Emma, Alexander Rusev and Latest WWE NXT Developmental News
Emma made her first appearance on the WWE main roster, and Alexander Rusev appears to be charging right behind her.
Those may not have been the two NXT prospects fans would have pegged to make it to Raw next, but Emma's charm and Rusev's power has apparently made officials take notice. Other WWE developmental news clears up where Sami Zayn and Paige have been and cements the fact that two former Ring of Honor champs will not be headed to NXT.
A current NFL punter may make that journey, though.
Aspiring wrestlers, debuts and injury updates comprise a week's worth of WWE NXT news, beginning with Baron Corbin's former teammate.
NFL Punter Has WWE Dreams
The next NFL player to go from the gridiron to the ring could be a punter.
Pat McAfee of the Indianapolis Colts has expressed interest in heading to WWE developmental in the future, per Yahoo! Sports. The article details McAfee's in-ring debut, an indy match against a wrestler named War Pig, as well as his affinity for the squared circle.
McAfee says that he's a big fan of The Rock and is shown in a video clip hitting one of his teammates with the Stunner in the locker room.
Current NXT prospect Baron Corbin was briefly McAfee's teammate, and the two apparently discussed a wrestling future post-football. Corbin has already started that path; McAfee could join him in the future.
Injury Updates for Top Prospects
Paige and Sami Zayn, two of NXT's most talented wrestlers, have been out of action as of late. Fans won't have to wait all that long before the two are taking down foes again, though.
PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, reported that Paige was injured, although there was no word on the nature of the injury. It doesn't appear to be anything serious, as Paige says that she will be back soon. She wrote on Instagram, via PWMania.com, that she was going "back to work" on Monday.
As for Zayn, PWMania.com writes that he was on crutches "because he has tweaked his knee." The report lists his return date as next month.
NXT TV will be bolstered by both stars being back. Zayn was a part of many of the best NXT matches of 2013. It sounds as if he'll be able to continue his run of high-quality work again before long.
Alexander Rusev Continues to Work WWE Events
WWE appears to be prepping Alexander Rusev for a jump to the main roster with a consistent string of opportunities against WWE Superstars.
Rusev, as reported by WrestlingInc.com, defeated Tyson Kidd by submission at a recent show in Worcester, Mass.
In addition, the Bulgarian bruiser earned two victories over Justin Gabriel. The first came in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. on Jan. 10, per WrestlingInc.com, and the next night, per PWTorch.com, in Glen Falls, N.Y., in what was described as an "awkward match."
Rusev is not only being asked to work these house shows but defeat and dominate guys like Kidd and Gabriel. This is more evidence that Rusev's time in NXT is limited. Bet on him appearing on Raw in the very near future.
Emma Debuts on Raw
Emma has already made it the main roster, sort of.
During a tag team match on Monday's Raw, the cameras caught Emma in the crowd holding a sign. John "Bradshaw" Layfield acknowledged her being there as well.
As WrestlingInc.com reported, Emma was at the Jan. 14 SmackDown tapings as well, "again appearing in the crowd with her '#Emmataining' sign." Add that to the fact that she "appeared at this past weekend's WWE live events teaming with Natalya," per WrestleZone.com, and it looks as if she isn't far from progressing from prospect to WWE Diva.
While the smart money would have been on Paige making it first, Emma is one of the best in-ring workers in the division, and her bubbly, dance-happy antics have won over the NXT audience. She'll likely soon get a chance to see if that translates to the main roster.
Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards Headed Elsewhere
Fans can stop holding out hope that WWE will change its mind about signing Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards.
The tag team debuted as The American Pitbulls on NXT, but as Wrestling Observer reported, via CagesideSeats.com, "WWE would not offer them a contract."
Since then, the two former Ring of Honor stars have found a new home. WrestlingInc.com reports that Edwards and Richards "are expected to be signing with TNA and could debut as early as this Thursday night."
While it has to be disappointing not to get a shot with WWE, the plus side for Edwards and Richards is that they will get national exposure and won't have to work their way through a developmental system.