Images; JJ Williams
Each year, there are multiple classes brought in to the WWE Performance Center with the recruits ranging from independent stars to international athletes who are fresh to the genre. Everybody comes in with opportunity and some take a few years to truly find themselves.
You can go back in history and see that for every generational talent with the pedigree and the lineage to succeed, there’s also the person who slowly kept improving and found their personality on the big stage.
2020 is a major year in terms of development as NXT wants to constantly achieve new heights as a worldwide brand while keeping the Florida system as a long term focus with the largest PC roster in history and even more coming in all the time.
As 2019 is a wrap, let’s look to the future and showcase who to watch in 2020.
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As can’t miss a WWE superstar as I have ever seen, Theory is the epitome of the current system as he was signed to NXT in his third year as a pro after being trained by AR Fox at the WWA4 school while still holding the EVOLVE championship. At the age of 22, Theory has already made his WWE Network debut on the EVOLVE 10th anniversary special and just snuck in his NXT TV debut on the Christmas episode as he faced Roderick Strong for the North American Championship. He is already showing what he can do on Florida live events and is sure to become a fixture on TV going forward.
After nearly a decade in professional rugby, the intensity of “The Samoan Ghost” came to the WWE Performance Center in 2018 and by 2019, he was already having Florida tour matches. All the intagibles and attributes are there. We saw glimpses of what Vidot could do as he faced off with veterans and fellow prospects alike. 2020 could be a major step for this intriguing talent.
The NCAA wrestling standout joined the long list of top tier college grapplers who made the transition to the pro game. Officially signing with WWE halfway through 2018 and working in the Performance Center, Denzel was consistenlty having Florida loop matches all through 2019. Unlike most shooters, he has all the charm in the world with a center of attention charisma that he used as a party starter in his earlier matches. Currently, he’s a more focused stoic competitor who is here to win.
Even with matches in both Mae Young Classics, we still haven’t seen Gonzalez truly break through as the NXT TV star that she is poised to be in 2020. This past year, it seemed like she delivered when being tested in EVOLVE matches and closed out Jacksonville, Florida’s all-women show against NXT women’s champion Shayna Baszler. The Texas strong woman with a mean lariat is definitely one to watch.
Samantha De Martin
The 23-year-old formerly known as Indi Hartwell has had an incredibly fast track to NXT after breaking into the Australian independent scene just two years ago. The concentrated experience from facing top names all over the world including Madison Eagles, Tessa Blanchard, and LuFisto has lead De Martin to where she is today. The impressive one now finds herself ready to face off against one of the best female rosters in NXT history. There’s no limit to what she is capable of and we are fortunate enough to be here to witness this journey.