Since becoming a full-time member of the main roster, (Adrian) Neville has captivated the WWE Universe with his incredible, high-flying, acrobatic in-ring style. “The Man Who Gravity Forgot” was almost the newest King of the Ring but was defeated in the finals; losing to a superstar who sincerely needed the victory in Bad News Barrett.
Neville is fun to watch and has begun to insert himself into the big picture on WWE television. In a recent match with John Cena for the United States Championship, Neville proved that he can hold his ground with the top dogs and still be entertaining despite the difference in styles.
However, the NXT creation known as Neville will likely burn out sooner rather than later. Does anybody recall Evan Bourne or the original Sin Cara? These guys delighted the audience with their crazy form of high-flying wrestling but would never become anything more than a spot; the high spot that everybody wants to see at some point during the match … it happens, the crowd reacts, the match is over, these guys are forgotten … bring out the main event talent.
WWE currently has a solid formula with NXT. The “breeding ground” for the next top WWE superstars is really just an independent wrestling promotion operating under the banner of a mega entertainment company. NXT is a WWE controlled version of Ring of Honor.
This is where the die-hard wrestling fans will go to get their fix of real wrestling matches when they need to look away form the main product and all its discrepancy. The main product is geared towards the casual fan, the fan who is accustomed to “big guy” wrestling. While this fan will undoubtedly be amazed with the high-wire stuff, they will ultimately want to see their usual main event matches.
The following article will explore the possibility of future NXT superstars making their way to the main roster and not being able to reach their full potential due in part to the casual viewer. New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia … these wrestling markets will always cheer for the independent-style performer but that is not good enough to get over completely.
These are the top 10 NXT superstars who will not get over on the main roster:
10 Mojo Rawley
Dean Muhtadi is a former professional football player who spent time with both the Green Bay Packers and the Arizona Cardinals. After suffering an injury, Muhtadi would take a sufficient amount of time to recover during which he made the decision to leave football behind and become a professional wrestler.
Eventually, Muhtadi would make his way to NXT where he now works under the ring name: Mojo Rawley, the usual big, tough guy wrestler whose main focus of offense consists of powerhouse maneuvers. Now, this is usually a good thing for someone wanting to make the main roster as Rawley fits the preconceived WWE notion of how a superstar should look.
However, the former football player thing has run thin. Mojo Rawley, if ever brought up, will get the usual attention that these dominate-type charters receive but will soon fade into the background as just another muscle mark on the roster.
The women of NXT are far more entertaining and exciting to watch than the powder-puff Divas division of the main roster. The girls down in developmental are actually afforded ring time and given the proper chance to display their talents.
One of these young women is Bayley – a quirky-type character with a knack for hugging. Bayley is good and the fans get behind her but, once again, these are the wrestling fans and not the fans of sports entertainment. The charm of Bayley would be lost on the main roster.
There is no telling if Bayley will ever be called up or if her only presence on the main roster will remain as AJ Lee wearing her t-shirt on Monday Night Raw.
8 Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady
While the singles competition in NXT has been phenomenal, the tag team division has been falling behind. The Ascension are on the main roster. Why? The gimmick is bad and simply a poor man's version on The Road Warriors.
There is hope with the Lucha Dragons. Kalisto and the second version of Sin Cara are now on the main roster as well. Their fan favorites who would make for an exciting run as WWE Tag Team Champions … Which brings us to to tag team of Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady.
These two men have formed an alliance with NXT Diva, Carmella, due to the fact that they cost her a job as a hairdresser. Yes, NXT is also a victim of bad storylines. Bottom line: this tag team and their manager would not make much of an impact on the main roster.
7 Aiden English
Early on in his NXT career, Aiden English worked primarily as a jobber; taking on and losing to future main roster talent such as Bray Wyatt and Ryback. However, English would eventually pick up a victory and head down a new path – a path of song.
English would incorporate the act of singing into his character, spewing out lyrics during his entrance, in the middle of a match, and following the bout. English has since gotten involved in the tag team division but has yet to find success.
Aiden English is a pompous character which could possibly work on the main roster but the star power just isn't there.
6 Bull Dempsey
Bull Dempsey began his NXT career as an enhancement talent before taking an absence from programming; later resurfacing with a new attitude and working as a squash performer and making quick work of his opponents.
Today, the big Bull Dempsey continues to power his way through the NXT roster in his one piece black singlet which is reminiscent of King Kong Bundy. Dempsey is a solid talent and looks good on paper down in developmental but how would he fare on the main roster?
Answer: Bull Dempsey would most likely go overlooked by much of the WWE Universe.
5 Becky Lynch
Rebecca Quin is an Irish-born professional wrestler who has worked all over the globe honing her craft before signing a developmental deal with WWE and making her way to NXT where she was renamed Becky Lynch.
In a horrendous stereotypical fashion, Lynch would debut with a nonsense Irish girl gimmick; dancing a jig and being made to look like an absolute fool. Thankfully, the idea was dropped and Lynch was able to showcase her true personality.
Becky Lynch is a great performer but has one major flaw: she is a wrestler. The Divas on the main roster are not meant to be wrestlers but are there to provide the show with some glitz and glamour. If that were to change, Lynch would have much more of a chance.
4 Tyler Breeze
When Shawn Michaels first broke out as a singles competitor, the future legend would undertake “The Heartbreak Kid” persona – an overtly cocky superstar who would have his manager, Sensational Sherri, carry a mirror down to the ring so that he could admire his own physical appearance.
Currently in NXT, a young superstar by the name of Tyler Breeze is essentially attempting to become the twenty-first century HBK. The cockiness and flashy ring attire along with the overwhelming confidence – it's all there. Breeze even uses the Super Kick as part of his repertoire. The one difference, the mirror has been replaced with the selfie stick.
Tyler Breeze is talented and could have a bright future but the recycled gimmick will not get over. There is, and will forever be, only one Shawn Michaels.
3 Hideo Itami
This past year at WrestleMania, Hideo Itami competed in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal in what would be his first appearance at 'Mania. Much has been made about Itami since his arrival in NXT as he was one of the biggest stars in Japan.
Hideo Itami, who may be better known to die-hard wrestling fans as Kenta, is without question a major international wrestling superstar. Prior to NXT, the Japanese superstar had also made appearances in the United States wrestling for independent promotion Ring of Honor.
The sad truth about the main roster is that Japanese wrestlers have never really gotten over. The WWE audience doesn't understand such a style of wrestling and therefore do not connect to said superstar.
2 Finn Balor
Fergal Devitt, better known as Prince Devitt, is another Irish-born professional wrestler who is currently working in NXT under a new moniker: Finn Balor. This is another case of another great international superstar who will be misunderstood.
Fellow countryman Sheamus is a former WWE Champion but what is really memorable about his title reign? Sheamus put John Cena through a table to capture the gold in what was made to look like an accidental victory.
Finn Balor will probably never hold the main championship on the main roster. Should he make his way up the that spot, Balor will be delegated to mid-card status … just the Irish lad with the body paint.
1 Sami Zayn
When Monday Night Raw recently came to Montreal, the hometown boy, Sami Zayn accepted the John Cena U.S. Open Challenge. Zayn was actually injured during the match but sucked it up and managed to put on the performance of the night.
Sami Zayn took John Cena to the limit and for him to do so at home was great. Cena stood alone among an arena of hectic Montrealers all hoping to see Zayn capture the United States Championship. However, as a realistic Montrealer, I knew that Sami Zayn was not leaving with the title.
Sami Zayn is your typical “indy darling.” In recent years, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan – two guys who also fit the description – have managed to get over on the main stage. WWE doesn't want anymore of that and unfortunately for guys like Sami Zayn; it's their company, their rules, and their chosen superstars.
Postscript: who will get over? Kevin Owens for the men. Charlotte for the women. Bring 'em up already!