As of the summer of 2012, WWE shutdown the operations with FCW. Triple H started gaining more authority behind the scenes and the biggest flaw he saw within the system was the developmental pipeline. Hunter envisioned a better system and that’s exactly what we got with NXT. As of early 2014, the developmental brand was already putting on its own network special - the very first was NXT Arrival, highlighted by Neville’s Ladder match victory over Bo Dallas. Not only was the event called Arrival but it was also clear that NXT was going to stand out.
Fast-forward four years later and the brand remains hotter than ever. NXT now has two running programs, one out of Orlando and the other over in the U.K. area. The goal is still to highlight wrestlers that are new to the company. However, according to a recent statement by Triple H, things might be changing very soon. According to The Game himself, WWE plans on sending Superstars down to NXT in the future. This can be a big time game changer especially for struggling wrestlers that need a boost.
In this article, we forecast the future by listing 10 names that might be ideal for the swap, going from either RAW or SmackDown back down to NXT. Along with listing the performer, we’ll also discuss how they can be utilized with NXT.
Enjoy the article folks and like always be sure to share the article with a friend. Let’s get started!
At the moment, Bayley isn’t doing much and is nowhere near the championship picture. That roar from her Bayley-to-Belly at TakeOver: Brooklyn is now long in the past. Unfortunately, Bayley hasn’t been able to replicate similar success. In her defense, she hasn’t been put in the right situations.
WWE did tease a heel turn at one point but it seems as though those plans were scrapped. These days, she’s working the under card alongside Sasha Banks taking on the likes of Alicia Fox and Mickie James. No disrespect to the two veterans but Bayley deserves better.
19 Booking: Igniting The Horsewomen Feud With Shayna Baszler
At the moment, Shayna Baszler comfortably sits atop the NXT women’s totem pole. In terms of suitable opponents, she does have a handful of options which include Candice LeRae, Io Shairai and Bianca Belair.
However, how great would it be for Bayley to return and challenge Baszler? That would be a true test for Shayna in a big match scenario while also igniting The Four Horsewomen feud down in NXT. This can be a perfect scenario for both Superstars. In Bayley’s case, it would give her a top tier storyline once again.
It hurts to think about but the truth is, Asuka is nowhere near her undefeated ways today. In fact, she recently lost three of five matches. Something that would seem unthinkable when assessing her NXT run.
Language barrier might be the biggest reason for her failed momentum. According to various wrestling news platforms, Vince isn’t thrilled with her lack of English. We hope McMahon can put this problem aside and push Asuka the way she should be. However, some might argue that it’s already too late with the damage already done.
17 Booking: Re-launching NXT Undefeated Streak As A Heel
If WWE wants Asuka to better grasp the English language, why not let her do so down with NXT. At the same time, she can recapture that prior magic by becoming the arrogant undefeated figure that she was prior to the call up.
Restoring this image can give Asuka a new sense of confidence. Have her steam roll passed the entire roster and later, call her up to the main roster with a new sense of credibility and momentum. Such a move can be a career saver for Asuka. However, given her age of 37, this needs to happen sooner rather than later.
He might be set to turn 38 in just a couple of weeks, however, Cesaro hasn’t missed a step in the ring. A lot of that has to do with his over the top work ethic both in and out of the ring.
Once Cesaro’s tag team ride comes to an end, he will be back to wrestling as a solo talent. Instead of slapping him with another generic persona, why not rebuild Cesaro properly by sending him down to NXT? This can set a great trend of recreating a talent that goes from one persona to another.
15 Booking: Invades NXT UK and Challenges Pete Dunne
Given his wealth of experience on the indie scene over in Europe, Cesaro joining NXT UK seems like a match made in Heaven. It can be the perfect way to rebuild his character as a solo act while giving the UK Division a far bigger spotlight. And hey, let’s face it, having a mentor such as Cesaro around certainly won’t hurt the younger talents on the brand.
We can envision a lengthy feud between Cesaro and the current UK Champion Pete Dunne. Such a feud can elevate Dunne while giving The Swiss Superman renewed confidence as a solo act.
Projected to become a major star, TJP’s WWE career continues to trend downward since his inaugural Cruiserweight Classic Tournament victory. For whatever reason, Vince wasn’t buying what Triple H was selling and Perkins was forced into dropping the championship almost immediately.
He’s a great wrestler with a wealth of experience, and that’s what makes his troubling times that much harder to swallow. Perkins needs a clean slate and that can start with a trip to NXT. If he continues to follow this current path, his days might be numbered.
13 Booking: Back To Basics
Age 34, Perkins can still serve a valuable purpose especially with the younger talent. Sending Perkins down and having him feud with the likes of Velveteen Dream can only aid the younger wrestlers while giving Perkins a renewed sense of purpose. Something he lacked throughout 2018.
Send him down to NXT for six months while taking on various storylines and matches. Once they’re done with him, Perkins can easily return as a wrestler suitable for SmackDown Live or RAW. At times, one step back can equal to two steps forward. That might be the case for Perkins.
12 Tyler Breeze
If WWE is to send down wrestlers, then a guy like Tyler Breeze should be the poster boy for this notion. Breeze definitely needs something different at the moment. With Fandango out, Breeze seems to be wasting away with meaningless matches week after week. Sending him down to NXT can give Breeze the chance to rediscover himself. It can also lead to an entirely different gimmick, something that he desperately needs.
The beauty of NXT is that WWE can try new gimmicks in their developmental brand – without having the added pressure of hoping that it works in front of an audience of millions watching at home.
11 Booking: Completely Changing Gimmicks
Getting sent down to NXT, Breeze can easily switch gimmicks. As we stated in the point above, he won’t have to deal with the added pressures of whether or not the gimmick works. Of course, the intent of NXT is for performers to find themselves. Failures can happen and it is only used as a learning curve.
Given his style as a tremendous technically sound wrestler, Tyler can convert into a master manipulator inside of the squared circle who is set on winning matches by any means necessary. It can be a great way for the wrestler to finally drop that comedic gimmick that seems to be following him around.
10 Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows joined WWE alongside AJ Styles. It was like a package deal. The duo made more of an impact behind the scenes than in the ring. The two are quite popular behind the scenes for their infectious personalities. However, the same love hasn’t led to better booking.
The duo continues to be irrelevant these days over on SmackDown Live. In fact, some fans might have forgetten that there with the SD Live brand at the moment. Due to their inactivity alone, they might be better off getting sent down to NXT.
9 Booking: Putting Over NXT Tag Teams
Not only can NXT allow the duo to stay active but The Club can also help to put over the younger talent. NXT have a lot of teams than can use a boost such as Heavy Machinery, The Forgotten Sons and Street Profits. Of course, they can also work with the established teams such the Undisputed Era and War Raiders.
Having them in a mentorship role can make perfect sense, especially at this point in their careers. This is much better than just wasting away in a pre-show role with a lack of purpose. Who knows, such a move can cause them to rejoin the roster with a whole new momentum.
8 Dana Brooke
In 2018, Dana Brooke won four matches total, and only two of them took place on an actual episode of RAW. It should also be noted that those RAW victories weren’t solo wins but rather in tag team action.
WWE can be blamed for Dana’s shortcomings. She was boosted to the main roster far too early. She had great work ethic and desire. However, she just wasn’t ready for the spot. She has suffered because of it and at this point, Brooke and WWE need to hit the reset button.
7 Booking: Heel Gimmick With A Chip On Her Shoulder
Assessing her WWE career, clearly Brooke’s best times took place with NXT. Working alongside Emma, Brooke served as a great heel and one that packed a pretty strong bite. That gimmick seems to be completely lost since she joined the main roster.
Have Dana restore this image down with NXT. Let her take on enhancement talents while she gains her confidence back. That can lead to a program with a babyface NXT talent. At the very least, she will be working an actual program again while regaining her old edge that appears to be lacking these days.
6 Zack Ryder
Despite his longevity, it’s quite a shame that Zack Ryder is only a one-time Intercontinental Champion, one-time U.S. Champion and one-time Tag Team Champion. With WWE since 2005, you would expect a greater resume from a Superstar that has been with the company for over a decade. What's even more frustrating, Ryder is over with the WWE audience when put in the right position.
For whatever reason, the company continues to book Ryder in meaningless matches on pre-shows. At this point, Ryder might be better off resurfacing his name value out on the indie scene. However, the NXT route can also be an interesting one.
5 Booking: Putting Over Younger Talent
Ryder can act as a perfect fit for NXT. He can become the loveable babyface trying to recreate himself. We can only imagine the fan reaction to Ryder finally being put in the correct position and one than can see him thrive.
Even if he doesn’t win the big matches, it can give Ryder that much needed spotlight while helping to put over the younger talents in the process. That would be a step above in comparison to what he is up to lately on WWE TV.
4 Sami Zayn
Back in 2013, Sami Zayn became the inaugural face of NXT. He led the brand as one of the most beloved babyfaces in the development’s history. Fans salivated at the thought of Sami on the main roster at that point, comparing his run to a Daniel Bryan.
However, McMahon thought otherwise and the most success Zayn has been able to generate was as a heel – something that was unthinkable back in his NXT days. Even Triple H himself laughed at the notion of Zayn turning heel according to Sean Waltman, Hunter’s good friend.
3 Booking: The Return Of The Underdog Of The Underground
WWE can set a precedent with the return of Sami Zayn by having him eased back into the action by joining NXT. Not only would it give Zayn a lighter schedule but it would also help in making Zayn great again.
Triple H knows Sami’s strengths the most. He can book Sami back into the "Underdog of the Underground" role, giving him a prominent NXT Championship program. Thinking about babyface Zayn and heel Tommaso Ciampa locking would make for an NXT dream match. WWE moving on this can be a worthwhile plan for so many reasons.
2 Shinsuke Nakamura
It' surreal to think about, but these days, Shinsuke Nakamura has turned into the forgotten U.S. Champion. He isn’t winning matches either. He has only two wins in his last five matches and those two victories came against R-Truth and Rusev, two wrestlers that are usually on the losing side of things.
Ever since the botched suplex to John Cena, Nakamura seems to be struggling from lackluster booking. All that great allure was lost during his feud against Jinder Mahal. Despite the heel turn, he is still nowhere near his New Japan days or NXT run prior to the main roster.
1 Booking: Becoming Great Again
Have Shinsuke drop the U.S. Title while giving him a couple of weeks off. Then, out of nowhere, Nakamura returns to NXT. This can be a way for WWE to renew a wrestler’s confidence, especially one that has so much to offer like Nakamura.
He can put on great matches with so many of the talent while working upper card storylines, something that he isn’t doing these days. Who knows, he can also win back the NXT Championship. At this point, although it might sound like a step back, it sounds a lot better than whatever he is currently doing.