On the 16th of February in 2010; we waved goodbye to ECW; the third brand in the WWE as Chairman Vince McMahon announced that the shows successor will be known as WWE NXT; which first began as a reality competition.
It first began with rookies’ being paired with WWE Superstars which were known as ‘Pros’; where the pairs competed in challenges until there was one sole winner, in the first series it was current Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett, followed by Kaval, Kaitlyn and then Johnny Curtis; who we now know as Fandango.
But before the fifth season could begin, the WWE merged the developmental territory FCW, the place where all the wrestlers learn the craft and gain experience in much smaller promotions, before they are ready to be called up to the main roster, with NXT and is now known as NXT Wrestling where the superstars compete on a weekly basis.
Since the first edition of NXT we have seen the likes of Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, and Justin Gabriel amongst other superstars who have grasped the opportunity to perform in the main roster. But as the time has passed and so have the seasons and the format of NXT has changed; there is now more talent than ever in the developmental territory.
Most of them are either the top stars in NXT or they are working towards a main roster push; which some of them are; so the question remains, which NXT superstars have the potential to become top WWE superstars in the future? Which superstars have the brightest future in the WWE once they make that all important jump from developmental territory to main roster?
Well, I am here to take you through seven of NXT’s best talents who are seen as the ones who will take the main roster by storm in the future; and evidently make their mark in the WWE. Let’s take a look:
7. Sami Zayn
For you wrestling fans that are not just limited to the WWE and prefer to watch your fair share of independent wrestling; you will know that Sami Zayn was previously known as El Generico, a very popular high-flyer who made a name for himself in promotions such as PWG, Chikara, Ring of Honour, Dragon Gate, wXw and now we are lucky enough to have a man of his talents performing in the WWE.
He made his first appearance for the WWE at NXT Wrestling sporting his El Generico mask as he dances with Brodus Clay and Anya after Brodus Clay took on Conor O’Brian. However his in ring debut came when he teamed up with Kassius Ohno where they faced Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Since then Sami Zayn’s stock has continued to rise as he performs brilliantly on a weekly basis and hardly ever botches his moves. With victories over the likes of Briley Pierce; the younger brother of current World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler, as well as defeating Curt Hawkins and a surprise win over Antonio Cesaro; many have predicted a bright future for a superstar who has already impressed all over the world.
6. Leo Kruger
Leo Kruger is from South Africa and didn’t get off to the best of starts when he was signed to a developmental contract with the WWE, losing his first couple of outings before finally being handed a gimmick under the name Leo Kruger. Again, under the new character he had limited success as he failed to beat the likes of Curt Hawkins, Johnny Curtis and fellow South African Justin Gabriel. But he did manage to turn his year round by going on a winning streak where he defeated Big E Langston, Derrick Bateman, Husky Harris, Wes Brisco and Austin Watson; he also lost the feeling in his arm after a loss to Bo Dallas; where it was revealed he had broken his neck.
Admittedly, his previous gimmick was awful; he just wasn’t over with the fans and even I couldn’t take him that seriously; but recently he went through another character change, one which was still odd, but a little more convincing. This time he changed into a deranged hunter who was always on the hunt for bigger prey; since the change he has seen more success and rightfully so as he is brilliant on the microphone and his wrestling abilities are great for a man of his size, if he is handed the right feud and can capture the NXT Championship down the line, I don’t see why he will not be able to make the jump into the main roster within a couple of years, truly a great talent.
5. Bo Dallas
Bo Dallas is the current NXT Champion after defeating Big E Langston who finally moved up to the main roster full-time. Dallas is from a big wrestling family and his older brother also competes in NXT; Bray Wyatt. Dallas actually signed a developmental contract when he was only 18-years-old and has shown his maturity as he is one of the best performers on the roster; showing why he deserves to hold the NXT Championship.
He was finally given a shot at the NXT Championship after putting in a lot of hard work and dedication ever since he signed with FCW and has continued to gain the respect from the fans and many superstars at the back who have heaped the praise on him for achieving a lot at such a young age; so imagine what level he will be at when he is around 28 or 29. He has already had a small opportunity in the main roster as he took part in the Royal Rumble in January where he eliminated Wade Barrett, and went on to appear in a couple of dark matches on Smackdown. But since then he is now appearing more frequently on NXT as Champion which is a great move; allowing him to get more experience under his belt which will allow him to really get to grips with the main roster; and will have no problems in actually doing well and not failing like many have done in the past.
4. Richie Steamboat
Son of the legend Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat, Richie is actually one of the best wrestlers NXT have at the minute, the biggest problem he has is that he could improve on his microphone skills a little bit more; not that he is terrible on the microphone, but in order for him to become that full package and really make an impact when he does get a shot at the big time, he would need to improve on certain aspects; his microphone skills are one of them.
Like Dallas; Steamboat is very young being only 25-years-old meaning he has enough time to really dominate NXT to the best of his ability before making the move to the main roster, which everyone knows will happen in due time as he is that good. He has picked up some massive victories in his time with NXT defeating the likes of Damien Sandow, Kassius Ohno and even teamed with current SHIELD member Seth Rollins at one point; so it shows that he is no slouch who lacks in experience; he has all the tools to be successful and obviously under his Father’s guidance he will continue to grow as a superstar and get over with more of the fans.
3. Adrian Neville
Adrian Neville is from Newcastle upon Tyne in England and has certainly made an impression with the fans not just in the WWE; but various other promotions he has competed in; most famously under the name Pac. He has seen success with the likes of PWG, Chikara, Dragon Gate and New Japan Pro Wrestling and now we are lucky to have him compete in NXT where he will one day make it to the main roster; and that day may not be too far away.
Various rumours have suggested that Adrian Neville is over with officials and they are impressed with him, almost all of the fans know that he is definitely going to be making an impact and he is only 26-years-old, so again he has enough time to turn himself into the best superstar he can be before stepping into a Monday Night Raw or a Friday Night Smackdown ring. His wrestling abilities are fantastic, a good technical wrestler but his aerial abilities are a whole lot better; he has already seen success in NXT as he and fellow Englishmen Oliver Grey were crowned the first ever NXT Tag Team Champions, and he just missed out on becoming the number one contender for the NXT Championship.
One thing is for sure, he does have what it takes to become NXT Champion; and there is no doubt that he also has what it takes to be a star on the main roster.
2. Kassius Ohno
Like many of the other superstars on the list, Ohno also made a name for himself wrestling for a variety of different promotions under his most famous character, Chris Hero. He has seen great success wrestling for over thirteen different promotions and capturing various championships; his talents are truly underrated as Ohno is by far one of the best in-ring performers the WWE has today.
The main reason he is number two and not number one is because he is 33-years-old, not that it works against him for anything but the superstar at number one has a lot more time to make it to the main roster; and will also spend more time in the main roster. But nevertheless Ohno is a fantastic wrestler and many people fail to realize how good he is, he has trained around sixty six wrestler; which is incredible. Most notably he has trained a wrestler most of you will be familiar with; Antonio Cesaro as the two of them worked closely together in various promotions. So if Cesaro has a spot on the main roster; understandably with more charisma, but on wrestling aspects Ohno will be competing in the main roster in no time; truly a brilliant superstar.
1. Bray Wyatt and his family
Formerly known as Husky Harris; many so-called fans fail to realize just how good Bray Wyatt actually is, whether it is inside the ring or on the microphone ever since he switched his gimmick to cape fear-esque religious zealot who preaches; he has grown on many fans and I will be the first to admit, as Husky Harris I did not like him because of his characters; but you cannot doubt that as a superstar he has the full package.
I am not saying Luke Harper and Erick Rowan will be the future; I believe that as long as Wyatt aligns himself with Harper and Rowan; the trio will do extremely well in the main roster which we could see very soon as a vignette hyping up their debut aired on Monday Night Raw this past week, and many fans much like myself thought he was being referred to as the next Paul Heyman guy, even though he isn’t; he is still an exciting superstar to watch.
Having been given more freedom on the microphone and even takes a step back to allow ‘his family’ to wrestle, he still manages to remain as intimidating. A couple of months ago you could argue that the members of The SHIELD or Big E Langston could be number one, but now that they are in the main roster; Bray Wyatt is next to step up to the plate as the excitement looms over his debut on Monday Night Raw.
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