Here is a fun fact about WWE; five out of nine, or 55%, of the current champions in WWE (including the Cruiserweight Championship), came from NXT. Seth Rollins, AOP, Buddy Murphy, Becky Lynch, and Shinsuke Nakamura were all mainstays in the yellow brand. Rollins was the inaugural NXT Champion, Akam and Rezar are singlehandedly the greatest force in NXT’s Tag Division, Murphy was a former Tag Team Champion, Lynch was one of The Four Horsewomen, and Nakamura is the biggest free agent NXT has ever gotten.
While the development team has done a good job with each and every single one of their Superstars, some surprises will always surface to the top when it comes to the main roster. The two biggest examples are Elias and Alexa Bliss; at NXT Elias was nothing more than a low mid-card act who was dangling between a comedic act and a jobber, now he is one of the most popular Superstars in WWE. Bliss, on the other hand, was never supposed to have five championship reigns on the main roster, as she was nothing more than a popular valet for Blake and Murphy, but yet here we are, as we've learned Bliss is one of the best talkers in the women’s division.
NXT has certainly proven to be the best show WWE produces each week with the talent involved. But ultimately it is still up to Vince McMahon whether or not a superstar will see a push when they reach the main roster. Here are 15 NXT Superstars Vince McMahon won't be able to stand on the main roster, and 15 he will love.
30 Bury: Kona Reeves
“The Finest,” Kona Reeves right now is a jobber. Usually losing to the top guys, Reeves has had a bad run at NXT. It also doesn't help that he gets heat from the Florida crowd because of how bad he is in the ring as opposed to how good of a heel he is.
While there are many things Kona can improve on, the biggest issue he has is that he lacks charisma and overall, he is just a normal looking guy at best. When Vince gets his hands on Reeves, the uncharismatic worker will most likely be back in jobber town.
29 Push: Angelo Dawkins
Looking back on the superstars Vince has handled in the past, you can see he has a thing for athleticism. Shelton Benjamin, Brock Lesnar, Kofi Kingston, and Jeff Hardy are some of the most athletic guys we have seen and they were all championship contenders at one point in their careers.
Angelo Dawkins has most of what you are looking for in a star – athleticism, charisma, mic work, and most importantly, in-ring prowess. As of the moment, Dawkins is part of a tag team but it won’t be surprising if Street Profits are to be split apart on the main roster.
28 Bury: The War Raiders
Rowe and Hanson, aka The War Raiders, are probably one of the best tag teams in the entire company right now. Their mix of technical wrestling and outright brawling style provides a fun-stiff style of wrestling which is only rivaled by The Bar.
Unfortunately, Vince is widely known to not care too much about tag wrestling and it does not help that the War Raiders’ Viking gimmick intertwines with the likes of The Ascension, The Bludgeon Brothers, AoP, and SAnitY.
As of the moment, both SmackDown and Raw (especially SmackDown) has a very stacked tag division and there might not be a place in the card for War Raiders.
27 Push: Shane Thorne
Shane Thorne is part of a team called The Mighty along with Nick Miller, but there is a fundamental difference between the two that will push Thorne over Miller. The difference is quite simple; Thorne is way more charismatic and is arguably the better performer.
While the Aussies certainly have a place in any card, Vince might see Thorne and say “that guy needs to be a solo act,” and there is absolutely nothing the creative team of WWE can do about it.
As it stands, Buddy Murphy is the face of wrestling in Australia, but it does not hurt to put someone beside him in Shane Thorne.
26 Bury: Kassius Ohno
A darling in the independent scene, Kassius Ohno (formerly Chris Hero in the indies) has done almost nothing at NXT. The knockout artist has seen absolutely no title shots at both N.A. Championship and the NXT Championship, and it is quite a shame considering what he has accomplished prior to NXT. Instead, Ohno serves as a gatekeeper for newcomers in NXT, and while that is a cool gimmick, it might not last long enough for him to make a huge impact in the upcoming years.
As it stands, Ohno does not provide anything new on the main roster. Kassius is a big striker, but we have Big Show and Brock Lesnar for both. He's a good promo guy, but Kevin Owens outshines him in every way possible.
25 Push: Kyle O’Reilly
The first member of The Undisputed Era, Kyle O’Reilly is a lot of things. He has a background in MMA, he is very good in the ring, and he is a member of the most popular stable in WWE as of the moment. But the most important thing is he is the best seller in NXT. Seriously, look it up on the internet, and you will not be disappointed.
Out of the four members of TUE, O’Reilly looks the most generic, but if you ever watch one of his matches you can tell he is something special. With his mixture of great selling, great acting, and amazing facial expressions, O’Reilly can make any opponent look like the next big thing, which is an asset not many performers have.
24 Bury:Danny Burch
Remember when we said Kona Reeves looks like a generic guy? Well, Danny Burch looks like a generic wrestler. A performer hailing from the U.K., Burch is performing for both NXT and NXT UK. At the former, he is in a tag team with Oney Lurcan and while the two has put on great matches in the past, that does not matter for Vince McMahon at all.
A perfect example of great workers, but generic looking performers are The Revival. They are arguably the best tag team in the world right now, yet they have done almost nothing since coming to the main roster. Unfortunately, that might be the case with Danny Burch.
23 Push: Pete Dunne
Another native of the U.K., Pete Dunne is the longest tenured champion in WWE right now. With a reign of over 520 days as the WWE United Kingdom Champion, Dunne has surpassed the likes of Brock Lesnar, CM Punk, and AJ Styles.
While the reign will surely come to a halt, one thing is for sure and that is the fact that Dunne is one of the best the company has to offer. Boasting a mixture of sadistic in-ring psychology, unique look, and charisma to match, The Bruiserweight will surely be taken notice of when it comes to the main roster.
22 Bury: Oney Lorcan
The second half of the Burch-Lorcan pairing, Oney Lorcan’s style of wrestling can be described as absolutely reckless. The brawler from Boston looks like he does care what happens to his body in the ring just as long as he puts on a good show for the fans.
Unfortunately, like his partner, Lorcan is way too generic looking and while he is great in the ring he does not provide anything new as an individual.
Of course, both Burch and Lrcan will come to the main roster as a tag team and we can only hope they stay that way for the sake of them both.
21 Push: Ricochet
One of the outliers of the developmental ranks, Ricochet will 100% be a star on the main roster. The high-flying, highly charismatic, great in-ring performer will capture the imagination of younger and older fans alike.
With Jeff Hardy nearing the tail end of his illustrious career, Vince will seek for a new charismatic high flyer to replace Jeff and what better way to do it than to push Ricochet. While the current N.A. Champion is not as charismatic as Jeff, there is an argument that Richocet is a better in-ring worker and that alone can put him over the top with Vince.
20 Bury: Roderick Strong
The second member of The Undisputed Era, Roderick Strong was originally billed as a solo star but when he could not get over the Florida crowd, it was time to put him in a stable and it absolutely worked for both parties.
Unfortunately for “The Messiah of Back Breakers”, Vince has a habit of breaking up stables as we have seen with The Wyatt Family and The Shield. Once TUE breaks up, Strong will be left stranded on his own, and if he cannot get over the Florida crowd, then there is no hope in getting over the casual audience on the main roster.
19 Push: Candice LeRae
If you are not familiar with Candice LeRae, she is one of the best female wrestlers in NXT. The indie darling has made a name for herself as a woman willing to go through dangerous stipulations and risky bumps just for the sake of entertainment.
While the bumps and stipulations won’t follow LeRae on the main roster, she will still have the attention of Vince just because of her looks. LeRae certainly stands out in a crowd because of her charming appeal, and not to mention the fact that she absolutely can work with the best of them.
18 Bury: Trent Seven
A member of the B. Strong Style faction with Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate, Trent Seven is currently tagging with Bate to form The Moustache Moutain, the former NXT Tag Team Champions.
We cannot state how important physique is when it comes to Vince, and right now, Seven looks a little out of shape.
If Seven is to have a chance competing for a title shot, it would have to be with Tyler Bate as a tag team and as we said earlier, Vince is not very fond of tag wrestling.
17 Push:Lars Sullivan
Lars Sullivan looks like an incarnation of one of the monsters in Greek mythology. A physical specimen, Sullivan certainly has an intimidating presence even on screen. While he is not the smoothest of workers in the ring, Sullivan has improved a considerable amount in his time with NXT.
With his championship caliber look and menacing style of wrestling, Sullivan has what it takes to be Vince’s guy. Much like Braun Strowman, Lars can be built up as an unstoppable force on Raw, where he may be pushed right off the bat as WWE hypes his upcoming main roster debut.
16 Bury: Keith Lee
Keith Lee is another outstanding athlete, especially if you consider his size. At 300 lbs, Lee has done spots which highlighted just how agile the big man is. Charisma and skill are key for any performer and Lee certainly checks both boxes with how good he is.
Unfortunately, one guy who will not bask in Lee’s glory is Vince McMahon. Vince has a weird sense of humor, as seen by the countless ridiculous acts in the history of the company. A very specific one is how Vince thinks oversized guys are funny. If Lee cannot prove to be a great mic worker, then he might be on the Brodus Clay path.
15 Push: Lacey Evans
Lacey Evans is not close to being NXT Women’s Champion, not even a single bit. But do not let the position on the roster fool you. Evans has potential as a character and she might even make it to the mainstream.
Following the Alexa Bliss path, Evans certainly looks the part on what Vince considers a women’s champion. If there is a dark horse in terms of who can become the next Raw or Smackdown Women’s Champion, Lacey Evans is certainly on the list.
14 Bury: Io Shirai
A quick look at the Japanese wrestlers on the main roster does not paint a good picture for Io Shirai. Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura are both under Vince’s control and both have done absolutely nothing since losing at this year’s WrestleMania.
Shirai is one of the best female wrestlers in the world and while the Mae Young Classic runner-up has yet to show what her character truly is, you cannot help but feel she will follow the same track like the ones before her.
Promo skills are a big factor in terms of success in WWE and while Shirai’s English skill is better than the other Japanese wrestlers on the roster, it might not be enough to put her over with the big boss.
13 Push: Toni Storm
Speaking of the Mae Young Classic, the second winner is Toni Storm, a young talent on the rise. Storm is probably one of the 10 best workers in WWE today, which is big praise considering how talented the roster is.
Storm has the look, the charisma, and the skill to be a megastar, and it will not come as a surprise if she is pushed to the moon by Vince. While her gimmick needs a bit more polishing, Storm certainly has the skill to portray any character given to her.
12 Bury: Shayna Baszler
One of the other Four MMA Horsewomen, Shayna Baszler might be the perfect heel in the women’s division. With her menacing look, stiff brawling style, and big bully character, Baszler has certainly impressed in her short time with the company.
Unfortunately for The Queen of Spades, Vince already has his top female MMA standout in Ronda Rousey. While both ladies are part of the same stable, it is clear one is getting pushed more than the other just based on the fact that Rousey is way more popular than the current NXT Women’s Champion.
11 Push: Otis Dozovic
Like we mentioned earlier, Vince McMahon has a weird sense of humor and once he sees you have potential as a comedic talent, you will most likely be stuck in one for quite some time. Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, and Santino Marella were all good performers, but they were dealt the comedic card for a significant amount of time.
Otis Dozovic, fortunately, or unfortunately whichever way you want to spin it, can provide good comedic relief. The lovable, goofy Dozovic has the facial expressions that work well in comedy. If he works on his timing then he might hit gold with the boss.
10 Bury: Velveteen Dream
If you have been following WWE for a while, you tend to see a pattern in terms of gimmicks and what flies with Vince and what doesn’t. Unfortunately, Velveteen Dream as a gimmick requires intricate storytelling to really highlight the strength of the character; a way over the top fashion enigma that is also a capable fighter.
The reason why Velveteen won’t work is the character's extreme flamboyance. For an old person like Vince, something of that magnitude will not be aired on his show. And while Goldust is the obvious exception, he was the son of a wrestling legend, so he had leeway in terms of his gimmick.
9 Push: Patrick Clark
The man behind Velveteen Dream, Patrick Clark, is widely considered the future of the entire business. He has the looks, the body, the in-ring prowess, and the mic skills to become a top superstar. As of the moment, Clark is only 23-years-old, meaning he still has at least seven years before he hits his athletic prime, which is impressive to think about.
Clark’s willingness to play an unorthodox character like Velveteen Dream is certainly commendable since this is an industry full of guys wanting to show off how tough they are. But the thing that separates Clark from the pack is his ability to tell a story inside of the squared circle.
8 Bury: Kairi Sane
Another great Japanese wrestler, Kairi Sane is the inaugural Mae Young Classic winner and a former NXT Women’s Champion. The Pirate Princess has proven time and time again that she is one of the best wrestlers in the world. A lovable babyface, Sane has already captured the hearts of the NXT Universe with her talent and adorable charm.
In the WWE, promos are easily the second most important skill a performer must have and unfortunately for Sane, her English skills are not polished well enough to cut a decent promo. If WWE were to embrace foreign superstars speaking their native language, then Sane might have a chance, but for now, she will most likely be buried the same way Asuka has been.
7 Push: Adam Cole
The heart and soul of The Undisputed Era, Adam Cole is a throwback wrestler. Cole does not have a distinct moveset nor does he have the best body in the company, but for some reason, Cole just draws attention wherever he goes.
As a performer, Cole looks a bit like Chris Jericho in a sense that they both work great matches while showing amazing mic skills to boot. If Vince is to be reminded of Jericho, then Cole has a good chance to be on top of the card, where he rightfully belongs.
6 Bury: Tyler Bate
The second half of Moustache Mountain, Tyler Bate is considered one of the best performers from England. The first ever WWE UK Champion, Bate has had a couple of great matches at NXT, including a five-star match against The Undisputed Era.
If there is one thing limiting Bate, it is the fact that he looks too generic for Vince’s taste. In a crowd full of wrestlers, it is hard to pick Bate out.
And like we said earlier, in-ring prowess does not matter in the WWE as much as it matters in places like Japan. If Bate is to have a chance, he has to pray that by the time he gets to the main roster Triple H is already the one in charge.
5 Push: Tommaso Ciampa
Tommaso Ciampa has single handedly solidified himself as one of the best heels in the company. Ciampa’s feud with Johnny Gargano is arguably the best feud WWE has ever produced the last few years – a menacing heel facing a lovable babyface. This feud has clearly has worked for both men. With Ciampa, you get a sadistic psychopath and a great in-ring performer.
McMahon has always looked at promos when it comes to evaluating heels – two good examples are Samoa Joe and The Miz. With Ciampa, you get one of the best talkers in the entire company. Put a mic in his hand and he can connect with any audience you put in front of him.
4 Bury: Aleister Black
Aleister Black is one of the harderst strikers in the company given his background in the art form. Black also has a commanding presence with his look and demon-like aura that stems from his character. While the former NXT champion certainly deserves to be at the top of the card, he has a lot to work on, especially his mic skills, even though Triple H has done a good job at masking Black’s weaknesses.
One area Black can never improve on is his height, an important feature when it comes to Vince. Unfortunately Black is not the tallest guy around and he does not have a bodybuilder-like frame to at least make up for his lack of height.
3 Push: EC3
EC3, formerly known as Derrick Bateman in his early WWE days, has been around for quite some time now. EC3 has spent most of his career at TNA and while he was hyped as NXT’s big signee, EC3 has almost done nothing since joining the black and yellow brand. EC3 has always had great promos and okay matches, but it might be enough for Vince to fall in love.
One glance at EC3 and the thing that pops out is his physique. Built like a truck, EC3 developed the type of body Vince pushes to the moon when he was in Impact. If Vince sticks to his usual formula, then EC3 will surely get a chance to be the man.
2 Bury: Johnny Gargano
And now, we bring you the aforementioned Johnny Gargano. If you are not familiar with Gargano then we would suggest watching his matches against Tommaso Ciampa and his five-star match with Andrade "Cien" Almas at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia. Johnny Wrestling has proven time and time again that he can hang with the best of them. The lovable babyface (recently turned heel) featured in a similar storyline to Daniel Bryan’s rise to the top, with no one believing in him other than himself.
Unfortunately, like Aleister Black, Gargano is also not the biggest guy around. While smaller guys like Finn Balor, Daniel Bryan, and Rey Mysterio have all won the top championship, the three also felt like transitional champions more than anything else. If Gargano is to have a shot at a proper championship run, he might have to wait for Triple H to take control.
1 Push: Matt Riddle
The latest signee of NXT, Matt Riddle is the total package. He has the charisma, the in-ring prowess, the gimmick, the mic skills, the body, the MMA background, and most importantly, he looks the part. If we were to describe Riddle, he would have the body and look of Roman Reigns, the in-ring skill of Seth Rollins, and the mic work and charisma of Dean Ambrose. Basically, Riddle is a future megastar that can seep into the mainstream, much like John Cena and The Rock.
If Riddle continues to go at this pace then it will only be a matter of time until Vince turns him into the superstar he is destined to be.