While the first and second parts of this three-part series of articles on which superstars should help fill out the Raw and SmackDown rosters with the new brand extension dealt with the older wrestlers who should and shouldn’t come back respectively, this third and final entry is going to address the other outsiders: the NXT roster.
If speculation is true, NXT is going to be raided and plenty of names will be called up. Obviously, at least a handful will make the transition, but moving a few key people isn’t the same as just shifting the whole crew. There needs to be a balance with a fresh crop of guys coming in who can maintain the NXT brand on their own without some of the bigger names who have proven themselves ready for the big push.
Still, the folks over in NXT have done such a fantastic job that there are a multitude of names ready to come up to the big leagues and make their impact. In an attempt to make sure the roster isn’t entirely depleted, I’ve narrowed my selections down to the top 10 (well, technically 11) who I think should make the jump.
Part of me actually doesn’t want Alexa Bliss to move up, as I want her to be one of the women to stay down in NXT as the top of the women’s division there. As mentioned before, not everyone should be promoted in one shot, because the NXT roster would then consist of nothing but new people and no previously established people to take charge. Alexa is someone who can either be placed on Raw or SmackDown, where there’s a chance she gets lost in the shuffle, or she can be the one holding the NXT Women’s Championship.
I’d vote for the latter scenario for fear that WWE might misuse her and screw things up for both sides of the equation, but if there’s a concerned effort to bring more women onto the main shows, she’s definitely got to be on the waiting list.
Similar to the Alexa Bliss situation, I want Austin Aries to go wherever he would be utilized the best, and I almost can’t decide where that would be without knowing what’s going to happen with Eric Young and Bobby Roode.
Oddly enough, I’m somewhat expecting Roode to go to Raw or SmackDown and for Young to go to NXT, which if that’s the case, Aries might end up being better staying behind for a little while to be a ring general for the likes of No Way Jose and more.
Not to sound like a broken record, but assuming WWE has actual plans to use him on the main roster, Aries would be a fantastic fit for the midcard title scene. The Intercontinental Championship in particular would suit him so well as he has the mic skills to be able to carry a feud as a heel and the ring skills to put on some great matches to follow up those storylines. He’s also someone that will look smaller compared to the main event talent, creating a more distinct separation between the two divisions while also not making it appear to be diminished in terms of quality.
Think of it as Aries bringing a sense of pride to a middleweight class rather than the heavyweights like Roman Reigns, John Cena, Brock Lesnar and more.
I’m really holding out hope that no new belts are created for the main roster, but I know that this is something I’m going to be disappointed in at least when it comes to a second World Heavyweight Championship. That appears to be a foregone conclusion and a topic for another day, but when it comes to the Tag Team Championship and the Women’s Championship, I’m still of the mindset that one set of belts is good for both rosters.
In either scenario where there is one or two tag titles, American Alpha needs to be brought in to help add another duo to the mix. The more tag teams, the better, as some of these acts just aren’t particularly over with the crowd. The Ascension, The Shining Stars, and even The Lucha Dragons to an extent simply can’t measure up to the bigger teams like The New Day, The Wyatt Family, The Club and so on.
Jason Jordan and Chad Gable took an odd pairing and made it work so well that they became one of the best acts in NXT. There’s something about them that is just thoroughly entertaining to watch in the ring, but they also have a different personality to every other team on the roster, as much as it might seem bland at a quick glance. They’ve got something working, and it’s time their act took the next step forward rather than meandering in developmental where it will just eventually grow stale. Let them see how they hang with The Dudley Boyz and company so they can prove their worth to a crowd that already seems to love them, but will likely grow to love them even more as time goes on.
The current NXT Women’s champion seems like an odd choice to move up to the main roster, but it’s not as though it hasn’t been done before. Keep in mind that Paige was still holding that very same title when she defeated AJ Lee for the Divas Championship, so stranger things have happened.
Asuka is as ready as anyone else to move up, and I would actually be more inclined to promote her before Alexa Bliss (who I like better, overall) due to how different she is from the other women in the company. When you boil it down, Bliss is another Caucasian blonde with a snarky attitude who thinks she’s better than everyone else, which isn’t very different from Summer Rae, Maryse, Charlotte, Lana and so on. They all have their differences, but nothing as drastic as the lack of comparisons between that group and someone like Asuka.
If not just to appeal to a different demographic, it would be interesting to see Asuka move up to Raw or SmackDown to be in the mix with other talented people like Naomi, Natalya and Paige. Then again, if for some reason WWE only wanted to pick one woman from NXT to bring up, there’s someone who takes the spot away from Asuka…
It really should go without being said that Bayley is prime for a Raw or SmackDown call-up. She’s already been the champion and feuded with everyone of note down in NXT, so what is left for her to accomplish? It’s weird seeing Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Sasha Banks without Bayley involved somehow in the equation and fans have been waiting for her promotion for many, many months.