WWE NXT is more than just a developmental brand, but it’s still the place where rising stars can become major stars in the world’s biggest wrestling promotion.
This past WWE NXT TakeOver was a huge success, highlighted by a brutal main event between Finn Balor and emerging babyface Kyle O’Reilly. Io Shirai, Candice LeRae, Santos Escobar, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott”, Damian Priest, and Johnny Gargano all had strong showings in their matches.
O’Reilly had the biggest star making performance in the NXT Title match, but Priest was the victorious rising star in his successful North American Title defense against Gargano. He looked great in the win, which isn’t a surprise considering how many times Gargano has helped make a star with a sensational TakeOver performance.
Priest, who won the title at NXT TakeOver 30 in a ladder match, is ready to make his mark on the Black and Gold brand as a strong babyface champion.
And according to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, via Cageside Seats’ Randall Ortman in the Rumor Roundup, WWE wants to make Damian Priest into a ‘big star’.
Damian Priest has enjoyed a great 2020 so far in WWE NXT
His WWE NXT career has taken off after he was given a boost in the Fall of 2019, having been repackaged from “Punishment Martinez” (his name in Ring of Honor) to Damian Priest.
He’s fit WWE much better than ROH and has been a fixture in the upper mid-card scene on Wednesday nights. Now, he’s leading the scene, and with his athletic ability and a character that is clicking, Priest has a high ceiling on the Black and Gold brand.
WWE likely see him as an eventual upper mid-carder on Raw or SmackDown, but, for now, we’ll enjoy seeing how he develops and enhances his character in NXT. Priest had his best match yet at TakeOver 31 against Gargano, but there’s more to come.