NXT (WWE brand)

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NXT
WWE NXT (2021) Logo.svg
Logo of the brand as of 2021
Product typeProfessional wrestling
Sports entertainment
OwnerWWE
Produced byVince McMahon
Paul "Triple H" Levesque
Shawn Michaels
CountryUnited States
IntroducedFebruary 23, 2010[1]
Related brandsRaw
SmackDown
NXT UK
205 Live
ECW
Tagline8 NXT Rookies. 8 WWE Pros. 1 Dream.
(2010–2012)[2]
We Are NXT.
(2015–present)[3]

NXT (also promoted as NXT 2.0) is a brand of the American professional wrestling promotion WWE that was introduced on February 23, 2010. Brands are divisions of WWE's roster where wrestlers are assigned to perform on a weekly basis when a brand extension is in effect. Wrestlers assigned to NXT primarily appear on the brand's weekly television program, NXT, also referred to as NXT 2.0. The brand serves as a developmental territory for WWE's two main brands, Raw and SmackDown, which are referred to as the main roster. Due to its status as the company's developmental territory, NXT operates regardless if there is a brand extension in effect or not.

In its original incarnation, NXT was a reality-based television show in which rookies competed to become a star in WWE. In 2012, NXT was relaunched as a separate brand and replaced the now-defunct Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) as WWE's developmental territory. Primarily holding its events in the Orlando, Florida area since its relaunch, the brand would be expanded upon over time, having embarked on national and international tours. Wrestling critics and fans came to view NXT as its own distinct entity during this period, with the brand's shows being praised for their high quality matches [4][5] and storylines.[6][7]

WWE would officially promote NXT as its third main brand in September 2019, when its eponymous weekly series was expanded to a two-hour format and moved to USA Network. The brand faced direct Nielsen ratings competition from All Elite Wrestling's flagship show, Dynamite, during this period as part of the "Wednesday Night Wars". In April 2021, NXT's television series moved to Tuesday nights, and the brand would relaunch under the "NXT 2.0" banner later that September, reinstituting its original function as a developmental territory.[8]

In addition to NXT's main television program, the brand's wrestlers also appear on the supplementary show, Level Up. From 2014 to 2021, the brand held its major events under the NXT TakeOver series, but this event series was discontinued with the rebranding to NXT 2.0. WWE also operates a subsidiary brand under NXT called NXT UK, which is based in and produced for wrestlers in the United Kingdom. Another subsidiary brand, 205 Live, existed under NXT from 2019 until 205 Live was dissolved in 2022.

History[edit]

Beginning[edit]

NXT was formed in 2010, following the dissolution of the ECW brand. Initially, the NXT trademark was disputed between WWE and Scotland's Scottish Wrestling Alliance (SWA), whose developmental division was also called NXT.[9] WWE worked with SWA to secure the NXT trademark for their new series with SWA's developmental branch being renamed "SWA: Source."[10] In February 2010, WWE debuted the NXT television program, the program featured rookies from WWE's Tampa, Florida-based developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) competing to become members of WWE's main roster.

As a developmental territory[edit]

In June 2012, WWE ceased operating FCW, and instead started running all of its developmental events and operations at Full Sail University under the NXT banner.[11] The television show would also be revamped the same month to focus exclusively on developmental talent.

WWE chairman Vince McMahon (left) with son-in-law and NXT founder/executive director Paul "Triple H" Levesque

On February 27, 2014, NXT held a live, two-hour event, NXT Arrival, serving as the first live wrestling event for the newly launched WWE Network service.[12][13] After the second live event in May 2014, NXT TakeOver, the "TakeOver" name would be used for future live NXT events airing on WWE Network. In March 2015, NXT promoted its first live event outside of Florida with an event in Columbus, Ohio.[14] On August 22, 2015, NXT held its first TakeOver event outside of Full Sail University, with NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn at New York City's Barclays Center—acting as a support event for SummerSlam. In December of the same year, NXT held its first TakeOver event outside of the United States with NXT TakeOver: London. By 2016, NXT was running approximately 200 shows per year between the United States and overseas.[15]

Bill DeMott controversy[edit]

In late February and March 2015, several former NXT trainees previously working within WWE developmental system alleged misconduct by head trainer Bill DeMott, with Judas Devlin and Brandon Traven publicizing complaints which they claimed they had submitted to WWE management about DeMott back in March 2013 when they were still employed with WWE.[16][17] Meanwhile, other ex trainees like Briley Pierce, Derrick Bateman and independent wrestler Terra Calaway also made allegations in 2015,[16][17][18][19] while previous allegations made in 2013 by Chad Baxter and Chase Donovan were also noted.[20] They accused DeMott of making trainees perform dangerous drills,[16] physically assaulting and bullying trainees,[16][17] using homophobic and racial slurs amongst other derogatory terms[17][20] and condoning sexual harassment.[18] WWE released statements regarding some of the claims that came to light in 2013 and 2015, saying that investigations were done and no wrongdoing was found.[16][20] On March 6, 2015, DeMott denied the allegations, but resigned from WWE.[18]

The Wednesday Night Wars[edit]

On August 20, 2019, it was announced that the NXT television series would move to USA Network—the current broadcaster of WWE's flagship Monday Night Raw—and expand into a two-hour, live broadcast on Wednesday nights beginning September 18, 2019. The timing of the premiere coincided with SmackDown's move to FOX in October. As a result of the move, the show would compete with All Elite Wrestling (AEW)'s weekly show, Dynamite, on TNT; marking the beginning of the "Wednesday Night Wars".[21]

On October 18, 2019, it was announced by Drake Maverick that NXT and the 205 Live brand and NXT would began a talent exchange.[22][23] In an interview with VultureHound Magazine on September 12, executive producer Paul "Triple H" Levesque would confirm that both the 205 Live and NXT UK brands would essentially be subsidiaries to NXT, with their respective talents and personnel falling under the NXT banner.[24]

On October 31, 2019, it was announced that NXT would take part in that year's Survivor Series, competing directly against Raw and SmackDown.[25] In 2020, after winning that year's women's Royal Rumble match, Charlotte Flair chose to challenge Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women's Championship at WrestleMania 36, establishing that NXT Championships are now also options for Rumble winners to choose as they are guaranteed a championship match of their choice at WrestleMania. Despite the brand's newly established status within WWE [26][27] some independent journalists still referred to NXT as a developmental, with Raw and SmackDown viewed as WWE's "main roster."[28][29] WWE wrestler Matt Riddle called NXT a "small ocean", while "when you get to the main roster you are in the ocean".[30]

"NXT 2.0"[edit]

The Wednesday Night Wars came to an end in April 2021 when NXT was moved to Tuesday nights.[31] After 12 NXT wrestlers were released from their contracts that August, Dave Scherer and Mike Johnson of Pro Wrestling Insider reported there had been internal talks of major changes to the brand, such as: "a new logo, new lighting, a focus on younger talents and a different format to the TV shows."[32] Dave Meltzer reported that NXT would likely go back to its developmental roots, with "talent that are [sic] younger, bigger and that could someday main event at WrestleMania."[33] WWE President Nick Khan subsequently confirmed that NXT would undergo a "complete revamp" overseen by Levesque.[34] However, Levesque was sidelined throughout the re-branding due to suffering a "cardiac event" in September.[35]

Dubbed "NXT 2.0", the revamp began on the September 14 episode of NXT.[36] WWE NXT and 205 Live would emanate from a fully redesigned venue at the WWE Performance Center to coincide with the revamp, dropping the "Capitol Wrestling Center" name.[37] The NXT TakeOver series would also be discontinued, with that year's WarGames event being the brand's first PPV to not be held under the "TakeOver" name.[38][39][40] Since its revamp, many of the NXT wrestlers were released en masse in November 2021 due to budget cuts and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that involved administrative staff, plant and wrestlers.[41][42] This fractured further in January 2022, several backstage workers were released, most of them known for their work with Levesque, including NXT General Manager William Regal and writer Ryan Katz.[43] On February 15, PWInsider reported that WWE was ceasing the production of 205 Live episodes, replacing the series with a new supplementary show for NXT called Level Up, which premiered on Peacock and the WWE Network on February 18.[44]

Starting in 2022, talents from NXT begin to appear on Monday Night Raw similar to the ECW talent exchange in 2007. Meltzer reported that a Raw-NXT crossover between their talents as a way to help boost NXT 2.0 ratings as both programs air on the USA Network.[45]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Current championships[edit]

NXT
Championship Current champion(s) Reign Date won Days
held
Location Notes Ref.
NXT Championship N/A Bron Breakker 2 April 4, 2022 51 Dallas, Texas Defeated previous champion Dolph Ziggler on Raw.
NXT North American Championship Trevor Lee 2013.jpg Cameron Grimes 1 April 2, 2022 53 Dallas, TX Defeated previous champion Carmelo Hayes, Santos Escobar, Solo Sikoa and Grayson Waller in a five-way ladder match at NXT Stand & Deliver. [46]
NXT Tag Team Championship N/A Pretty Deadly
(Elton Prince and Kit Wilson)
N/A April 12, 2022 N/A N/A Won a Gauntlet match involving Legado Del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza), The Creed Brothers (Brutus Creed and Julius Creed), Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen, and Grayson Waller and Sanga for the vacant titles. N/A
NXT Women's Championship Mandy Rose WrestleMania 32 Axxess.jpg Mandy Rose 1 October 26, 2021 211 Orlando, Florida Defeated Raquel González in a Chucky's choice Trick or Street Fight match at Halloween Havoc. [47]
NXT Women's Tag Team Championship Priscilla Kelly at the Summit 2019 (cropped).jpg
Jacy Jayne NXT 2022.jpg
Toxic Attraction
(Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne)
2 April 5, 2022 50 Dallas, Texas Defeated Raquel González and Dakota Kai on NXT 2.0.
The WWE 24/7 Championship can also be defended on NXT 2.0 as it is shared among the brands.[48][49]

Previous championships[edit]

Championship Time on brand
NXT Cruiserweight Championship October 9, 2019 — January 4, 2022
Million Dollar Championship June 13, 2021 — August 23, 2021

Other accomplishment(s)[edit]

Championship Latest winner(s) Date won Location Notes
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic The Creed Brothers
(Julius Creed and Brutus Creed)
February 15, 2022 Orlando, Florida Defeated MSK (Nash Carter and Wes Lee) in the tournament final at Vengeance Day to win
Women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Dakota Kai and Raquel González February 14, 2021 Orlando, Florida Defeated Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart in the tournament final at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day to win

Television show[edit]

The WWE Network was the main broadcaster of NXT's eponymous television program in the United States from 2014 to 2019. Regular episodes ran for one-hour and aired on tape delay, while live NXT TakeOver events were produced periodically. Beginning on May 17, 2012, WWE began filming NXT at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, with the venue being billed on air as "Full Sail Live".[50]

In its original format from 2010 to 2012, the series was a seasonally-broadcast competition series that was filmed in large venues during the SmackDown tapings. The series saw "NXT Rookies" paired with "WWE Pros", with the pairs competing in challenges until one sole winner remained. As with WWE's main programming, the series followed scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters that built tension and culminated in a series of matches or challenges. Results were predetermined by WWE's writers, while storylines were produced on the weekly series.[51][52] Over the course of its five-season run, the winners of each season were Wade Barrett (Season 1), Kaval (Season 2), Kaitlyn (Season 3) and Johnny Curtis (Season 4). After NXT Redemption, the show's seasonal format was dropped.

Pay-per-view and WWE Network events[edit]

Event Date Venue Location Main event Ref.
Arrival February 27, 2014 Full Sail University Winter Park, Florida Bo Dallas (c) vs. Adrian Neville for the NXT Championship [53]
TakeOver May 29, 2014 Adrian Neville (c) vs. Tyson Kidd for the NXT Championship [54]
TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way September 11, 2014 Adrian Neville (c) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Tyson Kidd for the NXT Championship [55]
TakeOver: R Evolution December 11, 2014 Adrian Neville (c) vs. Sami Zayn in a Title vs. Career match for the NXT Championship [56]
TakeOver: Rival February 11, 2015 Sami Zayn (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship [57]
TakeOver: Unstoppable May 20, 2015 Kevin Owens (c) vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship [58]
TakeOver: Brooklyn August 22, 2015 Barclays Center Brooklyn, New York Finn Bálor (c) vs. Kevin Owens in a Ladder match for the NXT Championship [59]
TakeOver: Respect October 7, 2015 Full Sail University Winter Park, Florida Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks in a 30-minute Iron Man match for the NXT Women's Championship [60]
TakeOver: London December 16, 2015 SSE Arena Wembley, London, England Finn Bálor (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship [61]
TakeOver: Dallas April 1, 2016 Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, Texas Finn Bálor (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship [62]
TakeOver: The End June 8, 2016 Full Sail University Winter Park, Florida Samoa Joe (c) vs. Finn Bálor in a Steel Cage match for the NXT Championship [63]
TakeOver: Brooklyn II August 20, 2016 Barclays Center Brooklyn, New York Samoa Joe (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Championship [64]
TakeOver: Toronto November 19, 2016 Air Canada Centre Toronto, Ontario, Canada Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship [65]
TakeOver: San Antonio January 28, 2017 Freeman Coliseum San Antonio, Texas Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship [66]
TakeOver: Orlando April 1, 2017 Amway Center Orlando, Florida Bobby Roode (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Championship [67][68]
TakeOver: Chicago May 20, 2017 Allstate Arena Rosemont, Illinois 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 [69]
TakeOver: Brooklyn III August 19, 2017 Barclays Center Brooklyn, New York Bobby Roode (c) vs. Drew McIntyre for the NXT Championship [64][70]
TakeOver: WarGames November 18, 2017 Toyota Center Houston, Texas 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 [71][72]
TakeOver: Philadelphia January 27, 2018 Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Andrade "Cien" Almas (c) vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT Championship [73][74][75]
TakeOver: New Orleans April 7, 2018 Smoothie King Center New Orleans, Louisiana Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa in an unsanctioned match [76][77]
TakeOver: Chicago II June 16, 2018 Allstate Arena Rosemont, Illinois Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa in a Chicago Street Fight [78][79]
U.K. Championship June 26, 2018 Royal Albert Hall Kensington, London, England Pete Dunne (c) vs. Zack Gibson for the WWE United Kingdom Championship [80]
TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 August 18, 2018 Barclays Center Brooklyn, New York Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Johnny Gargano in a Last Man Standing match for the NXT Championship [81][82]
TakeOver: WarGames November 17, 2018 Staples Center Los Angeles, California 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 [83][84][85]
TakeOver: Phoenix January 26, 2019 Talking Stick Resort Arena Phoenix, Arizona Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Aleister Black for the NXT Championship [86][87]
Halftime Heat February 3, 2019 WWE Performance Center Orlando, Florida Aleister Black, Ricochet and Velveteen Dream vs. Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa [88]
TakeOver: New York April 5, 2019 Barclays Center Brooklyn, New York Johnny Gargano vs Adam Cole in a two-out-of-three falls match for the vacant NXT Championship [89]
TakeOver: XXV June 1, 2019 Webster Bank Arena Bridgeport, Connecticut Johnny Gargano (c) vs. Adam Cole for the NXT Championship [90]
TakeOver: Toronto August 10, 2019 Scotiabank Arena Toronto, Ontario Adam Cole (c) vs. Johnny Gargano in a two-out-of-three falls match for the NXT Championship [91]
TakeOver: WarGames November 23, 2019 Allstate Arena Rosemont, Illinois 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 [92][93]
TakeOver: Portland February 16, 2020 Moda Center Portland, Oregon Adam Cole (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship [94]
TakeOver: In Your House June 7, 2020 Full Sail University Winter Park, Florida Charlotte Flair (c) vs Rhea Ripley vs Io Shirai for the NXT Women's Championship [95]
TakeOver XXX August 22, 2020 Keith Lee (c) vs. Karrion Kross for the NXT Championship [96]
TakeOver 31 October 4, 2020 Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center Orlando, Florida Finn Bálor (c) vs. Kyle O'Reilly for the NXT Championship [97]
TakeOver: WarGames December 6, 2020 The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, Roderick Strong, and Bobby Fish) vs. Team McAfee (Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, Danny Burch, and Oney Lorcan) in a WarGames match [98]
TakeOver: Vengeance Day February 14, 2021 Finn Bálor (c) vs. Pete Dunne for the NXT Championship [99]
TakeOver: Stand & Deliver April 7, 2021 Io Shirai (c) vs. Raquel González for the NXT Women's Championship [100]
April 8, 2021 Kyle O'Reilly vs. Adam Cole in an unsanctioned match
TakeOver: In Your House June 13, 2021 Karrion Kross (c) vs. Kyle O'Reilly vs. Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Pete Dunne in a Fatal 5-Way match for the NXT Championship [101]
TakeOver 36 August 22, 2021 Karrion Kross (c) vs. Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship [102][103]
WarGames December 5, 2021 WWE Performance Center Orlando, Florida Team 2.0 (Bron Breakker, Grayson Waller, Tony D'Angelo, and Carmelo Hayes) vs. Team Black & Gold (Johnny Gargano, LA Knight, Pete Dunne, and Tommaso Ciampa) in a WarGames match [104]
Stand & Deliver April 2, 2022 American Airlines Center Dallas, Texas Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Bron Breakker for the NXT Championship

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