The Great NXT Call-Up of 2016 has come and gone, with the likes of American Alpha, Alexa Bliss, Mojo Rawley and Carmella getting drafted to Smackdown and Nia Jax sent to Raw. But no NXT Superstar may be missed more than former NXT Champion Finn Bálor, who was chosen by Raw in the first round in the WWE Draft, and is already slated for a WWE Universal Championship title shot at SummerSlam after pinning Roman Reigns in the main event of Raw last week.
Bálor already had one NXT “curtain call” of sorts last month in Louisville, alongside American Alpha. But on July 30 in Houston, Bálor made his official final appearance in NXT, as did Jax, Rawley and Carmella, who were all summoned to the ring by Bayley after the conclusion of the main event for a proper send-off. About midway through the 16-minute farewell, Bálor takes the mic from Bayley and spoke from the heart about the level of passion and talent from everyone currently in NXT, singling out Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Hideo Itami and others.
But the person he praised the most was Matt Bloom, who took over as the head coach of NXT in May 2015 following Bill DeMott stepping down after a series of allegations regarding physical and emotional abuse toward NXT talent came out. Bálor doesn’t mention DeMott by name, but his remarks clearly indicate that something was amiss in NXT back then, and he credits Bloom with righting the developmental brand’s ship, as can be heard at the 11-minute mark of the below video:
“But you know who’s done more than anybody to take it to another level? It’s a man that goes by many names: A-Train, the Hip-Hop Hippo, Giant Bernard, Tensai. But we all know him affectionately as our coach, Matt Bloom. And he single-handedly, from the day he took over at the Performance Center, changed the way we treat NXT from the inside. Because I’m telling ya, before Matt Bloom was here, it was a struggle. And now, every single day we walk into the Performance Center, we walk in with a smile — and it’s thanks to that man standing over there.”
The whole farewell video can be viewed below, but you might wanna have a few tissues ready just in case someone starts chopping onions nearby your computer: