WWE NXT: Predicting the Next 3 Call-Ups
With WrestleMania season fast approaching, the time is nigh for more NXT call-ups. Who’s making the switch in the next few months?
As we bid farewell to yet another successful year in WWE in 2016, it’s finally time to turn our attention to the future – and naturally, when you think of the future within WWE, one of the first things that springs to mind is NXT.
The company has invested a lot of effort over the last few years into building a formidable roster of talent for the NXT brand, which has proven itself to be an appropriate breeding ground for future stars. And as we’ve seen with huge acquisitions in the form of Finn Bálor, Bayley and American Alpha over the last twelve months, they aren’t wasting any time in using that talent for all it’s worth.
There is always the fear that too much reliance on the brand to build up the current main roster will result in the weakening of the NXT product – particularly now when it’s still struggling to build its female locker room up to the same standard it was when the WWE raided it in mid-2015 – but there is still no limit to the amount of huge names we can expect to join that roster from outside the WWE either.
This year alone, some of the biggest names from around the globe have come to NXT, including Shinsuke Nakamura, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode and Roderick Strong, so even though they may lose stars, talent is still flowing in just as regularly. Hell, we’ve already heard news that Chris Hero is in line for a return to the WWE, so he could easily find himself headlining NXT events before long.
Just look at the amount of cruiserweights brought in over the summer, not to mention those on the British and Irish wrestling scenes who are going to have a huge spotlight shown on them in January with the United Kingdom Championship tournament.
The talent is booming, which means they wouldn’t suffer too greatly if we had to wave goodbye to some of the bigger names at their disposal, in favor of a much-deserved promotion to the primary WWE roster – be it as a member of Raw or SmackDown Live. So, in the words of Goldberg– who’s next?
Let’s take a look, and discuss just which of the NXT Superstars we know and love will be next to take a trip over to the big leagues.
3. Tye Dillinger
Tye Dillinger has been waiting for his moment longer than anyone in NXT history.
He has been paying his dues for a long time, even appearing as an extra for WWE segments dating back as far as 2006 while competing in Ohio Valley Wrestling, and though it looked for a while like he may never get his chance, he managed to turn things around to become one of the most popular faces on the NXT brand.
His “perfect ten” gimmick has transcended what was once nothing more than a role as a jobber to other stars, to the point where his signature gesture is being thrown up at almost every main roster WWE event when the referee makes a count.
That level of popularity doesn’t go unnoticed, and if the man is capable of garnering that kind of buzz organically – without much in the way of a push in NXT – then who’s to say what he can do if the company really gives him a chance to shine?
The man could be on the verge of generating Daniel Bryan-levels of underdog stardom, and you just know that the second his music hits to signal his inevitable debut on the main roster – perhaps in the appropriate number 10 spot at the Royal Rumble – that the fans are going to lose their minds.
He’s been biding his time for years, and it’s pretty clear to see that his chances of climbing the ladder in NXT may be growing slim, so it’s really a case of the sooner, the better for Tye Dillinger to make himself known to the WWE Universe.
2. Samoa Joe
Now that he’s had his time at the top of the NXT mountain – in which he became the first man ever to win the NXT Championship not only at a non-televised live event, but on two separate occasions – Samoa Joe is in dire need of a promotion.
There’s nothing left for him to accomplish in developmental, and since he’s more than held his own at the top of the brand and paved the way for guys like Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode and potentially even Chris Hero to reap the benefits of all he’s done, he can comfortably ascend to weekly live television without fear of weakening the roster behind him.
The pre-WrestleMania season is the perfect period of time to bring Samoa Joe in ahead of the big event, potentially at the Royal Rumble where Joe can make as big of an impact as possible against a plethora of the WWE’s most popular athletes. After that, the sky really is the limit for Samoa Joe. There’s no reason he can’t do what AJ Styles did upon his debut last January and take the WWE by storm, given his many years in the business.
The WWE is already running stories paralleling the careers of he and John Cena, given that the two actually competed against one another when they were getting their respective starts in the industry. Why not start big and have him go straight to the biggest dog in the yard? If it worked for Styles and even Kevin Owens, there’s no reason Samoa Joe shouldn’t do the very same.
1. The Revival
If there’s ever been a perfect time for The Revival to debut, it’s in early 2017. You can entertain the possibility of the duo heading to Raw and challenging Cesaro and Sheamus, Enzo & Cass and The New Day for the Raw Tag Team Titles, but there’s no denying that the place where they belong is on SmackDown Live.
American Alpha are sitting pretty on top of the blue brand’s tag team division, and although it wasn’t as smooth of a journey to get to that spot as we may have expected upon seeing Jason Jordan and Chad Gable get drafted to Tuesday nights back in July, they’re there now and that’s all that matters.
The competition on SmackDown Live is like a melting pot for great tag team wrestling right now. You have a multitude of great characters from the Vaudevillains, Breezango and The Ascension to the Hype Bros and the Usos.
But although each of these teams are talented in their own right, the only alliance who have the right tools necessary to be a top heel tandem right now is the Wyatt Family, and their recent inner turmoil would suggest that their time in the title picture may be over for the time being while they try to sort themselves out.
Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson are the quintessential heel tag team, and they have been sitting in wait down in NXT for way longer than they should have been.
As the only two-time NXT Tag Tag Champions in history, they have more chemistry than almost any other duo to walk out of Full Sail, and when American Alpha have had the time to establish themselves as an unbeatable force to be reckoned with against all comers, that’s when The Revival should rear its head.
The battles that The Revival and American Alpha underwent in the first half of 2016 were some of the finest matches in the brand’s history – and the kind of rivalry that would translate very nicely onto SmackDown Live. Dash and Dawson have the potential to be the next big thing in tag team wrestling, and the post-WrestleMania season could be their time to show the world what they can do.
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