Photo Surfaces of Lost NXT Season Featuring Rollins, Big E, More

Remember back when NXT was a television game show that aired before Smackdown taped every week. If you don’t, the concept featured a group of about 6-8 wrestlers picked from Florida Championship Wrestling (WWE’s former developmental branch), and they would engage in a competition wherein contestants would be voted off each week. The winner earned a spot on the roster. The first season featured the likes of Daniel Bryan, Wade Barrett, Skip Sheffield (later Ryback), and Heath Slater. The other seasons featured a few other WWE successes and flops, but the show was booted from the Syfy network. It later became the NXT brand that we’re familiar with today.
Recently, an unnamed source on social media leaked out a photo of what was to be the cast of a future season of NXT. The lineup isn’t so bad actually, it would have had Seth Rollins, Big E, Bo Dallas, Damien Sandow, Adam Rose, and Sin Cara (as Hunico). Despite the season never officially airing, all six of the wrestlers that would have been featured on the season did make it to the WWE main roster at some point anyway. This picture presumably would have been taken around 2011-2012, this is when all wrestlers were still in FCW, and the NXT show was still running at that time. It’s interesting to think of how some of today’s most popular wrestlers could have initially debuted.

Big E responded to a fan who tweeted him the photo on Twitter by confirming that it was:
An NXT season that never was. Thank the Lord.
— ShinigamE (@WWEBigE) May 30, 2017
Seth Rollins was later alerted to the picture, he also gave a response:

Holy crap
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) May 30, 2017

It’s hard to imagine now, but the old NXT show was primarily how WWE debuted new stars on the main roster during the two years or so that it ran on for. Thinking about Seth Rollins and Big E on the show being paired with a “pro” seems insane now, but this was apparently the plan for a while. Think about modern NXT standouts such as Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Johnny Gargano, and Tommaso Ciampa making their main roster debuts through the old NXT format. Luckily, things seemed to work out for the better for the six wrestlers involved, as well as all future WWE developmental wrestlers when the NXT show was changed to a touring developmental brand.

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