Corey Graves, KENTA and Latest WWE NXT Developmental News
While Corey Graves' WWE NXT career is stuck in port, KENTA appears to be making a trek across the sea from Japan to Florida. Concussions have kept Graves from the ring and reportedly may end his career before it begins in earnest.
As for KENTA, the latest WWE developmental news gives fans one more reason to get excited about the possibility of the Japanese star making his way to Full Sail University.
Other NXT stories reveal which two prospects may soon make their way to TV, which two are injured and which two have formed a tag team.
The following is a look at those items as well as the most recent updates on Graves and KENTA.
Prospects to Debut on TV
NXT fans aren't yet familiar with Slate Randall and Braun Stowman, but that is set to change.
Marc Middleton of WrestlingInc.com, citing a report from Wrestling Observer Newsletter, writes, "WWE developmental talents Slate Randall (formerly Shaun Ricker) and Braun Stowman (former tough man Adam Scherr) will likely be making their NXT TV debuts soon."
Stowman has been making appearance as one of Adam Rose' Rosebuds. He'll soon get to show what he can do outside of the entourage. Randall spent years on the independent circuit, wrestling in California and Ohio.
While Randall is the more polished and experienced in-ring performer, Stowman's size and power will have officials keeping a close eye on his development.
Corey Graves Possibly Done as a Wrestler
After suffering his second concussion, Corey Graves' in-ring career is in jeopardy. His fanbase has been waiting for him to recover from the injury and return to wrenching foes' legs, but that may not happen at all.
Based on a report from PWInsider.com, PWMania.com wrote, "There's talk going around developmental that Graves is pretty much done as an in-ring performer and officials are trying to figure out another role in the company for him."
That's disheartening news for a prospect brimming with potential. Graves can at least take solace in the fact that WWE is working to find him a non-wrestling spot, but to be potentially done as a wrestler at just 30 years old must be hard to take.
Those who follow Graves on Twitter know how clever and funny he can be. Perhaps he can slide into a social media-centered role similar to the one Joey Styles (VP of Digital Media Content) has.
Injury List Grows
Add Marcus Louis and Cal Bishop to the ranks of the banged-up.
Citing PWInsider.com, Marc Middleton of WrestlingInc.com wrote, "Marcus Louis is currently out of action with a leg injury. Cal Bishop is also out of action, with a torn rotator cuff and that could have him out 7-8 months if he needs surgery."
In the fight to the top of the NXT dog pile, injuries are an easy way to fall to the bottom. Talented wrestlers can get passed by as they sit on the bench waiting to heal.
Enzo Amore's momentum and position before breaking his leg made it easier for him to essentially come back to the spot he left. Bishop doesn't have that luxury. He has appeared infrequently for NXT so far and will have a lot of catching up to do when he's back, as other prospects will have had time aplenty to improve their resumes.
New NXT Tag Team
The Ascension look to have another set of potential challengers heading their way.
Scott Dawson has been teaming with Dash Wilder at NXT live events. F4WOnline (h/t Nick Paglino of Wrestle Zone) confirmed the pairing. Paglino noted, "The duo is reportedly using the name The Mechanics."
Dawson tweeted a picture of him and Wilder in action with the hashtag "Mechanics."
Once painfully thin, the NXT tag team division is beginning to look strong. The Vaudevillains, along with Tye Dillinger and Jason Jordan have earned some solid momentum as of late. NXT has put more focus on The Legionnaires as well.
Adding a hard-nosed twosome of bruisers to the mix can only elevate all those teams.
WWE Possibly Spoils Signing
Rumors as to whether Pro Wrestling Noah standout KENTA is indeed coming to NXT/WWE just received some major ammunition.
WWE's Japanese site (h/t PWMania.com) noted that on July 12, the company will announce that a new Japanese Superstar has been signed. A silhouette stands next to Hulk Hogan on the graphic next to the article. How WWE decided to label that image (Kenta teaser image) is telling.
That sure appears to be a case of accidentally spilling a secret.
Skeptics are right to not start drawing up "Welcome to WWE, KENTA," signs just yet, but this is the latest sign that he's set to make the jump to the States and begin his time at WWE developmental.
WWE doesn't have a great history of success with booking Japanese stars, but it's hard not to get excited about the possibility of seeing him take on Daniel Bryan (as he did in 2006) and stars like Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville and Cesaro.