WWE NXT has produced some of the top names in the pro wrestling industry like Seth “Freaking” Rollins, Charlotte Flair, and, of course, current WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. The brand’s success in producing stars is likely due to the mix of raw athletes, college talents, and top independent pro wrestling names. Occasionally, main roster stars, like Apollo Crews, find a temporary home on the yellow brand while they attempt to shake up their character and find a new direction.
This past Tuesday night, NXT fans were treated to two main roster stars gracing the brand with their presence, Mustafa Ali and Baron Corbin. Corbin has spent time in NXT before, starting his WWE career there with a four-year stint starting in 2012. Ali, on the other hand, has never appeared on NXT programming. The young, Muslim star was signed by WWE in 2016, just as Corbin was wrapping up in NXT, and after competing in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic became a staple on WWE’s 205 Live show, bypassing an NXT run.
Fightful reports that both Ali and Corbin’s appearances in NXT have been planned for “quite a while,” and this is the reason both men were left as free agents following the most recent WWE Draft. One source noted that despite the cynicism around both men not being drafted, there was an actual plan in place this time around to explain the decision, and neither man is being left hanging in the wind.
The report also noted that multiple NXT talents had requested to work with Ali, and this was a request he was more than willing to oblige. While both men are a part of WWE’s developmental brand, the expectation is that they will bring interest to the show while also helping to refresh their characters. It will also give WWE management a chance to assess the talents they work with while giving them a chance to learn from main roster stars.
Despite both men’s moves down to NXT, it appears that they could still appear on Raw and Smackdown when needed. At the moment, however, it looks like Ali will be involved in the NXT North American title picture while Corbin will be mixing it up with Carmelo Hayes for the WWE NXT Championship.