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Alexa Bliss and Baron Corbin were part of the WWE NXT system

5 WWE Superstars who had heat with other wrestlers in developmental

The dreaded term “backstage heat” is used in WWE when a Superstar does something to upset their colleagues or somebody in management.


For example, it was reported by Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp in June 2020 that Rob Gronkowski had backstage heat after his reluctance to jump off a platform at WrestleMania 36 caused a two-hour filming delay.

The former 24/7 Champion returned to the NFL after his short-lived WWE run, so we may never know what was planned for the next stage of his WWE career.

Unlike Gronkowski, many Superstars remain with WWE after garnering backstage heat and, as we’re about to discuss, they have gone on to have mixed experiences after inadvertently developing a bad reputation for themselves early on in their careers.

In this article, let’s take a look at five WWE Superstars who had heat with other wrestlers in developmental.

#5 Baron Corbin had heat before he was on WWE’s main roster


Before Baron Corbin became one of the top bad guys on WWE RAW and WWE SmackDown, he had to learn how to wrestle in the Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) territory.

Although the 2019 King of the Ring winner grew up as a WWE fan, he did not have any experience in the pro wrestling/sports entertainment business prior to joining FCW. This led to Corbin (real name Thomas Pestock) being given the nickname “Football Tom” by his colleagues.

Various stories about Corbin’s backstage heat in developmental have been told on Corey Graves’ After The Bell podcast, including the time he turned up to a promo class with $20,000 in cash following rumors that he had lots of money.

Graves, who used to share a car with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, was one of the first people to realize that Corbin was not as bad as WWE’s next generation of Superstars thought.

“I remember going, ‘Guys, I think Football Tom… he might not be so bad.’ ‘Wait, what are you talking about?’ Rollins going, ‘What, no way?’ ‘No, he was asking about how we survived in the indies,’ and that was kind of all any of us wanted [Corbin to show he was serious].”

Roman Reigns admitted in another interview on the podcast that he would not have believed anyone if they told him in FCW that he and “Football Tom” would main-event WWE shows one day.

“He rubbed us a certain way, and when push came to shove and it was time for him to get in the ring, they were like, ‘Dude, you’re going to get fired if you don’t get in the ring.’ He picked it up, he’s a big guy, he’s got good timing... I’ll give him that.”

Fortunately for Corbin, he was able to win over WWE’s rising Superstars and he has gone on to establish himself as a key member of WWE’s main roster since leaving NXT in 2016.


#4 Alexa Bliss had heat after joining WWE NXT

In 2013, Alexa Bliss signed a WWE developmental deal after sending in an audition tape on the company’s website.

Like Baron Corbin, Bliss watched wrestling when she was a child but she had never wrestled before, which meant she had to learn everything from scratch alongside some WWE newcomers who had previously wrestled on the independent scene.

Bliss said on Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast in 2017 that she found it difficult to fit in because of her background as a cheerleader and fitness model.

“This whole business is based on respect and because I wasn’t wrestling in the indies beforehand, it was very hard to be accepted. It was very, very hard because it’s a whole culture here, you know what I mean?”

She added that other women in WWE’s developmental system sometimes put her down by referring to her as a fitness model, as opposed to an up-and-coming wrestler.

Fellow WWE NXT trainees Shaul Guerrero and Charlotte Flair helped Bliss during that time and recognized that she was more than just a model.

“I became really close with Shaul in NXT and she always had my back for everything and she would help me as much as she could. Charlotte helped me as much as she could and they became my really good friends from that.”

Bliss left NXT in 2016 and became one of the most popular female Superstars of her generation after joining WWE’s main roster.

#3 Sheamus had heat after swapping FCW for WWE

In 2009, Sheamus made an incredible start to life on WWE’s main roster when he won the WWE Championship from John Cena just two months after making his debut on RAW.


Speaking on Corey Graves’ After The Bell podcast in 2020, the Irishman explained how he continued his development in FCW after he began working for the ECW brand. Then, despite moving to the RAW roster, he still put in extra work by training in FCW.

During this time, Sheamus felt as though he was “blacklisted” by his FCW and WWE colleagues because they resented the fact that he had immediately been booked as one of WWE’s top Superstars.

He also worked out a couple of times with Triple H during a WWE tour of Australia, which led people to believe that he was only in the position he was in due to his friendship with one of WWE’s top decision-makers.

“I got blasted by everybody who was in contact with dirt sheets saying I was up Triple H's a** and I was a kiss a**. No matter what I did in the first couple years achievement-wise, it was blacklisted, and they said I only got that because he is up Triple H’s a**.” [H/T Wrestling News Co]

Sheamus said his relationship with Triple H was no different to how the NXT founder helps current NXT Superstars, but it caused him heat throughout the early years of his WWE career.

#2 Lio Rush had heat in WWE NXT

Social media has helped various WWE Superstars progress in their careers, but sharing posts online has not always gone according to plan.

In October 2017, WWE released Emma from her contract just days after she faced main-roster newcomer Asuka in matches at TLC and on RAW.

At the time, Lio Rush had only been a member of the NXT roster for two months. Up until that point, his only match on WWE television saw him lose in quick fashion against The Velveteen Dream on an episode of NXT.

Despite his rookie status in WWE, Rush took the bold approach of mocking Emma after her departure, writing on Twitter, “I guess these are the things that happen when you’re not TRULY ready for @WWEAsuka.”


This caused a huge amount of heat for Rush, who apologized later that day in a since-deleted Twitter post.

WWE Superstar Bray Wyatt even chimed in, writing in another since-deleted tweet, “You aint gonna make it here with the wolves, kid.”


Despite the outrage on social media, Rush kept his job in WWE NXT and he joined WWE’s main roster in September 2018 as Bobby Lashley’s hype man.


#1 Enzo Amore had heat in WWE NXT

Followers of the WWE product over the last few years will know that Enzo Amore seemed to have heat throughout his entire five-and-a-half-year run with the company.

Prior to becoming a member of the WWE RAW and WWE SmackDown rosters in 2016, the former Cruiserweight Champion had so much heat in NXT that he once received his release for breaking wind while Baron Corbin was speaking in promo class.

The mastermind behind the NXT system, Triple H, made it clear where he stands on rumors of Amore’s WWE return when he told talkSPORT’s Alex McCarthy in September 2019 that he had “zero interest” in re-signing him.

"Congratulations to Enzo, I’m sure spreading rumors has worked well for him. I just don’t want any part of it."

For what it’s worth, Amore denied that he started the rumors about returning to NXT. In fact, he even told Hannibal TV in November 2019 that he has had confirmation that the initial rumor came from somebody within WWE.

Another example of Amore having heat in developmental emerged in 2017 when Simon Gotch called his former WWE NXT colleague “a f***ing abortion” who “believes his own bulls***”.

Edited by
Amar Anand
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