After several weeks of teasing vignettes, SAnitY made its debut on NXT television Wednesday and it couldn’t have made more of an impact.
The group walked out looking like a horror biker gang to a dark Full Sail arena with a ghoolish hard rock theme. Alexander Wolfe and Sawyer Fulton revealed themselves before defeating Tye Dillinger and Bobby Roode (who quickly walked away from the match) to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament.
After the match, Nikki Cross revealed herself and attacked Dillinger before being pulled away by the group’s last masked member. The mystery man then proceeded to slam Dillinger before revealing himself to be Eric Young, who hadn’t appeared on NXT since making his debut several months prior.
Overall, the gimmick itself seems awesome. It’s very dark, brutal and demands to be taken seriously. But that’s just based on first glance.
We don’t know much about SAnitY as a group otherwise, but can analyze what to expect moving forward. Fulton and Wolfe have long been developmental Superstars who worked matches during NXT’s local Florida tours. Both Superstars needed a gimmick beyond generic wrestler, which is why their television debuts couldn’t have gone any better.
What’s great about using Fulton and Wolfe is that they aren’t too familiar to take on such dramatic character changes. Fulton is a former amateur wrestler who has been in developmental since 2012. Wolfe is a German import whose first taste at American wrestling came when he signed with WWE in 2015.
So really, NXT is starting fresh with both characters. Aside from the Floridians who saw them wrestle in Largo or Coral Springs, most fans won’t be as familiar with either competitor as much as someone like Rich Swann or Cedric Alexander, for instance.
Cross is a bit more familiar with the hardcore fans. ICW has gained a bigger following among wrestling fans in the United States and the Scottish wrestler has also competed in TNA Wrestling as well. She’s also gained a reputation as one of the best female workers on the planet, so her debut was anticipated among hardcore fans.
But given that this was her first appearance on NXT television, it’s perfectly acceptable to start her character fresh. That’s why she was revealed later as a surprise, but doesn’t seem ill fitting of the gimmick.
Young is definitely the most well-known member of the group. He is a former TNA Champion and arguably one of its most popular wrestlers of all time. That being said, his past gimmicks make his alliance with the group believable since he’s had sort of a “crazy” thing going on previously.
But what’s most important is that Young provides three developmental talents with a veteran presence. Young isn’t in NXT to develop his character, rather introduce himself to the WWE universe — although most NXT fans are probably already familiar with him — and help get younger superstars over. He can do both as the veteran leader of SAnitY, which looks to carve a niche into NXT’s roster.
Based on initial observations, it seems very similar to TNA’s Decay faction. You have the scary odd factor, a veteran and a female competitor. Even the name “SAnitY” should draw comparisons to Decay member Crazzy Steve. Or perhaps it’s similar to Raven’s Flock in WCW.
Either way, it seems like an interesting gimmick that could get over quickly with the NXT audience. We should expect to see plenty of SAnitY in the coming weeks, including a strong push in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and perhaps some interaction outside of the tag team division.
Young could use his henchmen to contend for the NXT Champion while Cross could do the same challenging for the Women’s Championship. There are many possibilities for this group, but it’s still too early to assume.
Still, it will be interesting to see what kind of impact SAnitY has on NXT forward after making an outstanding first impression in its television debut.