In recent months, the wrestling world has witnessed the transition of several AEW talents to WWE’s developmental system, with much attention on figures like Jade Cargill. However, before the spotlight shone on Cargill, WWE quietly signed Brian Pillman Jr. after his contract with AEW expired. Now performing under the moniker “Lexis King,” Pillman finds himself in a significant role in one of NXT’s major storylines.
As he gears up for his first match at a WWE premium live event against former NXT champion Carmelo Hayes, the decision to feature King prominently has raised eyebrows. During a media call ahead of the event, NXT head Shawn Michaels shed light on why King is getting such a spotlight, indicating that the second-generation wrestler might not have found what he needed during his time in AEW.
Michaels acknowledged the challenges faced by King, stating, “I think he’s been doing a great job. I think he understands he’s gotten tossed in. He’s been doing everything he can, he’s been working well with us. He asks a lot of questions, he’s a hungry kid, and he’s somebody that’s adapted and adjusted to the structure that we have in NXT in a real positive way.”
The WWE Hall of Famer emphasized that King is a prime example of how NXT’s structure can be beneficial, suggesting that the young talent needed the guidance and framework provided by the developmental system.
While not as overtly critical as some previous comments made by WWE executives about AEW talent, Michaels’ remarks convey a similar message to aspiring wrestlers weighing their options between WWE and AEW. The emphasis on structure and development in NXT serves as a persuasive factor for talents seeking career advancement.
As Lexis King steps into the ring at Deadline tonight, the results on screen will determine the effectiveness of NXT’s structure in shaping and elevating talents, making a case for the developmental system championed by Shawn Michaels.