Today I bring you a list of talents I believe have what it takes to get to the main roster, and become mainstays for years to come. While WWE’s main rosters are bloated, I believe there’s room as they’re too good to waste. But what would WWE do to them? When they get promoted? Well that’s another subject entirely, and one of great debate as we’ve seen several flounder when doing so. I’m not saying any of the listed talent should get called up immediately, but what I am saying is they are more likely to achieve main event status when they do get the call and work their way up.
The listing is subjective and was difficult to decide. It’s not going to be right for everyone, but the main thing (for me) is getting the right ten, and not necessarily the “correct” order of the ten. Here are some honorable mentions I really wanted to include:
Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly, War Raiders, Lars Sullivan, Otis Dozovic, Roderic Strong, Tino Sabbatelli, Kairi Sane, Lacey Evans, Shayna Baszler, Tyler Bate, Toni Storm & Chris Dijak.
10. Nikki Cross
The crazy Scottish female counterpart of SAnitY is one of the strongest characters in all of WWE. I consider her the standard of “chaos” in the SAnitY stable, and we’re missing her raw energy as the group looks to settle in to SmackDown LIVE. For whatever reason, it seems she’s not NXT Championship material, despite having some excellent matches with the likes of Asuka and Shayna Baszler. There’s no doubt she has what it takes to get over, but the scathing question is, will she ever claim the NXT Women’s Championship? Because if the answer is no, then she’d be better served reuniting with her brothers on SmackDown LIVE.
9. Ethan Carter III (EC3)
Top 1%! That’s what EC3 sells. There’s no doubt he has the tools to be a superstar on any show, but it might take some time for management to have faith. He has to earn his stripes, so I’m expecting a big program for him in the near future. He just needs some finishing touches which I’m sure NXT will iron out. Competition is fierce, but I’m sure he won’t let this opportunity slip through his fingers.
8. Aleister Black
I’m a little disappointed with him lately. It seems he’s been lost in the mix due to others taking the spotlight, but the champion of NXT shouldn’t allow it. Since his title victory it feels like something’s missing. He recently said in an interview he’s dealing with depression, which I understand as I’ve been there. It’s tough to be in this position as NXT Champion, but the only way is to keep working. Work harder than ever before, and the rewards will help you through. I think he needs more creative opponents to help him, preferably guys who are intelligent enough to make his moveset work, instead of it trundling in to a botchfest.
Aside from his recent accomplishment and lack of spotlight, his character is very capable of making it on the main roster. He’s dark, unique, and can easily play the fan favorite or heel. Much like EC3, he won’t let the opportunity slip away, but much unlike EC3, Aleister Black has the NXT Championship; and every champion gets promoted. Will we see his Raw or SmackDown LIVE debut by the end of 2018?
“Now that I have had time to process the last couple of days and specifically Takeover New Orleans I wanted to sit down, literally, and type a few words. I have no idea where I will go with this, but I felt the need to do so. Also, instagram will undoubtedly annihilate the read ability and sentence build of this so bear with me, or not.
Whether you think I deserve what I won or not, I know I did. I am not going to try and win anyone over by asking for your sympathy. I am simply telling you who I am. I am someone who suffers from anxiety and depression. You know when you wake up and you can feel inside yourself that you are not having a good day already? Well I wake up too sometimes like that, only I wake up wondering why I even still wake up. I am someone who at most times feels a great disconnect with the entire universe and the people around me. I carry a flag inside my heart that is made up of music, equality, heartache and perseverance. This title means more to me than so many of you will ever understand. This business means so much more than most people understand.
It isn’t something that I wanted to do as a hobby; I wanted this like nothing else in my life, nothing mattered but this, accomplishing this. And each and every year I told myself, it isn’t going to get any better than this and then each year for nearly 16 years long it did. And here we are. Despite the long road, despite the anxiety, which can be crippling at times, despite the not always fun states of minds that I have, I am here. And the good thing is.. I feel I am far from done. This one wasn’t just for myself, as cliche as that might sound. This one was trulyfor each and every person who thinks their situation or mental health is too severe to ever accomplish anything.
I ask you please to proof the world, but mainly yourself, wrong and do what you wanna do. I still remember hanging around the small venue’s watching my friends play in their bands and we would coherently ‘trash the place’ thinking, man I hope I never lose this, I hope I never lose myself completely. Only to have found myself a lot more whole today. Thank you all for staying, even if only for a while; thank you. -Aleister Black”
7. Bianca Belair
Watch me shine now! The EST of NXT is my #1 greatest female talent. She has it all, she’s young, athletic, cocky, and has a huge ego. And rightly so! She’s the best. I originally considered having her #1 on the list; that’s how high I am on Bianca Belair. It seems inevitable she’s going to be a huge star, and the only thing holding her back is a very competitive field. But much like her many athletic accolades, she’ll run through the competition, and we’ll be telling the next generation we got to see Bianca Belair when she first turned up in WWE with the classic hair whip.
The Rock is a big fan of his. Also, when you can do stuff like in the GIF below, who else is going to stop Ricochet from reaching the top? He might be small, but it didn’t stop guys like Rey Mysterio or Eddie Guerrero. Just please please please, don’t put him on 205 Live.
5. Johnny Gargano
I wanted to place him higher but I’m unsure if the love he gets in NXT is going to translate to the main roster. He should be a Daniel Bryan-like face, with as much reaction too, but will he get over? Will the main roster write him the same way? I’m worried because he deserves everything he gets, but it feels like all he’ll get is the Tye Dillinger treatment. He should be able to main event any show, but time will tell if it becomes reality. Johnny Wrestling needs his fans to be extremely vocal.
4. Adam Cole
Baybay! This generations Shawn Michaels is destined for Undisputed greatness. Put it this way, The Undisputed Era is there to get him over, and WWE went as far to make a new title just so he could have one without taking the main title off Aleister Black. He’s intelligent, callous, manipulative, and deceptively strong. He might look small, but so was HBK and look how many titles he won. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
3. Tomasso Ciampa
Love him. I know I shouldn’t, because he’s one of the most hated heels in recent times. The NXT Universe loathes him so much his entrance theme is him coming out to their loud jeers. He doesn’t need to say a word to get the reaction. He gets louder boos than Roman Reigns, and not because he sucks, but because his character is so evil, cruel, and merciless. The way he turned on Johnny Gargano is going down in history as one of the best feuds, and it’s safe to say he will keep the momentum up. I remember hearing about Tommaso Ciampa in his early ROH days, and only now are we getting to see his true potential.
The only reason Tommaso Ciampa is here over Johnny Gargano is because I think his character will be easier to hate than Johnny Gargano’s is to like. Tommaso Ciampa could work with more opponents and make it successful, while Johnny Gargano needs strong heels to work with. The sky is the limit for Psycho Killer, and may the fans tears fuel him to be more of a terrible human being. Hate this man! Do not cheer him! He’s a tool and you should feel bad for cheering.
2. Pete Dunne
He’s just so good at everything he does, and I thought it was crazy when he turned face, but he’s made it work. He’s so young, too, so while he’s not making it on Raw or SmackDown LIVE at the moment, he’s getting there whether you like him or not. I don’t think I know anyone who thinks he’s terrible and shouldn’t be anywhere near the main roster. I remember when he beat up Enzo Amore, boy, wouldn’t we love to see that again? The Bruiserweight is going to bend fingers until he gets what he wants, which is being one of the biggest stars in all of WWE.
1. The Velveteen Dream
You know when someone in the business says a talent has “It”, well The Velveteen Dream does. The Velveteen Dream loves it when you say his name, so tell your friends, tell your family, tell anyone who will listen, that The Velveteen Dream is the future. The Velveteen Dream will do what he wants, when he wants, how he wants, and he’ll do it in style. And he don’t need no manager Terry! Oh god no. The Dream manages his own dreams. The Dream will take WWE to places it never thought possible. And he’s going to do it for a long, long time, as he’s only 22. He’s going to shock & awe you for the next 22 years.
And we’re all going to love it. The Velveteen Dream isn’t just a gimmick. It’s not a name, or a state of mind. The Velveteen Dream is a way of life, and it’s not going to be stopped by anyone. He’s going to achieve everything, and remind us what greatness feels like. His promos will come through the airwaves like silky, smooth chocolate, and his ring work will leave you wanting more. And when the dust has settled, and all the fans have experienced the beauty of The Dream, they will praise his name, and the name will live forever in the memories of all who experienced it.
Have I oversold The Dream? I don’t think that’s possible. If you’re not on board yet, well I guess you’re missing out! NXT is full of amazing talents who have the freedom, and the hunger, to embarrass Raw & SmackDown LIVE talents. I guess you could say this piece is like a huge advertisement for NXT. But honestly, I’m not working for WWE! I just really enjoy watching the next generation before they hit the main roster, so I’m not like, “duh, who? They look funny! Why they do that? Oh, well they aren’t going to last blah blah”.