10 reasons why WWE NXT on USA Network is must-see

The Undisputed ERA looks to fulfill its prophecy of being draped in championship gold on WWE NXT's premiere on USA Network.

With WWE NXT’s debut on USA Network only days away, there has never been a better time to check out the groundbreaking brand on Wednesday nights. Whether you’re an unfamiliar fan curious to see what’s behind the growing buzz or a stalwart seeking a reminder as to why NXT is setting a new gold standard in sports-entertainment, check out 10 reasons why WWE NXT on USA Network is must-see — and don’t forget to tune in to USA Network next Wednesday at 8/7 C for the premiere.

Watch the champions and WrestleMania main-eventers of tomorrow — today

NXT has long been the proving ground for the next big Superstars. Seven former NXT competitors currently hold championship gold across Raw and SmackDown LIVE, including Universal Champion Seth Rollins.

Main-eventing WrestleMania is among the highest peaks one can reach in the world of sports-entertainment, and it’s one that NXT alumni aren’t strangers to. Former NXT competitors have been involved in each of the last five WrestleMania main events, including Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair this past April.

Many other recognizable faces dotting Monday and Tuesday nights also came from the black-and-gold brand, including Roman Reigns, Sasha Banks, Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, Finn Bálor, Shinsuke Nakamura and Ricochet. NXT offers a glimpse into the future of WWE every single week.

Unique in-ring styles

Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic: WWE NXT, Aug. 28, 2019

Giants take flight as Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic renew their breathtaking rivalry inside the NXT ring. Video courtesy of the award-winning WWE Network.

Whatever your taste for in-ring action may be, you’ll be satisfied with the diverse stylings of NXT’s roster.

Consider yourself a purist placing a premium on technical execution? Look no further than The Messiah of the Backbreaker, Roderick Strong.

Perhaps you’re seeking out seemingly unfathomable acrobatics — check out the aerial arsenal of “The Genius of the Sky,” Io Shirai.

Prefer tag team action? The combination of agility, strength and scintillating teamwork of The Street Profits has you covered.

Feel no greater thrill than seeing superstars flout physics? The 300-plus pound “Limitless” Keith Lee pulls off feats previously only thought possible in video games.

You simply want raw, unbridled physicality? “The BruiserWeight” Pete Dunne will satisfy your appetite.  

Or maybe you want a little bit of everything. In that case, Johnny Gargano — the heart and soul of NXT himself — features as well-rounded a repertoire as you’ll find in all of WWE.

Experiencing The Velveteen Dream

Velveteen Dream makes an all-American entrance: NXT TakeOver: New York (WWE Network Exclusive)

NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream commands the spotlight as he heads to the ring to face challenger Matt Riddle: Courtesy of WWE Network.

Throughout history, some Superstars simply defy the patterns of all those who have come before them. The Velveteen Dream encapsulates that definition more than any talent in recent memory.

Purveying an almost indescribable style all his own, the NXT North American Champion’s enigmatic persona often rattles his opponents’ focus while simultaneously commanding the attention of the NXT Universe.

Don’t let The Velveteen Dream’s carefully curated and perfectly outfitted appearance fool you, though. He’s just as capable of serving looks on his way to the ring as he is delivering punishment inside of it.

A dynamic Women’s division

Io Shirai vs. Shayna Baszler - NXT Women's Title Steel Cage Match: WWE NXT, June 26, 2019

Io Shirai challenges Shayna Baszler in NXT’s first-ever Women’s Steel Cage Match, then unloads her fury on former ally Candice LeRae in a vicious post-match attack. Video courtesy of the award-winning WWE Network.

WWE’s Four Horsewomen — Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Bayley, and Sasha Banks — have played significant roles in pushing forward the Women’s Evolution, and they all cut their teeth in NXT. The black-and-gold brand also produced WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa BlissNikki Cross.

The division’s current crop of talent shouldn’t be overlooked, either, with WWE’s longest-reigning titleholder, NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler, at the very top of the list. The Queen of Spades’ precocious competition includes the plucky Candice LeRae, the incomparably athletic Bianca Belair and the relentless Mia Yim. And don’t forget Baszler’s partners in crime, fellow MMA Horsewomen Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir.

Mauro Ranallo’s priceless reactions

These Mauro Ranallo reactions will make your day

The Voice of NXT lets the "Mamma Mias" fly as he takes calls the action of NXT TakeOver: Phoenix as only he can.

So many of NXT’s most unforgettable moments are indelibly linked to Mauro Ranallo, the brand’s play-by-play voice. Combine an encyclopedic knowledge of sports-entertainment and its history, an astute understanding of NXT’s combatants and their journeys and, of course, his creative and impassioned diction, and you have a recipe for excitement.

Ranallo’s signature calls are often an extension of the boisterous crowd at Full Sail Live, adding even more energy to every event, one “Mamma Mia!” at a time.

The Undisputed ERA

Undisputed ERA double-down on championship prediction: WWE.com Exclusive, June 19, 2019

After a huge triumph in six-man tag team action, Undisputed ERA say it’s “only a matter of time” until the NXT North American and Tag Team Titles are theirs.

Many groups have staked a claim among the best in the annals of WWE, but few have been as dominant and proficient in recent years than The Undisputed ERA. Led by NXT Champion Adam Cole and rounded out by Roderick Strong and NXT Tag Team Champions Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish, the quartet of squared circle veterans has accomplished nearly everything they’ve set their sights on since coming together.

Perhaps the only thing left for The Undisputed ERA is to capture all the gold that NXT has to offer, something the group will be counting on Strong to do when he challenges The Velveteen Dream for the NXT North American Championship this Wednesday.

“Sir” William Regal

William Regal announces NXT Title Match for TakeOver: Toronto: WWE.com Exclusive, July 17 2019

NXT General Manager William Regal reveals that Johnny Gargano will face NXT Champion Adam Cole at TakeOver: Toronto in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match in which each Superstar picks a stipulation for a fall.

Although William Regal hasn’t competed in the ring for nearly six years, the former Intercontinental Champion and 2008 King of the Ring still makes his presence felt. But instead of punishing others inside the squared circle, Regal has made NXT Superstars feel the metaphorical power of his punch from behind his desk as NXT’s General Manager since 2014.

Regal has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to make tough decisions in a diplomatic, yet firm manner. This summer he helped put an end to the unrelenting rivalry between Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole when he placed the two in a diabolical Steel Cage Match in the third fall of a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match at TakeOver: Toronto, and he also crafted the NXT Breakout Tournament won by Jordan Myles, helping to showcase several promising Superstars.

Match of the Year candidates

Johnny Gargano goes for the pin against Adam Cole in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match: NXT TakeOver: New York (WWE Network Exclusive)

With the score tied 1-1, Johnny Gargano digs deep to try to put Adam Cole away to capture the NXT Championship: Courtesy of WWE Network.

Some of the best action in WWE can be found within the golden ropes of NXT. In fact, seven of the selections in WWE.com’s Top 25 Matches of 2018 were from NXT, including three top-10 selections and two that took place on NXT TV.

With a roster boasting the likes of Johnny Gargano, Adam Cole, Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle, almost any WWE NXT match could be one for the ages.

Surprise appearances

Tyler Breeze returns to NXT with a surprise for Velveteen Dream: WWE NXT, May 22, 2019

Prince Pretty returns to the black-and-gold brand to let Velveteen Dream know that he’s “inspired” by Dream’s NXT North American Title. Video courtesy of the award-winning WWE Network.

You never know who might show up on an episode of NXT. Look no further than NXT UK’s Rhea Ripley – who recently challenged NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler -- Tyler Breeze’s stunning return or Drew Gulak’s series with Kushida — all taking place this year alone.   

Returns and unexpected appearances have long been a staple of NXT, dating back to bouts featuring Cesaro and Too Cool at NXT ArRIVAL in 2015. Given that track record, an unexpected Superstar showing up unannounced is always on the table. 

A mouthwatering lineup this Wednesday

Velveteen Dream vs. Roderick Strong

Still not quite sold? A tantalizing card is already on the books for the first live edition of WWE NXT this Wednesday, headlined by The Velveteen Dream’s defense of his NXT North American Championship against Roderick Strong. Dream escaped a title threat from Strong and Pete Dunne in a Triple Threat Match at last month’s TakeOver: Toronto, but a one-on-one encounter represents a different challenge entirely — especially with the rest of The Undisputed ERA likely not far behind.  

And that’s not all. Matt Riddle and Killian Dain will renew hostilities in a Street Fight. Dain owns a singles victory over Riddle, but little has been settled between the two, who also walloped each other in an impromptu brawl in Toronto.

We will also learn the next challenger to Shayna Baszler’s NXT Women’s Championship, which will be determined by a Fatal 4-Way between Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, Mia Yim and Io Shirai.

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