5 most memorable NXT main roster debuts in WWE history

The Shield became one of the greatest WWE stables of all-time.
The Shield became one of the greatest stables of all-time.

In 2010, Vince McMahon had a thought, resulting in the brainchild known as NXT. The developmental brand is set to replace the void left by ECW, which was being phased out of WWE television.

Florida Championship Wrestling, better known as FCW, was the original developmental brand in WWE. Dolph Ziggler, Big E, Cesaro, and AJ Lee were just a few of the notable names who developed their creative monikers in FCW.

In mid-2014, the black-and-gold brand took off like a rocket. NXT Arrival was the catalyst for what would become the juggernaut that we now watch weekly. Since the start of NXT airing weekly television programs, there have been a plethora of wrestlers who have gone on to become huge WWE Superstars. There have also been plenty of historical moments, thanks to the brand's top stars.

In this list, we will check out the top five most memorable NXT Superstar debuts on the main roster.

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#5. Sami Zayn accepts John Cena's United States Title Open Challenge

John Cena congratulates Sami Zayn for his valiant effort.
John Cena congratulates Sami Zayn for his valiant effort.

Before signing with WWE in early 2013, Sami Zayn cut his teeth working for several top-tier independent promotions, such as Dragon Gate, Ring of Honor, and Chikara, just to name a few.

He became extremely popular and was adored by wrestling fans when he was known as El Generico, a masked luchador known for his high-flying ability, as well as his in-ring chemistry that he had with essentially everyone he faced.

In January 2013, Zayn put the ink on paper and officially became a member of WWE's development brand NXT. The former Intercontinental Champion quickly rose to the top of the roster and eventually captured the NXT Championship at NXT Arrival: R Evolution by defeating then-champion, Adrian Neville.

In mid-2015, John Cena held a weekly open challenge for his United States Championship. On an episode of RAW, live from The Honorary Uce's hometown of Montreal, Bret Hart announced that Sami Zayn would be accepting John Cena's open challenge.

Fans erupted, giving Zayn an incredible ovation as he took on John Cena for the US Championship. Unfortunately, he fell short in his quest for gold on this particular night.

However, it would prove to be one of the most memorable moments in WWE RAW history as Sami Zayn made his official main roster debut.

#4. Kevin Owens confronts John Cena on RAW

Kevin Owens confronts Cena on WWE RAW.
Kevin Owens confronts Cena on WWE RAW.

The Kevin Owens story is very similar to that of Sami Zayn. Both of these WWE Superstars came up as stellar independent stars. Owens and Zayn are also two of the best friends behind the scenes.

The Prizefighter officially arrived when Kevin signed with WWE in the summer of 2014. Owens made his WWE in-ring debut at NXT Takeover: R Evolution, where he defeated CJ Parker. Just a few months later, Kevin went on to become the NXT Champion after defeating Sami Zayn at NXT Takeover: Rival.

KO's historic moment came on the May 18, 2015, edition of WWE RAW, when he confronted John Cena regarding his United States Championship Open Challenge.

However, Owens attacked Cena instead of challenging the champ for his title. This would be a prolific statement for what has become an iconic WWE career for Kevin Owens thus far.

#3. The Wyatt Family attacks Kane on WWE RAW

The Wyatt Family took over RAW to send a message to Kane!
The Wyatt Family took over RAW to send a message to Kane!

Once the history books are rewritten, The Wyatt Family will undoubtedly be considered one of the most exciting stables in wrestling history. The birth of this legendary stable took place in 2012, while FCW was still the developmental brand. As FCW morphed into NXT, The Wyatt Family was officially formed with Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan, and the late Luke Harper (Brodie Lee) as the original members. They were later joined by Braun Strowman.

In May of 2013, WWE began airing mysterious, cryptic vignettes that suggested something new and different was on the horizon. It was during the RAW episode that aired in July 2013 that The Wyatt Family made their main roster debut, attacking Hall of Famer Kane. The attack was the catalyst that led to the feud between Wyatt and Kane.

As of this writing, except for Braun Strowman, no other member of The Wyatt Family remains with the company. Bray Wyatt was released in mid-2021, and Rowan was let go during the 2020 COVID-19 budget cut releases. As previously stated, Luke Harper passed away unexpectedly in December 2020. At the time of his passing, Harper was working at AEW as Brodie Lee.

#2. Sasha Banks, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch kick off the Women's Revolution on RAW

July 13, 2015, will forever be remembered as one of the most historic nights in women's wrestling history. At the time, female wrestlers were still being referred to as Divas, while Nikki Bella was the Divas Champion. During a promo on RAW, Bella suggested that there was no one in the locker room worthy of challenging for her title.

Stephanie McMahon announced that it was time for a "revolution." She proceeded to introduce the world to Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks (Team B.A.D.). At the time, the three ladies were top-level NXT stars, but now they were set to take over the main roster in what would become the Women's Revolution.

It's also worth noting that at WrestleMania 32, the company dropped the term "Diva" and began using the term "Superstars" when mentioning female wrestlers. This was an intricate part of the women's revolution as it advanced the women's division and set them on a level playing field with their male counterparts.

#1. The Shield arrives at the Survivor Series PPV.


The Four Horsemen, the Fabulous Freebirds, and the nWo are just a few of what we would consider to be among the greatest wrestling factions of all time. However, this generation has created a stable that is worthy of being mentioned in that same category as well, The Shield.

At the 2012 Survivor Series pay-per-view, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins made their main roster debuts as The Shield. The trio would interfere in the main event of the evening, which was a triple threat match for the WWE Championship. CM Punk was the defending champion when he faced John Cena and Ryback. Thanks to the help of The Shield, Punk ended up retaining his title after pinning John Cena.

During the early stages of their main roster career, the trio served as muscle for CM Punk before dominating the roster en route to becoming one of the most successful stables in professional wrestling history.

Which of these debuts is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Edited by Debottam Saha
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