The revamp of the beloved Black and Gold brand into NXT 2.0 sparked lots of discourse in the world of wrestling, much of it negative. However, seven months on, the benefits of this change are more evident than ever.
Coming off the back of their first toured PPV in two years, NXT 2.0 has a lot of phenomenal talent, intriguing characters and solid storylines. They’re doing a fantastic job at giving WWE Superstars a platform to succeed before the main roster.
With new episodes every Tuesday, here are five takeaways from NXT 2.0 Stand & Deliver and their post-PPV show.
5. The Creed Brothers are future NXT Tag Team Champions
The Creed Brothers have been on a roll as of recent. Their alignment with Malcolm Bivens’ Diamond Mine in August 2021 was the perfect synopsis of NXT 2.0: new stars being given first-time opportunities.
It didn’t take long for the real-life brothers to prove they’re a legitimate threat to the NXT Tag Team Championships, having won the Dusty Cup just two months ago.
If it wasn’t their in-ring ability that made it obvious they were destined for success in wrestling, it was their amateur wrestling careers.
Julius Creed has helped UFC fighters prepare for fights, most notably Daniel Cormier for his bout against Jon Jones and has been referred to as a “young John Cena” by WWE Hall of Famer Gerald Brisco. Brutus Creed is also an exceptional wrestler, with his 2020 amateur wrestling record boasting 30-0, ranking him the #1 heavyweight wrestler in the United States.
While they did not emerge victorious in a Gauntlet Match consisting of five teams this week, don’t be surprised to see The Creed Brothers holding championship gold in the near future.
4. Dakota Kai deserves a WWE Women’s Championship run
Dakota Kai is currently the longest-tenured female wrestler in NXT 2.0, having been with the brand since late 2016.
Since her official debut in 2017, she has had two title reigns, both alongside Raquel Gonzalez as NXT Tag Team Champion, with a combined length of … four days!
Kai has fallen victim to right person, wrong time in NXT. She has always been a phenomenal wrestler with an intriguing character, whether she is face or heel. The issue is there has always been one Superstar just ahead of her.
Her allegiance with Raquel seemed the perfect time for Kai to become champion, but it wasn’t to be. That phrase seemingly encapsulates her opportunities in NXT, but all can change this Tuesday as she faces Mandy Rose for the newer-looking NXT Women’s Title.
Kai’s match against Rose is more important than it seems. This will be the crowning moment for an NXT legend or the farewell of an NXT legend. Either way, Kai deserves her flowers for her NXT run, singles title or not.
3. The North American Championship picture is stacked!
NXT 2.0’s North American Championship switched hands at NXT Stand & Deliver, with Cameron Grimes securing his first championship reign in NXT.
The Fatal five-way ladder match showcased five of NXT’s brightest stars in Carmelo Hayes, Solo Sikoa, Santos Escobar, Cameron Grimes and Grayson Waller. However, this is just scratching the surface of NXT’s talent pool surrounding the North American Championship.
Alongside these stars, there are the likes of Duke Hudson, Fabian Aichner, A-Kid, Wes Lee, Odyssey Jones (when back from injury), Xyon Quinn, Kushida, and so many more.
The blend of experienced and newer Superstars competing for this title legitimises the North American Championship and makes whoever is holding it a star. Something WWE’s main roster mid-card titles fail to do.
The likes of Escobar and Hayes will find themselves at the top of the card sooner or later, if not the main roster, as they are incredibly talented. However, this won’t matter for the North American Championship picture, as the roster is stacked with potential challengers.
2. NXT 2.0 stars are already main roster ready
It goes without saying that there are some sure-fire stars in NXT 2.0 that are destined for stardom within WWE.
The likes of Grayson Waller, The Creed Brothers and Cora Jade are just a few of the Superstars you should expect to see on either RAW or SmackDown in the coming years. NXT 2.0 is already succeeding in preparing stars for the main roster, with improvements seen across the board of the NXT 2.0 roster.
From the current crop of NXT 2.0 talent, there are certainly a select few who are already main roster ready and should be given the chance to shine there soon.
Bron Breakker, the two-time NXT Champion, recently reclaimed his NXT Championship after defeating Dolph Ziggler on Monday Night RAW. He is the obvious example of someone who should already be showing what he’s made of on the main roster. He has everything in abundance and will only get better. It has been reported that WWE higher-ups have high hopes for Bron Breakker, and it is clear to see why.
Another NXT 2.0 act who are main roster ready is Legado Del Fantasma. LDF isn’t an NXT 2.0 act per se, as they have been around the brand for a while now, but they are a faction that can dominate the main roster, especially given WWE’s appeal for Lucha stars.
Amongst others are Carmelo Hayes, Grizzled Young Veterans, LA Knight and Dexter Lumis, who should hopefully find themselves on WWE’s main roster shortly. WWE certainly aren’t short of talented performers to call-up, that’s for sure.
NXT 2.0 is proving more beneficial than the original NXT
The Black and Gold era of NXT is one no one will forget. It saw some of WWE’s best matches take place, they had consistent Takeover PPVs, and they became the third brand to RAW and SmackDown. Triple H’s NXT was an undeniably great time to be a wrestling fan, but all good things have to come to an end.
NXT served as a great example of how wrestlers can succeed outside of being WWE’s stereotypical big, larger than life characters. However, the issue was that it led to NXT call-ups struggling on the main roster, as they didn’t fit the Vince McMahon vision.
What NXT 2.0 has done is allow for wrestlers to create a successful Superstar that will allow for easier transitions to the main roster. It is serving as a developmental as appose to a third brand, which in the grand scheme of WWE, helps everyone succeed.
NXT 2.0 is giving us those sports-entertaining characters in Tony D’Angelo, Wendy Choo and Andre Chase whilst also giving us those athletic, charismatic performers in Carmelo Hayes, Solo Sikoa and Grayson Waller. They have found a perfect balance of wrestling and sports entertainment, which is essentially a microcosm for WWE’s main roster.
This isn’t a revisionist piece on NXT, as that brand will always hold its place in WWE history, but going forward, NXT 2.0 is essential for the future success of WWE.