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Dusty Rhodes: WWE NXT trio ready to "knock down doors"

Go ahead and call them “kids,” “upstarts,” “Superstars in training.” None of those dismissive terms changeS the fact Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns have successfully laid out the most destructive force in WWE, Ryback, on consecutive nights. And now, new video obtained by WWE.com suggests the trio of NXT developmental talents has expanded its campaign to target other members of WWE’s main roster. ( FULL STORY)

Days removed from the frenzied closing scenes of Survivor Series and Monday’s Raw, the WWE Universe continues piecing together the puzzle that is the Ambrose-Rollins-Reigns triumvirate. As WWE management, fans and Superstars try to decipher the objectives of the “kids from NXT” — as well as determine their connection, if any, to WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman —all WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes can do is sit back and nod knowingly from his office in NXT’s Florida headquarters.

“The American Dream,” a three-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion and father of WWE Superstar Cody Rhodes, has been steering the helm of WWE’s developmental territory since being named NXT’s General Manager in June. As such, he has far greater insight than most into the possible motivations of the three intruders. Though he stopped short of endorsing their unprovoked assaults on Ryback, Rhodes was not surprised they pounced on the opportunity to make their names known.

“In our developmental system, there’s one thing we’re always preaching: make an impact,” the Hall of Famer told WWE.com in a phone interview this week. “I’m not condoning the actions of these three guys. But they see the youth movement. They see the Kofi [Kingston]s and [Damien] Sandows of WWE, and they want to be part of it. I always told them, ‘If you see the opportunity, you have to take it.’”

Whether labeled WWE Superstars or developmental competitors, the outsiders from NXT have clearly seized the spotlight, quickly establishing themselves as dangerous interlopers who are even capable of swinging the tide in the WWE Title picture. By homing in on Ryback, Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns have sent a loud message to all members of the WWE main roster, according to Rhodes.

“They picked the right guy, because sometimes the way to become the next big thing is by going after the biggest dog in the yard,” he said. “They really believe — they’d talk to me about this — that guys like Ryback are ‘just one-dimensional,’ and that’s quoting these three guys.”

The objections of Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns extend beyond Ryback, it appears. During a WWE event Tuesday night, the threesome interrupted a match between Tyson Kidd and Santino Marella, attacking both Superstars. The underlying motivations could be money and fame — an “out with the old, in with the new mentality” — that makes any established performer fair game. The NXT invaders believe they’re ready to tackle the biggest challenges WWE has to offer, yet there is a finite number of spots on the WWE main roster.

Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are ready to compete for those heavily coveted positions, even if the opportunity to do so comes without the blessing of WWE’s talent relations department.

Go ahead and call them “kids,” “upstarts,” “Superstars in training.” None of those dismissive terms changes the fact Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns have successfully laid out the most destructive force in WWE, Ryback, on consecutive nights. And now, new video obtained by WWE.com suggests the trio of NXT developmental talents has expanded its campaign to target other members of WWE’s main roster. ( FULL STORY)

Days removed from the frenzied closing scenes of Survivor Series and Monday’s Raw, the WWE Universe continues piecing together the puzzle that is the Ambrose-Rollins-Reigns triumvirate. As WWE management, fans and Superstars try to decipher the objectives of the “kids from NXT” — as well as determine their connection, if any, to WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman — all WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes can do is sit back and nod knowingly from his office in NXT’s Florida headquarters.

“The American Dream,” a three-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion and father of WWE Superstar Cody Rhodes, has been steering the helm of WWE’s developmental territory since being named NXT’s General Manager in June. As such, he has far greater insight than most into the possible motivations of the three intruders. Though he stopped short of endorsing their unprovoked assaults on Ryback, Rhodes was not surprised they pounced on the opportunity to make their names known.

“In our developmental system, there’s one thing we’re always preaching: make an impact,” the Hall of Famer told WWE.com in a phone interview this week. “I’m not condoning the actions of these three guys. But they see the youth movement. They see the Kofi Kingstons and Damien Sandows of WWE, and they want to be part of it. I always told them, ‘If you see the opportunity, you have to take it.’ ”

Whether labeled WWE Superstars or developmental competitors, the outsiders from NXT have clearly seized the spotlight, quickly establishing themselves as dangerous interlopers who are even capable of swinging the tide in the WWE Title picture. By homing in on Ryback, Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns have sent a loud message to all members of the WWE main roster, according to Rhodes.

“They picked the right guy, because sometimes the way to become the next big thing is by going after the biggest dog in the yard,” he said. “They really believe — they’d talk to me about this — that guys like Ryback are ‘just one-dimensional,’ and that’s quoting these three guys.”

The objections of Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns extend beyond Ryback, it appears. During a Grand Rapids TV taping Tuesday night, the three men interrupted a match between Tyson Kidd and Santino Marella, attacking both Superstars. The underlying motivations could be money and fame, or an “out with the old, in with the new” mentality that makes any established performer fair game. The NXT invaders believe they’re ready to tackle the biggest challenges WWE has to offer, yet there is a finite number of spots on the WWE main roster. ( PHOTOS)

Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are ready to compete for those heavily coveted positions, even if the opportunity to do so comes without the blessing of WWE’s talent relations department, Rhodes intimated.

As somebody who’s been involved in talent development initiatives on and off for years, Rhodes broke down the three fighters based on his observations of them in NXT and its predecessor, Florida Championship Wrestling. NXT currently boasts five or six competitors who are WWE-ready, in Rhodes’ estimable opinion, and right atop that list stand Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns.

He portrays all three as having similar agendas: to be the toughest and most respected men in the locker room. They’re scrappy and unrelenting, and they don’t back down from fights. Rather, they look for them.

In the hulking Reigns, an all-time great defensive tackle at Georgia Tech, Rhodes sees an “intelligent athlete” with a great heritage. (Reigns is a member of the legendary Anoaʻi dynasty.) Yet, the chiseled Samoan also has a banefully proud demeanor, in which “he believes he’s the man, and he’s intent on proving it,” Rhodes said, adding, "at all costs."

Ambrose is a different figure altogether. Whatever he lacks in a sports-entertainment bloodline or Division I athletic background, he more than makes up for in a blatant and reckless disregard for others. Rhodes described him as “unpredictable” and “a true rebel.”

“Ambrose just doesn’t care how he gets to the main event or who he has to step on to get there,” he said. “As long as he gets there.”

Before being signed by WWE's developmental system, Ambrose spent six years building his reputation in independent promotions across the U.S. That's not dissimilar to former Ring of Honor champion Seth Rollins, who won an eight-man tournament in July to become the first NXT Champion. Easily recognized for his black-and-blond mane, Rollins first logged countless hours on the independent circuit and is widely considered one of the best pure grapplers under WWE contract, developmental or otherwise.

“Here’s a guy who was wrestling in bowling alleys and parking lots to learn his trade,” Rhodes explained. “He’s come up the hard way, and he’s not going to let an opportunity pass him by.”

Rhodes resisted speculating about the possible relationship between the NXT standouts and the Punk-Heyman camp. The WWE Champion and his agent have repeatedly denied any culpability in Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns’ back-to-back assaults on Ryback. Still, Rhodes sees a natural comparison between Punk and at least one of Ryback’s assailants.

“Knowing Rollins, I had no idea this was the impact he wanted to make,” he admitted. “But he’s kind of from the CM Punk school of thinking, where he knows there are rules and regulations and he knows there’s a line there. But he also knows that if he crosses the line, there will be an impact felt.”

Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are aggressive hell-raisers — that much is clear. So far, they’ve heeded the advice of their NXT trainers. Now it’s time to see if they can live up to the mighty hype.

“As a coach and a teacher and mentor, as well as the GM of  NXT , I know that all of these kids are told to step up to the plate and hit a home run,” Rhodes said. “Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns just got tired of seeing the other guys out there, making money that could be theirs. They want those WWE roster spots, and they’re ready to knock down doors.”

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