WWE NXT Superstars Who Should Get the Next Call-Up to the Main RosterJuly 27, 2021
WWE NXT Superstars Who Should Get the Next Call-Up to the Main Roster
The WWE main roster is in a transitional phase at the moment following call-ups for several Superstars from NXT in the past few weeks.
Clearly, the idea is to keep things fresh by injecting new blood into Raw and SmackDown by dipping into the black-and-gold brand for some of its top wrestlers.
While the most recent crop may be enough for now, more of WWE's developmental talent will move up to the main roster in time.
Keeping in mind current trends, everyone's usefulness on all brands and the overall momentum heading in any direction, let's take a look at some of the NXT Superstars who should be considered as the next choices to join the main roster.
There's nothing left for Adam Cole to do in NXT.
After holding all the championships and going on the longest run with the NXT title in brand history, he's checked off every box. He has also feuded with everyone noteworthy, too.
It's time to move on to some new opponents by tapping into the Raw and SmackDown names he's yet to cross paths with other than a brief moment in a men's Royal Rumble match.
Ideally, his feud with Kyle O'Reilly will reach its climax at TakeOver 36 in a Loser Leaves Town match that can act as a proper sendoff.
The Way appears to be heading toward a breakup, with Indi Hartwell continuing to choose Dexter Lumis over the group and Austin Theory expressing his frustrations at all the tension.
Spoilers for the most recent tapings pit Johnny Gargano against Lumis in a Love Her or Lose Her match that will create an even greater divide over this issue. It's also interesting to see that Theory recently received his own solo entrance music, rather than coming out to The Way's collective theme.
An argument can be made that all members, including Lumis, could go to Raw or SmackDown. The Way is a great faction, and it would be a shame for them to split.
At the very least, Gargano and Candice LeRae are more than ready to head to the main roster and make their marks.
Like Cole, Johnny Wrestling has done everything in NXT, and LeRae has continually been passed over for the NXT Women's Championship. That hasn't stopped the likes of Alexa Bliss from achieving greater goals on Raw and SmackDown, though, so maybe it's time The Poison Pixie took the leap as well.
Bronson Reed recently wrestled on Main Event and has had tryouts prior to SmackDown along with Karrion Kross. The latter has already made his Raw debut, and it appears to be only a matter of time before Reed follows suit.
This is maybe why he dropped the North American Championship on June 29. It's easier to make the transition to the main roster without a title.
Reed has proved himself over the past year. He's an athletic big man with a likable personality. More importantly, he's someone different who can ease his way up from a midcard role, which means he can find his footing and achieve even more than he did in NXT.
History has shown that one of the tell-tale signs someone is heading to the main roster is when they break up from their most recent partnership in NXT. Such is the case with Aliyah, who ditched Robert Stone and cut ties with Jessi Kamea on the July 13 episode.
Even more telling is how quickly she was replaced. On the same edition, Mandy Rose returned to NXT and Franky Monet shacked up with Stone and Kamea, rounding out the team into a trio once more.
Aliyah has been in NXT since 2015. After six years, it's time for her to prove herself on the main roster.
Thankfully, she's progressed considerably in the past two years and has worked hard at her craft. She should have no problems finding a spot for herself on Raw in particular, especially to help fill the void left by Rose going to NXT and Naomi joining SmackDown.
If Dakota Kai doesn't win the NXT Women's Championship from Raquel Gonzalez after their split, she's likely never going to do so.
All of which means she could be on her way to the main roster. In fact, she was ready for a call-up years ago and would have outworked several names who have been featured prominently on Raw and SmackDown in recent years.
A reunion of Team Kick could be fun, whenever she and Tegan Nox settle their differences. Reigniting that feud could also be good.
The alternative for Kai would be to stick around in NXT as the top veteran, but that would pigeonhole her into wasting the prime of her career as someone who trains and puts over everyone else. Instead, she should be one of the Superstars basking in the spotlight.
Why Scarlett hasn't shown up alongside Karrion Kross on Raw so far is baffling. Without her by his side and the lighting effects, his entrance has been bland and drab.
What's even more confusing is that she's exhibited no other roles other than to act as his valet and manager on NXT.
Scarlett wrestled a dark match against Shotzi Blackheart before SmackDown recently, but that remains the only contest she's had in WWE. That doesn't point to her becoming one of the most prominent members of the women's division on the black-and-gold brand.
This one is a no-brainer. The sooner she's standing beside Kross, the better; and if she and WWE are interested in her in a wrestling capacity, nothing's stopping her from competing on Raw.
Io Shirai fits the same bill as Cole and Gargano in that she's already won both women's titles and feuded with almost everyone.
The random pairing with Zoey Stark has yet to become anything other than an oddball situation in which WWE gives two singles stars the tag team titles. They haven't developed proper chemistry yet and could just be transitional champions.
If WWE had any major plans in mind for the duo, some kind of direction would have formed by now.
The Genius of the Sky has built herself up as a singles star and can handle that just fine. She doesn't need a partner to help her out.
There are just far too many great matches waiting for Shirai on the main roster to leave her on NXT.
Tommaso Ciampa is another Superstar with no mountains left to climb in NXT.
His tandem with Timothy Thatcher is fun, but it already seems to have run its course. Even a title reign likely wouldn't freshen things up enough.
Previously, Ciampa told the Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia podcast in December 2019 (h/t Aidan Gibbons of Cultaholic) that he would rather retire than join the main roster. But after the COVID-19 pandemic, his thoughts may have changed.
The 36-year-old is running out of time to have a run on the main roster and do things such as competing at WrestleMania and winning titles on Raw and SmackDown.
An established name like Ciampa, who is one of the most popular NXT Superstars, would boost the main roster's star power while reducing the boredom of watching the same wrestlers working with each other every week.
Who wouldn't want to see The Blackheart against Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, AJ Styles and others?
If a massive overhaul is in the works for NXT and WWE, here are some other names to consider.
Legado del Fantasma is a fantastic faction, and the main roster can always use more tag teams. Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde are flanked by a great singles star in Santos Escobar, who carries himself as though he's bigger than NXT as it is.
Whenever Kona Reeves is back in action, he could fill the void left by Bo Dallas and Heath Slater of the comedic jobber who doesn't realize how much of a loser he really is.
Cameron Grimes has become the lovable goofball with a personality that is arguably stifled in NXT, and he could easily be a featured act on Raw akin to Elias.
Oney Lorcan and Pete Dunne are more than solid hands in the ring and can be counted on to have a great match with almost anyone.
However, they're guaranteed to work better as bigger fish in a smaller pond. Triple H clearly values them, but Vince McMahon may not feel the same. If so, they could get lost in the shuffle on Raw and SmackDown.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.