NXT has been building WWE superstars for the better part of the past five years, and have seen many World Champions like Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, and Finn Balor get their start here, so while we love the NXT product, as their Takeover specials are still the best thing in wrestling, we always have the question "who’s getting called up next?" in the back of our minds. The main roster is currently full of talent, with a lot of it barely being used correctly, but we know they love to call up some popular stars from NXT, and with WrestleMania season looming on the horizon, we are going to look at the five NXT stars that we think may be promoted to the main roster next.
5. Drew McIntyre
The current NXT Champion was on the main roster once, but he admits that complacency crept into his game, and it led to a poor run. Once he left the WWE and again became Drew Galloway, however, he took over the wrestling world and forced WWE to bring him back into NXT. He was just that good. Since his return, it’s clear that McIntyre is now becoming the star he was meant to be all those years ago, and it’s only a matter of time until he joins Bobby Roode on Smackdown Live. He could main event there straight away t00. With a rivalry against Adam Cole building, it’s likely McIntire won’t be champion for too long, so expect to see the former "Chosen One" on the main roster in early 2018 at the latest.
Authors of Pain
The Authors of Pain haven’t been in the WWE for that long, but even so, they’ve built quite a resume in NXT. Not only that, but they improved quite a lot since their first appearance. With the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic coming soon, it’s clear that there are enough teams in NXT already, and with the tag division on Smackdown Live struggling for depth, this only makes sense. Led by Paul Ellering, this team could be something special if they are protected the way they are on NXT, and with only Breezango, Benjamin & Gable, The New Day, and The Uso’s on Smackdown, you should expect this move to happen before WrestleMania, as this team could be one to be reckoned with for quite some time.
The Iconic Duo
The women’s division in NXT just took a massive hit with Asuka leaving for Raw, but it’s still quite deep, and with plenty of talent from the Mae Young Classic expected to join the fray soon, there may be some more following Asuka. Although they’ve never won the title, it may be The Iconic Duo, made up of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are due for a promotion. With the way the women on Raw have been booked, and with Asuka headed to the red brand, it’s unlikely they would get treated well there, so Smackdown Live may play host to the Aussie duo soon. But with so much talent there already, it’s unlikely to happen until after WrestleMania. These two are incredibly talented, but don’t get much screen time on NXT, and they may not get all the attention in the world straight away on the main roster. They will one day though as they are both incredibly talented.
When the Japanese legend KENTA made his way to the WWE, it looked like he would be a sure-fire star. Several injuries later, however, Itami is now just another piece of the NXT roster. With his reinvigorated heel turn, he could be a great mid-card heel on either main roster show though. His performances will never resemble his legendary performances from Japan and ROH because the WWE is just too toned down in comparison, but he plays a great heel and is still a great wrestler. With so many more stars coming into NXT seemingly every month, he will be better off on the main roster anyway. We think he's likely promoted within the next six months.
SAnitY is a unique group. With Alexander Wolfe, Eric Young, Killian Dain and Nikki Cross all together, there is no limit on how big they can be. Similar to McIntyre, it looks like they may be transitional champions for ReDragon, and the main roster may await. Adding all four of them to the Smackdown Live roster in each different division will add some unpredictability and excitement that hasn’t been seen for quite some time. If they were protected in a similar way to The Shield, the WWE could have a huge group on their hands. It’s unlikely that this will happen until after WrestleMania, but maybe bringing up SAnitY is the shot in the arm that Smackdown needs to once again become WWE’s A Show.