Lio Rush made his NXT debut in 2017. Within a short span of time, he was moved up to the main roster and paired alongside Bobby Lashley. With him by his side, Lashley went on to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship on two different occasions.
After a hiatus, Rush made his way back to the black-and-gold brand on September 18, 2019 and defeated Oney Lorcan to become the #1 contender for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. He defeated Drew Gulak to become the brand new NXT Cruiserweight Champion on the October 9, 2019 edition of NXT.