Without a doubt, NXT has some of the best talent on their roster at this very moment.
With names like Adam Cole, Finn Balor, Pete Dunne, Keith Lee, and others, it’s easy to see why it has become one of the most popular brands in wrestling today.
But while the black-and-yellow brand definitely has its top stars right now, who are going to be the stars of tomorrow? Who will be the faces of NXT once the others move over to RAW or SmackDown?
There are quite a few that could fit the bill; Damien Priest has certainly made an impression since his debut last year, as have the likes of Bronson Reed, Kushida, and Angel Garza. The same can also be said for their women’s division, with Tegan Nox and Xia Li getting their time to shine. Not to mention Chelsea Green and Deonna Purrazzo still haven’t made their NXT TV debuts yet, so it’s only a matter of time before we see them as well.
However, there is one person who has caught my eye over the past several months that could certainly become the next breakout star for NXT. That person is none other than Isaiah “Swerve” Scott.
Scott, better known on the indies as Shane Strickland, started training to become a wrestler at the age of 18. This was also when he was serving as a communications specialist for the U.S. military.
In August 2008, he began training at the Ground Xero Wrestling Training Academy and remained on active duty for the military. Due to his military commitments in York, Pennsylvania, he was only able to wrestle in that general area in the early parts of his career.
Over the next several years, Scott would debut for promotions such as the National Wrestling Alliance, Combat Zone Wrestling, Evolve Wrestling, Westside Xtreme Wrestling, Major League Wrestling, Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, and Lucha Underground.
He is best known for his work in Combat Zone Wrestling, Evolve, and Major League Wrestling. While with CZW, he competed against the likes of David Starr, Dave Crist, Joe Gacy, and Lio Rush. In July 2016, he won the CZW World Heavyweight Championship and held it until November of that year. He was also a two-time CZW Wired TV Champion.
In Evolve Wrestling, Scott faced big names such as Kassius Ohno, Adam Cole, and Matt Riddle, whom he defeated for the Evolve Championship in April 2018. He held the belt for three months before losing it to Fabian Aichner at Evolve 114.
Perhaps his best work was in Major League Wrestling. He made quite the debut in October 2017, defeating Ricochet at One Shot. Just six months later, he participated in an eight-man tournament to crown a new MLW World Heavyweight Champion. Just like in Evolve, Scott defeated Riddle to win the tournament and the title. However, his reign ended after just 91 days, losing the belt to Low Ki.
He went on to feud with Sami Callihan, Low Ki, Rush, and even the MLW management before he left the company in January 2019.
Several months later, WWE came calling and Scott signed with the company in April 2019. He still used his independent name, Shane Strickland, until shortly after his debut against Trevor Lee in a dark match before an NXT TV taping.
In June, Scott was named as one of the participants in the inaugural NXT Breakout Tournament. He made his NXT TV debut in July, where he lost to Cameron Grimes (FKA Trevor Lee) in the first round of the tournament.
Since then he has competed in numerous matches on both NXT and 205 Live, facing the likes of Drew Gulak, Ariya Daivari, Bronson Reed, Dominik Dijakovic, Angel Garza, and NXT North American Champion, Roderick Strong.
Regardless of who he steps in the ring with, Scott always pushes his opponents to the limit. He continues to impress, whether in victory or defeat.
This can easily be attributed to his unique style of wrestling. Right away you can tell he’s a daredevil, taking to the skies for plenty of high-flying offence. But beneath that, he utilises an exceptional striking and submission-based mat game that he learned during his time in the U.S. Army Reserves. This deadly mix makes him extremely hard to prepare for, especially since you don’t know what he’s going to do next.
I don’t think it’s going to be long before he gets his breakout moment. Someone who possesses that kind of talent and charisma are destined to be a top star in whatever company they compete in.
If Scott’s NXT North American Championship match against Strong was any indication, he’s capable of rising to the occasion in big moments. Another title opportunity will surely be in the cards for the Tacoma, Washington native.
You better remember the name, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, because it won’t be long before it becomes a household name on NXT programming.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Shalenehixon21. Thanks for reading!