NXT has become a phenomenon of its own over the past few years and this is mainly because of Triple H and his desire to produce the future of Sports Entertainment. Despite how much hard work Triple H puts into these stars during their years on the NXT brand, it seems that main roster's creative team likes to spoil this within weeks of them making the transition.
Call-ups often happen as a surprise. Some are announced ahead of time and others occur on the Raw after WrestleMania, which has become one of the biggest episodes of Monday Night Raw for the entire year, thanks to many of the surprise debuts.
NXT call-ups go back as far as 2012 when The Shield members Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins were plucked out of obscurity by WWE before they went on to be two of the biggest stars in the company. These are the kind of stars that Triple H refers to as stars that he created. Meanwhile, he tends steps away from the likes of Tyler Breeze and The Ascension after their recent problems on the main roster.
Not all NXT call-ups go to plan, though. Sometimes there are problems and their push is halted or Superstars suffer injuries. Either way, it seems that Triple H would rather the WWE Universe forgot these facts about many of his former NXT stars.
23 Baron Corbin's Short Stint As A Wrestler
Baron Corbin was a popular star in NXT, but he wasn't on the developmental roster for very long before the company decided to bring him up to the main roster. Not only was Corbin brought up to the main roster quite early, but he was brought up with very little wrestling experience.
Corbin signed with WWE in August 2012 and made his debut merely months later in October. Without having any prior wrestling experience and coming from an NFL background, Corbin gets a lot of heat from the WWE Universe because of the fact that he hasn't been around for very long. Also, WWE allowed him to walk into WrestleMania 32 and shockingly win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, a decision that the company haven't managed to back up over the past year.
22 Rusev Was Fed To John Cena
Rusev had a lot of success in NXT and the company decided to bring him up to the main roster and drop Alexander from his name, to make him just Rusev. Along with Lana, Rusev debuted at the 2015 Royal Rumble and from there he managed to go more than a year undefeated and even held the United States Championship for 146 days until he ran into John Cena.
Rusev was a decent heel throughout this run and swept aside much of the WWE locker room en route to his feud with Cena. It was thought that his entire 15-month undefeated streak was ruined by having him lose to John Cena, someone who definitely didn't need another confidence boost. After his loss, Rusev was reduced to a jobber and made part of The League of Nations. That ultimately failed, so it seems Cena managed to ruin what could have been a good career for WWE's first ever Bulgarian superstar.
21 Sasha Banks, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch Didn't Add Much to The 'Revolution'
Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte were all called up to the main roster in the Summer of 2015 as part of what was called the 'Divas Revolution.' WWE mentioned the fact that it was a revolution so much that the WWE Universe lost interest in it and saw the entire thing as just another way of WWE misusing their female talent.
The fact that the women were put into groups of three and there were endless tag team matches that took all of the fun out of it. It also meant that Nikki Bella could continue her Divas Championship reign easily in the background while the WWE Universe were occupied with what was going on with the other women. The revolution was ultimately deemed a failure, mostly due to WWE's booking rather than anything else.
20 Apollo Crews Is Another Generic Wrestler
Apollo Crews has become known as one of Triple H's favorites over the past few years and while he was down in NXT it was made quite obvious. The problem is that when he was called up to the main roster, even though it was a fantastic debut, there was no spark and there was nothing that separated Crews from a number of other wrestlers.
Crews was called up way too soon and to have him debut on the main roster against someone like Tyler Breeze (who deserved much better as well) was shocking. Right now Crews has just finished being part of a strange feud with Dolph Ziggler and currently doesn't have a match at WrestleMania, which doesn't come as a huge shock, given the run he has been on recently.
19 Tyler Breeze Was Never Given A Real Chance
Tyler Breeze was down in NXT much longer than any other star. He was one of the most popular wrestlers and it was thought that WWE was saving him because they were working on a fantastic plan for him. Many of the WWE Universe were aware that Breeze's gimmick may not work on the main roster, but no one expected it to go as badly as it did.
Breeze was brought into the feud with Summer Rae and Dolph Ziggler and after a few matches between them, it seemed as though WWE ran out of ideas. Much like Fandango after his moment in the sun so WWE then decided to turn them into a tag team that has been used as a talent enhancer ever since they were put together. This is harsh because both men are extremely talented Superstars.
18 Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins Were Given Ugly Debut Attire
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins made their main roster debut at Survivor Series back in 2012 as they teamed with newcomer Dean Ambrose to create The Shield. Rollins was well-known to the WWE Universe at this point, given that he was the reigning NXT Champion, whilst Reigns had also begun making a name for himself.
Their debut began what was an incredible run for the trio as they swept aside every obstacle that was put in their way for almost two years. The only problem is, when the WWE Universe look back on that fantastic debut, they have to see those hideous turtle neck jumpers again. What was WWE thinking? Thank god their attire was changed to riot gear not long afterwards otherwise, who knows if The Shield would have been as successful as they were?
17 Enzo Amore And Colin Cassidy Were Called Up Too Soon
Enzo Amore and Big Cass made their main roster debut on the Raw after WrestleMania 32 last year. While the duo along with Carmella played a part in Roadblock a few weeks before, their official debut happened when they came out to cut a promo on The Dudley Boys.
Enzo and Cass were a popular team while they were in NXT but they were never given the push towards the NXT Tag Team Championship. The group deserved to have a reign as champions before they were promoted to the main roster and now it seems that they are never going to win titles. Enzo and Cass have been part of some shocking feuds over the past few months but they still haven't been able to capture any form of gold in WWE.
16 Bo Dallas' Brief 2013 Debut
Bo Dallas officially debuted on the main roster back in January 2013 as part of the Royal Rumble match. Bo eliminated Wade Barrett from the match, before he then returned to eliminate Bo. This then led to various matches between the duo before Bo was sent back down to NXT.
Dallas became NXT Champion after he made his return to the developmental brand and seemingly had a lot of success following his brief main roster appearance. Bo was then recalled to the main roster with his BoLieve gimmick, which was a hit for a while before Bo (much like Tyler Breeze) became another jobber. It's sad for Bo because his brother is the current WWE Champion while is struggling to be given a match on Raw. This seems unfair to Bo because he's a talented star.
15 The Ascension Were Ruined On The Main Roster
The Ascension should never have been called up to the main roster. They were the longest reigning Tag Team Champions in NXT and were on a path of destruction through the developmental roster before WWE decided to up root them and bring them to the main roster.
The Ascension were ruined from the start when WWE decided to have them state that they were better than many legendary tag teams while the commentary team completely disagreed with all of their comments. Many legends then returned and defeated them a few months later which basically made their entire run on the main roster void. The group has failed to recover ever since, which is nothing on them as a team. WWE just booked them horrifically in the early months and they can't come back from that.
Emma's run on the main roster as a face was a joke of a character. She recently stated that it was her favorite time in WWE because she was able to work with Santino Marella and have a lot of fun with her character. Emma then had a change of attitude and decided to re-debut as a heel, where once again she was seemingly successful, so why did WWE decide to change that.
The WWE Universe wanted Dana Brooke and Emma to continue as a team when she returned from back surgery, but the company decided that Emmalina was a good idea. Emmalina's debut lasted 45 seconds before she announced she would now turn back into Emma, which just seemed like a waste of four months that could have been used much more creatively.
13 The Vaudevillians Were Pushed To SmackDown
The Vaudevillians have a fantastic gimmick, one that has been used so well throughout their NXT run and their run as NXT Tag Team Champions. WWE made the decision to call them up to the main roster two nights after WrestleMania 32, on SmackDown. This is the first time a team has been left until SmackDown to make their debut, and The Vaudevillians were a hit.
The team was pushed towards the Tag Team Championship a few months later but lost to The New Day and again in a Fatal Four-Way match. Much like The Ascension, it seems as though The Vaudevillians were wasted. Right now they are on the SmackDown brand and are now being used as much as they should. WWE creative could have done so much more with this group.
12 Xavier Woods Has Never Been Given A lengthy Singles Run
Xavier Woods is currently part of The New Day, a team that has seemingly become quite popular with the WWE Universe over the past few years. But when he made his main roster debut back in 2014, Xavier was teaming with a very different partner.
Xavier teamed with R-Truth on his main roster debut. The duo stayed together for a while while they feuded with both Brodus Clay and Tensai and The Real Americans. While they were a decent team, Xavier was then pushed into his current stable with The New Day, merely months later, which means that he has never been given a proper chance as a singles star on the main roster. Xavier proved his worth in NXT, why won't WWE gamble him on the main roster?
11 Big E Was The Muscle For Dolph Ziggler
Big E may be a successful member of The New Day, the longest reigning Tag Team Champions in WWE history, but when he was first called up to the main roster, he was the muscle for Dolph Ziggler during his Money in the Bank/World Heavyweight Championship days. Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee, and Big E became a stable of their own for a few months before AJ and Dolph split and Big E took AJ's side.
Big E was a credible wrestler at that point, but putting him with AJ and having him back her up the entire time wasn't the best way to introduce him to the main roster. He was a former NXT Champion at this point. And while Dolph helped Big E become a recognizable star on the main roster, he could have easily defeated someone like Dolph at that point.
10 Kalisto Has Always Been Seen As The New Rey Mysterio
The WWE Universe have always seen Kalisto as the new Rey Mysterio. He has the ability and he has the look. The problem is that WWE has never pushed him in the way they pushed the former World Champion. Kalisto is a former United States Champion, but he only held the title for a day which was slightly pointless.
When Kalisto made his main roster debut, his official debut was on an episode of Main Event, in a tag team match. The tag team matches continued for Kalisto and Sin Cara as they were used much of the time to make up the numbers in many multi-man tag team matches throughout the year. This is sad because if WWE properly gambled on Kalisto he could have easily have become Rey Mysterio level.
9 Samoa Joe Injured Seth Rollins In His Main Roster Debut
Samoa Joe is a legend in many wrestling circles. He has proved his worth in both TNA and NXT, but when it was revealed that his Muscle Buster was the reason that Tyson Kidd hasn't wrestled for the past two years, many of the WWE Universe started looking at Joe in a new light.
Joe was called up to the main roster in 2017. He was the first NXT call-up since the draft, and he debuted as The Destroyer to Triple H's Creator. Samoa Joe only had to take Seth Rollins down so that Triple H didn't have to get his own hands dirty, but it seems as though that didn't go to plan, since Rollins was injured and there were then question marks over his WrestleMania match with Triple H once again.
8 Adam Rose Wasn't Exotic Enough For His Express
Adam Rose was repackaged as The Party Loving star, following a stint as Leo Kruger. He made his main roster debut as the character who told the WWE Universe 'don't be the lemon, be a rosebud.' His rosebuds were part of all of his matches and often helped him win, but this wouldn't be enough to help Rose.
Rose and one of his own rosebuds, The Bunny entered a feud and this sparked the end for his partying gimmick. He then hated parties instead and became a member of The Social Outcasts before he was released following a violation of WWE's Wellness Policy. Rose was given so many chances on the main roster, but he was destined to be a mid-card character and there was nothing WWE could do to change that.
7 Neville's British Boost
Neville is another former NXT Champion. He could have been used so much better than he was. But when he made his main roster debut he came up as just Neville, rather than Adrian Neville and after throwaway matches against Curtis Axel and Seth Rollins, Neville was put in a feud with fellow Brit Wade Barrett.
The duo feuded for a while and even became the finalists in the King of the Ring tournament that year, but it was Wade who was given the win rather than Neville, who is currently The King of the Cruiserweights. A win for Neville in the King of the Ring could have given him the boost he needed, but instead, the company decided to give it to Barrett, who walked away from the company not long afterwards.
6 Braun Strowman's Past Caught Up To Him
The Wyatt Family were one of the most destructive forces in WWE history and even managed to defeat The Shield on a number of occasions. But it seems that this wasn't enough for WWE. The company wanted The Wyatt's to be completely unstoppable so they brought in a heavyweight known as Braun Strowman.
Sadly for WWE, the eagled eyed members of the WWE Universe already knew that Braun had made his debut before. He was a fun-loving member of Adam Rose's Exotic Express on many different occasions. When the WWE Universe decided to share this around Social Media, it completely ruined the fact that WWE now wanted to push him as a new monster when the fans had seen him as a dancing burger for the past few months.
5 Sami Zayn's Shoulder Injury
Sami Zayn made his main roster debut as one of the men who answered John Cena's Open Challenge for the United States Championship. Sami put on a fantastic match against the former World Champion, but on his way to the ring, it seems as though Sami got a little over excited and managed to cause a shoulder injury before even stepping into the ring.
Sami managed to get through the entire match despite the injury, which made both John Cena and the WWE Universe respect him more. But he put himself on the shelf after the match for a number of months, which meant that WWE was unable to capitalize on this debut and push him on the main roster. Luckily he recovered a few months later and was able to re-debut on the roster again.
4 Summer Rae Was Portrayed Wrong
Summer Rae was a legitimate contender in the Women's Division down in NXT. It was only when WWE realized that she was able to dance that her career went south. Summer wasn't allowed to wrestle the same way that she was in NXT months before and instead was relegated to dancing with Fandango and making him look good.
Summer was also given a place on Total Divas, which didn't help her career any since she was once again portrayed badly on the show with pretty much every female except Eva Marie turning against her at some point. Brie Bella even stated that she wasn't invited to her wedding. Summer needs a clean slate and a fresh start if she is ever allowed to return to WWE's main roster in the near or distant future.
3 The Wyatt Family Are Always On The Same Page
The Shield became an unstoppable force on WWE's main roster, so naturally, WWE decided to bring in another trio to go against the group. The Wyatt Family were an incredible force for a long time until it seemed that the group all turned on each other and then got back together.
At Survivor Series 2014, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan were on opposite teams, had a brief feud ,and then became friends again. It seems that no matter what happens with The Wyatt Family they always come back together, which is great, but at the same time it doesn't allow Rowan or Harper to evolve as characters since Bray is able to keep calling them back whenever they are needed. It seems as though Luke Harper has officially left the group now, but Rowan's status is still up in the air.
2 Kevin Owens' Show Of Disrespect
Kevin Owens made his unannounced main roster debut in May 2015 when he answered John Cena's United States Championship Open Challenge, but he didn't wrestle Cena. Instead, Owens attacked Cena and stomped on the United States title afterwards. This not only showed disrespect towards Cena, but many of the WWE Universe thought it was disrespectful for him as a Canadian star to do this.
The WWE Universe didn't react well to this, but since Owens was a heel at the time, it seems that it helped with the hate that WWE wanted. This went into overdrive when Owens defeated Cena in his first official main roster match at Elimination Chamber. Luckily it was all turned into his favor, but this could have become much worse if Owens wasn't a heel at the time.
1 WWE Gambled A Lot On Paige And It Didn't Pay Off
Paige became the first ever WWE Divas and NXT Women's Champion simultaneously when she was chosen to be the woman to finally end AJ Lee's 295 day record-breaking reign as Divas Champion. This would lead to an incredible feud between Paige and AJ Lee that engulfed 2014. WWE even allowed Paige to win the Divas Championship at SummerSlam on her Birthday that year.
WWE gambled with Paige, they gambled a lot. And after 2014 the company haven't given another title to Paige in more than two years. There should have been a hint to how badly this would go down when Paige managed to botch her own finisher on her main roster debut. But no one could have predicted that Paige's career would turn into the talking point that it has.