Stephen Day wrote:
Somewhat, it would be my opinion though that New Japan has more of a track record in overlooking this bias if someone has enough of a talent level. It's still not an uncommon event for somebody to come into New Japan from another company and do well without being expected to train at New Japan's dojo. The Fed will do that as well but they don't do it nearly as often.
There's loads of people in the WWE right now who made their name elsewhere first though.
Cesaro, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Evan Bourne, Seth Rollins came from ROH.
Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper were also popular on the Indies.
Internationally, Alberto Del Rio, El Torito and Sin Cara (both of them) were popular in Mexico, Yoshi Tatsu was somewhat known in Japan, and the likes of Sheamus, Wade Barrett and Drew McIntyre were on the British Indies.
Big Show, Booker T, Rey Mysterio and William Regal were all in WCW before WWE if you want to go back that far.
Hell, Xavier Woods was in TNA.
I think the good thing about NXT now is that WWE can have the best of both worlds by giving people from other companies time to get used to their style alongside people WWE bring up themselves.
Because of the lack of any real competition, it's a very rare talent that can go straight from somewhere else right into WWE without going through development. Some of the very biggest TNA people probably qualify, like say Jeff Hardy or Sting, but other than that? Prince Devitt is rumoured to have been offered a contract with little to no NXT development.