Not since Ohio Valley Wrestling was the breeding ground for megastars has WWE had such a stockpile of talent in its developmental system.
With as loaded as WWE's NXT is right now, fans can rest assured that the future will shine on for a long time to come. The company has a number of talented high-flyers, unique characters and impressive women waiting for their chance to thrive on the main roster.
Before NXT's existence and before WWE's usage of Florida Championship Wrestling as a minor league system, WWE's potential future stars worked on their game in Louisville, KY. From 2000-2001, John Cena, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar and Batista were all a part of OVW.
WWE may never experience another convergence of greatness like that period, but NXT's current state burns with promise.
Cena, Orton, Lesnar and Batista all made a major impact with the company and perhaps all of them will end up in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Today, what was FCW has officially become NXT, and WWE has made Florida its home for future greats. Full Sail University hosts NXT TV tapings. WWE is opening a training center in Orlando this summer.
Who knows if any of those hopeful men and women in the Sunshine State will reach the level of Cena, Orton, Lesnar or Batista. Regardless, there is a wealth of talent boasting a variety of skills in WWE's developmental system.
WWE fans have already seen Big E. Langston and The Shield make their way from NXT to the main roster. According to his creepy vignettes, Bray Wyatt and his "family" are on their way as well.
NXT is already rich with prospects beyond those men, but WWE continues to sign top indy talent, amassing performers who may be the future of the company.
NXT has no shortage of the speedy, the agile and those who treat the wrestling ring as their personal airspace.
Samuray Del Sol looks to be a potential replacement for Rey Mysterio, a hypnotizing dynamo with Sin Cara-like speed. The supremely agile and exciting star could be everything WWE was hoping Sin Cara would be, carrying on Mysterio's luchador tradition and infusing the product with high-flying fun.
Adrian Neville is similarly talented.
Far more muscular and compactly built than his high-flying peers, Neville is an English wrestler with a long list of achievements in the indies.
Watching Neville's ring work makes it easy to understand why he's called The Man Gravity Forgot.
Add the man formerly known as El Generico to the mix, and NXT appears to have the acrobatic portion of WWE's future well-secured.
Sami Zayn is known most for his comedic luchador character, but he has impressed with his nimble ring work without the mask and without the gimmick. Zayn has shown in recent NXT matches with Antonio Cesaro that he can dazzle WWE audiences like few others.
Characters and Charisma
Ryan Drago, The Gentleman Bruiser, may get a name and gimmick change once he becomes an official NXTer, but there is so much great energy and charisma about this guy that he's sure to entertain regardless of his moniker.
Drago is an excellent mat worker who knows how to work a crowd and how to infuse showmanship with technical skill.
Corey Graves is immediately compelling. There's an edge and fire in him that will get him over with WWE fans in a hurry.
He's creative in the ring, pulling out innovative ways to torture his opponents.
Sami Callihan is a recent signee who has a glut of potential. Pursuing him despite his lack of a traditional "WWE look," along with the pattern of choosing smaller guys with major talent, is a sign that WWE is moving in a new, intriguing direction.
A performer like Callihan might not have received a call from WWE a few years ago, but now the company has an enthralling, versatile performer to work with. Callihan can give you a brutal match or a classic grappling fest and can play an unsettling psycho or an underdog who fans can get behind.
WWE also has indy veteran Kassius Ohno, the powerful South African Leo Kruger and Conor O'Brian, who plays his dark, supernatural gimmick with great passion.
Deep Diva Division in the Making
The amount of talent that the NXT Divas division currently boasts bodes well for the future of women's wrestling with WWE.
Too often, the company chose to hire models and try to mold them into wrestlers. While WWE is still signing pretty faces with minimal wrestling ability, it's also amassing a collection of fantastic female in-ring performers.
Emma, an Australian spark plug, will make for some exciting matches once she reaches the main roster. She’s impressively quick and improving as a mat wrestler.
Sasha Banks is a high-energy performer who can impress in the air and on the mat. WWE also recently signed kickboxer Kendra Smith and the technically savvy indy wrestler Rebecca Knox.
The bluechipper of the group, though, is Paige.
Paige is the future centerpiece of the division. The tough, intense and compelling Brit comes from a family of wrestlers that includes her mother, Saraya Knight.
Beyond being beautiful, powerful and adept at punishing her opponents, Paige has a destructive aura that has already helped her create a buzz. She comes off as a rabid animal, one that should make the Divas division far more compelling with her presence.
She is part of a growing group of gifted prospects, both male and female. Among that group are sure to be some busts, but perhaps a future Batista, Orton or Cena is the mix as well.
WWE has done well to set itself up for the future. As its heroes begin to retire and its monsters return to their darkness, the company has plenty of potential replacements for each of them. Fans can rest easy; WWE's future will be marked by awesomeness.
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