NXT’s big 200

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December 18, 2013

Feb. 16, 2010. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just completed my commentary obligations for the final episode of ECW on Syfy when those of us associated with the brand were pulled aside by WWE officials and informed that a new show would be taking its place—WWE NXT. We heard the show would be like no other, a brand new concept aimed at highlighting young competitors fresh out of WWE’s Developmental System to be paired up with WWE Superstars in an NXT Rookie/WWE Pro type of relationship. Those on the show would be eliminated weekly with the winner earning a contract as a full-time WWE Superstar.

Naturally, some of us had our doubts about whether or not the concept would work, but nearly four years later and with our 200th episode in the history books, I think it’s safe to say that not only has the concept been successful, the show has created a who’s who of current WWE Superstars and Divas.

Check out photos from the 200th episode of NXT!

“I remember looking at the other seven competitors at the beginning of the series and knowing I wasn’t going to let any of them beat me,” Bad News Barrett told WWE.com.

Alongside his assigned WWE Pro, Chris Jericho, Barrett won the first season of NXT. How much momentum did the show give him? The former bare-knuckle fighter would go on to form the rebel groups known as the Nexus and the Corre, in addition to capturing the Intercontinental Championship.

“As far as we knew, only the winner would get a WWE contract. I was 100 percent confident of winning and I would have resorted to any tactics necessary to ensure that happened,” he said.

But Barrett’s first-season win didn’t necessarily close the door on the careers of its other competitors. Who else spent time on the inaugural episode? Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, David Otunga, Ryback, Darren Young and, YES!, even Daniel Bryan.

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