In just over a week, the 2023 WWE Draft will take place. While it will mostly revolve around the Superstars on Raw and SmackDown, NXT will undoubtedly be part of the trades with some talent being called up to the main roster.
If this is truly going to be a so-called game-changer of a draft, predictions are a coin toss. Assuming WWE has plans in mind to shake things up considerably, we don’t know if those ideas are logical or completely bonkers. History has shown both.
But if you toss predictions out the window and focus more on what should happen, that opens up some more room for debate. We all have our opinions on NXT Superstars who are ready to graduate to Raw and SmackDown, people who have grown stale and some who would naturally succeed better on a bigger platform.
As such, that’s what I’m focusing on for this pre-draft rundown. A future “must-have trades” post will be in the future, but this one will focus entirely just on NXT wrestlers who I feel are due for a call to the red or blue brands, and why.
Enough talk. Let’s get into it!
My number one absolute must call-up is Cameron Grimes. The guy has done quite literally nothing at all in months. He hasn’t been on screen since Halloween Havoc, if I remember correctly. And as far as I know, that isn’t because of an injury. He’s just been sitting around, waiting.
Grimes is in a position that a lot of others are, in that he’s been around the roster long enough that he’s learned all he can. And if they aren’t putting the belt on him, why bother keeping him in NXT?
Whether as a heel or a babyface, I think he’d make for a refreshing addition to the midcard scene of either brand, but Raw would be my preference.
The guy held the title for a long while and has now actively been crapping on the brand with his heel turn and doesn’t want to win the NXT Championship back. If that’s the case, why be on NXT? What’s the direction of the character if he’s reached the pinnacle, has no aspirations to do it again, and has feuded with most of the talent?
As a heel, I’m not sure where Breakker is best served. I still lean more toward SmackDown, but originally, that was due in part because I thought he could be a good opponent for Gunther. Now, that’s effectively off the board.
Regardless, Breakker will learn more on the road than he will sticking around NXT. It’s time to move on.
After Waller comes up short at Spring Breakin’, he needs to head to Raw. Pair him up with The Miz as his new tag team partner if you want (but you don’t have to, by any means). Start a feud with any number of people like Dolph Ziggler, Ricochet, or my preference, Seth Rollins.
He’s firmly in that territory of “if he hasn’t won the belt by now, he’s not going to, so don’t keep him in NXT any longer or he’ll lose momentum.”
But she’s the champion. How would she move up?
Well, I think she should and will lose the NXT Women’s Championship either at Spring Breakin’ or by Battleground. If that doesn’t happen, then maybe the reason why is because WWE still wants her to learn more before coming up.
But I think Hartwell has been there long enough. It’s time to sink or swim. Pair her with Candice LeRae in the tag team division and let her get some lessons in that way. Job her out if you want to or feel the need to. Her title reign in NXT doesn’t feel like a real one to me, but more of a placeholder, so if that’s the game plan, we’re not missing much with her leaving NXT anyway.
The Creed Brothers
I think Otis splitting from Chad Gable to join Maximum Male Models is a real possibility. If so, Gable is more than capable of standing on his own two feet, but I think there’s an opportunity here for him to add two more recruits into Alpha Academy in Julius Creed and Brutus Creed.
Diamond Mine was a bust. It had numerous members released at odd times and the whole thing is just messy. Roderick Strong is still gone, Ivy Nile doesn’t need The Creed Brothers alongside her to continue to improve, and at this point, Julius and Brutus are left with nothing to do. They won the tag titles. What’s next? They win them again?
So pair them up with Gable, ideally on SmackDown, while Otis and Maximum Male Models stay on Raw. Let’s see those three against Judgment Day, for instance, as they should move to the blue brand to join Rhea Ripley anyway. Also, those three against Imperium? Sold.
Speaking of tag teams, Kit Wilson and Elton Prince definitely have to move on to Monday Night Raw. It’s a better fit for them to goof around and play into their strengths of character.
They’ve checked off being multiple time champions. Now, let’s see them feud with The Street Profits or Elias and Rick Boogs, as well as Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
Katana Chance and Kayden Carter
Sticking with tag teams, it’s time for KC and KC to shit or get off the pot.
They’ve been in NXT longer than anyone at this point by a long shot. Kacy Catanzaro was featured as an NXT star on the cusp of a call-up in the 2019 Royal Rumble, for context.
They won’t win the tag titles again, and I doubt even more that either would be considered for the NXT Women’s Championship. Whether they come up as a legitimate tag team to help out that division, or they just take on the roles of jobbers to boost some others up the hierarchy like Xia Li who have been filling those spots as of late, just do it.
Toss them over on Raw or SmackDown, but it doesn’t matter which until you’re balancing out the rosters.
I’m on the fence about JD McDonagh. Part of me thinks he’s a lifer in NXT and is better off being a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Another part of me thinks I’d just like to see him have matches with some new opponents like AJ Styles and Kofi Kingston, so let’s just move him up.
What would likely hinge on this being a good idea or a bad idea, for me, would be if WWE is willing to move some main roster talent down to NXT to compensate. For instance, if we get someone like Madcap Moss going down to NXT, let’s put McDonagh in his place instead on SmackDown.
Say it with me: if she’s not going to win the title, what good is she serving in NXT anymore?
I think Tiffany Stratton and Cora Jade are more likely predictions for the next champion after Indi Hartwell, and Stark’s already lost to Indi after Stand & Deliver. Waiting to come back around to fighting the next champion after the heel who beats Indi isn’t exactly a step up in the career.
Some people don’t win the title, but end up doing better on the main roster. Look at Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch. Maybe Stark is the next in that line.
She’s good enough that I think she could hang with Natalya and Michin and so on. Put her up against some soft enhancement like Dana Brooke for a little bit and build her up. It can work.
Put her on Monday Night Raw. Another opponent in the future for Belair.
Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne would have been on this list a few months ago, but since splitting from Mandy Rose and going on their own, I don’t think they’re ready. As a tag team, they’d have been more than fine. Solo? They could use more seasoning.
Tyler Bate is tricky. I do think he’s stuck in a holding pattern, but I don’t think moving to Raw or SmackDown will end up being to his benefit. He’s small and his current gimmick isn’t the most thrilling in my mind. I could see him going over like a lead balloon. But if you have a tag team partner in mind for him to start off with, that could work.
Meiko Satomura would make sense to me, but I doubt it is going to happen. She doesn’t seem like she’d be in a position where she’d want to travel. Maybe she’s better off keeping on a smaller contract for NXT appearances and being beneficial working with younger talent, as I don’t think WWE would give her a major push on Raw or SmackDown to begin with.
Wendy Choo is a maybe for me. Her gimmick could work. She’s been in the business long enough. I see no real reason why she shouldn’t just be called up. But I also think she could be in the same position as Satomura, where WWE might not want to use her in any notable way and she could be a more valuable asset inside the Performance Center.
Who do you think should be called-up to the main roster from NXT? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!
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