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WWE Superstars who were instrumental in getting NXT to where it is today

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
16 Sep 2019, 12:00 IST

NXT starts on the USA Network September 18th
NXT starts on the USA Network September 18th

There have been hundreds and hundreds of wrestlers who have passed through the doors at Full Sail University.

Some stuck around for a long time and became members of the main roster while others made it to NXT TV but moved on. Some never even made it to TV, instead getting released from the company before making an impact.

But the fact still remains that there are several names that helped to build NXT to what it is today. Many Superstars like Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor and the Four Horsewomen are still extremely important members of the main roster in their own ways. They first started in NXT and helped the Yellow and Black brand out at various stages.

They weren't, however, the only Superstars who were integral to getting NXT to the point where it will be debuting on the USA Network. Many Superstars like Elias, Cesaro and Bray Wyatt all entered the Yellow brand and still became vital parts of the main roster without winning gold in NXT.

The impact some Superstars had on the brand will always remain even if they didn't enjoy the same success on the main roster. Here are 10 Superstars who were integral in getting NXT to the point where it is today.


Honorable Mentions

Emma crossed paths with a lot of the top women in NXT.
Emma crossed paths with a lot of the top women in NXT.

Emma is one of the prominent Superstars from NXT that never won a title. While the same thing can be said for her when she was a member of the main roster, her spot in the annals of NXT history cannot be overlooked.

Along with Paige, Emma was one of the first women in NXT to be relied upon to help build the brand. Both Paige and Emma squared off to crown the first-ever NXT Women's Champion. The Anti-Diva won the title and eventually moved on to the main roster with the title still around her waist, but Emma stuck around in NXT.

She was an opponent for many women new to the WWE and its style, and Emma helped them in a big way. Among the women she faced were Bayley, Asuka, Carmella and Liv Morgan.

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Tyler Breeze was similar to Emma in that even though neither star had much success in terms of titles, they were integral in getting many from the top of the roster to the mid-card over.

He had title shots throughout his NXT career, but always came up short. Breeze recently returned to put up a great effort against Velveteen Dream for the NXT North American Championship, but once again lost.

He also welcomed the likes of Hideo Itami and Apollo Crews to NXT. Perhaps one of the biggest honors for Breeze, albeit in a losing effort once again, was when he faced Jyushin Thunder Liger at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. It was a one-off for the Japanese legend, but few Superstars would have been trusted to welcome the legend to NXT.


#10 Sami Zayn

Zayn was the ultimate babyface for a long time.
Zayn was the ultimate babyface for a long time.

One of the storylines as NXT started to build steam was Sami Zayn's inability to win the big one. He would constantly come up short in his bids for the NXT title but would eventually complete his journey by defeating Neville. It was the story of the ultimate babyface who overcame the odds in order to come out on top.

His victory would be short-lived as Kevin Owens would debut on the same night that he won the title.

After celebrating briefly with Zayn, Owens immediately turned on his friend. It would then kick off another storyline of Zayn being unable to enjoy his win while Owens would begin his rise to the top of NXT.

After he was out of the title picture, Zayn was so trusted in the ring that he was the first WWE opponent in NXT for Shinsuke Nakamura.

Nakamura had been a long time star in Japan, but his signing was a huge coup for WWE back in 2016. Zayn was one of the first popular stars from Ring of Honor (along with Seth Rollins and Cesaro) to make a big splash in NXT.

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