In addition to the stellar in-ring action, NXT Takeover events tend to give fans a glimpse of the wrestlers expected to make their debuts for the black and gold brand in the near future.
In the past, prominent independent names like Bobby Roode and Matt Riddle have been in the crowd at big events prior to becoming permanent fixtures on the full-time roster. Last night’s NXT Takeover: Toronto show was no different, as another independent star was spotted mingling with the fans.
WWE.com reports that Evolve Champion Austin Theory was on camera in the crowd at last night’s pay-per-view, with commentator Mauro Ranallo describing the young hotshot as “a name to remember.”
This is the second WWE Network appearance for Theory this summer. Last month, he was also featured on the Evolve anniversary event, which aired on the same night as All Elite Wrestling’s Fight for the Fallen show.
While there is no word on Theory being brought in to NXT at the time of this writing, last night’s appearance does seem to suggest that WWE will be his destination in the near future.
Theory is widely tipped to become a huge star in the wrestling industry. The reigning EVOLVE Champion is only 22-years-old. Yet, he is already one of the most popular performers at one of the most notable independent companies in North America. It’s appears to only be a matter of time before he moves on to bigger things.
His appearance at NXT Takeover: Toronto is also further confirmation of the working relationship between EVOLVE and WWE.
Cageside Seats previously reported that the independent promotion has been a feeder system for quite some time. These days, however, their working relationship is more out in the open.
"Austin Theory. A name to remember when it comes to up and coming sports entertainment stars." — @mauroranallo
— EVOLVE Wrestling (@WWNEVOLVE) August 11, 2019
The partnership between both companies has also seen numerous NXT talents appear at EVOLVE events. According to Dave Meltzer, per 411Mania, the reason for this is so WWE’s rising talent can get more in-ring experience and garner “street cred” among the independent fan base.
WWE also hopes to bring more exposure to EVOLVE. That is why it is common to see their events promoted on WWE’s website.
The extra eyes on EVOLVE are advantageous to WWE, as this might encourage more fans to subscribe to the WWE Network.
Last year, WrestleTalk reported that the company plans to showcase more independent promotions on their streaming service. By helping these promotions attract a larger audience, WWE’s business interests are better served.