It’s no secret that NXT is the hottest thing in pro wrestling at the moment. Some would even say that the WWE’s developmental brand is actually much more enjoyable to watch than the main WWE product is nowadays. One thing is for sure, it is building so many great future stars, and pro wrestling’s future is certainly looking pretty bright under the charge of Triple H. Though the brand is still quite new and fresh to the world of wrestling, there is still a lot more to be discovered when it comes to these great future stars. This article will take a look at 15 things you probably didn’t know about your favorite NXT wrestlers! Enjoy!
15. Sasha Banks: Real Life Cousins With Snoop Dogg
Yes that’s right, Sasha Banks is in fact the real life cousin of long time WWE fan and singer Snoop Dogg. As a child Sasha looked up to her cousin (as you might imagine), and she one day dreamed of breaking into the entertainment business as her cousin did. Sasha not only broke into the entertainment business, but is also regarded as the future face of the WWE’s women’s division. Banks hopes that one day her cousin can sing her theme song on the way to the ring. Now that would be something.
14. Bayley: Obsessed With Becoming A Pro Wrestler Since The Age Of 11
Bayley’s passion in the ring is quite evident. Her coming out party took place against Sasha Banks at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, when Bayley captured the NXT’s Women’s Championship. In addition, the match tore the house down and is even considered a Match of The Year candidate. The two women are set to main event NXT’s next event NXT Takeover: Respect. Despite being relatively new to the business, Bayley fell in love with wrestling a while ago. In fact, Bayley claims she’s been hooked since the age of 11 when she began attending live events in her area, specifically for the promotion “Big Time Wrestling”. Seven years later when she turned 18, the NXT Women’s Champion made her debut for that same company. Bayley drew inspiration from several superstars such as Randy Savage, The Rock, Bret Hart, Ivory, Victoria and Lita. Still only 26 years old, the future is brighter than ever for this NXT champ.
13. Corey Graves: Professional Piercer/Degree in Marketing
Before becoming a star for NXT, Corey Graves was quite the rebel. Before the age of 18 Graves already had multiple tattoos (and many were inked without the consent of his parents). Graves always had a deep love for tattoos, and as soon as he turned 18, he got sleeve tattoos on both of his arms. Ironically his best friend was also a tattoo artist, and this is where Graves began to work at his tattoo shop. Corey’s Hungarian parent encouraged Graves to still get educated while pursuing what he loved and that is exactly what he did. Graves earned himself a college degree in marketing.
12. Aiden English: Son In Law of Vickie and Eddie Guerrero
Alongside his tag team partner Simon Gotch, “The Vaudevillians” are a crucial part of NXT’s tremendous Tag Team division. English was signed by the WWE’s former developmental territory “FCW”, in 2012. After bouncing around different gimmicks, English finally found some success as a tag team wrestler with his current partner Simon Gotch. Interestingly, the wrestling business also helped English in meeting his future wife. In December of 2014, Aiden got engaged to Shaul Guerrero, the daughter of Vickie and the late Eddie Guerrero. Like English, Shaul was with the WWE for quite some time, signing with WWE’s developmental territory in 2010. She later stepped away from the wrestling business in 2014 due to an ongoing eating disorder.
11. Tye Dillinger: Released By The WWE In 2009
Dillinger is the perfect example of someone that never gave up on his dream despite getting rejected. In 2006, it was a dream come true for Dillinger, signing with the WWE. After a couple of years, Dillinger finally made it to TV, when he was promoted onto the “ECW” brand. Unfortunately for Dillinger, his gimmick didn’t catch any heat, and he was later released by the WWE. Things got worse for Tye after his release, when he broke his hand causing him to be sidelined for 12 weeks. On the bright side, this injury actually ended up sparking Dillinger, and after working on the independent circuit for a couple of years, Tye was later re-signed by the WWE in 2013. After bouncing around some different gimmicks, Tye finally found a character that worked and drew a reaction from the crowd; he was known as “The Perfect 10”. Great to see things are finally working out for Dillinger.
10. Emma: Arrested and Released By The WWE
On June 30th’s episode of Monday Night RAW, Emma was nowhere to be found, and this was due to the fact that she got arrested in Hartford. Emma was charged with shoplifting an iPad case from Walmart (you can’t make this stuff up). She was released the next day. According to Emma’s lawyer, she forgot to pay for the case while using a self-checkout machine in Walmart. Emma was ordered by the court to perform community service and an online course, and doing so would drop the charges. Initially Emma was released on the spot, though surprisingly the decision was reversed by the WWE hours later.
9. Dana Brooke: Professional Bodybuilder
Before signing a developmental deal with the WWE, Dana Brooke was a professional bodybuilder. After sustaining numerous injuries in gymnastics, Brooke decided to change her focus and became a fitness competitor. Brooke ended up being quite the success story, winning numerous titles. She also just recently competed in the Arnold Classic, placing 13th. Quite remarkable considering she was prepping for the event while still participating regularly on NXT programming.
8. Chad Gable: Competed In The 2012 Olympic Summer Games
Gable began to excel as an amateur wrestler during his time in high school. Gable was a Minnesota High School State Champion. He later continued to pursue his career as an amateur wrestler with Northern Michigan University. Gable won his biggest match in 2012, winning the final of the 2012 US Olympic Trials in the 84kg category. After progressing to the Olympic Games, Gable was defeated by Pablo Shorey of Cuba. A year later, Gable signed a developmental deal with the WWE.
7. Tyler Breeze: Trained By Lance Storm
Tyler Breeze began to wrestle at the young age of 18. Tyler was inspired by several wrestlers at a young age, including Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and Gorgeous George. At the age of 18, Breeze joined Lance Storm’s wrestling school in Calgary, close by to his hometown of British Columbia. After training with Lance, Tyler made his debut under the name “Mattias Wild”, for the wrestling promotion NWA Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW). A couple of years later, Breeze made his debut for WWE’s former developmental territory FCW under the name of Mike Dalton.
6. Enzo Amore: No Wrestling Experience
Amore is simply one of those rare gems that just has that “it” factor. Despite no previous wrestling experience, Amore signed a deal with NXT in 2012. Amore previously worked as a DJ for the New York Jets and manager at the restaurant bar, Hooters. Amore caught his big break when Triple H’s trainer Joe DeFranco, introduced Amore to Triple H. After a successful tryout, Amore was signed to the WWE’s developmental brand. Despite his limited experience, Amore is quite talented and is truly a great sports entertainer.
5. Baron Corbin: Played In The NFL, No Previous Wrestling Experience
Baron Corbin’s heat from the NXT universe stems from a lack of experience in the wrestling business. Wrestling was never really on the radar for Corbin, as Baron was a breakout college football star. Corbin later signed deals with the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals. After failing to make an NFL roster the following year, Baron signed on with the WWE in 2012.
4. Samoa Joe: Good Friends With Tito Ortiz
Turns out that despite his angry looking demeanor, Samoa Joe is actually quite popular. Joe has many close personal relationships with wrestlers like CM Punk, A.J. Styles and Rob Van Dam. Joe also has close friends in the MMA business, the likes of Kendall Grove and the man himself, Tito Ortiz. Joe grew some great friendships with these MMA stars through his training. Samoa Joe has been training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo and Muay Thati at LA Boxing, in California for years. It is there Joe befriended UFC legend Tito Ortiz.
3. Sami Zayn: Wrestled With A Mask For More Than 10 Years
Sami Zayn made his wrestling debut in 2004 under the Canadian-based promotion “International Wrestling Syndicate” (IWS). It is there that Zayn began to wrestle wearing a mask and wrestling under the name of “El Generico”. This gimmick lasted over 10 years, going on from 2002 till 2013. After signing a developmental deal with the WWE, Sami Zayn finally took off the mask and wrestled under his current name, Sami Zayn.
2. Eva Marie: Left The NXT Training Facility To Get Trained By Brian Kendrick
After some embarrassing displays in the ring, the WWE decided to repackage Eva and make her brush up on some of her in ring skills. Eva drew some serious heat when she decided to leave the NXT Performance Center and get some personalized one on one help from former WWE wrestler, Brian Kendrick. Many fans and wrestling officials were very displeased that Eva was given such special treatment, as opposed to using the training that was given by the trainers at the performance center. Eva is currently back on TV as an in ring competitor with NXT.
1. Finn Balor: Turning 35 Next Year
Despite being labelled as the future of the wrestling business, many tend to forget that Finn Balor has actually been around for quite some time. Despite his young looking, blemish free baby face, Balor has actually been wrestling for quite some time now. Finn made his debut in 2000, at the age of 18. It has already been 15 years of wrestling for WWE’s future star. Balor’s popularity grew while wrestling with “New Japan”. Despite a promising position with New Japan though, Balor decided to make the jump with NXT at the age of 33. His risky move certainly came with a reward, as Balor is the current NXT World Champion, and is billed as the future of the wrestling business despite his age of 34. Quite the story for Balor.