Ever since the inception of NXT 2.0, the developmental brand has gone against the idea of its most worthy Superstars going up to the main roster. The 2.0 moniker has (thankfully) been put to bed, and main roster call-ups have begun to pick up steam.
The main roster product has had a tendency to become stale. However, with Triple H now in charge, he has seemingly made it his mission to try and spice things up with new and returning superstars.
The talent on the NXT brand is surely not what it used to be. The days of superstars such as Sami Zayn, Finn Bálor, Shinsuke Nakamura, and so on, are over. Talent in NXT is much more homegrown. However, there are still plenty of names that should be getting looked at to help make an impact on Raw or SmackDown.
The decorated superstar is the readiest on the roster… by far. Hayes can not only cut it in the ring, with quality matches against the likes of Roderick Strong, Cameron Grimes, and Ricochet, but he is undoubtedly the most charismatic performer on the brand. The partnership with Trick Williams has also worked out very nicely for Hayes. Both superstars have continued to find themselves more and more, as time goes on.
Hayes would be a much-needed fit on the main roster for any brand. Not only does Hayes work as a solo act, but with Williams alongside him, this dynamic duo will surely become a popular tandem. The list of intriguing matches and feuds Hayes can have on the main roster, are endless. A match with Seth Rollins? Sign me up. A feud with another powerhouse on the mic in Kevin Owens? Where’s my popcorn. Hayes has shown to be a constant and reliable asset to any roster. A main roster call-up is not only more than acceptable for a talent who has done almost everything there is to do in NXT, but Hayes is seemingly eager to move on to bigger and better things.
Despite only being on the US version for not even two full months, Dragunov showed during his run in NXT UK, that he is not like most. Dragunov presents a different style of wrestling. Hard-hitting, innovative, a fiery feel to almost every move, Dragunov combines his unique athleticism with an aggressive move set. His incredible matches with GUNTHER are proof enough that he is ready for the spotlight.
Even though Dragunov’s ability in the ring is top-notch, he does have his flaws. He’s not the strongest on the mic. Part of this is of course due to his natural language barrier. However, his words always have a sense of passion and intrigue, which is always appreciated whenever one speaks, regardless of how smooth one may be on the mic. Dragunov would provide either brand a much needed and different force to deal with. Matches with other hard hitters like Matt Riddle and Sheamus should make any wrestling fan eager to have Dragunov someday grace our screens on Raw or SmackDown.
During the early days of NXT 2.0, Waller was propelled up as someone to watch out for in the future. Unfortunately for Waller, not many saw it. He came off as generic and decent at most in the ring. Creative was so high on Waller, that he even went into a program with main roster star, AJ Styles. However, progression has been notable, and he has become one of the most must-see superstars across the brand.
Waller’s biggest strength is his charisma. Whilst he is rock solid in the ring and continuing to improve, he has nailed down the cowardly weasel character that has become a fixture in almost any promotion. His not-so-subtle cockiness has also been another attribute Waller has corrected himself on from last year’s troubles. He plays the part of an annoying character too well to not be looked out from the main roster. In many ways, Waller is comparable to The Miz, and it would be very smart for WWE to build off of his upward trajectory.
The women’s division in NXT has been lackluster over the past year. There has been its share of good moments, but it reeks in comparison to the divisions once led by Bayley, Asuka, and Shayna Baszler. However, one bright spot has been the emergence of Perez. The 21-year-old has not even spent a year in developmental and still, Perez is regarded as one of the best wrestlers the women’s division has to offer.
Perez still has a lot to work on, mostly due to her not great (to put it nicely) work on the mic. Her feud with Cora Jade alone showed that there are still holes in Perez’s game. However, it is hard to look at her age, in-ring ability, and her likeable personality, and not think that she can become a major player on the main roster. It would also be a nice change of pace to see Perez go toe-to-toe with some of WWE’s best, instead of the more average talent that resides in developmental. Perez is definitely someone to keep your eye on in the near future.
Katanna Chance and Kayden Carter
This may be surprising, but this duo is improving in the ring every single week. The current NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions had great matches with Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark. The crowd seems to get behind them and both women would be a legitimate tag team to contend with on the main roster.
Also, both have been in developmental for far too long. Both women reported to the Performance Center in 2018, and since then, they have had their fair share of ups-and-downs. Carter and Chance have nothing else to prove. Neither of the two are going to become NXT Women’s Champion, and more than likely, the two will find the most success as a pair, rather than split up into two difference solo acts. Use this opportunity to carry their momentum onto the main roster in a sink or swim approach and see how far they can go.
Out of everyone in NXT, Stratton may be most ready for a chance to shine on the main roster. Stratton has rapidly improved on the mic and in the ring. She not only has a very marketable look to her, but she is also very young in the game of pro wrestling. Also, despite her character being typical for someone of her look, it works and will work on the main roster.
We have seen many bombshell types on the main roster before, with the likes of Mandy Rose, Trish Stratus, Eva Marie, Carmella, etc. But unlike some, Stratton is already capable to carry herself in the ring. She can hold down the fort and step up to the plate in every appearance on camera, whether it be a backstage segment or in the ring. Stratton is going to be a star in WWE, it’s just a matter of when, not if.
Of course, the reigning 2x NXT Champion should be mentioned when discussing main roster call-ups. Breakker is good in the ring. No question about that. But there is still just something missing with the second-generation superstar. His charisma seems forced and corny, not coming off natural whatsoever. Out of everyone on this list, we can expect Breakker to be called up in 2023. Whilst there is no problem with that, he has just not resonated deeply with a certain wrestling audience, myself included.
The trio of Rose, Gigi Dolin, and Jacy Jayne have dominated the women’s division in NXT for way too long. However, Toxic Attraction is just not that good in the ring. In large part, Toxic Attraction can be somewhat to blame for the women’s division falling short in quality. However, what the trio do have going for them is their character work. This gimmick will work on the main roster. It will be very difficult to replicate the same amount of success, but it doesn’t hurt in making them the standout women’s tag team and having them hold down the fort in that division.
Strong has been in WWE for a while now and has accomplished a lot. However, this past year has been rough for him. Diamond Mine has had to go through many changes due to WWE releases. Strong has even asked for his WWE release numerous times. However, there’s a new sheriff in charge with Triple H. Strong is a Triple H guy, and with just that fact alone, he might be able to flourish on the main roster and become a steady hand in the midcard division.
Who would you call-up to the main roster? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!