WWE NXT is a sports entertainment television program that is produced by WWE. Five seasons of NXT were broadcast from February 23, 2010 to June 13, 2012, in which NXT was presented as a hybrid between reality television and WWE's scripted live event shows, the premise of the show followed select talent contracted to WWE's developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) in a competition to become WWE's next breakout star with the help of mentors from WWE's Raw and SmackDown brands. The first four seasons saw Wade Barrett, Kaval, Kaitlyn, and Johnny Curtis winning NXT. In the later stages of season five, the all-rookie competition was abandoned with no winner being officially named, although Derrick Bateman was the final remaining rookie on NXT Redemption after both Titus O'Neil and Darren Young were signed to the SmackDown brand. Following the end of the fifth season, WWE ended the seasonal competition format of the show and renamed its developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling to NXT Wrestling. This article focuses on the five seasons and not the later developmental territory.
The show originally made its debut on Syfy in February 2010, replacing ECW, which concluded the previous week. Less than a month after its premiere, it was announced that WWE SmackDown would move from MyNetworkTV to Syfy in October. NXT aired its final episode on Syfy on September 28, 2010 to make way for SmackDown, and began airing as a webcast at WWE.com for visitors from the United States from October 5, 2010 to June 13, 2012.WWE NXT is not broadcast on television in the United States, but is currently broadcast on Hulu Plus. Outside of the United States, the show is still televised.
Original format (2010–2011)
WWE NXT paired up wrestlers from WWE's developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (dubbed "Rookies") with wrestlers from WWE's existing Raw and SmackDown brands (dubbed "Pros"). Each episode featured the rookies being mentored by the pros as they develop their characters and performance skills in front of a live audience. The pairings also enabled the show to crossover into WWE's Raw and SmackDown programs. As the length of each season differed, features of the competition occur at different times accordingly.
In addition to matches, weekly challenges were held during the competition to further test the Rookies' physical and mental skills. Past physical challenges include a keg carrying contest, an assault course contest and a "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em" tournament. Past non-physical challenges include making 30-second promos on a given topic and selling programs within a time limit.
During seasons 1 and 2, the winner of the weekly challenge receives a special prize such as a main event match, a talk show segment or a feature on WWE's official website. One of the more frequent prizes given out to the winner is an "Immunity Pass", which gives the holder immunity from elimination in the next round of polls.
From season 3 onwards, a greater emphasis on challenges was placed on the show. Instead of awarding prizes to the winner of the challenges, points are instead awarded to the winner with a cumulative tally of points recorded before each of the first three polls. The Rookie with the most points before the next upcoming poll is awarded immunity. In season 3, one point is awarded for winning the challenge. In season 4, the number of points vary on the difficulty of the challenge. In the result of a tie-break, the audience is then asked to vote for the Rookie they want to get immunity.
Season 4 also saw the introduction of challenge matches involving the entire roster of Pros or Rookies where the winner would be given the chance to swap their respective Rookie or Pro for another.
In various weeks, polls were held to evaluate the success of each Rookie and determine the winner of the competition. The poll rankings are entirely determined by votes from the Pros and starting from season 2, votes from fans via WWE's official website. In the Pros' votes, each of the Pros vote for their favorite Rookie, but cannot vote for their own Rookie. Their votes are based on the following four criteria:
- Win-loss record within the show
- Strength of opponents
- Work ethic
- "It" factor
Initially in seasons 1 and 2, the full results and rankings from the poll were revealed. However, since Week 11 in season 2, only the elimination is revealed. The first poll, usually held a third of the way through the competition, determines the Rookies' rankings. Subsequent polls are held several weeks later near the end of the season, where the lowest ranked Rookie without immunity is eliminated. Season 2 was set to use this format, but was changed to have the first poll an elimination poll. Season 3 will also use the second season's format.
The show continued until the season finale, where final two or three Rookies appear. One or two final polls were then held to determine the winner of the competition. The prize for the winner is a WWE contract as well as a championship match at any pay-per-view.
Outside of the polls, Rookies could still be eliminated via an executive decision from WWE management. Season 1 saw Michael Tarver and Daniel Bryan eliminated by management for a lack of self-confidence.
Starting in 2012, the all-rookie competition was abandoned with the show now featuring past and present rookies alongside lower card members of the main WWE roster. William Regal would also take over as the authority figure and match coordinator, with Striker being retained as the show's host.
Revised format (2012)
In May 2012, the show's format was revamped. The show began using more talent from FCW, as well as talent from the main roster. The first four episodes under the new format were taped at Full Sail University on May 17. WWE continued to air NXT Redemption, hoping a new television deal for NXT could be made.
WWE.com revealed on Wednesday, June 13 that the new version of NXT would be made available online via WWE.com and YouTube beginning on Wednesday, June 20 when WWE would begin airing the episodes they taped at Full Sail University on May 17. On June 19, however, WWE removed all of the NXT material from their website. NXT no longer airs in the United States, but continues to be broadcast internationally. Currently NXT is airing on HuluPlus in the US.
|NXT season 1 • NXT season 2 • NXT season 3 • NXT season 4 • NXT season 5 • NXT season 6|