On February 23, 2010, Young made his debut on WWE NXT with a character described as a "South Beach Party Boy", losing his debut match to David Otunga. His storyline had mentor CM Punk showing apathy towards him, claiming he had no idea why he's in NXT and did not want to train Young unless he accepted his Straight-edge lifestyle. Despite this, Punk and his partners, Luke Gallows and Serena, helped Young win his rematch against Otunga the following week. Young was ranked eight in the first Pros' Poll. After the pros' poll, Young decided to join the Straight Edge Society in an attempt to improve, only to change his mind before getting his hair shaved off. CM Punk decided to forgive him for standing up to him when he defeated Luke Gallows with Young's own hair on the line. Because of this victory, CM Punk had then been interested in Young's potential, but in turn started feuding with a jealous Luke Gallows. On May 11 in the second Pros poll, Young was ranked fifth out of the six remaining contestants and narrowly escaped elimination. The following week, however, Young was eliminated from the competition.
The week following the Season 1 finale, Young, along with the other season one NXT rookies turned heel and interfered in the main event match on Raw between John Cena and Young's former Pro, CM Punk, and attacked both wrestlers, the announce team, and the ring announcer Justin Roberts, before they dismantled the ring area and surrounding equipment. On the June 14 edition of Raw the rookies attacked General Manager Bret Hart, when he refused to give them contracts. The following week on Raw, Vince McMahon fired Hart and announced that a new General Manager had been hired, one that had signed all seven season one NXT rookies to contracts. The following week, the group was named The Nexus. On the July 5 episode of Raw, The Nexus tried to attack John Cena as he confronted Wade Barrett during their "truce" with one another. The segment ended with The Nexus leaving without Young, when other Raw wrestlers arrived to aid Cena, and Young was assaulted by Cena to end the show. Due to Cena's actions, the new general manager pitted Cena in a 7 on 1 handicap match against The Nexus scheduled for the following week. Young however did not participate in the handicap match due to injuries caused by Cena the previous week, though The Nexus was successful in winning the match. He returned on July 18 at Money in the Bank with the rest of The Nexus, sporting a new haircut and costing Cena the WWE Championship against Sheamus. After the match, Cena attacked Young and fellow Nexus teammate, Michael Tarver. The Nexus continued to feud with Cena and the Raw roster, resulting in a seven on seven elimination tag match at SummerSlam. Young was the first person to be eliminated from the match, when he submitted to Daniel Bryan in under a minute, and The Nexus went on to lose the match. On the next episode of Raw the members of The Nexus fought in individual matches against members of the victorious Team WWE with the stipulation that losing a match would have them exiled from the group. Young chose to face John Cena but failed to win, and was exiled and attacked as a result.
Young returned on the September 6 episode of Raw, distracting Barrett and costing him a match against Randy Orton. On the October 4 episode of Raw, Young participated in a battle royal to determine the number one contender to the WWE Championship, but was eliminated by The Nexus. Young had his first singles match since leaving The Nexus on the October 7 episode of Superstars, but lost to William Regal. Young had his first win in singles competition on the October 14 airing of Superstars defeating Primo. Young got his first victory of 2011 when he teamed with Primo, Yoshi Tatsu, and David Hart Smith to defeat Zack Ryder, William Regal, and The Usos on the January 13 episode of Superstars.
In March 2011, Young was selected as one of six former NXT contestants to return to the show in its fifth season, NXT Redemption. During this season, Young was mentored by Chavo Guerrero. In the season premiere, Young defeated Jacob Novak and won the first challenge to earn himself "redemption points". On the April 12 episode of NXT, Young attacked Titus O'Neil after their match and tried to attack O'Neil's pro Hornswoggle, but was stopped by Guerrero. He turned heel, when he attacked Hornswoggle, and later he and Guerrero faced O'Neil and different tag team partners on several occasions. Guerrero was later released from WWE, leaving Young on his own. In August he formed an alliance with Derrick Bateman and the duo teamed up against O'Neil and NXT host Matt Striker, but were defeated. Young then moved into a feud with Striker, defeating him on two consecutive occasions. After Young attacked Striker following a handshake, William Regal intervened, saving Striker. Two weeks later, Young was defeated by Regal in a singles match. Young then formed an alliance with JTG and defeated Striker and O'Neil. After the match they were attacked by The Usos.
On October 5, WWE's official website announced that Young had been suspended for 30 days for his first violation of the WWE Wellness Policy. Following his suspension, Young returned on the November 16 episode of NXT assaulting Titus O' Neil after his victory over Tyler Reks. Young was then able to get the better of O'Neil twice in tag team matches. The conclusion to Young's feud with O'Neil came when O'Neil defeated Young in a no disqualifications match. O'Neil then turned heel and formed an alliance with Young. Young and O'Neil would feud with Percy Watson and Alex Riley in February 2012, defeating them twice. In March, while he and O'Neil were feuding with the Usos, Young started chasing the affections of Tamina.
On the April 18 episode of NXT, Young and O'Neil were signed by John Laurinaitis to the SmackDown brand. The team made their debut for the brand on the April 20 episode of SmackDown with a victory over The Usos. The team suffered their first team loss against the WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth on the May 18th edition of SmackDown. At the No Way Out pay-per-view, Young and O'Neil teamed up to defeat three other teams in a #1 contender tag team elimination match to earn a future shot for the WWE Tag Team Championships, after A.W. turned on his former clients, Epico and Primo. On the July 16 episode of Raw, Young and O'Neil unsuccessfully challenged Kofi Kingston and R-Truth for the WWE Tag Team Championships. On the August 10 episode of SmackDown, they defeated Primo and Epico in a number one contenders match via disqualification when A.W. provoked Kingston and R-Truth, who were on commentary, into interfering in the match. That same day, A.W. was released from his contract. Prime Time Players received their title shots at SummerSlam, but were again defeated by Kingston and R-Truth. On the September 7 edition of SmackDown, Prime Time Players defeated Primo and Epico and The Usos in a triple threat tag team match to earn another shot the Tag Team Championship. However, on Raw three days later, Prime Time Players lost their title shot to the team of Daniel Bryan and Kane (soon to be known as Team Hell No). At the Survivor Series pay-per-view, Young took part in a 10 man elimination tag team match, but was eliminated by Rey Mysterio. On the December 24 Raw The Prime Time Players teamed up with 3MB and Tensai in a losing effort against The Usos, Santino Marella, Brodus Clay and International Airstrike. Young also competed in the 2013 Royal Rumble entering at entrant 15 but was eliminated by Kofi Kingston.
On the August 19, 2013 edition of Raw, The Prime Time Players turned face in a winning effort against [The Real Americans]]. The team gained a push, challenging for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but lost a match to The Shield. The duo also sided with other face wrestlers from the active roster, only to get punished by COO Triple H for preventing Daniel Bryan from being critically injured by Randy Orton. The Prime Time Players were amongst the select few ordered to battle The Shield in separately sanctioned 3 on 1 handicap matches on the September 20 edition of SmackDown, as punishment for their intervention. At the January 31, 2014 edition of SmackDown, The Prime Time Players disbanded, after Titus allowed Ryback and Curtis Axel to pin Young during a tag-team match. After the match, as Titus was leaving, Young yelled at Titus, thus Titus attacked Young, turning Titus heel in the process. On Smackdown the same week, Darren attacked Titus to get redemption and for Titus calling Darren "Dead Weight".
Young picked up a victory over Damien Sandow on the February 14 edition of SmackDown, before being attacked by Titus O'Neil, which turned into a brawl and left O'Neil in tattered clothes. They went one on one at the 2014 Elimination Chamber, with the victor being O'Neil. However, Young defeated O'Neil in a rematch on Main Eventthree days later.
At a WWE Live event on April 12, Darren Young was injured in a match against Fandango and on April 16, Darren underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee that would take him out of action for four to six months. Young officially made his in-ring return on December 20 at a WWE live event in Winnipeg, after 8 months of inactivity. On the January 5, 2015 episode of Raw Young appeared with the rest of the WWE roster in the opening segment for John Cena's apology for bringing The Authority back, with new ring gear and facial hair.
His official return came on the February 16 episode of Raw, where Young and an unknown wrestler were scheduled to face The Ascension, but were attacked by them before the bell rang, leading to Young's former tag team partner Titus O'Neil making the save. This turned O'Neil face again. Young participated in the 2nd Annual André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31 where he was eliminated by Ryback. At Elimination Chamber, the Prime Time Players participated in the first ever tag team Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Tag Team Championship, however they were the last team to be eliminated by the winners and defending champions The New Day (Xavier Woods, Big E and Kofi Kingston). Two weeks later, at Money in the Bank, the Prime Time Players defeated The New Day to win their first WWE Tag Team Championship. The Prime Time Players dropped the WWE Tag Team Championships back to The New Day on August 23 at SummerSlam in a fatal–four way match, also involving The Lucha Dragons and Los Matadores. Sometime in late November, The Prime Time Players quietly disbanded, and Young would then be prominently featured on WWE Superstars defeating the likes of Adam Rose for the remainder of 2015.
On the 2016 Royal Rumble kickoff show, Young teamed with Damien Sandow in a losing effort in a Fatal Four Way tag match for a spot in the Royal Rumble match to the team of Jack Swagger and Mark Henry. At WrestleMania 32, Young entered his third Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and came within the final three, before subsequently being eliminated by Kane. On the May 5 episode of SmackDown, Young was seen backstage with Bob Backlund, where Young asked if Backlund would be his life coach and Backlund agreed to do so and also vowing to “Make Darren Great Again". Throughout the next couple of months on Raw and SmackDown, various vignettes featuring Young and Backlund aired, with Backlund assuming the role of Young's life coach and giving him "life lessons". On the July 11 episode of Raw, Young won a battle royal to become the #1 contender for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at the Battleground pay-per-view. The following week on Raw, Darren Young defeated Alberto Del Rio with a bridging pin, despite interference from The Miz. On July 19, Young, with Backlund, was drafted to the Raw brand as a result of the 2016 WWE Draft. At Battleground, Young faced The Miz in a match that resulted in a double-countout after he applied the Crossface chickenwing to Miz outside the ring.
Young began a feud with his former tag team partner Titus O'Neil on the August 1 episode of Raw. O'Neil started a slow heel turn when he questioned Young's motives on being "great again". Later that night, he defeated Young when he pinned him while grabbing Young's tights. Afterwards, he got into a backstage altercation Bob Backlund before Young came to the defense of Backlund by attacking O'Neil. The week after on Raw, Young defeated O'Neil via pinfall by grabbing O'Neil's tights, mimicking the O'Neil. On the August 15 episode of Raw, Young and O'Neil reconciled and were placed in a tag team match against The Shining Stars. During the match, O'Neil attacked Young, officially turning heel in the process.