With Wrestlemania 32 in the rearview mirror, the WWE began looking to the future on Monday night, as several talents from the developmental brand NXT made an emphatic debut on the main roster.
With Shane McMahon running the show, the first of many call-ups was the smiling, athletic Adonis known as Apollo Crews. Formerly known as Uhaa Nation from his lengthy run on the independent circuit, Crews received a warm response from the passionate Dallas crowd.
Crews faced former NXT superstar Tyler Breeze in his debut match, defeating “Prince Pretty” in convincing fashion.
— WWE (@WWE) April 5, 2016
After signing with WWE last year, Crews made his NXT debut last August at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn by defeating Tye Dillinger. In the months after his debut, Crews became a mainstay on NXT television, wrestling the likes of Baron Corbin and Finn Balor. Crews’ match against Balor was for the NXT championship but the match ended in disqualification.
Following his debut, several people within the industry extended their congratulations to Crews.
— Johnny Gargano (@JohnnyGargano) April 5, 2016
1 year ago we said goodbye to Apollo Crews from WWN Family. Just watched him kill it in his Raw debut. He earned it. So great to see
— Gabe Sapolsky (@BookItGabe) April 5, 2016
— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) April 5, 2016
The next call-up was a carryover from Wrestlemania 32, as “The Lone Wolf” Baron Carbon cemented his main roster status. The night before, Corbin entered the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and won the match.
Corbin, a former NFL player and boxer, briefly addressed the crowd before facing Dolph Ziggler in his first RAW match. The match ended in a count out, but Corbin proceeded to hit Ziggler with his End of Days finisher on the outside of the ring.
— Baron Corbin (@BaronCorbinWWE) April 4, 2016
In what can only be described as a long time coming, popular NXT tag team Enzo Amore and Colin “Big Cass” Cassady made their main roster debut. The charismatic duo hit the ring and insulted the legendary Dudley Boyz as they watched from the entrance ramp. Amore verbally berated both competitors with his “gift of gab,” telling Devon Dudley that he would put his “lazy eye back to work.”
The crowd chanted and moved along with Amore and Cassady to all of their customary catchphrases and gyrations. The two teams are expected to feud going forward as Bubba Ray Dudley issued a warning on Twitter.
— WWE (@WWE) April 5, 2016
Amore and Cassady are not the only tag team that is getting its chance on the main roster. Former NXT Tag Team champions The Vaudevillians (Simon Gotch and Aiden English) will make their debut on SmackDown later this week.
For several months, there was speculation that NXT champion Finn Balor would make his main roster debut at some point this past weekend. He was expected to debut alongside recent signees Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows as either Balor Club or Bulletproof. However, they did not make an appearance at either Wrestlemania 32 or RAW, and their status going forward is uncertain.
After the success of NXT Takeover: Dallas last Friday, the brand is quickly becoming a feeder system to bolster WWE’s main roster.
[Featured Image via WWE]