WWE NXT is considered the developmental stage for WWE to hone their skills before they get elevated into the main roster. Given that NXT was supported by Triple H, it’s no surprise that the best in NXT would go on to carve out a successful run in the WWE. For this piece, let’s take a look at the 10 best WWE wrestlers to get called up from NXT.
10. Finn Balor
Finn Balor made waves in WWE NXT, becoming NXT champion two times. While he has the build of a cruiserweight, Balor makes up for it with his crafty in-ring abilities capped off by the deadly Coup De Grace. His WWE run has seen him win the United States Championship once, Intercontinental Championship twice, and was the inaugural WWE Universal Champion. Balor currently runs with The Judgement Day where he earned notable victories over notable superstars such as Edge, Rey Mysterio, and many more.
9. Matt Riddle
Dubbed as The Bro, whether it was on a mic or in the squared circle, Matt Riddle is one of the best. During his time in NXT, Riddle was a NXT Tag Team Champion. His success there would eventually translate in the WWE. He has held the United States Championship once. Afterward, Riddle teamed up with former world champion Randy Orton to become Raw Tag Team Champions twice. Although he has worked a lot in the Tag Team division, after a legitimate injury to Orton, Riddle often stood his ground in singles competitions against the likes of Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
8. Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett topped the first-ever season of NXT. Afterward, he barged into the main roster by debuting with The Nexus, as they laid waste to John Cena and CM Punk. Although Barrett would lead The Nexus and The Corre, he also carved out a solid solo run that saw him become a five Intercontinental Champion. He also won the King of the Ring Tournament in 2015.
7. Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss didn’t collect any championship hardware during her days in NXT. However, she did the complete opposite on the main roster. In fact, Bliss has won every possible championship a female wrestler can win including the Raw Women’s Championship thrice, Smackdown Women’s Championship twice, Women’s Tag Team Championship thrice, and the 24/7 Championship once. While she’s considered to be one of the most accomplished wrestlers in the women’s division, she only gets more dangerous after being associated with Bray Wyatt.
6. Kevin Owens
Despite English not being his first language, Kevin Owens can deliver high-quality promos any day of the week. Furthermore, even if he isn’t the fittest wrestler in the locker room, KO can pull off the most daring stunts in the squared circle. While his days in NXT have been successful holding the NXT Championship once, KO has also pieced together a decorated career by winning the United States Championship thrice, Intercontinental Championship twice, and Universal Championship once. He has also delivered five-star matches against the likes of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn, John Cena, and many more.
5. Rhea Ripley
Considered as one of the most dangerous wrestlers in the women’s division, Rhea Ripley had a decorated NXT run that saw her win the NXT Women’s Championship and NXT UK Women’s Championship. However, she only got more dangerous after being elevated to the main roster. Ripley is a one-time Women’s Tag Team Champion and one-time Raw Women’s title holder. Moreover, she also holds the Women’s Royal Rumble record for 20 total eliminations, including a victory at Royal Rumble 2023, despite entering as the first entrant.
4. Bray Wyatt
While his days as Husky Harris was forgettable, Bray Wyatt is a more successful persona. As the leader of the Wyatt Family, the faction wreaked havoc in NXT and in the main roster. But while the Wyatt Family was a formidable faction, Wyatt also found some success as an individual competitor. As one of the most feared supernatural wrestlers, Wyatt has been WWE Champion and Universal Champion twice. Furthermore, his run as The Fiend has seen him become nearly unstoppable by defeating superstars such as John Cena, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, Kane, and many more.
3. Charlotte Flair
Ric Flair is arguably the GOAT of WWE, with 16 world championship reigns which is tied for the most in history. But while Ric is in a class of his own, his daughter wasn’t daunted by her father’s shadow. Charlotte started by becoming NXT Women’s Champion, holding the title twice. Fast forward to her promotion to the main roster, she is one of the most decorated wrestlers in the female division, becoming the final Divas Champion, earning seven reigns as Smackdown Women’s Champion, and six-time Raw Women’s Champion including one reign as the inaugural champion.
2. Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch’s run in NXT wasn’t all too memorable. However, she blossomed in WWE’s main roster to become one of the most dominant wrestlers in the women’s division. Whether she portrayed The Man or Big Time Becks, Lynch delivered in the big moments. She is a four-time Smackdown Women’s Champion and two-time Raw Women’s Champion. Furthermore, Lynch is the only female wrestler to have held both titles simultaneously.
While the trio of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns were competing individually in the NXT scene, the trio took the WWE by storm after debuting as The Shield. The faction would haunt the WWE locker room, attacking John Cena, Ryback, The Brothers of Destruction, and many more. While The Shield was successful together, Rollins’ infamous betrayal in favor of The Authority marked the end of the faction.
But after the faction’s disbandment, the trio would go on to have successful WWE careers. Ambrose is a one-time United States Champion, three-time Intercontinental Champion, and held the WWE Championship thrice.
On the other hand, Seth Rollins is one of the biggest stars in the WWE today. He is a two-time Grand Slam Champion. Furthermore, Rollins has defeated top stars such as Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley, John Cena, and Triple H.
However, among the trio, Roman Reigns is arguably the most successful competitor. Currently the face of WWE, Reigns has laid waste to all-time greats including Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Goldberg, The Undertaker, and many more. Dubbed as the Tribal Chief, the alpha of The Bloodline, Reigns currently holds the Universal Championship and WWE Championship simultaneously with his second and fourth reign, respectively.