NXT’s All-Star Panel Showed How Far The Brand Has Come


Many people sing the praises of NXT for a number of reasons. Some of those reasons were on display after Raw on Monday during the NXT All-Star Panel from SummerSlam Weekend back in August.

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Technically, the NXT brand was born on February 23, 2010. However, the real birth of NXT was in February 27, 2014.

The difference: “The Game” himself, Triple H.

In a span of 19 months, Triple H has taken an afterthought of a WWE brand, and made it the most must-see programming of the entire company. From Adrian Neville, to Sami Zayn, to Paige, The Game took control of NXT’s programming and morphed it into a brand that’s second to none.

During NXT’s rise to relevancy, stars such WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, former NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks, and current NXT Champion Finn Balor, all made their mark in NXT and contributed into the success and growth of NXT. So, when Raw went off the air on Monday night after yet another porous episode, NXT took the spotlight on the WWE Network and ran with it once again.

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Back in August, during the weekend of the SummerSlam pay-per-view and NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, an “all-star panel” of NXT color commentator Corey Graves, current Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens, Sasha Banks, Triple H, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins and host Byron Saxton, spoke for just under an hour (which seemed a little edited) about the ins-and-outs of NXT and the brand’s growth.

The panel kicked off with one of the most important parts of the night: Triple H talking about the birth of the NXT brand itself and the WWE Performance Center down in Florida.

The emotional portion of the panel came when everyone expressed their gratitude on Dusty Rhodes’ influence. Rhodes’ impact on the NXT brand was just as important as Triple H taking over. Even with The Game at the helm, there’s no telling how good NXT would be at this very moment without Rhodes.

While Rollins, Balor and Owens really talked about how NXT skyrocketed their own careers to another level, Sasha Banks (with an assist from Rollins) expressed nothing but praise for Sara Del Rey and how the rest of the women’s division took their skill sets to new heights in terms of women’s wrestling.

Personally, after watching the panel, I said to myself, “This is exactly what needed to happen, and to see it come to fruition, is simply amazing.”

Look at where each of the members on the panel is currently at in WWE:

  • Seth Rollins is the biggest star in the business at the current moment. His entire year has been pure insanity, winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the craziest way possible, while also winning the United States title from John Cena at SummerSlam.
  • Finn Balor is the current NXT Champion and with his Japan popularity carrying over to his time in North America, he’s the current “torch carrier” for NXT. Simply put, he’s the Seth Rollins of NXT right now.
  • Kevin Owens is one of the best heels in wrestling. Not only did Owens win the NXT title, he beat John Cena in his first match on the main roster (at a pay-per-view!) and is now the Intercontinental Champion.
  • Sasha Banks is the best women’s wrestler today and a former NXT Women’s Champion. The “BO$$” character has been utter perfection. She talks the talk and walks the walk. Even her theme music is perfection.
  • Despite no longer having in-ring careers, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton are awesome with Rich Brennan during NXT programming. With those three together, NXT even has the best commentary booth in WWE.

Also noted from NXT’s All-Star Panel:

The part that signified what NXT is now, was Owens talking about and stars going from NXT to Raw and SmackDown.

“I remember my first night on Raw. It felt just like NXT to me. I walked down the ramp and got on the microphone. The only difference was I was staring at John Cena instead of Sami Zayn for example,” Owens said.

Triple H also had an interesting thought on NXT. “I don’t even like the term ‘developmental’ anymore. It’s a brand. It is a brand.”

He’s not wrong.

Next: Seth Rollins vs. The Undertaker?

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