Rebranding NXT proved to be one of the best decisions the WWE had made in a long time, going from a competition gimmick, to seriously rivalling the main roster in terms of entertainment.
It’s certainly come a long way.
We’ve seen plenty of stars move up from developmental to Raw and SmackDown, and the great thing for wrestling fans is that it’ll continue to take place, with the likes of Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura and Hideo Itami among many more still waiting for that important call-up.
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Although it’s difficult to point your finger at the exact star that changed the game completely, Roman Reigns believes he and The Shield helped pave the way for the new era now having the spotlight on them.
Speaking exclusively to the Inquirer, he said: “It’s not talked about too often because of NXT and how big that product became and just the wave of new talent from NXT. It really shined through.
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“But something a lot of people missed was The Shield is actually kind of the beginning of the new era.
“We kind of paved the road and took the bumps and made this process a lot smoother for those guys as well.”
Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are often looked at as the NXT class of 2012, where guys like Corey Graves and Kassius Ohno were dominating the scene; the first class that graduated.
CLASS OF 2012
Their move to the main roster in 2012 allowed the likes of Neville and Sami Zayn to really shine through towards the top, and now we obviously have the veterans that have wrestled all over the world steadying the ship as more talent moves up to the main roster.
It’s difficult to argue against Reigns. Nobody really knew whether NXT call-ups would do well since the show was re-branded.
However, it’s safe to say that they set the standards for the rest to follow, and it was understandably much tougher for them as the first stars to make the huge leap.
He added: “We had to deal with the older guys who had been here, rooted in, and had the system their way.
“And we came in and did a good job of leading those in the new generation. People could say what they want, but no matter what, the three members of The Shield will lead the way.”
Do you think The Shield paved the way for the new era in the WWE? Have YOUR say in the comments section below.