Center stage may not be far away for a pair of standout WWE NXT prospects.
Beyond their impressive work in the ring this week, recent backstage reports note that Sasha Banks and Kalisto are high on officials' call-up lists. Simon Gotch is more than a few strides from that point, but recently upped his stock.
Tyler Breeze and Garret Dylan failed to progress at the pace of their peers.
Dylan isn't well-known and could have changed that to some degree when the cameras pointed his way—but he didn't. Breeze, no stranger to the camera, ended a streak of applause-worthy performances and slipped while Banks and Kalisto strode toward the pinnacle.
Sasha Banks: Stock Up
Charlotte continues to be at the center of the story of The BFFs' slow implosion, but Banks is clearly the top in-ring performer among those three women.
She proved that once again in her bout against Alexa Bliss on Thursday's NXT. Bliss showed her rawness at times and Banks served as ring general, controlling the action and improving the match.
At one point, Bliss rolled awkwardly into Banks in what looked like a botched move. Banks took it in stride and folded the flub into the story. She grabbed Bliss' hair and shook her head, implying that she had prevented whatever Bliss was trying.
A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a surfboard were among the highlights from The Boss. It was her showmanship that most stood out, though. She looked disgusted at her opponent, angry that she'd dare to fight back.
This is where her game has most improved in recent months.
With her steady progress, it's not surprising that WWE is reportedly thinking of promoting her soon, according to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, via Nick Paglino of Wrestlezone:
"WWE is also making room for more NXT Diva call-ups, with Charlotte and Sasha Banks expected make main roster debuts in the near future."
Garrett Dylan: Stock Down
Dylan hasn't received many chances on TV, so the value of each one is significant. On Thursday's NXT, he took on Mojo Rawley and failed to do much with his time in the spotlight.
The best part of the clash was his hard strikes. He bashed Rawley's back with convincing forearms and knocked his head back a few times.
Beyond that, there was little to compel fans. Even though he delivered the majority of the offense, Dylan didn't stand out. The divisive Rawley still felt like the star.
Dylan still appears to be in the hunt for the right balance of the understated and the theatrical. Some of his reactions to Rawley's moves were overdone, more blatant acting than subtle selling.
One can see why WWE is interested in him, considering how strong and rugged he is, but he's going to need improve his stage presence to climb the NXT ranks.
Simon Gotch: Stock Up
Opportunities are flooding in for Gotch. WWE is allowing him to continue a version of the gimmick he ran in the indies as he infiltrates a thin tag-team division.
On Thursday's NXT, he debuted alongside Aiden English as The Vaudevillains. Their entrance featured a grainy, old-timey filter and dinky piano music from a time long past. The NXT crowd ate it up, clapping and cheering for the new duo.
In the ring, Gotch flexed before he landed a punch and did one-handed push-ups while applying a hold. His gimmick will need to be refined, but it's already fun. Should his shtick evolve as Bo Dallas' have, he'll head upward.
He was a bit too soft-spoken in his backstage segment with English as well as his video blog on WWE's YouTube channel, but the fact that the company is pointing the camera his way this much is a positive sign.
Tyler Breeze: Stock Down
Prince Pretty was bound to cool off at some point. Eventually, even the greatest sharpshooter is going to misfire.
Breeze's match against Kalisto on Thursday's NXT was one of his least impressive. He spent far too much time clamping down a front facelock on his foe. The result was a lack of momentum and a crowd mocking him by chanting "headlock, headlock!"
The story could still have been about Breeze grounding the high-flyer with a bigger variety of moves and more flair in the ring. Breeze has to better gauge the temperature of the audience. They were clearly losing interest and The Gorgeous One didn't adjust the action to combat that.
He ended the clash with one of the sloppier versions of a Beauty Shot, barely making contact on the incoming Kalisto.
Kalisto: Stock Up
At the opposite side of the ring, Kalisto delivered bursts of thrilling action. His pre-bout energy was great, hyping up the crowd. That energy slowed as the match began, thanks to its poor pace.
When Kalisto went on the offensive, he had the crowd gasping. A spinning move off the ropes, a cartwheel, headscissors takedowns and a fantastic crossbody were among the high points he delivered.
He was fun to watch and had the crowd leaning in.
Officials had to see this performance as reason to give him more ring time. In fact, he may not be battling at Full Sail University for long. According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, via PWMania.com, "There was talk this past week that WWE may bring NXT star Kalisto to the main roster by the end of the year as WWE still feels that they need to have a Latino babyface."
It's clear that WWE is heading in this direction, focusing on his Mexican roots. The colors of that country's flag are splashed all over his ring gear. Trying to replace Rey Mysterio will be a tough journey, but Kalisto has the tools to successfully make that trek.
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