Updated: Apr 12
As noted in the last list, it’s easier to list superstars who were called up to NXT and haven’t lived up to the hype than those who have. It’s particularly heart-breaking to see someone you have loved and followed in NXT not be booked the way you think they should. But it’s even rarer to see someone who wasn’t that good in NXT performing better on the main roster with Elias the only real example. As nerve-racking as it is to worry about someone you like, it’s bad when there are people who are even struggling in NXT. If you find it hard in what is ultimately supposed to be a developmental brand, your chances of main roster success are slim. These next 6 superstars are the ones I worry about the most when it comes to getting called up to RAW or SmackDown Live.
Honourable Mention - Oney Lorcan
Lorcan falls into unfortunate position of being a ‘good hand.’ Someone who can always put on good matches but mostly used to get other people over. Much like Cesaro and Dean Malenko, he’s a great competitor but struggles when it comes to finding a character.
6. Andrade 'Cien' Almas
A weird first entrant considering Andrade is currently doing his best work since joining the company, including a completley justifies 5-star rated match against Johnny Gargano and an excellent showing in the 2018 Royal Rumble. But the main key to his recent run has been Zelina Vega. She’s been a brilliant mouthpiece for him and adds a whole new element from the outside. While he’ll be brought up with Vega, I can see WWE splitting them up for the sake of it or for the sake of an ill-thought out storyline. They did to Del Rio and Ricardo and Rusev and Lana… Twice. My worry is that once he’s apart from Vega, that’s when he’ll struggle.
5. Street Profits
Personally, I don’t get the Street Profits. But, for whatever reason, the Full Sail faithful go mad for them. As history has shown however, that isn’t always a guarantee of success. They look set to be that ‘other’ team; the team that fills the final spot in a multi-team match or the team that is used to give a team that is actually doing something a win.
4. No Way Jose
I really like Jose. He’s likeable and his music helps rile up the crowd. However, when was the last time a dancing gimmick made someone a star? Fandango is doing better as a part of the Fashion Police than he ever did in his old gimmick. It’s likely that he’ll have a great debut but within a month or, so they’ll get bored of him. Once that happens, he’ll be an opening card act unless something changes with his character.
3. Kairi Sane
Sane’s gimmick is a difficult one to market in today’s WWE. While it was popular in Japan it might be hard for WWE to rap their heads around. Also, most fans are used wrestling being realistic, so having someone coming out playing this kind of character is hard to believe. That’s been a major issue for Bray Wyatt; we know he can’t do most of the things he’s says he will. Another possible obstacle is WWE’s track record with Asian competitors. While Nakamura and Asuka seem to be the exception, there’s still a history of underused talents like Gail Kim and Taka Michinoku.
2. Kassius Ohno
Since he’s already being used as the enhancement guy in NXT, his main roster prospects aren’t looking promising. Ohno returned to much fanfare, initially having left in 2013 and continuing to raise his profile as Chris Hero on the indies. Sadly, his return was soon eclipsed by the return of the likes of Drew McIntyre. One of the supposed reasons for him leaving the first time was his weight, which in truth has only gotten worse. He can still move but his weight will be seen as a problem by officials.
Speaking of eclipsed, the person I think will struggle the most is…
1. Ember Moon
I don’t even think she knows what her character is. Her entrance makes her look like this warrior goddess or this mythical figure, but then she’s announced from Dallas and she brings her family to Takeover shows which destroys the illusion. We know it isn’t real, but at least try and make us believe even for a second. Help us invest; we all know Braun Strowman can’t really flip ambulances, but we still love to watch him. As Kevin Nash use to say “You can’t be half pregnant” which is what Moon is with this character. At the moment, she’s just a finisher and a pair of coloured contacts. If she can’t figure out her character, how does she expect the main roster audiences to figure it out. If they can’t understand the character, it’s hard for them to invest.