NXT 2.0 Debuts Several Fresh Faces

NXT 2.0 Debuts - Bron Breakker stares down Ciampa

Throughout 2019 and 2020, Triple H and members of the NXT  roster such as, at that time, Adam Cole insistently waved the banner that NXT was no longer a developmental territory. The black and gold brand was pushed as a third World Wrestling Entertainment brand in its own right, with a planned international expansion that began with NXT UK. However, that all seems to have changed with the brand’s redevelopment into NXT 2.0. 2.0’s debut on September 14, which saw Tomasso Ciampa score his second NXT championship, continued existing storylines with familiar faces, but also unveiled some fresh talent, some with ties to WWE’s history.

NXT 2.0 Debuts – What they bring

Brooks Jensen

Brooks Jensen, the son of former WWE tag team champion Bull Buchanan debuted alongside his tag team partner Josh Briggs, the last EVOLVE champion.  Briggs and Jensen took on Imperium, and despite early bluster lost to them.

What they bring to NXT: Led by their “Ring General” the commanding WALTER, Imperium evokes memories of 20th century oppressive regimes with their stoic air of superiority and quest for transatlantic domination. Jensen and Briggs seem cast as their boisterous, cowboy-esque contrast.

Trick Williams

As black and gold NXT was in its final days, Carmelo Hayes won the Breakout Tournament. The swirling rumors of change to the brand overshadowed that his victory was something of an upset: the live Capitol Wrestling Center crowds were vocally in support of Odyssey Jones, and the vivacious big man seemed to have the tournament wrapped up until the decisive bout with Hayes. NXT 2.0 debuted Hayes’s associate, Trick Williams.

What He Brings to NXT: Hayes has nascent charisma, but Williams is a handy mouthpiece to have on spare. He talked up Hayes and the impact he is going to have on NXT, but at times Hayes seemed somewhat skeptical of his hypeman. The chemistry between the two didn’t belie long-time friends, but they’ll probably mesh after some time together. Williams and Hayes took offense with titan Duke Hudson, and jumped him in ring. Hayes and Williams have a while to go before they have the tool bro anti-charm and heel besties charisma of Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page, but with a good babyface adversary, perhaps the vibrant and energetic MSK, they’ll perhaps settle into their role.

B-Fab & Katrina Cortez

B-Fab and Katrina Cortez made their in-ring  NXT 2.0 debuts against each other. B-Fab is no stranger to NXT audiences, an established part of the Hit Row stable. After being hyped by the rest of her crew, B-Fab made easy work of Cortez in the ring. Elektra Lopez, however, entered the scene seconds after B-Fab’s victory for a confrontation. In the latter weeks of black and gold NXT, it was revealed that Lopez was not merely a manager figure for Legado Del Fantasma, but a Chyna-like enforcer willing to dust it up with her allies’ opponents to ensure Santos Escobar and co. get the win.

What They Bring to NXT: In B-Fab, Lopez has an opponent she can go on one with in the ring, both representing their warring factions and carrying Legado and Hit Row’s rivalry into the women’s division. Unfortunately for Cortez, she seemed to be utilized in an enhancement capacity, to help drive the Lopez vs B-Fab storyline.

Von Wagner & Bron Breakker

Two of 2.0’s most prominently featured emerging talents of the night were Von Wagner and Bron Breakker. Wagner ‘rescued’ Kyle O’Reilly from a locker room run-in with Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland. He also replaced O’Reilly in the fatal four-way against LA Knight, Dunne, and eventual winner Ciampa. Wagner held his own against the more seasoned athletes, and it’s clear from his heroic casting and prodigious size that big things are in store for his future at 2.0.

Then there was Breaker, who started the night’s action with a victory against Knight in 2.0’s very first match, and ended it eyeing Ciampa and his championship. It was quite an intro for a new member of the roster, but the fanfare might be because Breaker is the son of Rick Steiner, a tag team wrestling legend alongside brother Scott Steiner.

What They Bring to NXT: With NXT once again being developmental, Breaker and Wagner are at the vanguard of its new crop of young talent being groomed for future success within WWE. While scouting the indie wrestling scene procured the talented performers that put NXT on the map as a destination for high-quality pro wrestling, WWE is looking to a model that grooms young performers in a more ‘in-house’ style. Only time will tell if that produces the next generation of WrestleMania main eventers, but performers like Breaker and Wagner are the first to step onto the proving ground.