Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville and Latest WWE NXT Developmental News
As WWE shuffles its NXT talents, Sami Zayn is close to a call-up, while Adrian Neville is going to stay in the developmental system for at least a few months.
In other NXT news, former NFL player Shawne Merriman signed with the company, Lisa Marie Varon may be working with Sara Del Rey and an underrated prospect has returned from injury.
NXT stars have made significant impacts on the main roster lately, from Paige winning the Divas title to Alexander Rusev destroying all of his competition. It looks as if more prospects will soon follow them to Raw, Zayn included.
WWE Signs Former NFL Player to Developmental Deal
NXT officially has a new prospect plucked from the gridiron. Former NFL Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman is headed to WWE developmental.
Wrestling Observer Newsletter, via PWMania, reports the following:
WWE has signed former NFL star Shawne Merriman to a deal. The idea is to bring him up similar to how WCW brought up Steve "Mongo" McMichael.
They're looking at training Merriman as an announcer, put him on TV while he’s also training to be a wrestler, and then transition into being a wrestler when he's good enough.
Merriman played for the Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers. His brashness will help him succeed in his new world as much as his physical gifts will.
Being known outside of wrestling is a bonus he'll have over most other WWE hopefuls.
More Call-Ups Coming
Raw and SmackDown are set to look a lot more like NXT in the near future.
Alexander Rusev, Paige and Emma are already on the main roster. WWE has already shown vignettes for Adam Rose and Bo Dallas, who will soon join them. That won't be it, though.
Wrestling Observer Newsletter, via Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc, reports that "The next NXT stars in line to come up are Sami Zayn and NXT Tag Team Champions The Ascension."
That's huge news for Zayn and The Ascension, of course, but NXT is going to have a number of slots for rising talents to fill. Rusev, Zayn, Dallas and The Ascension have taken up a big portion of the spotlight at Full Sail University.
With them gone, men like Tyler Breeze and Colin Cassady will have new opportunities to impress.
Prospect Returning from Injury
A torn ACL has kept Scott Dawson from performing for months. He's now ready to renew his NXT journey.
According to Wrestling Inc's Marc Middleton, "He was doing some minor training in December, but was just cleared to get back in the ring this week." After reentering the ring, Dawson tweeted that he was "starting to feel normal again."
Dawson hasn't been one of the top names in NXT. Names like Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville have overshadowed him so far. The leg injury certainly didn't help.
He can now continue to climb up the NXT ladder, forcing folks to take notice of him.
Adrian Neville Staying Put
The NXT invasion won't include Adrian Neville.
NXT champ Neville is sticking around Full Sail University for now. F4WOnline.com, via Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc, reports that "Neville will stay on NXT through the end of the summer at the very least."
Neville's ring work is more than main-roster ready. It's likely his mic skills and charisma that WWE is waiting to see develop.
He hasn't been as dynamic in that department as other prospects and, unlike Rusev, doesn't have Lana to be his mouthpiece.
Holding the NXT title will offer him a number of chances to prove that he's more than just a high-flyer. Those who have marveled at his athleticism, though, won't have any doubt that he will one day make it to Raw and SmackDown.
Lisa Marie Varon May Be Brought in as Trainer
NXT's Diva division could get even better if Lisa Marie Varon joins the team.
F4WOnline, via PWMania, reports that "Lisa Marie Varon (Victoria, Tara) may be back to work for WWE in some form here soon, most likely as a NXT trainer."
The report also notes that there is a tryout in June for female wrestlers. Varon, of course, could help with that.
She has won championships in both WWE and TNA, amassing a decade-and-a-half's worth of experience. Even at age 43, she's still plenty talented enough to make a run as an in-ring performer, but WWE will certainly benefit if it has her offering her wisdom to a new generation.