The success of wrestling always depends on how the future talent develops. WWE has to make marketable stars but they can never rest. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens could all become credible main event performers but they’ll still need to continue trying to create new young stars for the future. As we’ve seen recently, injuries have occured to John Cena, Daniel Bryan and various others in the past year, so the company will always need new stars to step up at any given time. This comes into play with finding the right young talents to put the time and money into hoping they can become big names.
The rise of NXT has helped provide a new youthful excitement into the WWE. Many of the current young stars on the main roster were shown to the WWE Universe in NXT. The developmental brand is currently focused on touring with young but credible wrestling talents. WWE is looking to corner the market on an alternative to the product on Raw and SmackDown but also give more experience and looks to promising young wrestlers. The ability to create young stars in its subsection of a smaller fan base is huge. Many fans will know the stars when they get called up and give them a better introduction to WWE.
One of the biggest changes in wrestling has seen younger talents starting early and working their way into relevance before their 27th birthday. In the past, the only super young wrestlers to make it to television in WWE were Jeff and Matt Hardy. The current core of stars today start training early and build their name up through different circuits before getting a WWE deal. WWE’s current roster features various young talents that are already good and still show the upside to become bigger stars. Looking at the next core of Superstars and Divas, these are the top fifteen best young WWE talents today.
Aliyah is one of the youngest members of the active NXT roster at just 21 years old. The WWE Network series Breaking Ground has shown her progress in finding her character and creating her own entity before debuting. While she has only competed on house shows and just recently made her television debut in a battle royal, Aliyah shows great promise and will likely be featured as one of the upcoming names to get plenty of opportunity. Her highlighting on Breaking Ground was WWE’s way of showing she has an interesting story and they believe she has the tools to become a player in the company:
Signed at the age of 19 to have a starring role on the reality show Total Divas, JoJo has been around for a few years but is currently just 21. JoJo originally was signed to train as a pro wrestler but she has taken other roles in the company. The young woman shows poise and confidence as one of the ring announcers and backstage interviewers. Jojo has a great look, bright personality and does her job quite well. At live events, she will sing the national anthem before shows and serve as a host trying to sell merchandise in between ring announcing. JoJo's job should be difficult for her age but she does it well.
13 Bo Dallas
Considering how much work he did in NXT and the amount of losses he has endured on the main roster, many fans would be surprised to find out Bo Dallas is just 25 years old. The second generation star was one of the first main eventers in NXT during its rise as the perfect heel to work against Sami Zayn and Neville. On the main roster, Dallas’ “Bolieve” gimmick didn’t lead to anything more than being a jobber but it still provided enough entertainment to make him memorable. The use of Dallas in the new “Social Outcasts” faction could lead to his biggest success as the group are already leaving an impact on the viewer and Dallas is perfect in it.
12 Billie Kay
Despite being just 26 years old, Billie Kay has been traveling the world for eight years learning her craft and is now one of the women of the future in NXT. Kay received her contract offer by WWE in 2015 after a tryout in Australia and should play a large role in the success of the women’s roster with most of the top NXT ladies getting called up and Bayley likely moving up any time soon. The use of Kay has yet to be consistent due to other established talents having the television time, but 2016 will likely see her featured more. Kay has a ton of potential and can easily blossom into one of the better NXT signings in their history.
11 Dana Brooke
Dana Brooke has had mixed reactions to her work but she's shown great improvement. The 27-year-old delivered an impressive performance against Asuka on NXT Takeover: Respect and has been doing a great job with her character work in the overall feud. This has improved her perception and shows that she has the potential to become successful on the main roster in the future. Brooke is often credited with being one of the hardest workers in the performance center and has all the tools to go far in WWE. Her young age means she’ll have great value for quite some time, as long as she shows the ability to continue to grow as a performer.
10 Jason Jordan
Another 27-year-old in NXT that has showed improvement and now is a main player in NXT is Jason Jordan. The tag team of Jordan and Chad Gable are one of the most popular acts in the promotion. Jordan has been in the WWE developmental system for years but finally broke the glass ceiling in his team with Gable. The American Alphas have the potential to become the most successful tag team in NXT history and Jordan has found his perfect role. Between his impressive use of the suplex and overall exciting in-ring style, Jordan is someone to watch.
9 Liv Morgan
Many of the top young stars in WWE are female wrestlers with huge upsides who are currently training in the performance center. The women’s wrestling division in NXT is one of the biggest selling points of the rising promotion within WWE and Liv Morgan is another blossoming star. Morgan is only 21 years old but has made a few appearances on NXT television. This is another story of a talent currently waiting until the new core of female rosters is showcased on the main roster. Morgan has great potential and being put on television in any role at such a young age promises nothing but good things for the future.
8 Peyton Royce
Peyton Royce may have the most potential of all the young female talents that have yet to be showcased prominently on television. Between her unique look and the ability to shine in squash matches, the 23-year-old knows how to stand out in a productive way. Royce's work shows star promise and the NXT system could have another great success story with her. Royce looked best as a heel in a short match against Bayley. Facing the star of the division and the standard of women’s wrestling in WWE right now, Royce didn’t look out of place and that’s one of the first steps for a young wrestler.
7 La Sombra
The most recent big WWE signing is Mexican wrestling standout La Sombra. With memorable matches and moments in Mexico’s CMLL and Japan’s NJPW, La Sombra is a tremendous luchador and should provide another great asset to NXT. Sarah Stock is helping him learn English in the performance center to get a better grasp of how to cut promos but his in-ring work should be enough to get him over with the NXT fan base. NXT is full of great talent and Sombra is another good wrestler that can give good matches with a different style. Don’t sleep on the newest member of the WWE roster as he’s bound for big things at the young age of 26.
6 Alexa Bliss
At just 24 years old, Alexa Bliss has played various roles on NXT television but she’s found her role in playing a heel associated with Blake and Murphy. The tag team struggled to get over with fans despite being given a run with the tag team titles, but they reached their peak when Bliss joined and embraced a new heel role as their manager. Her promo work was surprisingly impressive and she showed a new skillset that wasn’t on display as a face. Bliss has the look, promo skills, work ethic and athletic ability to be a top female wrestler in WWE for many years to come.
One of the wrestlers you forget is very young at the age of 26, due to how many different things she has done in WWE, is Emma. Plenty of fans would assume Emma is much older because she’s had multiple runs in NXT and a failed stint on the main roster. As she’s evolved from the humorous dancing face into the more calculated heel, Emma has always been one of the better in-ring performers in NXT. Emma needs to be rebranded on the main roster but she definitely is still young enough to make her mark and become one of the best women’s wrestling stars on WWE television.
4 Rich Swann
While he has yet to make his debut on television, Rich Swann is one of the next big stars in NXT. Swann is only 24 but has traveled the world for years and has more experience than most wrestlers in the performance center. Recently signing after becoming a top independent wrestling standout, Swann is athletically gifted and has one of those lovable personalities that can light up a room. Sooner or later, Swann will get his chance and he is definitely going to hit a home run. The young man has overcome a lot in his life after growing up in a tough environment and he will do the same in NXT due to his special talent.
Bayley has the potential to be the biggest female wrestling star in WWE history. She has already accomplished more than any 26-year-old can dream of but her eventual main roster run will be interesting to see play out. Bayley's in-ring work is second to none but the true sign of her ability is her character work and how she connects to fans of all genres. Bayley delivered two of the best matches of 2015 with Sasha Banks and has played a massive role in the fan base appreciating women’s wrestling after years of irrelevant matches. Bayley makes the fans believe in her and that’s the main point of wrestling. Many experts believe she can become the female version of John Cena and that’s a great compliment for the young woman.
Get ready to become quite depressed when you realize Paige is only 23 years old. At such a young age, Paige has already accomplished more at her job than most of us could ever dream of. Paige is a multiple time WWE Divas Champion, the first NXT Women’s Champion and one of the biggest female stars in recent memory. Between her role on Total Divas and acting job in WWE’s Santa’s Little Helper, the company clearly believes in Paige’s star power. Paige will likely be with the company for another ten-to-fifteen years if it’s something she wants to continue doing. Things can only get better as she’s nowhere near her prime.
1 Sasha Banks
The brightest young star in WWE right now has to be Sasha Banks. Fans chant “We want Sasha” during many women’s wrestling matches because she’s the most promising talent in the division. There were quite a few impressive talents in the NXT women’s division but Banks was the biggest factor in making new fans of the genre. Banks delivered multiple incredible matches with Bayley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte in 2015 and needs to become the face of women’s wrestling in 2016. At the very young age of 23, Banks has found her confidence and continues to improve as an overall performer. The sky is high for the potential of Sasha Banks and she’s the most must-see young talent in the company.