The first season of NXT began airing on Syfy on February 23, 2010 and ended on June 1, 2010. The majority of the season 1 cast was revealed a week before the premiere on the series finale of ECW. However, before the season's premiere aired, Skip Sheffield's Pro was changed with William Regal replacing the announced Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP).
Near the end of the season, several changes were made to the original plan of the format. The season was shortened from the planned 17 episodes to 15 episodes. In the first elimination episode on May 11, both Michael Tarver and Daniel Bryan were eliminated by WWE Management and removed from that night's Pros' Poll after both made comments about wanting to be voted off. The show ended with three eliminations, with Sheffield ranked last in the Poll. Carlito was released on May 21 for refusing rehab after violating WWE's Wellness Program. Subsequent Pros' Polls were held without him for the rest of the season.
The winner of season 1 was Wade Barrett, who began performing on the Raw brand. Immediately after the conclusion of season 1, the Rookies were used in a storyline that had them forming an alliance called The Nexus.[ Led by Barrett, the group invaded the Raw show in an attempt to gain WWE contracts for the losers of NXT season 1. The invasion consisted of the group attacking John Cena as well as other wrestlers and WWE personnel. Daniel Bryan was (legitimately) released from his contract when he strangled ring announcer Justin Roberts with Roberts' tie during the first ambush, which WWE reportedly felt was too violent for their TV-PG programming. His release was put in a storyline, where the rest of the NXT rookies kicked him out of the group for showing remorse for his actions and declared he wouldn't be seen in the WWE ever again. The group were eventually all signed to Raw, but continued their disruption of the show, including an attack on WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.[ Bryan eventually returned to WWE two months later at SummerSlam, when he became the surprise seventh member of Team WWE in a seven-on-seven elimination tag team match against The Nexus. After their initial attacks, Barrett along with the other Nexus members were barred from competing for a WWE championship. However, more than a month later, the ban was lifted and Barrett announced that he would invoke his title shot at Night of Champions for the WWE Championship in a Six-Pack Challenge. At the event, Barrett lost in his title match to Randy Orton. Meanwhile at the same event, Bryan became the first Rookie to win a WWE championship when he defeated his former pro, The Miz, for the WWE United States Championship. Barrett later got a fair singles match against Orton once more, which he also lost, in spite of having Nexus weakening Orton before. This set up Orton to be defeated by the Miz who cashed in his Money in the Bank, which he had held in spite of losing his US title. Barrett would later win the Intercontinental title on Smackdown from Kofi Kingston.
NXT Season 1 Rookies:
- Michael Tarver (Pro was Carlito; ended Season with 1 win and 7 losses; eliminated Week 12 (5/11/10) by WWE Management
- Daniel Bryan (Pro was the Miz; ended Season with 0 wins and 10 losses; eliminated Week 12 (5/11/10) by WWE Management
- Skip Sheffield (Pro was William Regal; ended Season with 2 wins and 5 losses; eliminated Week 12 (5/11/10)
- Darren Young (Pro was CM Punk; ended the Season with 7 wins and 4 losses; eliminated Week 13 (5/18/10)
- Heath Slater (Pro was Christian; ended Season with 5 wins and 6 losses; eliminated Week 14 (5/25/10)
- Justin Gabriel (Pro was Matt Hardy; ended Season with 7 wins and 4 losses; eliminated Week 15 (6/1/10)
- David Otunga (Pro was R-Truth; ended Season with 6 wins and 5 losses; eliminated Week 15 (6/1/10)
- Wade Barrett (Pro was Chris Jericho; ended Season with 8 wins and 5 losses; WINNER OF NXT SEASON 1
The second season of NXT started on June 8, 2010 and ended on August 31, 2010. The season 2 cast was revealed on the first season finale on June 1, 2010. The season was originally planned to last twelve weeks. However, it was later extended to thirteen weeks. In this season, the polls were different as rankings were based half on Pro votes and half on votes from fans via WWE's official website.
The first poll was shown in Week 4. Originally, the polls format was set to match season 1, with a non-elimination poll followed by weekly elimination polls three weeks later. However, the first poll was made a surprise elimination round on the night with a second elimination poll held four weeks later instead. In addition, a double elimination stipulation was added to the fourth NXT poll in Week 11.
The winner of the season was Kaval, who began performing on the SmackDown brand. Along with Kaval, Alex Riley was immediately promoted to a WWE brand, aiding his Pro, The Miz, on Raw. Over a month later at Hell in a Cell, both Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris made their first appearance since the second season by helping Wade Barrett win his match against John Cena while disguised as fans. A few weeks later, the two were made members of the Nexus. Kaval invoked his title shot at Survivor Series for the WWE Intercontinental Championship against the reigning champion Dolph Ziggler where he was defeated. Kaval was released from his contract in December 2010.
NXT Season 2 Rookies:
- Titus O'Neil (Pro was Zack Ryder; ended Season with 0 wins and 3 losses; eliminated Week 4 (6/29/10)
- Eli Cottonwood (Pro was John Morrison; ended Season with 2 wins and 2 losses; eliminated Week 8 (7/27/10)
- Lucky Cannon (Pro was Mark Henry; ended Season with 3 wins 5 loses; eliminated Week 10 (8/10/10)
- Percy Watson (Pro was MVP; ended Season with 3 wins and 4 loses; eliminated Week 11 (8/17/10)
- Husky Harris (Pro was Cody Rhodes; ended Season with 4 wins and 4 losses; eliminated Week 11 (8/18/10)
- Alex Riley (Pro was the Miz; ended Season with 5 wins and 4 losses; eliminated Week 13 (8/31/10)
- Michael McGillicutty (Pro was Kofi Kingston; ended Season with 6 wins and 4 loses; eliminated Week 13 (8/31/10)
- Kaval (Pro's were LayCool (Layla & Michelle McCool); ended Season with 3 wins and 6 loses; WINNER OF NXT SEASON 2
NXT Season 3 (Divas Edition):
The third season of NXT started on September 7, 2010 and ended on November 30, 2010. The season is Diva-exclusive and is the second different contest produced by WWE to find a new Diva, the first being the WWE Diva Searches held between 2003 and 2007. The first four episodes of season three were aired on Syfy. Due to the debut of SmackDown on Syfy in October 2010, NXT left the channel and became a webcast at WWE.com for visitors from the United States from the fifth episode onwards. A new interactive website for NXT was also launched at the beginning of the season to accommodate the move. The reward to the victor was changed in contrast to the previous seasons. Unlike the first two male victors, the female victor of season 3 would not get a shot at a title of her choice (the only title being the WWE Divas Championship) but rather, a WWE contract. Other changes in the third season include a greater emphasis on challenges for the first three polls where the winner of the most challenges before the next upcoming poll would be awarded immunity. The first elimination poll took place five weeks into the competition.
The majority of the season three cast was revealed on the second season finale on August 31, 2010. However, before the season's premiere aired, prospective rookie diva Aloisia was dropped from the show. On screen, Aloisia's exit stemmed from an argument between Aloisia and her pro, Vickie Guerrero, forcing Guerrero to fire her. In real life, it was reported that Aloisia was allegedly dropped from the show after Amazon fetish photos of her were leaked onto the Internet. However in an interview, Aloisia herself is unsure whether this was the reason for her exit or not. Guerrero later revealed her new rookie in the season three premiere to be Kaitlyn, who would ultimately win the season and started performing on the SmackDown brand. None of the losing divas stayed on with the shows, in spite of Aksana having briefly appeared on Raw to steal the Million Dollar Championship from her storyline husband Goldust, however A.J. would later join the SmackDown brand in May of 2011.
NXT Season 3 Diva Rookies:
- Jamie (Pro's were The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie); ended Season with 2 wins and 0 losses; eliminated Week 5 (10/5/10)
- Maxine (Pro was Alicia Fox; ended Season with 1 win and 4 losses; eliminated Week 9 (11/2/10)
- Aksana (Pro was Goldust; ended Season with 2 wins and 5 loses; eliminated Week 11 (11/16/10)
- AJ (Pro was Primo; ended Season with 6 wins and 2 losses; eliminated Week 12 (11/23/10)
- Naomi (Pro was Kelly Kelly; ended Season with 5 wins and 4 losses; eliminated Week 13 (11/30/10)
- Kaitlyn (Pro was Vickie Guerrero; ended Season with 3 wins and 4 losses; WINNER OF NXT SEASON 3)
NXT SEASON 4:
The fourth season of NXT started on December 7, 2010 and ended on March 1, 2011. Returning to the male-orientated format of the first two seasons, the season 4 cast was revealed on the third season finale on November 30, 2010. In a change from the third season, "immunity points" are now rewarded to the winner of each challenge, which vary depending on the challenge's difficulty. The person with the most points before the next upcoming poll is then awarded immunity from that poll.
During Week 5, it was announced the winner would earn a WWE Tag Team Championship match with their respective Pro as their partner. In the same show, Dolph Ziggler won a battle royal consisting of each of the Pros, and as a result of the win, Ziggler was able to trade off his Rookie Jacob Novak for Byron Saxton, who was originally mentored by Chris Masters. Similarly during Week 8, a Fatal Four-Way elimination match was held between the remaining four Rookies. Brodus Clay won and as a result, was able to trade off his Pros The Million Dollar Couple (Ted DiBiase and Maryse) for Alberto Del Rio, who was originally mentoring Conor O'Brian before O'Brian's elimination on Week 7.
The winner of the season was Johnny Curtis, earning himself and his pro R-Truth a shot at the WWE Tag Team titles. As of April 18, when R Truth turned heel by attacking John Morrison, Truth and his rookie Curtis still have not had that shot at the titles. Curtis would eventually debut on SmackDown in June when he stated that he won't be challenging for the Tag Team titles with R-Truth.
NXT Season 4 Rookies:
- Jacob Novak (Final Pro was Chris Masters; Initial Pro's were Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero; ended Season with 1 win and 2 losses; eliminated Week 5 (1/4/11)
- Conor O'Brian (Pro's were Alberto Del Rio & Ricardo Rodrigues; ended Season with 3 wins and 1 loss; eliminated Week 7 (1/18/11)
- Byron Saxton (Final Pro's were Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero; Initial Pro was Chris Masters; ended Season with 3 wins and 6 losses; eliminated Week 10 (2/8/11)
- Derrick Bateman (Pro was Daniel Bryan; ended Season with 3 wins and 6 losses; eliminated Week 12 (2/22/11)
- Brodus Clay (Final Pro's were Alberto Del Rio & Ricardo Rodrigues; Initial Pro's were The Million Dollar Couple (Ted DiBiase & Maryse); ended Season with 7 wins and 3 losses, eliminated Week 13 (3/1/11)
- Johnny Curtis (Pro was R-Truth; ended Season with 3 wins and 7 losses; WINNER OF NXT SEASON 4
NXT SEASON 5 (REDEMPTION):
NXT Season 5 Rookies:
- Jacob Novak (Pro was JTG; from Season 4; ended Season with 2 wins and 5 losses; had 6 Redemption Points when eliminated on Week 11 (5/17/11)
- Byron Saxton (Pro was Yoshi Tatsu; from Season 4; ended Season with 42 wins and 8 losses; had 4 Redemption Points when eliminated on Week 13 (5/31/11)
- Lucky Cannon (Pro was Tyson Kidd; from Season 2; ended Season with 6 wins and 6 losses; had 0 Redemption Points when eliminated on Week 15 (6/14/11)
- Conor O'Brian (Pro was Vladimir Kozlov; from Season 4; ended Season with 6 wins and 6 losses; had 3 Redemption Points when eliminated on Week 17 (6/28/11)
- Darren Young (Pro was originally Chavo Guerrero, but was released from contract; from Season 1; ended Season with 11 wins and 15 losses; had 7 Redemption Points when eliminated/supsended on Week 31 (10/19/11)