Participants and first match for the NXT Breakout Tournament

Jul 7, 2021 - by Marc Middleton

The 8 competitors for the 2021 WWE NXT Breakout Tournament have been announced.

It was announced during tonight’s NXT Great American Bash special that the following newcomers will be featured in the tournament – Trey Baxter, Carmelo Hayes, Andre Chase, Josh Briggs, Ikemen Jiro, Joe Gacy, Odyssey Jones, Duke Hudson.

The tournament begins next Tuesday night with Jiro vs. Hudson.

As noted, last Friday’s WWE 205 Live saw Gacy defeat Desmond Troy to qualify for the tournament, while Chase defeated Guru Raaj to qualify.

Chase is the former Harlem Bravado on the indies. He signed with the company back in the February WWE Performance Center Class.

Gacy is a former CZW Champion and EVOLVE star, who signed in the October 2020 Performance Center Class.

Baxter is former indie star Blake Christian. He also signed in the February WWE Performance Center Class. Baxter made his debut on the June 15 NXT show, losing to NXT Cruiserweight Champion Kushida.

Hayes was known as Christian Casanova on the indies. He also signed with WWE in that loaded February Performance Center Class. He made his NXT debut back on June 1, losing to Kushida via Open Challenge. Hayes then lost to Adam Cole on the June 22 show.

Briggs used that same name on the indies, and was the final EVOLVE Champion. He was signed with the October 2020 WWE Performance Center Class, and has not debuted yet.

Jiro was signed in the December 2020 WWE Performance Center Class, and was trained by former WWE Superstar Tajiri in Japan. He was known as Sojiru “Ikemen” Higuchi before coming to WWE. Jiro made his WWE debut back on the May 7 205 Live episode, teaming with August Grey for a win over Tony Nese and Ariya Daivari. The following week they defeated The Bollywood Boyz on 205 Live, but then lost to The Grizzled Young Vets on the June 8 NXT show. Jiro’s singles debut came on the June 18 205 Live show as he defeated Nese. He then defeated Daivari the following week.

Jones is former college football player Omari Palmer, who was signed in the February 2019 WWE Performance Center Class. He was brought to the July 2 SmackDown episode to work a dark match against Robert Roode for officials. Jones made his NXT in-ring debut at a November 2019 live event, losing to Dexter Lumis. He only worked 5 NXT live event matches after that before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, losing his first three matches to Lumis, losing his second match to Brendan Vink, losing his fourth to Killian Dain, and then defeating Mohamed Fahim in his last match.

Speaking of Vink, he is now known as Duke Hudson. He previously went by Elliot Sexton and Tony Modra. Vink signed with WWE in the February 2019 Performance Center Class, and made his in-ring debut at a March 15, 2019 live event, defeating Nick Comoroto. Vink was brought to RAW in March 2020, in a tag team with Shane Thorne (Slapjack), where they worked a few matches and were briefly alligned with MVP. He has not wrestled since the May 11, 2020 RAW, where he and Thorne teamed with MVP for a loss to Ricochet, Cedric Alexander and R-Truth.

The winner of the NXT Breakout Tournament will receive a title shot of their choosing, at any time. The first tournament was held in 2019, and saw Jordan Myles get the win. He went on to unsuccessfully challenge then-NXT Champion Adam Cole.

Stay tuned for more on the 2021 NXT Breakout Tournament. Below are a few related shots and video from tonight’s Great American Bash show:

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