Kevin Steen, Sami Zayn & Others Show Why the Reality Era is Here


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WWE NXT has turned into a mega-pool of talent over the past year and change.

Adrian Neville, Fergal Devitt, Hideo Itami, Kevin Steen and Sami Zayn. What do those five wrestlers have in common? They are all part of the next generation of WWE and sat down with John Clapp and Ryan Murphy of to talk about their futures in the company.

This article featured these stars pretty much breaking kayfabe to talk about their careers outside of WWE and what they expect for the future. It was a little surprising to see WWE themselves pull off an interview like this, but it shows how much the times are changing in the industry with the “Reality Era.”

The Reality Era has come into form over the years through social media and wrestling websites like this, Wrestling Zone, and about a dozen other sites. Fans see into the real life persona of wrestlers like never before and are not “surprised” by anything that goes on in the ring anymore.

For example, take a look at Dean Ambrose “disappearing” from WWE after he failed to accept medical help from his head being slammed into cinder blocks. Everyone knew the real reason why he disappeared was to go film the movie Lockdown, which he is scheduled to finish this Saturday. Fans are now expecting him to return at Night of Champions this Sunday in some capacity to get revenge on Seth Rollins. A decade ago, you would not have seen anything like this go on.

In the early portions of the article, we see the stars explain aspirations of getting to WWE, such as Devitt explaining his journey from New Japan Pro Wrestling and Neville from Dragon Gate.

"NEVILLE: I didn’t really have an interest in getting signed by WWE earlier in my career. If I did have the opportunity to come here, I wanted it to be later when I was a more traveled, well-versed performer. Honestly, with my body type and my style, I never really expected to be here. The fact that I’m here alongside these guys is kind of mind-blowing.WWE.COM: Was it the same for you, Fergal? You were a top star in Japan’s biggest promotion before you signed with WWE.FERGAL DEVITT: I’d been doing it for about six or seven years when I ended up in New Japan. I was really just a boy and I became a man in New Japan in eight years. It came to a point where I could stay the rest of my career there and have the security of a job or I could step into the great unknown that is WWE and challenge myself. And that’s what I decided to do."

It’s interesting that these guys explained this more as a “final destination” goal than anything. They all wanted to get to the top and it seems like they view WWE as that. Sami Zayn would say something similar inside the article as well.

Steen would then go into some of the family aspects of his situation.

"WWE.COM: You raise an interesting point, because getting to NXT is just the beginning of the journey, isn’t it? It’s not like you’re guaranteed a spot on the main roster.STEEN (in response to Neville’s answer): It is, but there’s no way you can’t roll the dice. When the offer was presented, there was no, “I really got to think about this.” I mean, I did, because I have two kids and I have a wife. It involved them moving from Canada to Florida; it involved my son changing schools, leaving his friends behind; it involved us getting away from our families. Our choice to come here impacted a lot of people, but …STEEN: I was coming. And they were coming, too. My son’s 7 years old. He watches WWE and he loves John Cena. I’d take him to a WWE show in Montreal and he’d be like, “How come you’re not wrestling?” “Uh, I don’t wrestle for WWE. You get to come see me in front of 200 people.” (Laughter.) Then one day I told him, “Hey, I think I can wrestle for WWE. You want me to?” He’s like, “Yeah!” So I said, “OK, but it means moving, changing schools and not seeing Grandpa every day.” His question was, “Are you going to wrestle John Cena?” (Laughter.)"

This shows how much of a risk it is for these guys that are coming from all over the world to compete in WWE. Moving from Canada to Florida is a huge change for Steen’s family and especially his kids, who have to leave their childhood behind and start a new one in a place where they haven’t been to before. The odds are that he will make it to the WWE main roster in the future, but anything can happen. Injuries, not getting over with the crowds, etc., can all hinder that opportunity. It’s just the risk that these wrestlers have to take.

Then there’s the adjustment to the ring that they all have to take. Surprisingly, they didn’t seem to worried about changing their styles because it is stuff that they have all done before.

"WWE.COM: Are there any other misconceptions about your generation?NEVILLE: With guys that come from the indies, people think we find it hard to adapt to this style, but I say the opposite is true.ZAYN: All you do on the independents is adapt.STEEN: Yeah. That’s a great point. People think it will be hard for us to learn the WWE style but that’s the first style I knew how to do and then I had to adapt to the Ring of Honor style, because it’s for a different kind of fan. You need to do different things to get a reaction out of those 200 people that are there, but I was trained by a WWE wrestler, so that’s the first style I learned. The adaptation process isn’t going to be as strenuous as people think just because we’re from the indies.DEVITT: You can teach a lot of things here at the Performance Center, but you can’t teach passion for wrestling. And the five people at this table definitely have it and have had it for a long time. And hopefully, a little bit of that can rub off on the rest of the people here and bring up the whole team."

This should make fans who had any question about these guys adjusting their styles in WWE breathe somewhat of a sigh of relief (a full one once they start in the ring). As long as they feel their transition won’t be that big of a deal, we shouldn’t be worried about them. I know I am not, and I am very excited to see all five of these stars perform on the WWE main roster one day.

Wrestling fans – this is your next generation of Superstars in the WWE. They will eventually join the likes of Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Daniel Bryan in taking this company into the future.

Buckle yourselves in – it’s going to be a very fun ride.