2014 has been a great year for the young stars down in NXT. As one of the main shows on
the WWE Network, the roster of developmental stars have earned rave reviews
from past wrestlers and fans, competing in fantastic matches and compelling
rivalries. This Thursday, these efforts will culminate in their final live
special of the year, Takeover III: R Evolution.
In the main
event, Adrian Neville will defend his NXT Championship against Sami Zayn in a
battle about the will to be a champion and Zayn’s desperation to show he can
hold the gold. Hideo Itami and Finn Balor team up to take on former tag team
champions The Ascension. Charlotte defends her Women’s Championship against
former BFF partner Sasha Banks, and the tag team titles are on the line as The
Vaudevillains challenge holders the Lucha Dragons.
this is looking to be their biggest show ever, and with the debut of Kevin
Owens also in the offing, it should once again demonstrate that NXT is one of
the best wrestling shows on today. But, the goal for these superstars is to one
day graduate onto the main roster, competing every week on RAW and SmackDown
against established stars.
had a large number of stars moving from NXT to WWE. However, few of these
enjoyed a sustained amount of success. Rusev and Paige have proven the
exceptions. The Bulgarian has dominated all opposition, winning the United
States title, whilst Paige became the youngest Divas Champion in history on her
debut. But names like Xavier Woods, Emma, Adam Rose and Bo Dallas have
experienced mixed fortunes, often being lost in the shuffle.
hazards of the main roster firmly demonstrated by the career trajectories of
these stars, it seems appropriate to consider which NXT stars will likely
progress onto the main roster in 2015. Here, I have selected 10 of the biggest
prospects that have shown they are more than ready to make the transition to
major shows. Who will thrive, who will survive, and who will take a nosedive?
NXT Champion is one of the most capable and exciting superstars down in NXT.
His Red Arrow finishing maneuver seems to defy the laws of physics, and has
propelled him into perhaps the greatest high-flier in professional wrestling
today. Every superstar that has previously held that title have moved onto the
main roster in short order, from the amazing success of Seth Rollins, to the
mixed achievements of Big E and Bo Dallas.
is no doubt Neville will make the main roster, but will he be able to reach the
heights he has climbed to in NXT? His height could be an issue, but he has
shown a capability to have strong matches with any opponent in spite of their
size. Neville also still requires work on the microphone if he is to be a major
titleholder in WWE, but he can allow his ring skills do the talking at the
start. In the new generation of WWE, Neville will at least be a future
has a quality that many superstars will struggle with constantly throughout
their careers, and that is an ability to immediately connect with the audience.
He is a sympathetic and hard-working babyface, an ultimate underdog. He will
constantly be knocked down, but will get back up asking for more, and that has
endeared him to the crowd at NXT ever since he debuted.
been ready to jump to the main roster for a while now, his matches with Cesaro
in particular have been heralded as some of the best matches of the past two
years. As a darling of the independent scene, he has paid his dues, and has the
potential of the likes of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins to turn that
into success in WWE. Could he one day be World Champion? I think among the NXT
roster currently he is one of the most likely simply for being a perpetual
underdog and its potential as an awesome feel-good moment.
Japanese star has reportedly been struggling to find the perfect balance
between the WWE style and the strong style he has performed most of his career.
But, when that finally clicks into place, he should become a prevalent star in
both NXT and then WWE. Arguably, he is the least likely in this list to make it
onto the main roster in 2015 due to time this transition may take, and he be
held back in NXT to make sure it is not over-saturated with graduates.
there are other factors that may keep him in Florida for a little longer, such
as the language barrier and ensuring he develops a firm character for the main
shows. Even when he does finally make it onto the main roster, his nationality
and size might hold him back from the top championships. Yet, his talent would
eventually make him a solid mid-card talent, with a few Intercontinental or US
titles to his name.
to certain reports, Finn Balor might have had as part of his contract with WWE
a clause that means his time in NXT will be brief. This might be a mistake, as
although in the ring he has all the right tools to succeed on the major shows,
but WWE is as much about character and charisma than anything else. If he were
to spend less time in NXT, Balor may compromise those elements when he does
step up to the big time.
is not denying his in-ring ability. His range of kicks, high-flying offense and
technical skill is matched by only a handful in the world of professional
wrestling. Balor is intense and hungry to succeed, and has the look of a future
champion. Eventually he will establish a firm connection to the WWE audience
and through that he will likely become a main event star – he is that good.
doesn’t debut until this Thursday, Kevin Owens screams WWE World Heavyweight
Champion more than any other member of this list. Having been a firm follower
of his since his final few years of Ring of Honor, he just has it. The
intensity, the aggression, the gimmick, the move-set. And even though some
might disagree with this, Owens has the look as well. In the promos leading up
to the event, he has looked like an intimidating force for anyone on the
one of a new age of big men in professional wrestling that have a remarkable
mix of power and athleticism. He can fly through the air and beat opponents on
the mat, and his years of experience means that he could move onto the main
roster in record time. The only question is how the PG world of WWE will affect
what moves he employs. However, he has worked long enough and studied hard
enough to adapt his style quickly, and he will be a standout star on NXT,