By Jared "JJF" Jackson-Ferrans
NXT has always been, first and foremost, Triple H's pet project. He's been the lead booker since the beginning, has overseen all the TakeOver specials, and overall has his fingerprints all over the product. With that said, nothing is done entirely by one party, and NXT is no different. From the pilot episode on, there have been a group of underappreciated individuals helping the product become everything it can be, and it would be a shame not to acknowledge them.
You may not know the name, but Ryan Ward may be one of wrestling's most influential and important figures at the current moment. He is the only creative writer contracted to NXT, as well as being the assistant booker for the brand, helping to create the great moments that we see on screen every week. He was rewarded for his work by earning the Booker of the Year Award from the Wrestling Observer, along with Triple H, and his work has earned praise from the more in-depth fans of the WWE.
While NXT has always excelled at producing already made stars from the indies or from excellent wrestling schools, it wasn't until Bill DeMott stepped down that we started to see their homegrown stars pay dividends. This is presumed to be the work of Matt Bloom, the former WWE and NJPW star who took over as lead trainer. Under his leadership, we've seen the emergence of Chad Gable, and marked improvement from Jason Jordan, Baron Corbin and Enzo Amore. The next generation of stars is in good hands. As well, he may have influenced former tag team partner Karl Anderson to jump ship from Japan, thus strengthening the roster.
Sarah Stock and Sara Amato
Both Sarah Stock, formerly TNA's Sarita, and Amato, formerly Sara Del Rey, have shown a remarkable ability to train the next generation of women's wrestlers. Under their tuteledge, Bayley and Sasha Banks grew into two of the best prospects in recent memory of either gender, Dana Brooke and Alexa Bliss have started to make strides, and even Eva Marie is slowly but steadily getting better, if not as a wrestler, then at least as a character. Stock and Amato may no longer wrestle, but their impact on the business continues.
William Regal and Robbie Brookside
Two true legends of British wrestling, Regal and Brookside bring invaluable experience and training ability to the WWE's developmental facilities. In addition, they double as scouts for the WWE, including scouting PWG, which led to signing Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Clearly, the two Brits have a great amount of influence within the company.
Sapolsky is one of the true legendary bookers on the indies, and it's surprising that he has any effect on what happens in the WWE, but the man that booked the original Summer of Punk became the first indy promoter since Paul Heyman in ECW to reach a talent exchange deal with the WWE. Due to this, WWE has access to the likes of Rich Swann, Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa, as well as other Evolve stars that they've yet to take advantage of. As well, it has not been confirmed but is widely believed it was Sapolsky, a longtime supporter, who recommended Austin Aries to Triple H.
Frankly, NXT would not exist without The Dream. He was the brand's original General Manager, helped run promo classes and give talent advice until his death, and built the previous developmental system up from scratch, similar to what Triple H did with NXT. It's unlikely that without Dusty's knowledge and assistance that NXT would exist in the form it does today. Rest in Peace, Dream. The hard times are over.
So there you have it, the Unsung NXT Heroes. I sincerely hope you got to know a bit more about the developmental brand which has captured our hearts, and see the men who stand behind the scenes working hard so Triple H can get more credit.
SEE ALSO: "JJF's Take - Odds of Main Roster Debut for NXT Talents by WrestleMania 33"