This might be a more controversial post, but sometimes the truth hurts. And yes, I fully realize that some may complain that I’m just some “hack douchebag” sitting behind a keyboard, but I’ve been following the business as a massive fan for over 30 years. I’m not claiming to know more than the next guy…these are just my opinions.
Now while there is a ton of talent in NXT, being able to perform inside the ring sometimes isn’t enough to carry you through to the main roster. A perfect example is Tyson Kidd. He was basically a nobody until he found his mean streak in NXT. Now he’s got personality and charisma and a tag team title wrapped around his waist. A couple of years ago, that was unfathomable.
So here are five NXT stars that a lot of people may want to see on the main roster, but realistically just aren’t ready yet…
- Adrian Neville – I know, I know…this is a former NXT champion and can wrestle circles around 90% of the WWE main roster. But here’s the unfortunate truth: Sports Entertainment isn’t all about wrestling. Gone are the days when somebody like Ron Garvin could get by on just punching people and pandering to the crowds. Gone are the days when Tito Santana could simply say “Arriba!” and head off to the ring. You need to be a more well-rounded entertainer if you’re going to succeed in WWE. Unfortunately, Neville is a brilliant wizard inside the ring but a boring dullard outside of it. His promos are terrible and he doesn’t seem to have any personality when he’s trying to talk. That will hurt him in the long-run. Could he be called up tomorrow? Sure…but he’s just not ready yet.
- Hideo Itami – Another controversial choice, I realize…but the former KENTA has been pretty stagnant since debuting on NXT a few months ago. Is it his unfamiliarity with the “WWE style”? Is it a language barrier? Is it simply a lack of star-power? No…I don’t think it’s any of those things. I think it’s (a) a massive size barrier and (b) a massive lack of any type of personality, either inside the ring or outside of it. Here’s the thing…I was a huge KENTA fan and have been for years now. I firmly believe that he is one of the most talented in-ring performers in the entire world. But in order for him to truly get over with fans, he needs two things: a heel turn and a gimmick. Right now, Daniel Bryan is proving that size doesn’t always matter. However, it took years before people would truly take him seriously against his much larger opponents. Itami doesn’t have that kind of time at his age. But give him a heel gimmick and let him cheat his way to victory…and now you’ve got talent along with a realistic way for him to beat these huge opponents. The other thing he needs is a gimmick…somebody talking for him or something based upon his heritage. Personally, I’d like to see him become the new-age Kendo Nagasaki or the next Great Muta…but I don’t know if WWE management see him in that type of role. Until then, he’ll just meander to the ring with his little yellow gi on. THAT will be tough to get over on the main roster.
- Charlotte – I know…another former NXT champion. Here’s the thing with Charlotte: she’s ALMOST there. I think you could bring her to the main roster tomorrow and she’d do well, but she doesn’t have enough experience to know how to carry matches on live television or PPV’s. She’s close, though. She’s still learning her craft and developing her personality. There’s a TON of potential there and, giving her another two or three years…she could be the dominant female in the entire industry. I would just hate to see her rushed to the main roster based upon her current (impressive) skillset and her family name. She’s really close…just wait until it’s the right time. A little more gimmick and promo work and she’ll be a future WWE Hall of Famer…just like her dad.
- Baron Corbin – This guy is massive. He’s a legit 6’8” and a very solid 275lbs. He’s pretty much the exact kind of performer that Vince McMahon loves to push to the moon before they’re ready. And as much as they want to push him as an unstoppable monster on NXT, he’s missing a LOT as a performer. I mean, the guy’s only been wrestling for three years…so it’s quite obvious that he’s still green (you can see it in his matches…that’s why they’re so short). His promo ability can only be described as “brutal”. His physique, while impressive, is still a little…odd. I mean, seriously…his belly button looks like it wants to eat his opponent. His hair is thinning on the top and, unless I’m wrong, wrestling aesthetics are extremely important if you want to be shown to an international audience. I just don’t see “it” with this guy at all. I don’t understand the appeal. He’s FAR from being ready for any kind of call-up at this point. He’s a former NFL lineman and even a Golden Gloves champion…so it’s not like he isn’t a solid athlete. He just needs to put everything together…and he hasn’t quite yet.
- Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady – Here’s two guys that seem to click and gel very well as a team. They’ve got catch-phrases that the NXT crowd loves and they’ve got tons of personality and charisma. Their in-ring is pretty decent, too…at least it would be enough to get by on the main roster until they improved. So what’s the problem? They’re already becoming stale. Not only that, but they’re already bored with their own gimmick. Seriously…watch the last three or four NXT programs where Amore did his shtick on the mic. Did it not seem rushed to you? Did it not seem like he was simply “going through the motions”? I mean…if you want these catchphrases to take off, you need to be unique and original and come up with something else while still keeping elements of the original in there. Delivery doesn’t have to be the same every single time, either. But if they want to really get over with fans in WWE, they’re going to have to pick up the pace a little bit and stop sleep-walking through the biggest thing that’s putting them over: their promos.
Disagree with me? Think I’m way off? Did I miss anybody? Let me know your thoughts!