The magnitude that WWE’s developmental brand, NXT, has risen to is undoubted by anyone in 2020. From the ashes of a brand that could barely sell one hundred tickets to a brand that can now sell out arenas across the globe, you just can’t deny the success that the WWE has had with their black and yellow branded baby. However, just like with any brand there are a few bumps in the road. Some things just don’t go the way they were originally believed to go and some ideas slip through the cracks never to be seen again.
Specifically with NXT, there have been quite a few notable talents that have signed with the brand or competed under the NXT umbrella that you may have completely forgotten about. Some aren’t even wrestling anymore and are out venturing into new professions, while some are still working hard at their craft in the professional wrestling world. Never-the-less, here are five former NXT Superstars that you may have completely forgotten about!
Do you remember Raquel Diaz in WWE NXT? If you were a fan of the black and yellow brand after it relaunched into what it is today then the answer is probably no. Raquel Diaz wasn’t too active in NXT as she did have a departure from the brand nearly two months after it began, however, her brief tenure was highly watched at the time by many in the industry. If you’re unfamiliar with Diaz, I should mention a very key point about the talented former superstar – she’s the eldest daughter of WWE Hall of Famer, Eddie Guerrero.
After her departure from WWE in 2012, she did return to the company a full year later. Raquel never appeared on NXT television again, however, and a few months later she’d once again depart from the company. I personally always enjoyed watching Raquel in Flordia Championship Wrestling, which is where most of her work can be seen given how quick her stint in NXT went.
These days, Shaul Guerrero has actually returned to professional wrestling! She’s working with the company, Women Of Wrestling, as a ring announcer. On top of her wrestling work, she’s also a burlesque performer, under her stage name Miss Nyxon. You can find her performing in the Chicago area!
Enzo & Cass were two of WWE NXT’s first big homegrown stars to come from the WWE Performance Center. Though you probably remember Enzo & Cass (maybe not for the best reasons), their first big feud partners might not ring too many bells – Marcus Louis and Sylvester Lefort. Usually when I see Marcus Louis and Sylvester Lefort get talked about, which is rare in it’s own right, no one ever mentions Marcus Louis. He competed on WWE NXT from September 2013 until February 2016.
Undoubtedly his most notable stint in the WWE was his rivalry with Enzo & Cass. Their feud actually culminated in a NXT Takeover match, where Enzo Amore faced off against Sylvester Lefort. Originally the stipulation was whoever lost the singles match would lose their hair, however due to Slyvester welching on the stipulation, Marcus Louis was the one who ended up losing his hair and eyebrows! The newly bald man never really caught fire with WWE NXT after his character repackage and after never really finding any success with the audience, he’d be released in 2016.
After leaving WWE NXT, Marcus found himself signing with Impact Wrestling where he’d have a brief stint that wasn’t very noteworthy either. Outside of wrestling, Marcus has found small success in Hollywood. He can actually also be found in an episode of the hit CW show, The Flash. While professional wrestling didn’t work for him, it seems his acting career is just getting started.
Does this count as cheating? While the majority of this list features nothing but WWE NXT talent featured on the developmental show, this entry was featured on WWE NXT when it was a “game show”. Before WWE NXT replaced FCW as the new developmental territory, WWE NXT was used as a game show featuring eight “rookies” being paired with eight “pros”. Both season one and season two had something seriously in common, and that was the fact that both seasons featured two of the best independent wrestling had to offer at the time – season one featured Daniel Bryan while season two featured Kaval, aka Low Ki.
Kaval competed on the second season of WWE NXT, but on season two the audience was allowed to vote on which superstars were going to be eliminated. Considering how much the world loved Low Ki, it was clear that he was not going to lose the competition. When he went on to win the season, the WWE showed exactly how much faith they had in him – they let him challenge for a title. When you won the NXT season, you’d gain a championship match of your choosing, so did Kaval challenge for the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship? Nope. Instead, Kaval would challenge Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship in a losing effort, and a month later he’d ask for his release.
These days, Low Ki can still be found competing in professional wrestling on the independent scene. While he does take a significant amount of fewer dates, the World Warrior continues to battle on in the pro wrestling world.
Known to the wrestling world as Ivelisse Vélez, of Lucha Underground fame, did you know that Ivelisse also competed in WWE NXT? Ivelisse was first seen in the WWE on the return season of Tough Enough, also with later partner in Lucha Underground, Matt Cross, funny enough. After her stint in Tough Enough, Ivelisse would sign with Florida Championship Wrestling and was given the new name of Sofia Cortez.
Like most on this list, Sofia didn’t last too long in WWE NXT after the rebranding from FCW. Sofia only worked a handful of matches on the black and yellow brand, however, her impact on the brand was felt in other ways and even after her release. Ivelisse was one of the few who actually reported then head coach, Bill DeMott to the higher brass in WWE, for mis-conduct via her own words on a podcast she was apart of with Vince Russo.
The release from WWE didn’t hinder her career at all as she soon became one of the bigger female independent stars. Her run on Lucha Underground was liked by nearly everyone who checked out the show, and these days Ivelisse is continuing to wrestle on the independent scene. She even recently had another tryout with WWE, so who knows, maybe she’ll pop back up in WWE NXT down the line.
It’s time, it’s time, it’s Carter time! You would think that Jake Carter was going to be a future WWE Champion, or at least I did at the time. The man had everything you could want; Carter had a good look, his work on the mic was good enough to pass by most segments, and his in-ring work was extremely underrated. He was a former college football player, and not to mention, he was a second-generation superstar with his father being none other than Big Van Vader.
Jake Carter’s Florida Championship Wrestling career was much more valuable than his WWE NXT run. In FCW, he was a tag team champion, alongside his partner Corey Graves. When NXT decided to turn Graves solo, it seems that is where Jake’s future with the company came up in temporary jeopardy. He never was given the opportunity to really show his abilities in WWE NXT compared to what he had accomplished in FCW.
The second-generation superstar was one of many who suffered after the rebranding of Florida Championship Wrestling. After a very quiet run in WWE NXT that only lasted a few matches, he’d end up leaving the company in September of 2012. It was always baffling to me that WWE never ran with Corey Graves and Jake Carter as a tag team in WWE NXT given what Corey’s future run would look like on the brand.