A second-generation wrestler, Lloyd was initially trained by his father. Debuting in 1997 aged 16, he competed in the United Kingdom and South Africa, and was the inaugural WWP World Cruiserweight Championship in World Wrestling Professionals. In 2008, Lloyd signed a three-year developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment, and was assigned to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), WWE's developmental territory, where he won the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship, with Kris Logan, and the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship. In February 2010, he competed in the first season of NXT, finishing third, before being called to the main roster in June 2010 joining The Nexus. He joined the Corre in 2011. Teaming regularly with Heath Slater, the duo won the WWE Tag Team Championship three times in 2010 and 2011.