When FCW evolved into NXT, the professional wrestling landscape as we know it completely changed. With the addition of the WWE Performance Center along with a fresh new brand, NXT Superstars were poised to take the industry to the next level, and they did just that.
Many great athletes have made their way through the NXT roster, and while some have failed to make it to the main roster for one reason or another, the elite among them have made it to the highest level, which is the main roster.
NXT has been the proving ground for not only the next generation of WWE Superstars but also for those wrestling veterans who have simply needed to learn the WWE way of doing things. Today we take a look at those who have made the most of the NXT system and become top stars on the main roster.
#5 - Leader of Damage CTRL, Bayley
When Bayley made her NXT debut in 2012, she came in without an identity. Her initial match was at an NXT live event, where she wrestled as a newcomer masked luchador. Shortly after her arrival, her fun-loving fan-favorite persona was adopted, and it sent Bayley on a direct shot to the top of the NXT Women's Division.
Bayley began a feud with Emma in 2015, and it was this rivalry that solidified her as a top women's star. Bayley eventually worked her way up to the number one contender's spot for the NXT Women's Championship, and at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, she defeated Sasha Banks in an instant classic match to win the title.
At the 2016 Battleground pay-per-view, Bayley made her main roster debut when she teamed up with Sasha Banks to defeat Charlotte and Dana Brooke. About a month later, the colorful, fun-loving babyface made her RAW debut and quickly rose through the ranks to eventually become the first female to win both the WWE Triple Crown as well as the Grand Slam.
Bayley recently returned at SummerSlam after a one-year hiatus due to injury. She allied with IYO SKY and Dakota Kai, and the trio has been on a rampage, completely dominating the women's division with no signs of letting up.
#4 - Former WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens
Known as one of the best Canadian-born wrestlers of this generation, Kevin Owens was already well known before signing with WWE, having established himself as one of the top independent wrestlers in the world. Known primarily for his accomplishments with Ring of Honor, Kevin has a laundry list of accolades from multiple top indy promotions.
Owens signed with WWE in the summer of 2014 and was assigned to NXT. He changed his name from Kevin Steen to Kevin Owens, which was a tribute to his son, who is named after Owen Hart. Owens became an instant star on the NXT roster, which is why he only spent roughly one year with the yellow brand.
Kevin made his main roster debut when he attacked John Cena on the May 18, 2015 episode of RAW. Owens immediately established himself as a rival to Cena. He would go on to become one of WWE's premier superstars, where he remains today.
So far, KO has held the United States title three times, the Intercontinental Championship twice, and the Universal Championship once.
#3 - Former NXT Women's Champion Charlotte Flair
Growing up as the daughter of arguably the greatest wrestler of all time, Charlotte Flair was destined to be a WWE Superstar from birth. Charlotte signed with WWE in 2012 and made her NXT television debut when she defeated Bayley in March of 2013. She solidified herself as a top heel and would eventually win the NXT Women's Championship in 2014.
In mid-2015, the company kicked off its famous "Women's Revolution". Along with Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Paige, Charlotte became a part of wrestling history by completely changing the perception of women's wrestling as we know it.
Since her main roster debut, Charlotte has been stellar. She is a six-time Smackdown Women's Champion as well as a six-time RAW Women's Champion. It's also worth noting that Charlotte was the inaugural RAW Women's Champion, as well as the final person to hold the Divas Championship.
#2 - Former WWE Champion Bray Wyatt
Throughout the storied history of WWE, there has never been a superstar quite like Bray Wyatt. He is undoubtedly one of the most unique and creative minds the industry has ever known.
Bray descends from wrestling royalty, with his father being Mike Rotunda (I.R.S.) and his grandfather the Windham/Rotunda Family patriarch Blackjack Mulligan. Bray is another performer with rich wrestling blood flowing through his veins.
When Bray first began his WWE career, he initially wrestled as Alex Rotunda, and he would undergo numerous character changes throughout his career until he was finally repackaged as Bray Wyatt in 2012.
Bray and The Wyatt Family would go on to become one of the most dominant factions of all time, culminating in a historic feud with The Shield.
Bray Wyatt was released in July 2021 after a dozen years with the company. However, he recently returned under the new Triple H regime and is currently embarking on a very fascinating story of good vs. evil.
WWE continues to leave fans on the edge of their seats every week as they roll out new revelations about the Bray Wyatt saga.
#1 - Sierra...Hotel...India...Echo...Lima...Delta: The SHIELD
As the history books continue to be written, The SHIELD will be mentioned every time anyone discusses the greatest WWE stables of all time. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns made their epic main roster debuts in grand fashion at the 2012 Survivor Series pay-per-view.
The trio had a surprising run-in during the main event triple-threat match featuring CM Punk defending his WWE Championship against Ryback and John Cena. The SHIELD aligned themselves with Punk, enabling the Second City Saint to pick up the win and retain his title.
During the early stages of their main roster run, The SHIELD participated in numerous six-man tag team bouts, which resulted in a tremendous winning streak stretching from December of 2012 all the way to May of 2013.
They would also capitalize on a WrestleMania moment by defeating the team of Big Show, Sheamus and Randy Orton at WrestleMania 29. However, their most prominent rivalry was with The Wyatt Family.
Not only did The SHIELD enjoy a massive amount of success collectively, but they have also had incredible runs as singles competitors. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns have all been multiple-time champions, as well as all three being Triple Crown and Grand Slam Champions.
Poll : Which stable was better?
The Wyatt Family