The best part about NXT, aside from those incredible specials they put on, is the collegiate elements it adds to professional wrestling. As we watch the very best NXT stars do their thing in the WWE developmental promotion, it’s impossible to not wonder what they are going to do when they get to the next level. The promotion has turned the process of bringing new stars into WWE from a crapshoot into a highly analyzed and anticipated call-up system that reminds some sports fans of the weeks leading up to an annual draft.
The re-introduction of the brand split has only added to that atmosphere. Now, WWE fans around the world look at wrestlers like Samoa Joe, Asuka, and Shinsuke Nakamura and try to imagine how those great wrestlers might fit into the current Raw and SmackDown rosters. The call-up process is quickly beginning to resemble an arms races that each brand and their fans want to win. To add a little fuel to that fire, here are our predictions for which show the next 15 NXT call-ups will go to.
15 Asuka - SmackDown
14 Austin Aries – RAW
13 Roderick Strong - SmackDown
12 Eric Young - SmackDown
11 Andrade “Cien” Almas - RAW
10 No Way Jose - RAW
9 The Revival - SmackDown
8 The Authors of Pain - SmackDown
It’s actually been quite a while since WWE had a proper power tag team. In fact, the idea of two bruisers teaming up and just destroying the competition is one that hasn’t been that popular since the ‘80s. Slowly but surely, however, The Authors of Pain are reminding us why the occasional power team is a great thing. They’re not quite where they need to be yet, but this duo is starting to discover what it takes to really come across as world beaters capable of realistically dominating everyone in their wake.
7 TM61 - RAW
6 Tommaso Ciampa - RAW
5 Johnny Gargano - SmackDown
4 Tye Dillinger - SmackDown
3 Bobby Roode - RAW
2 Samoa Joe - RAW
1 Shinsuke Nakamura - SmackDown
NXT’s acquisition of Shinsuke Nakamura may very well be the promotion's biggest signing to date. Few thought they would ever have the chance to see Nakamura wrestle in a WWE ring, and those who did feared that WWE would change everything that makes the guy so great. So far, NXT has allowed Nakamura to be Nakamura. That means that they’ve let the guy be weird, indefinable, and an all-around great performer that may very well be the best in the world at what he does. If the secret to success for Nakamura is letting him be himself, we’re going to have to root for him to go to SmackDown.
So far, SmackDown has been the program that isn’t afraid to give a character time to find their place in the world which is something Nakamura is going to need in order to become the star he deserves to be. He may have to switch to a blue leather jacket though.
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