WWE NXT: Evaluating Which Talents Have More to Offer Than Just an Entrance
WWE has hit a home run with NXT’s strong programming through the first month of the WWE Network, especially when juxtaposed against Impact Wrestling's impossible-to-follow storylines on Thursday nights.
Being shot in an intimate venue of just 200 attendees at Full Sail University allows audio to translate on television and creates an ECW feel with fan interaction and several chants throughout.
Of the many bright spots of NXT, Superstar entrances have been among the brightest. A handful of NXT stars have given the right first impression with fan-optimized entrances.
A downfall to these productions is a wrestler peaking once his or her music turns off. If the in-ring work, persona or charisma doesn’t add up to a sparking entrance, an NXT Superstar’s career will be strictly before the bell.
Using the above-mentioned criteria, this list will serve as an evaluation of NXT Superstars and Divas to determine whether they have potential as a future star, or whether they are nothing more than an entrance.
Mojo Rawley: Future Star
Mojo Rawley’s entrance involves the former college football player sprinting to the ring, a la the Ultimate Warrior, as part of a gimmick to “stay hyped.”
The entrance isn’t particularly overproduced and is solely contingent upon Rawley’s own vigor and personality.
Rawley’s gimmick succeeds in getting a similar reaction from fans through his contagious and authentic brand of energy.
Rawley has the collegiate background that scores points with WWE scouts, and he’ll figure to receive a meaningful push upon being called up to the main roster.
He has the right look to at least compete for world championships in the future, and his Division I athleticism has already translated to his in-ring performance.
Staying hyped may not hold up as a main event gimmick. It’s likely just enough to get his foot in the door before moving on to bigger and better things. But that’s what was said about Daniel Bryan, and he’s on the verge of main eventing WrestleMania XXX.
Adam Rose: Just an Entrance
Adam Rose’s entrance is so grand and spectacular, it’s nearly impossible to top given Rose’s relatively limited work rate.
As great as his entrance was on the March 6 edition of NXT, the audience at Full Sail University quickly became quiet once Rose got into the meat of his match.
He’ll need continued in-match tomfoolery to maintain his playful gimmick and keep the audience engaged before getting serious and unleashing his comeback.
Rose has the type of gimmick that’s meant for comic relief. His entrance may be a gift and a curse, as he will be defined by it if he fails to be equally as entertaining in the ring. And to match that entrance with wrestling ability takes Shawn Michaels-like skill.
Tyler Breeze: Just an Entrance
Tyler Breeze is very similar to Fandango, who, despite going over Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXIX, has been pushed to the back burner of the WWE roster with a low WrestleMania XXX ceiling.
Breeze does a fine job embracing his male model character and even shows impressive heel aggressiveness in the ring, but he’ll need to excel in promos to make the whole thing work on a sustainable basis.
Breeze almost immediately connected with fans through his unique runway entrance paired with a video selfie displayed on the Titantron.
But after seeing him get thrown around by Alexander Rusev at NXT Arrival, his sub-200-pound frame will be just another knock against him.
Emma: Future Star
Emma is still struggling to win fans over with her entrance in WWE the way she was able to in NXT, but this could work to her advantage, as fans are first able to be wowed by her wrestling ability.
Emma’s entrance fits her quirky, awkward persona like a glove and will enhance the overall presentation of her character.
Her efforts both in and out the ring are an extension of her entrance, which is ideal. She has already received a push on the main roster in a Divas division rife with opportunity.
WWE’s highlighting of her and Paige in a full-length match at NXT Arrival was an unofficial changing of the guard for WWE Divas.
Because of Santino Marella’s comedic talents and goodwill with WWE fans, the pairing of Emma and Santino will only help Emma’s ongoing introduction to the main roster.
The Ascension: Future Stars
The Ascension will benefit from being highlighted in a suddenly depleted tag team division in need of some extra bodies, especially if they are called up soon.
They’ll serve as the perfect heel duo to compete against fan favorites The Usos, and judging by their relentless comparisons to the Legion of Doom by commentators, WWE sees a bright future in this tandem.
The Ascension’s entrance is reminiscent of the Brood, with a slow rise from a trap door and strobe lights. It’s not overbearing and serves as more of a complement to their dark, gothic gimmick than a show-stealer.
The pair still seems raw in the ring and needs a wider array of moves to avoid the dreaded boring chants from vocal hardcore fans. But little else needs to be done, outside of calling up Konnor and Viktor, to put the Ascension in a position to succeed.