In a recent episode of "The Kurt Angle Show," WWE "SmackDown" commentator and former wrestler Corey Graves offered an insightful comparison between his experiences in WWE's developmental systems, FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) and NXT.
Over the past two decades, WWE's approach to nurturing talent has evolved significantly, transitioning from affiliations with smaller promotions to establishing more structured systems like FCW and, eventually, NXT. Graves, who has been a part of FCW and NXT, described the two as "completely different worlds." Reflecting on his time in FCW, he characterized it as less glamorous, with wrestlers feeling isolated and undervalued, often performing in front of small audiences and earning a modest weekly income.
This experience contrasted starkly with the NXT era, which he credits to Paul "Triple H" Levesque's vision for revamping WWE's developmental process.
NXT's Transformational Shift
Under Levesque's guidance, NXT transformed into a more sophisticated and supportive environment for upcoming wrestlers.
The WWE Performance Center, a state-of-the-art facility, became a symbol of this change, offering amenities like a communal kitchen, a stark improvement from the single microwave available at FCW. Graves noted that this shift wasn't just physical and philosophical, focusing on attracting and nurturing talent more effectively.
This transition from FCW to NXT wasn't just a change in facilities and resources; it represented a significant shift in WWE's approach to developing talent. NXT became a breeding ground for future stars, integrating wrestlers from various backgrounds, including those with independent circuit experience.
This inclusive and comprehensive developmental strategy has proven successful, as many NXT alums have gone on to have impactful careers in WWE. More than a decade later, with Levesque now at the helm of WWE's creative direction, the impact of NXT's innovative approach is evident.
It serves as a testament to his foresight and a blueprint for future development in the wrestling industry. As WWE continues to evolve, the lessons learned, and successes from the NXT model will likely influence how the company cultivates new talent, ensuring a dynamic and exciting future for the wrestling world.
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