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Top five best NXT debuts on WWE main roster

Published at :May 19, 2024 at 10:10 PM
Modified at :May 19, 2024 at 10:10 PM
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(Courtesy : WWE)

Nik O'Connor

WWE NXT has produced some of the top-caliber stars of modern era.

WWE NXT has served as the developmental system for the company since 2011, when it came under the reign of current WWE CCO Paul “Triple H” Levesque who made it a system for young and upcoming talent to train, showcase their talent, and prepare themselves for the big leagues in WWE.

Since that time, the company has witnessed rookies who have gone on to become main stars like Charlotte Flair, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch, Sami Zayn, and many more. However, out of so many names, only a handful of them were able to make a huge first impression upon their main roster debut. Here are the five best NXT Superstar debuts on the main roster.

5. Paige

The only standout from NXT to win a main roster title on her first night was Paige. After planting the early seeds of the Women’s Revolution with her stint in NXT. Paige was called up on the RAW after WrestleMania 30 and found herself in an impromptu title match against then-champion, AJ Lee. Following a reversal of her Black Widow into the Paige Turner move, the 21-year-old native from Britain shocked the world and won the WWE Divas Championship on her first night on RAW.

4. Sami Zayn

Sami Zayn had an impressive stint in NXT that also led him to become an NXT Champion and put up some exciting matches. He made his main roster debut in 2015 in his hometown of Montreal, Canada against John Cena in his US Open Challenge for the WWE United States Title, after being introduced by WWE Legend Bret Hart to the stage. Despite coming short and working through an injury, Zayn showed heart and resilience against a future Hall of Famer, John Cena, and made a huge impact that night despite coming up short.

3. The Women’s Revolution arrives (Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch)

Following short matches, lackluster opportunities, and an evident backlash calling for more for women, Stephanie McMahon changed the game in a 2015 segment on RAW by calling three of the best then-NXT standouts to the main roster.

The first two were Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch who aligned with Paige and next up was Sasha Banks who joined Naomi and Tamina. It was that night the three future main eventers made a huge first impression and declared the change was here, signaling the onset of what later came to be known as the Women’s Evolution.

2. Kevin Owens

Kevin Owens was perceived as one of the most dangerous and promising individuals in the NXT class. He made his first appearance on RAW back in 2015 as the NXT Champion, interrupting then-WWE United States Champion John Cena.

After declining his offer at a shot for the star-spangled prize, Owens made a huge statement by dropping Cena on the mat shocking the audience. He would continue his momentum by defeating Cena in a one-on-one bout at the pay-per-view event following that, the WWE Elimination Chamber.

1. Finn Balor

Finn Balor had one of the quickest ascensions in WWE back in 2016 on his main roster call-up as part of the WWE Draft that year. On his first night on RAW, Balor outlasted WWE’s poster boy, Roman Reigns in a match for the ages to advance in the tournament to crown the first-ever WWE Universal Champion.

He would later create history by defeating Seth Rollins at SummerSlam that year to become the inaugural champion, only to forfeit his title the next night due to an injury sustained in the match.

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