Dan Hallam: NXT Views 08/04/14
This week I’m going to have a look at the guys from NXT who have moved up to the main roster and the impact they have had in doing so.
Big E Langston
Big E was very popular with the NXT crowd as the master of the 5 count. He was undefeated for the majority of his time in NXT and was the second NXT champion after defeating Seth Rollins. Big E moved to the main roster in late 2012 teaming up with AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler and even had his first televised match at WrestleMania 29 in a tag team title match against Kane and Daniel Bryan. As time went on Ziggler broke away from Big E and AJ which lead to a mixed tag team match at Summer Slam and then Big E vanished for a while. Upon his return to television he was turned face and soon won the Intercontinental Title from Curtis Axel. Since then Big E just seems to be lost in the mid card and hasn’t been making such an impact. Big E has had a decent run so far but I feel he could be doing so much more. The Intercontinental title should be made into a bigger deal again now the World and WWE Titles have been unified and Big E should be defending it more on TV and PPV.
Fandango appeared on NXT as Johnny Curtis but was rarely seen on the Full Sail version of NXT. Fandango made also made his in ring debut at WrestleMania 29 against Chris Jericho and picked up the win. The next night on Raw the Fandango revolution took place and Fandangoing became a huge phenomenon. He was set for an Intercontinental Title match but was removed from the match due to a concussion and has never picked up steam again since. He is a very talented performer and had the crowd support, he really needs a good story to get his momentum back then he could be back to making a huge impact once again.
Summer was a great heel in NXT teaming with Sasha Banks as part of the BFFs. She showed that she could go in the ring and was hated as the first lady of NXT. She was having great matches with the likes of Paige and Emma. She debuted as Fandango’s dance partner shortly after WrestleMania 29 and eventually made her in ring debut in the summer of 2013 in a mixed tag match against Tyson Kidd and Natalya. Summer has not really lived up to her potential on the main roster as she has mostly acted as a valet for Fandango and has not allowed to be the bitch is was in NXT.
Woods was very popular in NXT with his 90s fan boy gimmick. His charisma made him very popular and was putting on fun matches every week. When he was moved up to the main roster he was teamed up with R Truth and given Brodus Clays gimmick which just didn’t really work. All this seemed to do was turn Clay heel and then allow him to disappear for no reason. It’s a shame for him as he is such a talented and charismatic young man who could really get over with the crowd if he was allowed to do what he was doing in NXT instead of being given someone else’s gimmick.
Emma in NXT was over as the fun loving girl with a silly dance. She showed the ability she has in the ring especially in the great match with Paige at NXT Arrival and was able to make people laugh as well. When she was moved to the main roster she was paired up with Santino in a comedy team. They had a rivalry with Fandango and Summer Rae where they tried to recreate a brilliant comedy match from NXT last year but it just didn’t feel the same. Maybe it doesn’t work on the bigger stage or the crowd didn’t know enough about her at that point but it just seemed to fall flat. It was nice seeing her get some nice spots in the Divas invitational at WrestleMania 30 and show some of the things she can do if only briefly. I really hope they allow her to wrestle like she did in NXT and she could put on great matches with the likes of AJ Lee and Natalya.
I know this could be seen as cheating because he was already on the main roster when NXT began but he has been a great part of NXT with his great matches against Sami Zayn. Cesaro has had success on the main roster with a lengthy US Title run and seems to be moving up the card after his matches with John Cena, Randy Orton and competing in the Elimination Chamber in February. His Cesaro swing is very popular with the crowd and with him turning on Jack Swagger on the WrestleMania 30 pre-show and then going on to win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal the only way is up for the man formerly known as Antonio.
These 3 made an impact on NXT with Harper and Rowan winning the NXT tag team titles with Bray as the leader. Bray had good matches on NXT and Chris Jericho even requested to work with him while he was there. When they debuted in the summer of 2013 Bray went straight into a rivalry with Kane which lead to a rather disappointing ring of fire match at Summer Slam. As time went on the Wyatts moved on to a rivalry with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan which lead to Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatt family briefly and Bray and Bryan having the match of the night at the Royal Rumble. Bray then moved onto a fued with John Cena which lead to a high profile match at WrestleMania 30, Bray may have been on the losing end of that match but going against the biggest star on the biggest stage can only be a good thing. Bray and his followers have such unique characters and Bray is so different on the mic. These 3 are just brilliant on TV and the only way is up for the threesome.
In NXT Seth Rollins was a very popular baby face and the first NXT Champion, Roman Reigns was a heel who didn’t seem to be going anywhere and Dean Ambrose was never seen. However at Survivor Series 2012 they came out of the crowd and attacked Ryback and allowed CM Punk to retain the WWE Championship. Over the next few weeks they attacked superstars which lead to a 6 man tag team TLC match at the TLC PPV event. This match was awesome and set the tone for the 6 man tag matches they would continue having. They had a great WrestleMania match against Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show. At Extreme rules Rollins and Reigns won the tag team titles and Dean Ambrose won the US title. They continued to dominate and remained undefeated as a team for months. These 3 men have put on great matches over and over again with guys like the Rhodes Brothers. The have worked with some of the greats of today including Cena, Undertaker, Bryan, Orton, Sheamus and Kane. Reigns broke Kane’s record for most Royal Rumble eliminations and had a brilliant 6 man tag match at Elimination Chamber against the Wyatt Family. At WrestleMania 30 they worked what seemed to be a very rushed match against Kane and the New Age Outlaws which rumour has it the Outlaws requested. These 3 do seem to be heading towards a split soon and it appears that Reigns will be the breakout star of the pack but Rollins and Ambrose are both incredibly talented guys and all 3 will make an impact as singles competitors.
In conclusion the guys and girls who have moved up from NXT to the main roster have been a mixed bag of success. Cesaro, The Wyatt Family and The Shield are the obvious success stories whereas guys who are brought up and don’t seem to gel with the larger audiences or just don’t seem to be allowed to show what they can do seem to be failing somewhat. I really hope some of the NXT guys who get called up in the future get treated like The Wyatts and The Shield and don’t get forgotten about like Xavier Woods seems to have been. I hope characters like Tyler Breeze, Paige, Sami Zayn and Adrian Never can show what they can do whether it be the skills they have in the ring or the brilliant character work they can do.