Who Should WWE Call Up From NXT?

Since August of 2012, NXT has been WWE’s developmental brand, and has hosted some of the world’s top performers, such as Kevin Owens and Finn Balor. Despite WWE’s recent ‘Brand […]

Since August of 2012, NXT has been WWE’s developmental brand, and has hosted some of the world’s top performers, such as Kevin Owens and Finn Balor. Despite WWE’s recent ‘Brand Split’ picking the cream of the crop from NXT, there are still many performers who are prepared to take the next step to the main roster.

This article will look at which stars should be called up, and what their impact on SmackDown or RAW would be.


Shinsuke Nakamura – RAW

‘The King of Strong Style’, Shinsuke Nakamura is one of Japans’ most decorated superstars.

He is a record-setting five time IWGP Intercontinental Champion and still holds the title of youngest (23 years old) IWGP Heavyweight Champion, which he has held three times.

Nakamura slots perfectly into the main event scene on RAW, which currently is being dominated by NXT Alumni, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens. Although his promo skills aren’t perfect because of the language barrier, he makes up for that with is ability in the ring and a natural sense of charisma.

At the moment, Raw doesn’t have a proper babyface main-eventer. Seth Rollins has gotten over, but until WWE pulls the trigger on his storyline with Triple H, he’ll remain a ‘tweener’ – and don’t get me started on Reigns.

Nakamura has a natural mystique, which in kayfabe terms can be used to book him on the same level as the likes of Brock Lesnar, John Cena and even Goldberg. This sort of ‘super powerful’ babyface persona will quickly get Nakamura over and, much like in NXT, he will quickly rise up the ranks and be in a position to challenge for the Universal Title.


Samoa Joe – Smackdown Live

Samoa Joe is a pro wrestler at its very best. He is the longest-reigning ROH World Champion, was involved in TNA’s only ‘5-star’ match and is the first two-time NXT Champion. Not only that, but he can cut a mean promo.

His current role in NXT is to be a near unstoppable monster heel who can run through the entire roster with ease. When he is called up to the main roster he could easily take that role to SmackDown Live. Not only does this role fit Joe perfectly (watch his ‘Bring me Nakamura’ promo), but, SmackDown Live lacks a main-eventer who can be seen as a credible threat to the big three on the roster; Randy Orton, John Cena and AJ Styles.

Furthermore, if Joe were to run through the SmackDown Live mid-card as he did with NXT, it would be a chance to turn AJ Styles – if he is still WWE Champion at the time – face, thus giving WWE audiences the pleasure of seeing some of TNA’s best bouts fought inside a WWE ring (not that Vince will ever let us know they wrestled for TNA).

With the right booking once Joe hits the main roster, he can be portrayed as the next Brock Lesnar, a wrestling machine who will stop at nothing to be the very best.


Tye Dillinger – Smackdown Live

‘The Perfect 10’ is the most over wrestler currently signed to NXT. Although his win-loss ratio for the brand isn’t the most impressive, he has consistently put on praise-worthy performances, even in a loss.

Tye Dillinger’s hard-working and highly intense style would make him a perfect addition to SmackDown Live, where he could easily slot into the upper mid-card and challenge for the Intercontinental Title.

This is because the Intercontinental Championship is known for its history of being held by technically savvy wrestlers, the likes of Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage, and if Tye Dillinger is given the right opportunities, with his in-ring skills, he has the potential to reach the status of these two Hall of Famers.

Furthermore, SmackDown Live’s upper mid-card is lacking in babyface star power at the moment. With Dillinger’s introduction, the IC Title scene would have a breath of fresh air – and from a business perspective, Dillinger is so over as a babyface, it would be simple for WWE to capitalise on his merchandise sales, especially as a champion.


The Revival – SmackDown Live

If The Revival carry the momentum they’ve built so far in NXT over to the main roster, they look set to become one of the best tag teams in WWE history. They have great chemistry not only among themselves, but also with any opponent they’ve take on – such as DIY, who they’ve put on two MOTY candidates with this year alone!

The NXT tag division is in a state where even if a team as strong as The Revival were to move to the main roster, the division is strong enough to hold its own with the likes of DIY, The Authors of Pain and TM61. Therefore, although they would be missed at Full Sail, The Revival’s departure wouldn’t leave too big of a gap in NXT.

Much like the upper mid-card, SmackDown Live’s tag division is severely lacking in quality, with most of its teams consisting of (what WWE deem) lower card talent. If The Revival are brought up to SmackDown Live, there will finally be a heel team that has proven that they are specialists in the craft of tag team wrestling. If used correctly, their skill set will to not only elevate the status of the division, but also elevate the skills of the teams around them.


Why there are no women on this list

There are obviously two stand out competitors in NXT’s women’s division who are prepared for a main roster call up; current NXT Women’s Champion Asuka and Ember Moon. Unfortunately, with the recent draft pick and the ‘graduation’ of Bayley, the two are the only remaining ‘veterans’ amongst the NXT women’s division.

However, many of the female performers, such as Aliyah, Billie Kay and Liv Morgan have come on leaps and bounds in the past few months. But for now, it does not seem appropriate to remove any competitors from the already fragile division during this transitional period.


Final Thoughts

As we can see, all of the talent listed above would bring something unique to the main roster, and would make an immediate and long-lasting impact. Most of the call-ups were picked to go to SmackDown Live because the RAW roster is so big, they would not be utilised correctly. Also, SmackDown Live lacks the star power to draw large crowds and boost television ratings, which in the grand scheme of things is ultimately what WWE wants.