NXT is WWE's developmental brand, where less experienced wrestlers learn the craft and help solidify that will appeal to the mass WWE audience. A lot of the biggest stars at the moment, such as Big E, Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens and current WWE Champion Seth Rollins had their start in NXT. The developmental itself is full of stars from around the globe, currently working on learning how to appeal to the WWE Universe. TNA fans may recognize Samoa Joe among their ranks, and fans of Japanese wrestling will be thrilled to see Prince Devitt (now performing under Finn Balor) and Kana (now performing under Asuka) preparing to make a big splash on the main brand. Even older favorites, like William Regal and Rhyno, are on hand to help the younger wrestlers evolve and put on good matches despite their inexperience.
NXT is an interesting look into what goes into the formation of a wrestler. You will see gimmicks tested and abandoned over a matter of months, and wrestlers who originally struggled to make a punch look convincing eventually morph into someone capable of putting on a five star classic. It's because of their developmental training that people like Seth Rollins have found it so easy to climb to the top of the card.
However, for every success story, there are far more failures. Eva Marie was sent back to NXT after showing a complete inability to wrestle, despite the company's intention to push her as the face of the Divas division. Zack Ryder has shown he can wrestle, but was struggling to gain momentum on the main brand before being sent to NXT to form a tag team. Here are 15 more people who may benefit by returning to WWE's developmental. The wrestlers on this list don't necessarily have to be sent down because they're bad. It's just that some need fine tuning, or currently find themselves in limbo on the main roster. A little seasoning in NXT would have them better prepared for greater things on the flagship program.
16 15. King Barrett
15 14. David Otunga
Recently on Raw, Paige asked of Natalya - "Do you even work here anymore?". A funny and shocking moment that prompted an instant reply from the Canadian Hartthrob, but it's a question perhaps better asked of David Otunga.
14 13. Los Matadores
13 12. The Ascension
NXT is very much made with an indie flair, whereas WWE is the big, overproduced show. Typically in the indies, more ridiculous characters have a chance to get over, as opposed to the modern day Raw where there’s more of a focus on realism.
12 11. Adam Rose
What the heck is Adam Rose right now? His original partying thing was fun, but grew stale. Now he seems to be showing up almost randomly to talk about poop and how he doesn’t actually like parties. As a performer he does okay, but really needs something to help people identify with him. The party pooper gimmick really isn’t working, and is just cringe-worthy at best.
11 10. Summer Rae
10 9. Heath Slater
9 8. Fandango
8 7. Bo Dallas
7 6. Jack Swagger
What happened here? A former U.S. and World Heavyweight Champion, Jack Swagger should still be a successful mid-carder on the main brand.
6 5. Curtis Axel
According to himself, Axel is the winner of the 2015 Royal Rumble, and deserved a title shot. A fun angle, but instead of pursuing it fully, WWE Creative decided the best thing to do with him was partner him with the equally underused Damian Sandow. Together they dressed as Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan, and would parody the two legends in ring. It was a solid preshow gimmick, with a healthy dose of ridiculousness, and could have gone over if given time to develop.
5 4. Damien Sandow
An incredible athlete, fully confident on the mic, 2013 Money in the Bank winner, WWE Tag Team Champion with The Miz, but where is he now?
After Hulk Hogan's racist audio was leaked, his Meta-Powers tag team with Curtis Axel was swiftly canned. But even then, was the natural progression from a silly tag team with The Miz to go to an even sillier tag team? Especially when the performer in question could be so much more?
4 3. JoJo
As a wrestler, she had good in-ring ability with a nice amount of potential. As a Total Divas star, she was often overshadowed by Eva Marie, a diva who can’t wrestle very well but has flashy red hair. After leaving Total Divas, JoJo became a ring announcer and backstage interviewer, despite her natural athleticism. This girl is built to be a wrestler, and with the right guidance and training, she could be the next big female star to set the women’s division on fire. She has more of a chance of that than Eva Marie does, anyway.
3 2. R-Truth
2 1. Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch is one of the talented women who recently got called up to partake in the Divas Revolution angle on Raw. Her, Charlotte and Sasha Banks were pushed as being the ones who will “save” the Divas division. However, both she and Sasha have found themselves playing side characters to Charlotte’s story. Sasha is still feuding for the NXT Women’s Title, so it’s understandable she’s mostly in the background at the moment, but having Becky Lynch barely wrestle and just stand around looking confused for months on end is uncomfortable, especially as she never held the NXT Women’s Title during her tenure there.
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