Arguably the most popular brand amongst WWE's weekly programming, NXT attracts legions of diehard fans week to week. The brainchild of WWE COO Triple H has devoted fans flock to Full Sail University for tapings and fill arenas for NXT Takeover specials. WWE heard the devotion that the hardcore fan has for this wing of the product and is able to translate that into many positives for the business.
Many Superstars have success on NXT but when promoted to the main roster, it does not translate. Here is a list of 5 wrestlers we want to see in NXT, and 5 we do not.
5 DON'T: Luchasaurus
Unbeknownst to many, Luchasaurus had a brief stint in NXT working under the name Judas Devlin. He ended up getting released in 2014 after a devastating injury.
Now in All Elite Wrestling, Luchasaurus seems to have found good footing where he is. It seems almost commonplace to say it, but if given the opportunity to return to WWE to capitalize on some of his success on independent promotions, he might get lost in the shuffle. One may also infer that the Luchasaurus gimmick could turn into a comedy act very quickly. He is fine where he is and could be one of the better performers in AEW
The current WWN and EVOLVE champion, Austin Theory has been on WWE's radar for quite some time. If you want an example of his body of work, look no further than your WWE Network subscription and turn on EVOLVE's 10th Anniversary Celebration and enjoy his match with JD Drake.
Recently spotted in attendance at NXT Takeover: Toronto, his debut in NXT looks imminent. Theory will become NXT Champion and the face of the brand very soon. He has experience competing against Superstars we watch on WWE television already. As much as he has accomplished already at the age of 22, the sky will be the limit for this young future WWE Superstar. He has "it" and will be the next star in sports entertainment.
If you remember watching NXT on Hulu, you will fondly remember Cesaro coming down to NXT to work a series of matches with then-NXT mainstay Sami Zayn which culminated at the first WWE Network special, NXT ArRIVAL.
Watching Cesaro come to NXT from the main roster was undoubtedly a treat for the hardcore fans taking advantage of their Hulu subscription. That being said, he needs to be utilized on the main roster a lot better than he is. The man is a pure technician in the ring and puts on a spectacle given the right opportunity. Let him shine as a singles competitor on the main roster.
4 DO: The Ascension
“YAH! YAH! YAH!” It feels like a lifetime ago that the NXT Universe was echoing that chant throughout Full Sail University. During their tenure in NXT, they were one of the most dominant teams on the roster and are still the longest-reigning NXT Tag Team Champions. Unfortunately, that dominance has come to an abrupt halt on the main roster.
Konnor and Viktor have not recaptured the magic they once had on NXT and look nothing like the explosive tandem seen in 2013 and 2014. Currently, they have been relegated to getting squashed on Raw and Smackdown, brief matches on Main Event and Superstars, or are not booked at all. The NXT Universe would undoubtedly welcome them back. NXT has changed quite a bit since The Asce sion was promoted and it may be nice for them to get a fresh start somewhere with new and differing opposition.
During his time on NXT, Baron Corbin was fairly over with his audience. As a babyface or heel, his metalhead persona was popular with the crowd and his short matches (where the NXT Universe counted the time by the second) were an aspect of his character that helped him get over. Currently, Corbin has been one of the top heels on the main roster. His heel-ish tactics during roles as Raw's "Constable" and "Acting General Manager" have given him tremendous hear with the WWE Universe.
Though [insert the name of your town here]'s favorite son Baron Corbin is not exactly popular with the WWE Universe, he is not supposed to be. He is eliciting the exact heel reaction desired and he is seizing his opportunity on his main roster. There is no reason for him to go back down to Full Sail University.
3 DO: Curtis Axel
Formerly Michael McGillicutty, Curtis Axel is also someone in need of a change of scenery and could benefit greatly from a stint on the yellow brand. His singles career could be invigorated once again by providing the same type of veteran presence Tyson Kidd had in NXT during the early NXT Takeover specials.
Axel has been floundering for what many could say is his entire career on the main roster. He could have memorable matchups with the likes of Velveteen Dream, Matt Riddle or members of the Undisputed Era and come back to the main roster down the line with momentum that could better serve his career.
2 DON'T: Big E
Before The New Day was even thought about, Big E was one of the first NXT champions. The "five" gimmick was very over with the NXT Universe and he had a fairly popular reign. As his transition to the main roster was nearing completion, Bo Dallas defeated him for the NXT Championship. There are certainly Superstars on Raw or SmackDown need of a change of scenery to revitalize their career. Big E is not one of those. He has a place on the main roster and is enjoying success in The New Day.
Unfortunately, after his debut in Brooklyn for the first edition of NXT Takeover, Apollo Crews was called up to the main roster long before he could achieve the success in NXT that many thought he was capable of. NXT could have been a tremendous opportunity for the man formerly known as Uhaa Nation to get more seasoning on the mic and showcase his already eye-popping in-ring skills. Many expected that he would become NXT Champion one day.
Crews still seems to be in a place of limbo and is not really in the place he should be. He should NXT for that aforementioned seasoning and have the run there he should have had to begin with. Crews could headline NXT Takeovers like he should have been when he got called up in the first place. Triple H always says, "you can return home"
1 DON'T: MJF
The "salt of the earth," Maxwell Jacob Friedman is better than you and you know it. He is also better where he is in AEW. If he were to come into WWE he would likely have his character impeded upon by many of the writers and producers. In AEW, he has a lot more freedom to use profanity and have his character appear more genuine. He needs to stay in AEW and remain the genuine heel he currently is. MJF is going to be a star in the professional wrestling industry and can very well be one of the most notable names people will come to associate with AEW.
John Cena!? 16 time world champion John Cena should go down to NXT!? Yes. The main roster is well taken care of. Raw and SmackDown are in great hands with guys who are shouldering the load just fine. If John Cena were to come back for a small program on NXT, it could be very beneficial for those stars on that roster who could use the rub from not only a program with Cena, but the opportunity to face someone of his significance in the ring.
Seeds for a Cena NXT run have already been planted. There has been teasing of a match between Cena and Velveteen Dream. Not shy about wanting to get called up to the main roster, a match of this magnitude could be a prime main event on a future NXT Takeover special. Cena putting Dream over could be a great final rub on NXT television and a fantastic way to introduce Dream to a new audience as there would certainly be new eyeballs on NXT due to Cena's presence on the brand.