The WWE has never been too eager to push guys that aren’t homegrown talent. For the majority of the last decade, it has been the wrestlers that WWE found and developed that get title runs and massive merchandising.
However, the company has gone a different route as of late, and suddenly wrestlers from outside the WWE are climbing up the company totem pole, thanks in large part to a revolutionary concept called NXT.
Considered to be the minor leagues of the WWE, NXT is for those who wish to someday main event Raw, Smackdown,
Summer Slam or Wrestlemania. It seems as if NXT has become a bedding ground for talent, as many wrestlers from the independent circuits have found a home in the so-called minor leagues of WWE.
These same wrestlers have been heavily used on the main roster as well. Quite a bit of the Raw and Smackdown talent that have graduated from the NXT ranks have roots in the independent wrestling scene. We all know about Daniel Bryan and his remarkable rise to WWE Champion, but look at the other names.
Like Bryan, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens once worked out of Ring of Honor, and have both become major players in the business. Rollins won the WWE Championship, and Owens beat John Cena in his debut match.
Even wrestlers from regional promotions such as Dean Ambrose, who was affiliated with Combat Zone Wrestling, or Kalisto, whom wrestled in Mexico, have made huge impacts in the WWE.
Recently, the WWE made a monumental move with the acquisition of long time TNA and New Japan star, A.J. Styles. Some would say that the addition of Styles was the biggest WWE signing since Chris Jericho.
The WWE has wasted little time with Styles push towards main event status. His signature shirt sold out on WWE’s website within hours, and has been in high demand since his arrival at the Royal Rumble. Styles has also been featured heavily on Raw and Smackdown, and has wrestled in a lengthy series of matches with the aforementioned Chris Jericho.
A.J. Styles is the type of wrestler WWE has been investing in for quite some time now. As the WWE developmental has a hard time finding it’s own homegrown talent, the need for change was necessary.
Vince McMahon didn’t want to admit that bringing in the independent wrestler’s was the right move. He continuously pushed guys like John Cena, Randy Orton, and Batista down our throats because they were WWE guys. It worked during the post-attitude era, but wrestling has changed drastically.
When Vince’s son-in-law, Paul Levesque (Triple H)created the NXT brand, nobody thought it would take off the way it did. And because of its success, the WWE has embraced it, and are capitalizing of its success, despite Vince’s feelings towards the use of these indie wrestlers.
The WWE has struggled with ratings lately, due in large part to a lack of fresh faces, and new talent. However, the decision to add wrestlers from outside promotions has given WWE new life, and NXT has a large part in that.
The WWE will continue to seek out the top names for its roster, and if that means raiding more independent and worldwide wrestling promotions, then so be it. The ultimate goal is making a better product for the fans, and they have done just that.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on Twitter @dgentleman9288