Triple H did his darndest to make Karrion Kross into a star in NXT. He handpicked the “Killer” indie talent away from promotions like Impact and MLW – stealing him away from AEW in the process – and spent the better part of two years building him up to become an unstoppable force in NXT tailor-made to smoothly translate to the WWE main roster.

On paper, Kross had everything going for him; he had a new name the company could trademark, Vince McMahon-approved size at 6-foot-4, 264 pounds, and, a lovely partner in crime in Scarlett who could serve as the Miss Elizabeth to his Randy Savage – or maybe like Boy George to his Randy Savage, as the duo were always going to be heels in The Fed.

And yet, despite perfectly setting him up for success, including a 150-plus day reign as NXT Champion and a bout on the books against Samoa Joe, Paul Levesque's Father in Law called him up to RAW and promptly pummeled his win-streak right in its tracks right before the biggest match of his career. Factor in the addition of a weird gladiator gimmick and the subtraction of his valet, and the prospects of Kross surviving a series of roster cuts rapidly dwindled.

Now, for more than a few NXT fans – including Levesque – the subtraction of Kross was a massive bummer, as his tenure in the promotion felt like much more like a series of “What If's” than an outright failure, but no one was more disappointed about his subtraction from the roster than the man himself, as he explained to Kevin Kellam of Sportskeeda in an interview dictated by our friends over at Fightful.

“It feels a little bit like the Twilight Zone,” Kross said. “I don't have any bad feelings, but it's just a little unusual, you know? Scarlett and I always thought we were gonna be lifers there. We thought that just because we had loved the environment so much. I mean this in the most endearing way, it was kind of like the military. We would get up and we would train, you get paid to train, to become the best version of yourself, you go to perform and then you go home, and we're very much happy with that lifestyle. Before we were even there, she and I would operate like that. We're very much, ‘Get up, get whatever you need into your system, go train together, and then just do whatever you got to do with the rest of your days.’ Everything is just living in preparation for the next event and that's the way it operated there. So I'm very happy that it's in the same town because I think the audiences will definitely piggyback off of each other and I think it's gonna work very well.”

*sigh* WWE, how did you mess this one up so bad? You literally had an act tailor-made for your preferred presentation and threw them away because of what? Anger at Triple H for losing the Wednesday Night Wars?

The old days of NXT are long since passed in WWE.

For the longest time, Triple H wanted to fill out his NXT roster with wrestlers who had a passion for wrestle, not just college athletes who fit into the mold of what a professional wrestler is “supposed” to look like. This philosophy led to many an indie star like Finn Balor, Damian Priest, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn becoming fixtures of the main roster and created acts like Keith Lee, DIY, The Undisputed Era, and Hit Row – led by indie darling Swerve Strickland – who rapidly became fan favorites even if their push on the main roster with non-existent.

And yet, where are those NXT mainstays now? Lee is gone, as are the entirety of Hit Row, and the only members of DIY and TUE who remain employed by WWE are ‘don't call him Tommaso' Ciampa, who is having a very weird run on the main roster, and Roderick Strong, who has been begging for his release for the better part of the calendar year.

It's like an entire generation of WWE talent has disappeared, as the roster has been stuck playing with a few new faces like Theory and Rhea Ripley but no Adam Cole, Swerve Scott, Keith Lee, and of course Karrion Kross, all of whom could have been fixtures of programming for the next decade at least.

Will it work? Will enough Bron Breakkers, Tony D'Angelos, and The Creed Brotherses make it all work out, or will the promotion regret releasing performers like Kross, Cole, and Scott when Roman Reigns, The Miz, and Edge can no longer work a full schedule? Either way, let's hope Vince McMahon doesn't find out Roxanne Perez used to be known as Rok-C in the not-too-distant past, as she may be the next to go.