Hi folks! I rarely deal with hypotheticals, but today, let’s look at 10 NXT 2.0 talents who I believe would be called up tomorrow if WWE desperately needed them. In keeping this fair, I have included 5 men and 5 women.
Also, this is certainly not a list of who I want to see promoted. Rather, it’s a list of who I believe Vince McMahon (who we know still has the power) and management would choose if forced into the situation. Perhaps there was a mass walkout? Or COVID returned and half the roster couldn’t make it because of travel issues? Whatever the reason, we have to imagine a situation where WWE is being forced to make quick decisions.
Having seen the WWE product for well over twenty years. I like to believe I’ve got suitable judgment on the type of talent WWE is looking for, so let’s begin with the men’s side.
#1. Bron Breakker: We’ve already seen WWE feature the NXT Champion on the main roster. Although his matches weren’t getting much reaction, it’s obvious to everyone that Breakker is 100% confirmed to move up as soon as WWE thinks that he’s ready, or they are in a position where they need him.
He still has a long way to go, in terms of development, but we’ve seen inexperienced talent thrown into the deep end before. Most will emerge and swim freely, and Breakker has a natural gift bestowed on him by his father & uncle, The Steiner Brothers. They wouldn’t allow him to be complacent.
#2. Von Wagner: When a random guy shows up and gets an NXT title shot in his first match, you know Vince McMahon likes you. They showed him briefly backstage during some episodes of Raw & SmackDown (if I remember right) with Adam Pearce, but nothing came of it.
Since splitting from a tag team with Kyle O’Reilly, Wagner has been racking up the wins with two mouthpieces at his side. I can see the upside to Wagner, but I can imagine many don’t. WWE hasn’t done enough with Wagner to show his potential, but it’s there, and they will promote him if we like it or not.
#3. Grayson Waller: I’m a fan of how obnoxious he is, but not a fan of his ring work. WWE had him feuding with AJ Styles recently, even having Waller appear on Raw to blindside him. He lost the match to Styles at the PPV, but it’s pretty obvious what management thinks.
Like Max Dupri, he could easily pop up on the main roster as a manager who gradually transitions into a wrestler. I won’t love it, but I’ll understand why. WWE loves guys who can talk with confidence. He’s kind of like Pat McAfee in a way.
#4. Carmelo Hayes: When I said these choices weren’t who I want to see on Raw or SmackDown, this is a prime example. I can’t stand Hayes! Respect his skills in the ring, but as a character, and even more so as a champion, I’ve completely checked out. I just don’t care for him, and it’s not because I don’t think he has potential, or I have some unfounded hate. It’s just not clicking, and I’m not connecting to the guy on any level.
There are so many guys with great work rates, but few connect with their characters. Joe Gacy is well out there (his character is too strange for the main roster), but his delivery is sound. Hayes is a typical heel, but his delivery doesn’t land. Trick Williams does nothing for me, either. Nothing either of them has done has made me care. Yet, it’s obvious how high WWE is on him. As soon as they are given a reason to promote him, he’ll be there, and I’ll shake my head in disbelief.
#5. Solo Sikoa: He’s an Uso, so naturally WWE takes care of the family. If The Bloodline wants a fourth member, bring up Solo Sikoa and put him in an enforcer role. It would be so very easy to do, and the thing is… I seriously like him. He reminds me a bit of Umaga in the way he works, although he’s not as intimidating. I appreciate him more than either of his older brothers, and I’ve been watching them since they started.
While it would make sense to build him to an NXT title reign, I think WWE will jump the gun like it usually does. They almost always promote someone too soon, or too late, and rarely at the right time. Sikoa is going up long before he’s ready, but he’ll be fine because he has Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman, Rikishi, The Usos, and so many others to mentor him into something fitting.
So who I would like to see? Well, I’ll tell you, but I’m not giving you detailed reasons because it’s just a matter of enjoying their work. If it was up to me, I’d promote: Cameron Grimes, Legado Del Fantasma, Roderick Strong, and Grizzled Young Veterans.
#1. Mandy Rose: The point of bringing Mandy Rose to NXT was to develop her ring skills and character. It’s safe to say that her run as Toxic Attraction’s leader has accomplished these goals. She’s not getting 5-star ratings for her ring work, nor is she acting Shakespeare after retirement, but there is a definite improvement.
I don’t think Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne are ready yet, and the stable doesn’t suit the main roster. I’d believe that WWE would recall Rose and leave Dolin & Jayne to their own devices. Or they could do an Edge & Finn Balor thing, where they replace Rose with a different leader.
Either way, as soon as Mandy Rose loses the title, I’m not expecting her to hang around. If WWE desperately needs her, they’d need to hotshot an angle to get the title off her, but that could be done in a week or two.
#2. Cora Jade: She has a genuine quality that I think will resonate with many fans on Raw & SmackDown. I’d say that Jade has always suited the main roster audience more than NXT’s, so WWE wouldn’t need to change anything.
The feud with Natalya told me what I needed to know. They have big plans for her, and preferably they’d develop her for a while longer, but if we had more walkouts, she’d be one of the first to be getting a call. I’m a fan, so I wouldn’t be against this, although she preferably stays in NXT and gets a title run soon.
#3. Nikkita Lyons: The buzz around Lyons is such that WWE is fast-tracking her. They know if it’s done too quickly, it could be damaging, but she has the look and presence that WWE goes for. Much like Jade Cargill in AEW, Nikkita Lyons has everything it takes except experience, and you gain that by putting in the work and staying humble.
She’s still pretty green, but WWE had Kelly Kelly as Divas Champion and Nikkita is better than her. So, as long as WWE books her in matches with veterans like Natalya, she’ll be alright.
#4. Roxanne Perez: The best women’s wrestler on this list by a country mile, and like Cora Jade, she has a genuine quality that fans will get behind. Roxanne loves wrestling and has a passion to be in WWE. She grew up watching it and this is her dream. Formerly known as Rok-C on the indies, she’s a former ROH Women’s Champion.
She already works like a veteran at 20 years old, so if WWE wants a new face they can build for the next 15 years or more, she has to be considered. Her winning the NXT Women’s Breakout Tournament clarifies what they think of her work. I don’t feel like she can develop much more as a wrestler, unlike the other four women listed. It’s just about getting the fan’s support.
#5. Ivy Nile: Vince McMahon loves bodybuilding, and her recent workout vignettes (where she out-trains guys) are an example of what he seeks. Just look at what they are doing with Lashley and Theory. Ivy Nile is one of the most built women I have ever seen in WWE. She’s not tall, but there’s so much power there.
Nile is a monster, and although she hasn’t worked many matches in NXT yet, I think she’s a quick study. I can’t see her being one of those who will frequently botch or injure herself. She comes across as someone who would quickly adapt.
There’s a place for her on the main roster, but preferably when Ronda Rousey isn’t there. Or if she is, Nile beats her in their first match. The women’s divisions of Raw & SmackDown need more power to them. Raquel Rodriguez has helped a little, but throw in Nile as well, and I think it brings more jeopardy. It’s crazy to think that WWE still has Tamina and Dana Brooke running around after the 24/7 title when there’s a freak of nature like Nile who could easily replace both of them.
Like the men, the above choices are who I believe WWE would choose. If I were picking, I’d probably go with: Alba Fyre, Io Shirai, Indi Hartwell & Elektra Lopez.
Who would you choose? Or perhaps you think no one is ready? Maybe you stopped watching NXT after it became 2.0 and don’t care anymore? If that’s the case, sorry you took the time to read this. For everyone else, thank you for reading! Please let me know what you think in the comments. Let’s wait to see what the future brings.