NXT has become the breeding ground for WWE and has produced World Champions like Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and others. The debuts of these top stars are often some of the biggest WWE moments of the year and have ripple effects throughout Raw and SmackDown. Fairly so, there have been incredible amounts of criticism regarding the booking of these NXT stars when they get to the main roster, but that’s not what this article is about. We are going to look at 5 NXT stars who should be called up to either Raw or SmackDown in 2018.
5. Kassius Ohno
Chris Hero is arguably the greatest independent wrestler of all time. If things had gone differently (if you believe CM Punk), he could have debuted on the main roster as a member of The Shield, but 2018 is the year to finally make up for that. He isn’t doing too much in NXT, and with so many young stars ready to take over the main event position, he should be on the main roster. Someone with the size, look and ability of Ohno should be bolstering the Raw mid-card which could use the help. It’s unlikely he’ll get the push that he would have years ago if he came to the main roster, but he puts on great matches with everyone and the fans are behind him. He also has a very catchy theme and he should be on Raw early in 2018.
4. Drew McIntyre
Unfortunately for the former ‘Chosen One’, he suffered a triceps injury when losing his NXT Championship to Andrade “Cien” Almas. It was an interesting decision to take the title off McIntyre and it suggested that he could have potentially been on his way back to the main roster. It will take several months for him to recover, but when he does, it would make most sense for him to be on the main roster. He’s got the look, the charisma and the wrestling ability to make it as a big star, and Monday Night Raw would be a great fit for the Scot. If pushed properly, McIntyre could be a legitimate contender to the WWE Universal Championship, even against the likes of Roman Reigns.
Sanity got off to a very slow start in NXT, as fans were confused to their motivations as a group. But they are incredibly talented and likeable as they’ve come into their own as masters of chaos, but 2018 is the time to bring that chaos to either Raw or SmackDown. There could be more for the group in NXT, so don’t expect a promotion to come in the first month or two of the new year. But with a tag team, a leader in Eric Young, and Nikki Cross making up the group, there is incredible potential for them on the main roster. SmackDown Live makes most sense for Sanity, and if they’re booked correctly (hopefully similar to The Shield upon arrival), they could be absolute stars as a faction.
2. Aleister Black
Fans of Tommy End’s fantastic career in Europe were quite worried about how he’d be booked in the WWE. However, all of those fears have been put to bed just a year into his WWE run as he looks like one of the biggest stars NXT has ever seen. WWE know this too as he was rumored to join the main roster just after his arrival, but that didn’t happen. Despite some people thinking he should have a run with the NXT Championship, a main roster call up is just as good. If he is sent to SmackDown Live to join their mid-card scene, he could become a star almost immediately. It wouldn’t shock anyone if he could become United States, or even WWE Champion by mid-2019 at the latest.
1. The Authors of Pain
This is definitely a no-brainer, as the monstrous duo of Akem and Razar are made for the main roster. With Paul Ellering leading the team, the sky is the limit for them on either Raw or SmackDown Live. They have improved a tremendous amount over the past year, and after losing their NXT Tag Team Championships and coming up short in WarGames, it seems their time is drawing to an end in NXT. With limited teams on Raw, it just makes too much sense for them to get called up. It will be very interesting to see how they’re booked on the main roster, but with Ellering's presence, it wouldn’t be surprising if they were Raw Tag Team Champions before long.