Who’s still around?: the first season of NXT

NXT was originally the replacement show for ECW. Quite a few stars came out of this program, but just how many of them are still on the roster?

Season One


Wade Barrett: The winner of the first season of NXT was also the original leader of the Nexus. Winner of the 2015 King of the Ring tournament, Barrett currently calls himself “King Barrett.”


Daniel Bryan: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. He was one of the first “rookies” eliminated from NXT, was fired after “going too far” during the debut attack of the Nexus, and has since held every title that WWE has other than the Divas title—including his Wrestlemania XXX defeat of Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton to win the WWE World Heavyweight championship. Sadly, he may be on the verge of retirement after back-to-back neck injuries.


Justin Gabriel: The South African native spent time on the tag team circuit, first with Heath Slater and later with Tyson Kidd. He won the championship several times with Slater, and challenged with Kidd. No singles victories to speak of, and admitted to being Adam Rose’s Bunny. Left the company in January 2015. Now calls himself “P. J. Black” in Global Force Wrestling.

David Otunga: Has a Harvard law degree and is married to Oscar-winning singer Jennifer Hudson. Rarely seen in action on WWE television, though he hosts the pre-show on the WWE Network.


Skip Sheffield: Now called “Ryback.” You might’ve heard of him. “Feed. Me. More.”


Heath Slater: The Millennial version of the Brooklyn Brawler, Slater is at this point nearly a full-time jobber. Rarely wins a match. Looks almost exactly the same now as he did five years ago.


Michael Tarver: Released from his contract on 13 June 2011, the only first-season NXT rookie to not have a significant WWE career.


Darren Young: Formed the Prime-Time Players with fellow NXT alumni Titus O’Neil. Then made even bigger news by coming out as openly homosexual. To the credit of the WWE, he has not been buried, with the Prime-Time Players currently enjoying a renewed push.


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