It is almost impossible to tell which NXT talents will transfer to the main roster well. Adam Rose appeared crazy over at NXT, but flopped on the main stage. A similar thing applies to The Ascension, The Vaudevillains, Fandango, Tyler Breeze and many others. On the other hand, talent like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Finn Bálor and a handful of others are fixtures on WWE programming.
That is a point worth noting, since every talent we claim “deserves” to be called up to the main roster might have earned it, but the reality of the situation is that not all are going to adjust to the bigger stage in a great way. And, even if they do, the more casual, kid-friendly WWE Universe just might not take to whatever gimmick they are bringing to the table.
That brings us to Tye Dillinger.
Most of the Internet Wrestling Community believes that Dillinger is a talent being misused on NXT, but would translate well to the next-level. While that can be completely correct, I’d caution us from making such statements without there being some more dry runs had first.
Pointing to Apollo Crews as the cautionary tale, there shouldn’t be a rush to hurl a performer on SmackDown or Raw. Crews is a talent who is built as if he was made by Vince McMahon himself, but was sprinkled with the sort of qualifications the IWC loves. He should be crazy over, but he’s not.
Why? The answer is slightly complicated, as it has a lot to do with his current gimmick just being a guy who smiles a lot, but there’s reason to believe he was called up too early. As importantly, he was called up before he gained a loyal enough NXT following to help hold him over while trying to win over the more casual WWE Universe.
Dillinger already has some loyal fans. There’s no doubt about that. But at the same time, he hasn’t done anything of true relevance while down at the Performance Center. A few good matches, a lot of jobbing and nowhere near a push that most guys get before being sent to the main roster.
If Dillinger’s better days are ahead of him on the main roster, which most agree they are, the WWE needs to learn from previous call-up mistakes.
It has to be absolutely certain Dillinger’s current gimmick is the one it wants to promote, and it would be nice if the couple of months prior to the nod to the big time the WWE provided him with a sizable platform on NXT to do a combination of things. Including, but not limited to: getting longer match experience, becoming a bit more of a “name,” and getting that momentum that wins give a talent before going where all the best wrestlers in the world are.
That’s the biggest part here. Dillinger needs to come off as credible. Since he has spent a large portion of his NXT career losing, being sent to the main roster now would be like a Major League Baseball team calling up a guy from Triple A who is batting .200 at the plate.
Let him start batting around .300, WWE. Allow him the chance to be a more credible threat to win matches at the lower-level first before all of a sudden pretending he will be the same on the main roster.
How the creative team decides to do that is totally on them. But it isn’t a complicated move, and it’s the type that can be done without having him fight for the NXT Title. Simply have him win a string of long and exciting matches against the likes of an Austin Aries or someone of his internationally acclaimed ilk.
Does Dillinger translate better at the higher level? Probably. But let’s not rush this. Let’s make sure everything is being planned correctly. Also, make sure there is a plan in place for him. Otherwise, our beloved “10” can more quickly join wasted talent Bo Dallas on the sidelines than being mentioned in the same breath as a Kevin Owens.