The WWE announced that six NXT performers will be selected during its brand-extension draft Tuesday. A rather shocking surprise, as the company tends to leave shockers like that under wraps.
As to who will be selected, that is anyone’s guess.
It’s not as easy as picking the most over people on the developmental brand. NXT is its own product, a federation birthing talent to another for sure, but the depth at the top of it can’t be depleted in such a way that the turnover rate is so high at the top that all recognizable names are gone.
It would make bad business sense. Imagine taking the top six performers off the main roster. It would be a dumpster fire. A similar thing would apply to removing that many top talent from NXT – but amplified by a million, as the developmental league isn’t as deep as the main roster.
Let’s take a gander at six performers who should hear their names called on Tuesday. Please note, also according to the WWE website, that tag teams can be considered one pick.
Balor has been rumored to the main roster dating back to when all the talent from New Japan signed with the WWE.
Whatever the WWE has in store for Balor, it is clear that his time in NXT is over. He lost his NXT title rematch against Samoa Joe recently and put over Shinsuke Nakamura on the most recently aired edition of NXT’s regularly weekly programming.
It is time to find out if Balor – as well as Demon Balor – can translate to the big stage.
Nakamura wasn’t brought over to be on the NXT for long. He’s also not being paid developmental money. In fact, especially considering he is one of Japan’s biggest stars ever, it is rather shocking that Vince McMahon hasn’t already tried to milk some international money out of his bones.
While we are already depleting the depth of NXT with the first two choices, it is worth noting that both were never going to be NXT-bound forever, especially not Nakamura – he has too much potential earning power to leave in a lesser promotion.
Here is our tag team pick.
We still don’t know what is going to happen with the WWE tag team titles. They can end up being split again or maybe the champions will be featured on both programs. Either way, the division isn’t so deep that it can afford this brand extension without an attempt at replenishing some of it happening.
There’s nothing left for American Alpha at NXT, too. Everything that needed to be done was done, and the developmental territory is rather deep with tag teams as is. It could afford to lose one or two established duos from its ranks.
Nia is the type of talent who might actually translate better on the main roster. She’s improved dramatically since first popping up on NXT programming some time ago.
Jackson also has the look and strength that will set her apart from the rest of the women’s division. This one is really a no-brainer.
Not to mention the fact that since she’s not anywhere near the NXT Women’s Championship as of this moment, there’s few things left for her to do on NXT other than squash other female performers.
The last of the first era of great women’s wrestling on NXT. That is who Bayley is and what she represents. Yes, it will be sad to see her leave for the bigger stage, but as it is with the tag team titles and depth, we have no idea what is going to happen to the women and it can theoretically get a lot thinner with talent after Tuesday night.
How Bayley’s character will translate at the next level is anyone’s guess, but she has to be given a shot at some point. With the brand-extension providing lesser talents second or third chances, she deserves her first.
That’s right… No Samoa Joe. He stays. There’s no reason to put him on the main roster. At 37, he’s older than a lot of the other talent that can go up and his drawing power is limited.
He’s also not some sort of transcendent in-ring talent like an AJ Styles. He won’t be able to win over the WWE Universe overnight – sorry, Internet Wrestling Community.
Not that Itami is a spring chicken or anything, but if the WWE wants to continue to have good relations with potential international stars, bumping up Itami to the main roster would serve them well.
Plus, he’s coming off an injury. He is going to be lost in the NXT shuffle as is. While he might end up getting lost on the main roster too, at least give him a chance to find his way on the main stage.