On the December 5th, 2011 Raw house show, Richie competed in a 41-man battle royal, but was unsuccessful.
In June 2012, Richie Steamboat debuted on the second episode of the sixth season of WWE NXT taped at Full Sail University, where he defeated Rick Victor. On the August 1 episode of NXT, Steamboat was inserted into the Gold Rush Tournament to crown the first NXT Champion, where he defeated Leo Kruger in the quarter-finals. On the August 15 episode of NXT, Steamboat was eliminated by Jinder Mahal in the semi-finals of the Gold Rush Tournament. Steamboat then started a feud with Kassius Ohno; Steamboat defeated Ohno twice (via disqualification and a cradle), but Ohno conducted successful post-match assaults on Steamboat. Ohno then injured and pinned Steamboat during a six man tag match while teaming with the Ascension against Steamboat and the Usos on the October 17 episode of NXT. Steamboat returned from injury and decisively pinned Ohno on the November 21, 2012 episode of NXT to end the feud. More than a year later in December 2013, it was reported Steamboat had been released from his WWE contract