Earlier this month at NXT Takeover: R Evolution, Sami Zayn finally defeated Adrian Neville to become the NXT Champion in a fantastic match, only for Kevin Owens to attack Sami Zayn after the match and then Adrian Neville the following week.
Now that Adrian Neville is no longer the champion it looks unlikely that he will get another crack at Sami Zayn and the gold; and this has now prompted strong rumours that he will be joining the main roster very soon.
The main roster push could happen in spring and various gimmicks have been thrown around at this point as well, last week it was rumoured that a ‘Mighty Mouse’ gimmick with a mask could be given to Neville, and now this week it’s been speculated that his gimmick could evolve around the late Crash Holly.
Now that Adrian Neville is firmly out of the NXT Championship picture, it opens up a valuable spot for NXT talent to fill and become a serious threat to Sami Zayn and the NXT Championship in future NXT special events.
The most obvious and favourite superstar to enter the title picture is Kevin Owens. Owens stole the show on the night of his highly anticipated debut at R Evolution, defeating CJ Parker and displaying his brilliant move-set to the lucky fans in attendance, before attacking his best friend Sami Zayn as he celebrated one of the biggest victories in his career. Owens has said he’ll fight anyone and everyone and that includes Sami Zayn.
Once Sami Zayn returns to NXT, the fans can expect to see a great rivalry between the two who put on great matches in a great feud back in Ring of Honor. The two have the right chemistry and connect so well inside the ring, so Owens will be the superstar most fans want to see challenge for the NXT Championship.
He is more than capable of defeating Zayn and being the champion for a long time, but the fact remains that he is one of the very few superstars on NXT who could genuinely win a world championship so who knows just how long he will remain on NXT and whether he’ll actually capture the championship title.
It’s no secret that the WWE will be looking to fast-track Finn Balor to the main roster as soon as possible as that was what in his agreement upon signing for the WWE – that he didn’t want to spend too long on NXT.
If he doesn’t stay for long then he too probably won’t capture the NXT Championship but with his skills inside and outside of the ring he is more than capable of taking Sami Zayn to his limits.
He has a great look about him, he is small but very explosive and a great highflier and at first glance you’d never think Balor was the leader of The Bullet Club at one stage. He will be a huge name that would make the NXT Championship seem that much more, even if he doesn’t defeat Zayn.
I think Itami will spend a little longer in NXT than Finn Balor, but that will be because his in-ring style needs a little more adjusting but you can see every single week he’s getting better and better and that’s great.
His English does need a little work to succeed at the top level but again, he’s improving. He is incredible inside a ring, and you can imagine just how great a rivalry between Itami and Zayn would be especially since they’ve competed together and know each other’s styles so well.
The chemistry will be there and Zayn will definitely be able to put Itami more over than he already is and this feud could be very similar to the feud between Neville and Zayn. Neither were the face or heel and I believe if Itami is inserted into the title picture soon he could be a serious threat to Zayn, prompting Sami Zayn to then move up.
Baron Corbin is an interesting choice to be inserted into the title picture. The point of NXT is for talent to hone their skills to fit the WWE style, working on everything to become an actual WWE superstar from improving your in-ring style to your work on the microphone - - creating a fan base so the transition to the main roster isn’t as daunting.
Unlike the previous three superstars, Corbin needs most work which means he needs to remain on the NXT scene the longest.
He’s defeated everyone who has stood opposite him in a matter of seconds and he has a great look to actually be a dominant force in both NXT and the main roster, but the WWE need to take their time with Corbin even if he is 30 years old.
If he can be inserted into the title picture alongside the likes of Owens and Zayn, their presence will rub off on him very well and they could help make Corbin look like a genuine threat and pick up pointers at the same time. He will be a favourite to win the NXT Championship soon and a lengthy run with the title would allow him to keep improving before potentially moving on to the big time.