Ranking the Best and Worst NXT Call-Ups to WWE's Main Roster

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2017

Ranking the Best and Worst NXT Call-Ups to WWE's Main Roster

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    Sarah Logan, Ruby Riot and Liv Morgan make a statement on SmackDown.
    Sarah Logan, Ruby Riot and Liv Morgan make a statement on SmackDown.Credit: WWE.com

    It's always exciting when a Superstar gets called up from NXT, and WWE gave fans enough to keep them talking when it brought up Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan on Monday and Tuesday.

    Rose and Deville showed up with Paige on Raw, but Riot, Logan and Morgan didn't need an established main-roster star alongside them when they attacked Naomi, Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Natalya on SmackDown Live.

    These debuts caught a lot of people off guard because of the low amount of screen time each woman has had in NXT, but expanding the women's division on both shows will stop the repetitiveness we have been seeing in recent months.

    WWE has given some Superstars incredible debuts nobody will ever forget, and some people are brought up with no advance notice or no special announcement.

    This article will rank the five best and five worst NXT call-ups since the developmental system was rebranded from Florida Championship Wrestling in 2012.

Worst: Bobby Roode

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    Bobby Roode is an outstanding wrestler with a lot to offer, but WWE didn't give him the debut he deserved earlier this year.

    Instead of some shocking attack on someone higher up the food chain or interrupting someone's promo, Roode was given an old-fashioned introduction.

    He had weeks of video packages preceding his arrival on August 22. When he did show up, he was booked to face Aiden English, who was at the start of his singles career following Simon Gotch's exit.

    Roode's debut wasn't that bad, but it was how WWE handled him in the following weeks that irked. He went an entire month without a match shortly after his first appearance.

    His call-up felt more like WWE having nothing left for him to do in NXT than needing him to be part of the main roster, which is a shame because he deserved a bigger debut moment.

Best: The Revival

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    The best debuts in WWE history have typically been those the fans didn't know were going to happen in advance, and The Revival's falls into this category.

    After two successful NXT Tag Team Championships reigns and multiple Match of the Year candidates at TakeOver specials, Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson showed up on Raw the night after WrestleMania 33.

    They debuted in a segment with The New Day and instantly established themselves as heels by knocking over The New Day's ice cream bike on the way to the ring.

    Unfortunately, a couple of injuries have slowed their careers on the main roster, but if they can stay healthy moving forward, The Revival could have a long and fruitful career as a team.

Worst: American Alpha

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    American Alpha seemed primed to be one of the next great tag teams in WWE, but someone in charge must have changed their mind.

    Their call-up happened during the July 2016 draft, when WWE decided to split the brands up again, but their debut didn't happen for another two weeks.

    Their first appearance on SmackDown happened August 2, 2016, in a match against The Vaudevillains. They were given almost no extra hype before their arrival, so it didn't feel special.

    They managed to the tag titles before they were broken up by the illegitimate son storyline Jason Jordan is involved in with Kurt Angle.

    Chad Gable has since formed a team with Shelton Benjamin, and they seem to be on their way to winning the tag titles together. Jordan appears to be teasing a heel turn in the near future, so at least both Superstars are getting ample time to perform.

Best: Paige

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    Only a handful of Superstars can claim to have won a title on the night they debuted, and Paige is one of those people.

    The night after WrestleMania XXX, Paige made history when she challenged and defeated AJ Lee for the Divas Championship.

    She set several milestones at once by being the first NXT women's champion, the first person to simultaneously hold titles in NXT and on the main roster, the first woman to win the Divas title on her debut and the youngest Divas champion of all time, at 21.

    The Women's Revolution may have started a year later, but Paige helped lay the groundwork by stealing the show at NXT Arrival against Emma and by being one of the best performers on the main roster toward the end of the Divas era.

    Despite her recent troubles, Paige seems to be on the right track after returning with Rose and Deville by her side. No matter what happens in the future, her debut will always be considered one of the best.

    Watching the video above will likely make you miss AJ.

Worst: The Ascension

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    The Revival's surprise debut was successful, but it doesn't always work out that way. The Ascension is a prime example of a team needing more buildup before its arrival.

    Konnor and Viktor were as dominant as any tag team in NXT history, so it seemed like they would be just as successful on Raw or SmackDown.

    The WWE Universe never quite took to them because of their similarities to The Road Warriors and WWE's lack of effort in regard to their push.

    These days, The Ascension is relegated to comedy segments with The Fashion Police, but it has provided us with some laughs, so transitioning into babyfaces might be what Konnor and Viktor need to freshen up their characters.

Best: Kevin Owens

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    John Cena's United States Championship open challenges were a lot of fun because we got to see him face tons of Superstars he had never been in the ring with before.

    However, the best thing to come out of this storyline was Kevin Owens' debut. He was still NXT champion at the time, but WWE felt it was the right time to bring him into the fold.

    Not only did he embarrass Cena with a Pop-Up Powerbomb during their first encounter, but KO also defeated him cleanly at Elimination Chamber 2015.

    Owens has grown into one of the most reliable and entertaining performers on the roster, and WWE has been wise to keep him in high-profile storylines for the past two years.

    His new alliance with Sami Zayn is heading in an interesting direction, and with any luck, the duo will soon hold the SmackDown tag team titles.

Worst: Rusev

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    Rusev's first official appearance on the main roster happened during the 2014 Royal Rumble match, and it took four Superstars to eliminate him.

    This would have been an awesome debut, but WWE pulled back and kept him in NXT for a little while following the pay-per-view.

    Then he was introduced properly through a series of standard video packages. His first match on Raw happened on April 7, 2014, against Zack Ryder.

    This is a case of WWE getting it right and then messing up. Rusev should have remained on the main roster after appearing in the Rumble instead of coming back a few months later.

Best: Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch

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    It's hard to think of a more memorable moment from the past few years than the night Stephanie McMahon introduced Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch to the WWE Universe in July 2015.

    All three women had been tearing it up in NXT for a long time, so expectations were high for them on the main roster.

    WWE changed the course of the women's division in one segment. Matches featuring the Divas of the time were often considered the designated bathroom break of any show, so any positive change was going to be welcome.

    The quality of women's wrestling instantly improved with these three women, and the talents who were already on the main roster rose to their level or perished.

    All three of these Superstars are still key members of the roster and multi-time champions. With the recent influx of women, it will be interesting to see who succeeds and who becomes an enhancement talent.

Worst: The Vaudevillains

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    The Vaudevillains were a fun novelty act in NXT, but it was hard to believe the old-timey tag team would be taken seriously on the main roster. 

    Not only did they debut to almost no fanfare, but Simon Gotch and Aiden English lost some of their early matches, making it clear they were not going to be a top team.

    After months of frustration, Gotch left WWE in April to make a name for himself on the indy scene, leaving English to fend for himself.

    The Maestro of Mayhem has found his footing as Rusev's personal singer recently, and while it might be more of a comedy character, he has taken the opportunity and thrived as one of the funnier people on SmackDown.

Best: The Shield

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    Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose had one of the greatest debuts in WWE history when they attacked Ryback at Survivor Series 2012.

    The Shield went on to become one of the most popular stables of all time. Each Superstar captured the WWE Championship and multiple other titles once the group split up after Payback 2014.

    All three men were unknown quantities to most of the WWE Universe, but management took a chance on them by giving them a big introduction.

    Reforming the group three years after disbanding it might seem too early to some fans, but it's hard to argue with the appeal of a Shield reunion.

    People still talk about the stable's debut more than five years later, which speaks to how memorable that moment was for Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns.