Since its inception in 2012, WWE's developmental brand NXT has quickly become one of the most interesting professional wrestling shows to watch. Initially conceived as a place to train and groom talent to become "WWE Raw" and "Smackdown" superstars, NXT has grown to have its own weekly show, quarterly specials and regular touring schedule.
It's often been said by Paul "Triple H" Levesque, WWE executive vice president of Talent/Live Events/Creative, that NXT could rival the popularity of "Raw" or "Smackdown" and now its time may finally have come.
For the first time ever, NXT will be heavily featured in WWE's next video game, "WWE 2K17." In the past, there have been NXT supsterstars and arenas to use in the game, but now the group is getting their own version of the title. The NXT Edition of "WWE 2K17" includes not only the game, but a selection of NXT's biggest names -- Shinsuke Nakamura, Nia Jax and Apollo Crews -- as downloadable characters, an lithograph signed by Nakamure, an eight inch "Demon" Finn Balor figure you can't find anywhere else and a number of other collectibles exclusive to the game.
For Triple H, inclusion in the game is the next logical step for the group. "It's hard for me sometimes to imagine that just a few years ago NXT was just a concept we had," he says on a conference call with the media. "It has grown into a global third brand. To me it sits right alongside 'Raw' and 'Smackdown' as a third brand."
Calling it the "bedrock" of WWE, he adds, "The evolution of NXT has been incredible over the last few years."
With new talent constantly debuting on the show, that's not something that's going to be changing anytime soon. At the rate it's growing, it won't be long before NXT has its own standalone game.
"WWE 2K17" is available beginning Oct. 11 on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. The NXT edition of the game will only be available on current generation systems and is limited to a run of 50,000 copies.