New invasion? NXT makes its presence felt on Raw

New invasion? NXT makes its presence felt on Raw

Paige vs. AJ Lee - Divas Championship Match: Raw, April 7, 2014

NXT Superstar Paige debuts on Raw in a very big way.

This past Monday Night, AJ Lee stood in the center of the ring with the WWE Divas Title in her possession for an unprecedented 295th day. As more than 15,000 members of the WWE Universe looked on in New Orleans with millions more across the globe, the Divas Champion was on cloud nine. Why wouldn't she be? The "Savior of the Divas Division" fended off 13 other challengers to leave WrestleMania 30 with her title intact. AJ's euphoria was a sharp contrast to the nervous jitters of the young lady about to saunter down the ramp. As the NXT Women's Champion, Paige is no stranger to confrontation … at NXT. But this was a different story and a much different arena. This was the flagship television show of WWE, Monday Night Raw, and Paige was about to make her first impromptu appearance. 

"I decided to throw caution to the wind and just do it," the new Divas Champion told

The rest, as they say, is history.  Paige attempted to congratulate AJ on her accomplishment, but AJ decided she would embarrass “The Diva of Tomorrow" for attempting to share the spotlight. In what might have been the biggest backfire of the year, Paige reversed the Black Widow to deliver the Paige Turner and capture the WWE Divas Championship on her first night.

"It still doesn't seem real. Sometimes I've gotta pinch myself just to make sure it is," Paige admitted. 

See photos of Paige winning the Divas Championship

Zack Ryder vs. Alexander Rusev: Raw, April 7, 2014

Zack Ryder goes one-on-one with the debuting Alexander Rusev.

What is real was the growing presence of a brand.  Four stars from NXT were prominently featured on Monday Night Raw and could soon be an integral part of WWE.

"The Rusev Legacy has begun in the WWE and no one can stop it," said Alexander Rusev's Social Ambassador, Lana, following Rusev's debut victory over Zack Ryder. 

After weeks of buildup, The Bulgarian Brute didn't disappoint. Having made quick work of Ryder, The Ravishing Russian claimed it was standard operating procedure for The Super Athlete. 

"What did you expect? Soon enough, every American will rise and honor Alexander Rusev," she said.

See photos of Rusev vs. Ryder

In addition to Rusev and Paige, viewers got their first look at the upcoming debuts of Adam Rose and former NXT Champion Bo Dallas. On the surface, we might credit the appearances to the restart of WWE's calendar year, but the parallels might tell us a different story.

Hop on Adam Rose's Exotic Express

"Dude, all these NXT debuts reminds me of the WCW/ECW invasion back in the day," one WWE Superstar told us under the condition anonymity. "All the signs are there and the timing is perfect.  Attack the Divas division, attack the Superstars and when the time is right, you show your hand. It's like a game of chess and once you score checkmate, there's nothing that the opposition can do." 

As farfetched as the concept seems, could it really happen? Imagine a super faction of Alexander Rusev, Bo Dallas, Adam Rose and Paige. Could this group prove to be even more dominant than the already feared Wyatt Family and The Shield? On NXT, all four stars have successfully pursued their own agendas, but is it possible that each decided to depend on the other to ensure a successful career on the next level? Stranger things have happened.

For now, NXT's presence is indeed being felt along the axis of the WWE Universe. But should these young competitors’ arrival in WWE dissolve into an all-out assault on the WWE Superstars and Divas, just remember, you heard it here first.  Something tells us one way or another, things are about to get very interesting.

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