WWE May Send More Top Main Roster Stars Back To NXT
Oct. 12, 2019
Finn Balor started the trend of WWE sending main roster stars back to NXT, and more top names from Raw and SmackDown could soon follow suit.
According to Sportskeeda’s Tom Colohue , new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Asuka is one of many marquee WWE stars who could return to WWE’s third brand, perhaps even at their own request:
“A number of current RAW and SmackDown performers have approached Triple H and or Vince McMahon in recent months asking to spend time in or be moved full time to NXT…Asuka is apparently the first name on the list…Finn Balor and Cesaro were on the list, but the WWE initially gave both appearances in NXT UK before moving Balor full time back to NXT. It is believed that Cesaro could be a name that follows as another figure that could make a huge impact on the yellow brand…
Other names include but are not limited to EC3, as well as Bobby Roode.”
In recent years, WWE’s main roster has seen a number of very talented stars fall through the cracks due to poor booking, a list that includes the aforementioned Asuka, Balor, Cesaro, Roode and EC3 but could be expanded to include dozens of others–ranging from Aleister Black to Andrade–as well. There’s on old adage in pro wrestling that says, “Not everyone can be pushed at once.” What’s unfortunate for virtually any WWE star who isn’t consistently pushed in the main event is that it’s quite common for those stars to go long stretches without appearing on TV or to be used poorly when they do appear on TV. No surprise here: That’s led to major issues with low superstar morale , superstars leaving the company (see: Dean Ambrose) and numerous other stars requesting their release .
But for WWE stars who are unable to get out of their contracts–which is virtually everyone these days due to the increased competition for talent across pro wrestling–there is another option: Going back to NXT, or going there for the first time.
NXT head honcho Triple H has hinted in the past that fans will be seeing more Raw and SmackDown stars in NXT , which would be a logical move for a variety of reasons. One, it could reinvigorate stars who’ve gotten lost in the shuffle on Raw or SmackDown. Two, it could add some star power to NXT. Three, it would presumably draw in Raw and SmackDown fans to NXT if their favorite star makes a move to the third brand. During its brief run on USA Network thus far, NXT has seen noticeable decreases in viewership thanks to AEW’s newly launched show Dynamite , which has clearly taken a decent-sized chunk out of the typically very loyal NXT audience and has easily defeated NXT in the ratings during its first two weeks.
While there is no singular fix that will help grow NXT’s audience on USA Network, utilizing talented but overlooked main roster stars on the yellow brand is a logical move.
It’s no wonder that Asuka is at the top of that list, either. Despite her recent tag team title win alongside Kairi Sane, Asuka has been plagued by start-and-stop pushes during her stint on the main roster and is widely viewed as the perfect candidate to make the jump back to NXT, where she was arguably the most pushed and protected superstar in all of WWE. Although NXT’s women’s division has plenty of talented superstars, it doesn’t have the depth it needs to thrive in the long term, and the addition of Asuka could help remedy that virtually instantaneously. The same could be said for other names mentioned in Colohue’s report as EC3, Roode and Cesaro all stand out as names who have been largely underutilized on the main roster but could thrive in the typically well-booked NXT.
EC3’s main roster run has been nothing short of a disaster while Roode, despite having some success, has fallen quite far from where he was in NXT, when he was a consistent headliner and the brand’s world champion. Cesaro, of course, is one of the best pure in-ring performers in the world, but given long-running reports that Vince McMahon finds Cesaro to be “bland,” the Swiss Superman’s best chance at success would probably come in NXT, where Triple H could make the most out of his tremendous talents by pushing him both as a main eventer and someone who can help NXT’s developmental superstars improve in the ring. The fact that Cesaro went “undrafted” during night one of the 2019 WWE Draft leaves him free to sign with any brand now, and NXT could certainly come calling.
There is also reason to believe that more main roster stars will request to head back to NXT and that WWE will make the decision to move others there as well. As for potential candidates to make what many now consider to be a horizontal move to NXT, you can probably add anyone who is a very talented in-ring performer or a popular character but doesn’t get a ton of TV time on Raw or SmackDown. Think Black, Shinsuke Nakamura, Cedric Alexander, Buddy Murphy, Liv Morgan, etc.
Truth be told, you could probably create a fourth brand consisting purely of stars without a consistent role on Raw, SmackDown or NXT. Now, it’s just a game of wait and see: Who’ll be the first to move?
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