Now that NXT has officially shifted onto the USA Network, thus becoming its own brand of sorts, we think it's time to take a look at some of the more notable names in 'developmental' and determine whether or not we believe they could go all the way in this company.
Some will be able to reach heights they previously thought unattainable, whereas others won't be able to break through that glass ceiling. It's all a matter of star power, and at the same time, it's all about whether or not you get that lucky break and show the world what you're made of.
10 STAR - Finn Balor
Finn Balor’s move back down to NXT from the main roster was viewed as a bit of a demotion, but as long as he can regain some of the momentum he’s lost in the last few years, who cares?He’ll almost certainly be able to do some wonderful things back under the NXT umbrella and if he can go on to once again build the excitement for seeing him compete, then there’s a very good chance Finn could finally become the kind of star that the wrestling world knows he can be.
9 NOT A STAR - Tommaso Ciampa
This one is going to seem a little bit controversial because of just how much of a fan favorite Tommaso Ciampa is, but we can’t really get around his neck injuries that he’s been suffering from as of late.
While he may do well in NXT after returning, it doesn’t feel as if he’s going to translate all the way up to the very top.
Triple H likes him so it’s impossible, but this one depends on what your actual definition of a star is in the modern era of WWE.
8 STAR - Dexter Lumis
It seems like a bit of an out-there choice, but we really, really like Dexter Lumis. The guy has the look, the character and seems to be growing in confidence with each and every passing week.
All Lumis needs is an opportunity to really break out, and we think he could go far. He’s already in his mid-30s but as the likes of Diamond Dallas Page have proven, age isn’t always necessarily the biggest of factors when it comes to an industry such as this one. Sometimes, all you need is drive and skill.
7 NOT A STAR - Damian Priest
Damian Priest was a relatively big name over in Ring of Honor, but he just seems to have been lost in the shuffle a little bit over in NXT. The widespread comparisons between him and Roman Reigns seem to serve as the biggest issue, but beyond that, he just doesn’t stand out.
The new name and persona seem to be helping him turn a little bit of a corner which is always a great thing, but there are levels to the game in the world of WWE and Priest isn’t quite there.
6 STAR - Johnny Gargano
Building yourself after a superstar like Daniel Bryan is always going to bode well and while Johnny Gargano is very different in a lot of ways, he certainly knows how to embody the essence of one of the biggest names in WWE over the course of the last decade or so.
Gargano is on a rocket ship to the moon and we can say that with quite some confidence. A lot of people behind the scenes seem to believe in him to the point where he’s already being positioned as a future main eventer – or at least, that’s how it seems.
5 NOT A STAR - Matt Riddle
While everyone seems to love Matt Riddle, and rightly so, there’s still a lot of work to be done in order to refine his in-ring skills.
Will he eventually make his way to RAW or SmackDown? Yes, and you could argue that much is kind of obvious at this stage.
Even with that being the case, though, we feel like Riddle is the type of guy that will get himself into a lot of trouble backstage due to his big mouth.
After all, just go ahead and look at his track record.
4 STAR - Velveteen Dream
If Velveteen Dream doesn’t become one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling in the last decade, then WWE has massively dropped the ball, and we think everyone including Vince McMahon is well aware of that fact.
Due to his age Dream can easily spend a few more years down in NXT before making the transition over to the big time, but when he does, they need to make sure his character is protected.
If done right, he could reach the same level as a character like ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt who already seems to be bursting into that next level of superstardom.
3 NOT A STAR - Aliyah
Breaking Ground was great for introducing us to Aliyah and what she was capable of, and we will be the first ones to admit that she has made a great deal of progress over the course of the last few years. However, we just don’t feel like it’s enough.
She comes across as the kind of gatekeeper that doesn’t quite possess the necessary skills to really solidify herself as a main eventer.
One quick character shift or one great match could quite easily change all of that, but we aren’t holding our breath.
2 STAR - Pete Dunne
Pete Dunne’s seemingly official move from NXT UK to NXT has been a great success so far, and it feels as if this is only the beginning. He has been on a gradual incline ever since he made his presence known in WWE, and Triple H quite clearly has some really big plans for the Brummie star moving forward.
Dunne has been more than willing to do most of the leg work in order to get his career off of the ground, and with the WWE machine behind him, nothing can hold the guy back.
The same goes for Tyler Bate, but it still feels as if he’s spending a little bit more time over with NXT UK for now.
1 NOT A STAR - Candice LeRae
Candice LeRae could be the next big thing in WWE if they gave her the chance, much like Becky Lynch was able to become the next big thing. However, while she was elevated to the women’s title scene against Shayna Baszler, that still felt a little bit rushed.
We aren’t convinced as to what the future could hold for her one way or another, but we’re leaning towards it being a little bit underwhelming based on how unbelievably talented she is. Then again, much like Gargano, she could spring a surprise on us all.