At Survivor Series 2012, three men from the NXT roster debuted out of the blue as a cohesive unit and disrupted the WWE Championship match. From that moment forward, these men did not let up, as they continued to run roughshod over everyone in the company, from the lowest wrestler on the totem pole all the way up to superstars on the level of The Rock.
This unit was dubbed The Shield and was comprised of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Two of them, Rollins and Ambrose, spent many years roughing it on the independent circuit until finally being signed by WWE. After some time being developed and taught the McMahonland way of doing things, they were deemed worthy of the big call up.
Ambrose made it to WWE just 19 months after being signed to a developmental deal. He never appeared on the NXT branded TV series, but was a staple of the developmental show when it was still under the FCW banner. Seth Rollins was the first “superstar” of the NXT era, being crowned the first NXT Champion. From developmental signing to WWE main roster debut, Rollins was under contract for 27 months. The third member, Reigns, went from football to WWE developmental and was signed for 28 months before his debut as a member of The Shield.
What does this background history mean for the future, you ask? Well, WWE has recently made some very highly publicized signings, bringing both North American independent stars and international stars on as new members of the WWE family. The most notable tenured pair at the present time are Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville, the current NXT Champion. Zayn and Neville are getting very close to the amount of time it took for the members of The Shield, at 20 and 26 months respectively. Both are big stars in NXT, and both are ready for prime time.
When will we see these two men? Will we have to wait until after WrestleMania? Will either of them show up for the Royal Rumble? Is it going to be mid-to-late 2016 until we get to see Kevin Steen, KENTA or Prince Devitt on the main shows?
These are interesting times indeed. Will the next debuting NXT stars hit it big like The Shield? Maybe they’ll be high on the midcard food chain like Rusev. Will anybody get hype before debuting and subsequently land himself on the edge of a filler role?
Maybe we’ll get another Adam Rose. My money’s on Mojo Rawley getting called up too soon and getting shuffled to Superstars and losing efforts on SmackDown in a fairly short period of time.