Nothing indicates NXT’s readiness to compete with Raw and SmackDown LIVE more than the brand’s ability to land sports-entertainment’s top free agents.
Whether it’s a former champion’s surprise appearance in the crowd at NXT TakeOver, or a full-on press conference heralding the arrival of an international competitor, the excitement that surrounds new Superstar signings has become a hallmark of WWE’s hottest organization.
As NXT continues to bolster its stock, look back at 10 of the brand’s most notable signings since the dawn of TakeOver in 2014.
2 – Finn Bálor
The signing of one ripped Irishman in 2014 registered on some social media feeds, but even those familiar with Finn Bálor’s success in Japan and the United Kingdom probably didn’t realize he was fated to become the longest-reigning NXT Champion in history.
Yet, it was under The Demon King’s 293-day reign that NXT blossomed into a worldwide sensation. Bálor’s coronation took place after a triumph against Kevin Owens in Tokyo, the first time the NXT Title changed hands outside its home state of Florida. And, as his immediate success on Raw proves (not to mention becoming WWE’s first-ever Universal Champion), Bálor’s signing wasn’t just a boon for NXT.