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7 Greatest Recruits from Tough Enough and old NXT

Edan Nissen
Top 5 / Top 10
5.83K   //    Timeless

Tough Enough was one of the WWE's two reality programs to find talent.

One of the biggest knocks on the WWE today is the lack of internal talent development. The current Smackdown main event feud wouldn't look out-of-place in TNA Impact's main event program from 2009, and the WWE Championship fight at this years Wrestlemania feud was a rematch from New Japan Pro Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 10.

This issue is further entrenched when looking at the talents coming up from the WWE's developmental program, NXT. Stars like Ricochet, EC3, Tomasso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano and Undisputed Era made their names wrestling in big promotions like Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, and various other Independent promotions. All of them had made names before signing to the WWE, or back to the WWE in some cases.

At the same time, WWE's home-grown talent hasn't always gone as planned. The WWE continues to push Roman Reigns; to the dismay of a large section of the WWE universe. Dolph Ziggler has fizzled and failed to become the main event star that he showed the promise of becoming, along with a whole host of "The Next Big Thing" that failed to live up to the hype.

As a creative way of discovering new talent, and trying to take advantage of the boom in reality shows, the WWE developed Tough Enough and WWE's NXT as a way of scouting for fresh talent. While this wasn't always the most successful option, this list discovers the most successful Superstars to come out of either the Tough Enough or NXT programs. Please note, this list will not include Daniel Bryan, who appeared on NXT's first season, because he had already made a name for himself at Ring of Honour, New Japan, and other Independent promotions before joining the show.

#7 Fandango - NXT Season 4

Fandango, wrestling under the name Johnny Curtis, took part in WWE NXTs fourth and final season

Fandango was first introduced to the WWE universe on NXT's fourth and final season, winning the competition ahead of Derrick Bateman (aka EC3), Brodus Clay, Byron Saxton, and Conor O'Brian (Konnor from the Ascension). Wrestling under his real name of Johnny Curtis, and working under R-Truth, Fandango is the only winner who is still under contract with the WWE.

Originally saddled on the main roster with an obnoxious dancer gimmick, Fandango won his Wrestlemania debut against Chris Jericho. However, Fandango has reached new heights with his tag team partner, Tyler Breeze. While it was anyone's guess how far the fashion police gimmick would go, the Fashion Files clips quickly became one of the best parts of Smackdown on a regular basis. While Deputy Dango and Tyler never picked up many wins or titles, they routinely entertained the crowds with their in-ring antics and backstage segments.

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Edan Nissen
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. Moved to the Middle East. Writes about Cricket and Pro-Wrestling. He has previously written for WhatCulture and The Roar. Now works as a cricket analyst and is currently training to be a professional wrestler.
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