Biggest Winners and Losers of Current WWE NXT 2.0 Era

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured Columnist IIIJuly 20, 2022

Biggest Winners and Losers of Current WWE NXT 2.0 Era

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    NXT has always been WWE's developmental brand, but the NXT 2.0 era has amplified just how much of a sink-or-swim situation its wrestlers are in.

    The turnaround for talent to become a big deal is much faster than before.

    Some wrestlers have quickly achieved success, winning championships and being prominently featured on a weekly basis; others have struggled, sometimes not even getting more than an appearance or two before being released.

    With the one-year anniversary of the revamp coming in September, let's look back on the biggest winners and losers of NXT 2.0 so far.

Winner: Bron Breakker

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    Easily the biggest winner on this list, Bron Breakker is a two-time NXT champion. Immediately upon his debut, he was cast in a different light than the rest of the roster and jumped straight into the main event scene.

    He has been the focal point of the division with countless main roster names and legends touting him as one of the next big things. This has also allowed him to transition into some guest spots on WWE Raw.

    It doesn't get much better than holding the top prize and having a fantastic 27-9 record, particularly as most of those defeats came about due to shenanigans that protected him from taking a true loss.

Winner: Carmelo Hayes

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    When Carmelo Hayes shoots, he doesn't miss. He's a two time NXT North American titleholder who unified the NXT Cruiserweight Championship and also won an NXT Breakout Tournament and was part of the winning team for WarGames over Team Black and Gold.

    The 27-year-old could have been a flash in the pan. However, every time it seems he's down, he manages to score some big wins in the following weeks to put him right back on top.

    So far, he's wrestled 30 matches in WWE. Of those, he's suffered nine losses, though three were before the NXT 2.0 reboot, one by disqualification, and three were tag team matches.

    WWE clearly sees a lot in him and has positioned him as one of the top talents to watch out for.

    Watch for him to either join the main roster in 2023 or become the next NXT champion.

Winners: Toxic Attraction

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    Love them or hate them, Toxic Attraction have had the gold around their waists more often than not.

    Mandy Rose has held the NXT Women's Championship for over 260 days. If she lasts a little over one more month, she'll be behind only Shayna Baszler, Asuka and Charlotte Flair as longest titleholder.

    Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne have blown that statistic out of the water. If you combine every reign from everyone else, they still have a longer combined record of days as champions.

    This entire women's division has revolved around these three since the switch to the 2.0 era.

Winner: Zoey Stark

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    Credit: WWE

    Zoey Stark's tag team title run with Io Shirai used to be the record for those belts until Toxic Attraction came along.

    However, Stark has missed several months of competition while on the shelf from a torn MCL in November and just made her return to action on this week's episode.

    After several weeks of QR codes teasing something, it was revealed to be the 28-year-old's return, and she won a 20-woman Battle Royal to earn a future title shot at the NXT Women's Championship.

    There's no telling whether Stark will dethrone Rose, but to get that big win on her return is a major accomplishment.

Winners: The Creed Brothers

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    From the outset, it seemed The Creed Brothers had "future tag team champions" written all over them.

    It took a little while to get there as WWE decided to swerve fans by putting the belts back on MSK, only for Nash Carter to be released and Pretty Deadly to win the vacated titles as another diversion. But all roads led back to Brutus and Julius Creed holding the gold.

    These days, they've gotten more comfortable talking and are even breaking out of the shadow of Diamond Mine. With Roderick Strong's leadership causing tension, it seems The Creed Brothers might break out on their own soon enough, having graduated beyond needing a manager and a mouthpiece.

    They haven't been undefeated, but they've been booked strong. NXT 2.0 is all about working out the kinks on the path to stardom and they've been steadily improving every week.

Loser: Lash Legend

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    Originally, Lash Legend was positioned as somewhat of a babyface with her own talk show. She was confrontational, but in a way that fans were supposed to love for how sassy she was.

    That didn't pan out. WWE made the right call in turning her heel, but once she started to step in the ring, things went downhill in another way.

    Nearly every match she's been in has been a mess. Maneuvers are frequently botched, rough spots come close to injuries, and not one of those bouts has been memorable in a positive way.

    Her most recent contest with Indi Hartwell was less than four minutes long and was still an absolute wreck for both parties.

    Legend has charisma and an impressive stature, but she needs far more seasoning. She's a textbook example of how NXT's current philosophy of rushing talent to TV before they're ready is making everyone involved look bad.

Loser: Indi Hartwell

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    The recent Legend vs. Hartwell match is one of the latest in a long list of disappointments surrounding the latter from the past year

    Prior to the 2.0 switch, things were going great for Hartwell. She was a tag team champion alongside Candice LeRae and having a fun time as part of The Way.

    Over the coming months, the titles were lost and the faction began falling apart, leaving Hartwell to focus on two other partners in Dexter Lumis (her on-screen husband) and Persia Pirotta (her best friend).

    She and Pirotta failed to win the tag titles and started to feud with one another in a love rectangle storyline. Then, both Pirotta and Lumis were released from WWE, leaving Hartwell with Pirotta's on-screen boyfriend, Duke Hudson.

    Instead of turning into the skid and going with those two as a pair, NXT moved on, separated them and started having Hartwell moan about everything she's lost.

Losers: Katana Chance and Kayden Carter

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    Carryovers from the black-and-gold era, Katana Chance and Kayden Carter have a gimmick right now that they're upset at how often they lose but can't even get on television enough to keep that storyline together.

    WWE puts little effort into the women's tag team division across all brands, with NXT's being a total joke at times, but Chance and Carter—two of the longest-tenured teammates in the brand's history—cannot win those belts.

    Neither has accomplished anything else of note, either, save for Chance's memorable spot saving herself in the 2019 women's Royal Rumble match.

    Both stand at a split 50 percent win-loss record for 2022. Sadly, when you see who they've beaten, it is only those who are lowest on the totem pole.

Loser: Talent That Can't Escape NXT Level Up

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    WWE may not want to admit there is a pecking order, but it is very clear who is on the bottom of the totem pole.

    Some Superstars cannot break out of only ever really appearing on NXT Level Up. Even then, they aren't guaranteed to get the victory.

    In an era when non-televised house shows aren't common, it is fine for someone to wrestle a few times while they're trying to nail down a character before moving on to NXT on Tuesday nights.

    However, some people only make an appearance in NXT to take a pinfall.

    Dante Chen is an example showcased this week as the guy to put over Axiom. He beat Myles Borne earlier this month on Level Up, but he has lost every other match since March and has yet to beat anyone who isn't on the same bottom tier.

    Ru Feng has a 0-8 record. He's only even wrestled twice this year and has only appeared twice on NXT, both times losing in one minute and 45 seconds.

    Guru Raaj went from losing to Finn Balor at Superstar Spectacle in January 2021 to being one of the go-to losers to put someone over. He's only beaten Asher Hale on 205 Live and Borne on Level Up, losing his other 13 matches.

    In the women's division, Valentina Feroz and Yulisa Leon are in such poor spots that they're two of the only people Chance and Carter can beat. The only person seemingly lower than them is Erica Yan, who hasn't won a single match out of her nine and is approaching her third month of not being used at all.

    WWE may not want to admit there is a pecking order, but it is very clear who is on the bottom of the totem pole.

    Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, Spotify and everywhere you find podcasts. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.


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