Triple H has truly taken WWE's developmental territory to new heights over the past few years, and in all honesty, NXT is now so much more than just a starting point for WWE's new signee's - NXT is its own brand (one that's continuously producing better shows than the main roster to boot). Although Vince McMahon and Triple H are a lot alike in many ways, there's absolutely no denying the fact that Hunter has his own taste in who he believes is a future and worthy WWE Superstar - as many will attest to, Triple H is looking to the future of the business, whereas Vinny Mac is still somewhat stuck in his ways. With Vince on the main roster and Triple H pulling the strings down in NXT, WWE offers fans different types of products to suit their needs, and without question, NXT is targeted at the hardcore fans whereas SmackDown and Raw are more "casual fan" friendly television.
Since NXT's humble beginnings, Triple H has spent his time and effort building up and grooming wrestlers he saw potential in for WWE's main shows, and while some of them have ended of succeeding on Raw and SmackDown, almost just as many (if not more) have unfortunately failed miserably. Vince is mainly to blame for this being the case considering the rather outdated outlook he has on things, and there's no doubt in our minds that Hunter is frustrated that many of his NXT proteges are floundering on the main roster. Regardless, Triple H isn't one to give up easily, and he's got plenty of aspiring stars in NXT currently that he'll present to Vince McMahon in the near future. Today, we will take an in-depth look at 10 Superstars Triple H groomed for WWE who are not working out, and the 10 he will push next...
20 Not Working Out: Apollo Crews
Some fans may label Apollo Crews a colossal failure in WWE, but that certainly isn't all Apollo's fault whatsoever. Called up from NXT far too early, Crews simply wasn't ready to make the jump to the main roster when he did, and it ended up hurting his career excruciatingly. While he was pushed upon his debut for a short period of time, once WWE management got wind of his shortcomings (promo skills, lack of character depth), Vince pulled the plug on his push before it even really had the chance to succeed.
Apollo Crews definitely doesn't lack a great look or in-ring ability, and had Triple H decided to keep Crews a bit longer in NXT to fine-tune his flaws and to develop an intriguing character whom fans would care about on Raw or SmackDown, Apollo would've had no trouble becoming a big star in WWE.
19 Will Push Next: Johnny Gargano
Johnny Gargano was unquestionably born to be a sports entertainer, and he has had little trouble becoming a success story in NXT whether as a beloved babyface or a despised heel. Now we all know Johnny Wrestling isn't Vince's usual choice in a top star considering he isn't six-foot-five and weighing 260 plus pounds of muscle, but in the ways that count in 2019, Johnny is above and beyond - a wrestler full of untapped potential.
It's probable that Triple H still has a few storylines he'd like to utilize Johnny Gargano in before he makes the call to introduce him to either Raw or SmackDown Live. But when 'The Cerebral Assassin" does, in fact, bring Johnny up to WWE, there's no question he's going to plead with McMahon to give Johnny Wrestling a real chance to succeed before pulling the plug on his inevitable push.
18 Not Working Out: Bayley
Bayley was exactly the kind of talent NXT fans loved and cherished, but to Vincent Kennedy McMahon, Bayley is a complete waste of screen time, unfortunately. With every great match "Everyone's Favorite Hugger" put on down in NXT, Bayley proved that she was a deserving candidate for a promotion to the main roster (only in theory is being called up to WWE a promotion for most NXT talents).
It's clear Triple H was able to somehow convince Vinny Mac to test the waters with Bayley on Raw, considering her enormous and vocal fanbase from NXT, but it certainly wasn't long before WWE lost interest in her and eventually shoved her to the side for women's wrestlers who fit Vince's description for a top Superstar - one example being Alexa Bliss. Bayley has simply been floating around the mid-card scene with no direction since losing her Women's Championship, and things don't look like they'll be getting any better anytime soon.
17 Will Push Next: Keith Lee
There's no question that Keith Lee's April 2018 signing with WWE NXT was huge for the brand, as Keith has all the tools required to make it in the company, at least in NXT that is. Lee has the size, strength, agility and overall speed that sets himself apart from the rest of the pack, and it cannot be argued that Keith moves around in the ring like a man one-third his size. Not to mention the fact that he is fantastic on the microphone as well.
Keith Lee simply has the "it" factor that many big man wrestlers before him lacked severely, and without question, fans will be basking in his glory very soon. With Lars Sullivan in the process of being called up to WWE's main roster, Lee will definitely become NXT's top ranking monster, and when the time comes (hopefully not for a while), Lee will be presented to Vince McMahon as a worthy contender for a big push on Raw or SD Live.
16 Not Working Out: Samoa Joe
As some fans had anticipated, the success Samoa Joe accomplished in NXT certainly did not translate over to the WWE main roster in any way, shape or form. Despite being booked like a true monster in NXT who was not only intimidating but extremely great in the ring, Vince clearly didn't see the potential Triple H saw in Samoa Joe. To put things in perspective, at one point, Vince looked at Joe as nothing special. With an outlook like that, it's no wonder why Joe hasn't remotely seen the success he should've on Raw and SmackDown Live thus far.
Despite the fact Vince tested the waters briefly with Samoa Joe (likely because of Hunter's influence), it wasn't long at all before Joe was downgraded from a legitimate World Title contender to a glorified enhancement talent. Things have really spiraled downhill in 2018 for Joe, and his rapid elimination at Survivor Series this year reflects his current status in WWE perfectly.
15 Will Push Next: Shayna Baszler
Now I'm definitely not going to sit here and say I personally saw bucket-loads of potential in Shayna Baszler immediately, but without question, Shayna has won me and plenty of other wrestling fans over throughout 2017 and 2018. Baszler proved to be very solid in the ring and very intimidating, and while some believed Shayna's MMA persona was cheesy to some extent, it has since complimented her perfectly.
Triple H has made mention of the fact that the future is extremely bright for Shayna Baszler in WWE, and after dominating NXT for a bit longer, it's doubtful Vince will be against pushing Baszler right off the gate when she gets the call to the main roster. Now you may be asking, Baszler certainly doesn't look like a women's wrestler Vince would be fond of, but despite the oftentimes accurate stereotypes regarding McMahon's favorite female talents, Vince also loves the Ronda Rousey-type legit fighters as well.
14 Not Working Out: The Revival
The Revival were undoubtedly one of, if not the very best tag team NXT had to offer, and despite their lack of great physiques or an overall WWE Superstar appearance, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder were still over with the NXT Universe and looked to have promising WWE careers ahead of them. Triple H has always been known to be fond of The Revival, and Hunter made a point of mentioning Scott and Dash would change the tag team wrestling game in WWE.
However, as we have since come to realize, Vince McMahon obviously didn't share the same opinion regarding The Revival as the NXT fans or Triple H did, and unlike many other failed NXT call ups, The Revival were buried nearly the day they stepped foot inside a WWE Raw arena. At least with other NXT failures, Vince tested the waters, but with Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, their fall from grace was almost instantaneous.
13 Will Push Next: Undisputed Era
Triple H has big things in store for The Undisputed Era heading into 2019 in NXT, and Adam Cole certainly isn't the only UE member Hunter has plans for. All three secondary members of Undisputed Era have boatloads of potential in WWE, as Bobby Fish is extremely charismatic and has a great personality, Kyle O'Reilly is a phenomenal talent between the ropes and brings a unique MMA-inspired moveset, and Roderick Strong is just a great talent through and through.
While none of these three Superstars are particularly big or jacked like Vince usually likes in his top guys, don't forget the fact that McMahon is also a big fan of personality and character, and Undisputed Era has no shortage of it. There's no question The Undisputed Era will dominate NXT for a bit longer, but many fans are hopeful Triple H will be able to convince McMahon that UE is the next big thing in WWE.
12 Not Working Out: Sasha Banks
Much like Bayley, most NXT fans were sure that "The Legit Boss" Sasha Banks would be a huge hit on WWE's main roster, but for whatever bizarre reason, this hasn't been the case whatsoever. Although there are a couple of reasons insiders have mentioned as to why Sasha has flopped on WWE's main roster (Vince feeling Banks is injury-prone and her supposed negative attitude backstage), the bottom line is McMahon just hasn't seen the hype and potential in Sasha as everyone else had.
Now don't get us wrong, Sasha Banks hasn't been a complete failure on Raw, as she does, in fact, have four Raw Women's Title reigns under her belt, but unfortunately, most of her reigns were extremely short and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Sasha's no further ahead in WWE now than she was before getting called up and winning the title multiple times, and she is clearly no longer one of the top women's wrestlers in WWE.
11 Will Push Next: Bianca Belair
To put this short and sweet, Bianca Belair has all the tools required to be a huge star not only in NXT but on the WWE main roster as well - Triple H is becoming well aware of this truth with each passing week. Not only is Bianca extraordinarily gifted between the ropes and has a great look, she just has that "it" quality about her. WWE Superstars including Lita and Charlotte Flair have praised Bianca in the recent past for being full of promise and potential.
Athletically speaking, Bianca Belair is about as good as you can get, and while she still needs to work on her promos to a certain extent, the future remains very bright for the self-proclaimed "EST Of NXT." Hopefully, Triple H keeps Belair in NXT for a while longer to develop her character a bit more and to fine-tune anything that needs attention. An NXT Women's Title reign or two would certainly be a smart choice.
10 Not Working Out: Asuka
"The Empress of Tomorrow," Asuka may be getting off to a better 2019 after finally capturing her first Women's Championship on WWE's main roster recently, but there's no denying the fact that the damage has already been done, so to speak. Booked by Triple H in NXT as an indestructible and unbeatable phenom who decimated most of her opponents, Asuka was over to a large extent with fans, and many believed she would quickly solidify herself as the top women's wrestler on either Raw or SmackDown.
However, while Asuka got off to a fairly decent start on the main roster (most likely due to Hunter's influence on McMahon), things started to fall apart rapidly for The Empress after WrestleMania 34, when she, unfortunately, took her first loss against Charlotte Flair. Since then, Asuka had slowly but surely been demoted down the card into irrelevancy, and in all honesty, Asuka is nothing more than a placeholder champion at the moment. To put it in perspective, Asuka was tapping out to Charlotte continuously on the MMC not long ago.
9 Will Push Next: Ricochet
When news broke out that WWE had signed the great Ricochet, fans couldn't help but be overtaken with joy and happiness. On the independent wrestling scene, Ricochet learned and mastered his craft as a true high flyer, so when he got the call from WWE, "The One and Only" was already a complete package needing little tweaking or work. While he hasn't captured the main NXT Championship yet, Ricochet has been doing great in NXT as of late as the North American Champ, and it's only a matter of time before he's inserted into the main event scene of NXT.
Despite being a bit smaller than Vince's average Superstar, Ricochet will likely have little trouble convincing McMahon that he's worthy of a main roster push, as he's still got a fantastic look, and his high flying style will remind Vince of the legendary Rey Mysterio. Let's just hope Triple H can make the decision to call up Ricochet to the main roster and not 205 Live, because the rumors that had been circulating around about The Future Of Flight joining 205 Live in the near future certainly wasn't great news.
8 Not Working Out: SAnitY
When the great faction from NXT known as SAnitY lost the debut match on SmackDown Live, it was evident right from the start how Killian Dain, Eric Young, and Alexander Wolfe would fair on the WWE's main roster. Even prior to their lukewarm start in WWE, SAnitY's debut had been put off for quite some time following a number of hype video vignettes, and quite honestly, many fans completely forgot about the trio.
Triple H may have been able to convince WWE of some of his NXT creations worth and value to the company, but clearly, SAnitY just wasn't clicking with top WWE officials. SAnitY has been used extremely sparingly since their debut, and though some speculate WWE doesn't want to overexpose the group before they have the right storyline for Killian, Eric, and Wolfe, or before Nikki Cross rejoins the faction after an extended stay in NXT. In all honesty, the ship has sailed on them being a success story already. SAnitY's momentum from NXT is long gone now, and it's certainly sad to see SAnitY get misused much as The Revival has been on Monday Night Raw.
7 Will Push Next: Tommaso Ciampa
The Black Heart Of NXT had an absolutely phenomenal 2018, and this year looks to be just as promising (if not better) for the current NXT World Champion. Many fans had always known Tommaso Ciampa was a special kind of talent, and once given the opportunity to show what he was made of and could do, Ciampa took the ball and ran right into the main event scene of NXT.
Ciampa has been unstoppable as of late in NXT, and his momentum in WWE is continuously building - Ciampa is undoubtedly the best heel currently in WWE. There's no doubt in our minds that Triple H will continue on with Ciampa's NXT push in 2019, and when the time comes, Hunter will try his best to give Tommaso the best possible chance to succeed on either Raw or SmackDown. If Vince McMahon is willing to give Tommaso a chance, it can be guaranteed that Ciampa will reach for the brass ring and take the main roster by storm!
6 Not Working Out: Shinsuke Nakamura
Much like Asuka, Shinsuke Nakamura got off to a great start on WWE's main roster after a phenomenal run in NXT, and following Nakamura's Royal Rumble win last year, many expected that Shinsuke would quickly establish himself as one of the company's most promising stars. This was the case for the first half of 2018, but following his loss against AJ Styles for the WWE Championship which subsequently marked the first day in Nakamura's heel turn, things went downhill fast.
However, even before WrestleMania 34, Shinsuke Nakamura definitely wasn't treated like the sensation he was in NXT and heading into his big WWE Title match at 'Mania, Nakamura had already cooled off quite significantly. Things only got worse for Shinsuke post-Mania, and despite being one of the constants in the main event scene on SmackDown as well as capturing the United States Championship, Nakamura has been a complete flop on the main roster. Who knows what the future holds for Shinsuke Nakamura on WWE's main roster, but at this point, it doesn't look very promising in the slightest...
5 Will Push Next: Velveteen Dream
We sincerely doubt any wrestling fans had the slightest thought of Tough Enough's Patrick Clark succeeding in WWE or in the wrestling industry altogether, but things have obviously changed a great deal since Patrick's humble beginnings. Now under the ring name Velveteen Dream, the 23-year-old has captured the hearts and attention of the entire WWE Universe with one phenomenal match after another. Not only has Velveteen Dream become a fantastic in-ring performer, but he also oozes charisma and personality, not to mention the fact he hasn't even reach the age of 25 yet.
Velveteen Dream is undoubtedly one of the most promising young talents in the wrestling business as a whole, and Triple H has made sure to note that Velveteen has an unbelievably bright future in WWE and that the sky truly is the limit for what Dream can amount to in WWE. Hopefully, Vince shares the same opinion about Velveteen as Hunter does, but we can rest assured that Triple H will do all he can in his power to make sure that Dream has a chance to succeed on Raw or SmackDown.
4 Not Working Out: Bobby Roode
When Bobby Roode was at his peak in NXT as our "Glorious" NXT World Champion, it would've been unfathomable to imagine that Roode would eventually become an irrelevant enhancement talent on WWE main roster. Well, unfortunately, the worst case scenario has come true for Bobby Roode, and "The Glorious One" is just that, an irrelevant enhancement talent. Bobby Roode's run on the main roster got off to a rather terrible start, considering Roode turned into a cheesy babyface right away, but what truly sealed Roode's fate in WWE as a colossal failure was his utterly awful booking.
If fans thought Roode was being misused on SmackDown Live, they probably had nightmares for quite some time after Roode joined Raw... When you're taking clean losses to the likes of Konnor of The Ascension, you know things are very, very bad. Roode was groomed perfectly by Triple H for a successful career on WWE's main roster, and Bobby's failure of doing so is entirely on the creative team's conscience, not his.
3 Will Push Next: Aleister Black
Whether you love or hate him, Aleister Black is a definite star in the making. Possessing a very unique and intimidating look, a great presence, phenomenal in-ring skills and an ability to pull off a five-star classic with just about any opponent put in front of him, Aleister has got it all. The former NXT Champion has unquestionably won over Triple H throughout his two-year run with the company, and Black certainly deserved his "Breakout Star of the Year" award in 2017.
For as long as he remains in NXT, Aleister Black will continue to be presented as a huge deal in and out of the NXT Title picture, and once his time comes, Aleister probably has one of the best chances to impress Vince McMahon and become an even bigger star on Raw or SmackDown Live. Some fans have drawn comparisons between former WWE Superstar CM Punk and Aleister, and without question, Black has everything needed to reach Punk's level of popularity if given the opportunity to do so.
2 Not Working Out: Finn Balor
Unlike some of the other NXT call-ups who ended up becoming flops or duds, Finn Balor's demise in WWE wasn't necessarily because he failed to impress Vince McMahon right off the hop, it more likely has to do with his terribly timed injury he sustained during his Universal Championship match with Seth Rollins a couple of years back. Clearly, Triple H was able to talk Vince into giving Balor a substantial push once he joined the main roster, and things were going smoothly up until Finn's injury.
Since then, Finn just hasn't been the same (nor has he been booked or protected the same), and Balor is nowhere near the Universal Championship picture - he has been floating around the mid-card for much of the past year in meaningless filler feuds. As well, in 2017, Vince McMahon had apparently come to the conclusion that Balor was bland, and this certainly hasn't helped him at all.
1 Will Push Next: Adam Cole
Adam Cole may not be the most "larger than life" Superstar that has come up through NXT from a size standpoint, but in every way that counts, he is above and beyond larger than life. Long compared to the great Shawn Michaels, Cole has all the tools necessary in a top wrestling Superstar in 2019 - the look, the charisma, the promo ability, the talent, and that overall "it" factor. Not to mention, having a phenomenal stable like Undisputed Era in Cole's corner is further fuel to the fire.
Although some fans were hopeful that Cole would've made his debut in WWE on the main roster, starting off in NXT was a blessing in disguise, and it has given him the opportunity to prove exactly why he's deserving of a high profile spot on the WWE's main roster. According to multiple sources, Cole has already impressed Vince McMahon, so unlike the bulk majority of the other NXT talents on this list Triple H will push next, he doesn't have much to prove to Vince when he gets called up.