed “SWA: Source.”
It was in February 2010 that WWE debuted the WWE NXT television program which was seasonal where the program featured rookie pro-wrestlers from WWE’s Tampa, Florida-based developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). They featured in a reality-kind of a show while competing with each other to become permanent members of WWE’s main roster.
In June 2012, WWE stopped operating FCW too, and instead started running all of the developmental events and operations from the Full Sail University Arena under the WWE NXT banner. Since then it became the main supply of fresh talents and the television show was also revamped in the same month to focus on the competition and build it as a distinct brand with its own identity.
On February 27, 2014, WWE NXT hosted the first live, two-hour speck event named NXT Arrival which was also the first under heir banner for the newly-launched WWE Network platform. The second live event in May 2014 was named NXT TakeOver and the “TakeOver” name would be retained for all the future live NXT events airing on WWE Network.
In March 2015, for the first-time-ever, WWE NXT brought its live event outside of Florida by hosting a show in Columbus, Ohio. On August 22 of the same year, during the SummerSlam weekend, WWE NXT carried out its first TakeOver event outside of Full Sail University, which went down under the name of NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn at New York City’s Barclays Center.
Later that year in December, WWE NXT took TakeOver event outside of the United States by hosting the NXT TakeOver: London. Starting from 2016, NXT has been running almost 200 shows per year in and outside the United States.
On August 20, 2019, WWE announced that the NXT weekly television shows would move from WWE Network to USA Network, the current broadcaster of WWE flagship program, Monday Night Raw. The length of the shows got also expanded to two-hours, live, broadcasting on every Wednesday nights beginning on September 18, 2019.
Within two weeks of time, WWE SmackDown also moved to FOX on October 4th. NXT has since been competing with All Elite Wrestling’s (AEW) weekly show, Dynamite, on TNT that initiated the “Wednesday Night Wars” on TV. On October 18, 2019, Drake Maverick – a SmackDown talent yet the General Manager of the 205 Live brand, announced that following the 2019 WWE Draft, he went through a talent exchange agreement with NXT General Manager William Regal.
Via this, WWE NXT wrestlers (who are within the 205-pound weight limit) could also perform on 205 Live. NXT head and executive producer Paul “Triple H” Levesque then further confirmed that both 205 Live and NXT UK must now be considered branches of NXT meaning wrestlers from these brands will automatically remain under the NXT banner.
Moving on to October 31, 2019, it was announced on Crown Jewel pay-per-view airing, that NXT brand will be a part of Survivor Series where they’d be competing directly with Raw and SmackDown as part of that event’s traditional brand vs brand theme. It was officially confirmed that NXT has become WWE’s third main brand. NXT roster members then invaded subsequent episodes of Raw and SmackDown, engaging in matches and brawls with the respective roster members.
The main events of the November 1 and 4 episodes of SmackDown and Raw, respectively, witnessed the NXT Championship being defended by champion Adam Cole. He defeated Daniel Bryan on SmackDown whereas he lost via disqualification to Seth Rollins, who was the inaugural NXT Champion back in 2012.
At Survivor Series, Cole retained his WWE NXT Championship against Pete Dunne where for the first time, his title was on the line during a traditional WWE pay-per-view event. WWE NXT picked up four wins out of the seven Interbrand matches at Survivor Series including the main event and thus also reigned supreme in the brand war.
In January of 2020, Charlotte Flair won the women’s Royal Rumble match and then chose to challenge Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 36, marking that NXT Championships are also now options for the Rumble winners to choose since they are privileged with a guaranteed championship shot of their choice at the biggest pay-per-view of the year.
Controversies with Bill DeMott
Several former WWE NXT trainees previously working within WWE developmental system allegedly pointed to head trainer Bill DeMott for misconduct. The controversial event in February and March 2015 also had Judas Devlin and Brandon Traven publicizing complaints where they claimed of submitting the same allegations to WWE management about DeMott back in March 2013 when they were still employed with WWE.
Other, ex-trainees like Briley Pierce, Derrick Bateman, and indie scene wrestler Terra Calaway also made allegations in 2015, alongside Chad Baxter and Chase Donovan who did the same in 2013. They accused DeMott of forcing trainees to perform some dangerous drills which were physically assaulting and appeared to be bullying to trainees. He apparently also used homophobic and racial slurs amongst other derogatory terms and condoning sexual harassment.
WWE addressed the situation by releasing an official statement regarding the claims made both in 2013 and 2015, saying that an investigation process went done and they didn’t find any wrongdoing was found. The accused person, DeMott also denied the allegations on March 6, 2015, but he resigned from the post offered in the company “to avoid any embarrassment or damage.”
Championships and accomplishments
The current WWE NXT Champion is Keith Lee who won the title on July 1, 2020, at Winter Park, Florida by defeating Adam Cole in a Winner Takes All match at The Great American Bash event where Lee’s North American Championship was also put on the line. (The Great American Bash aired on July 8)
WWE NXT North American Championship is currently vacant. The former champion was Keith Lee who voluntarily vacated the belt as he wanted to focus on defending the prime NXT Championship and allow other wrestlers to compete for the mid-card championship.
Current WWE NXT Tag Team Championship holders are NXT UK’s Imperium (Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner). They captured the belt on May 13, 2020, 78 during the show taping at Orlando, Florida by defeating the team of Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher of NXT.
WWE NXT Women’s Championship belongs to Io Shirai who started the reign on June 7, 2020, at Winter Park, Florida by previous champion Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley in a triple threat match at NXT TakeOver: In Your House.
P.S – It should be noted that WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship and 24/7 Championship can also be defended on WWE NXT as these can be crossed through brands whereas the Cruiserweight Championship is defended within the WWE NXT, NXT UK, and 205 Live brands.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic – The BroserWeights (Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne) won the tourney on January 29, 2020, at the taping from Winter Park, Florida bu defeating Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake and Zack Gibson) in the finale.
The WWE Network started broadcasting of WWE NXT’s weekly television program around the United States from 2014 and it was intact until 2019. The regular weekly episodes aired for one-hour on tape delay, while live NXT TakeOver events on the WWE Network took place periodically.
From May 17, 2012, onwards WWE began filming WWE NXT at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, where the arena itself got renamed to “Full Sail Live” for on-air purposes. Free tickets are available for Full Sail students whereas non-students have to pay $10 to get admission on the shows.
The original format of NXT shows from 2010 to 2012, featured a seasonal series that used to get filmed in large venues within the SmackDown tapings. Those witnessed “NXT Rookies” paired with “WWE Pros”. Those pairs would eventually compete with each other until a sole winner got declared. The series obviously had scripted storylines just like WWE’s mainstay shows where wrestlers portrayed characters of heroes or villains.
The unique characters built tension among each other culminating in a series of matches or challenges. Results always remained predetermined by WWE’s writers, producing the storylines which used to air as the weekly series. This format had four different runs with the season’s winners being Wade Barrett (Season 1), Kaval (Season 2), Kaitlyn (Season 3), and Johnny Curtis (Season 4). WWE NXT’s seasonal format was dropped following the NXT Redemption event.
WWE Network Events
NXT Arrival, February 27, 2014, at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida with Bo Dallas vs. Adrian Neville for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver, May 29, 2014, with Adrian Neville (c) vs. Tyson Kidd for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way, September 11, 2014, with Adrian Neville (c) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Tyson Kidd for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: R-Evolution, December 11, 2014, with Adrian Neville (c) vs. Sami Zayn in a Title vs. Career match for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Rival, February 11, 2015, with Sami Zayn (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable, May 20, 2015, with Kevin Owens (c) vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, August 22, 2015, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with Finn Bálor (c) vs. Kevin Owens in a Ladder match for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Respect, October 7, 2015, at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida with Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks in a 30-minute Iron Man Match for the NXT Women’s Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: London, December 16, 2015, at SSE Arena in Wembley, London, England with Finn Bálor (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Dallas, April 1, 2016, at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas with Finn Bálor (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: The End, June 8, 2016, at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida with Samoa Joe (c) vs. Finn Bálor in a Steel Cage match for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II, August 20, 2016, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with Samoa Joe (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Toronto, November 19, 2016, at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: San Antonio, January 28, 2017, at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas with Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Orlando, April 1, 2017, at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida with Bobby Roode (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Chicago, May 20, 2017, at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois with The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) (c) vs. DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) in a Ladder match for the NXT Tag Team Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, August 19, 2017, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with Bobby Roode (c) vs. Drew McIntyre for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: WarGames, November 18, 2017, at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas with Sanity (Alexander Wolfe, Eric Young, and Killian Dain) vs. The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) and Roderick Strong vs. The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly) in a WarGames match, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, January 27, 2018, at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with Andrade “Cien” Almas (c) vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, April 7, 2018, at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana with Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa in an unsanctioned match, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Chicago II, June 16, 2018, at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois with Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa in a Chicago Street Fight, being the main event
NXT U.K. Championship, June 26, 2018, at Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, London, England with Pete Dunne (c) vs. Zack Gibson for the WWE the United Kingdom Championship
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4, August 18, 2018, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Johnny Gargano in a Last Man Standing Match for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: WarGames, November 17, 2018, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California with Pete Dunne, Ricochet, and War Raiders (Hanson and Rowe) vs. The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong) in a WarGames match being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Phoenix, January 26, 2019, at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona with Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Aleister Black for the NXT Championship, being the main event
Halftime Heat, February 3, 2019, at WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida with Aleister Black, Ricochet and Velveteen Dream vs. Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: New York, April 5, 2019, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with Johnny Gargano vs Adam Cole in a two-out-of-three falls match for the vacant NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: XXV, June 1, 2019, at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut with Johnny Gargano (c) vs. Adam Cole for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Toronto, August 10, 2019, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario with Adam Cole (c) vs. Johnny Gargano in a two-out-of-three falls match for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: WarGames, November 23, 2019, at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois with Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, and Kevin Owens vs. The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong) in a WarGames match, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: Portland, February 16, 2020, at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon with Adam Cole (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship, being the main event
NXT TakeOver: In Your House, June 7, 2020, at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida with Charlotte Flair (c) vs Rhea Ripley vs Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Championship, being the main event.