If a recent curtain call moment of some of NXT’s top superstars after a show in Louisville, Ky. is to be believed, there will be some major holes at the top of our favorite wrestling show’s card very soon. So what will NXT look like once its current set of tapings conclude in a post-WWE Draft world?
Honestly, it looks pretty awesome. When news of NXT being involved in the draft broke, I saw someone on Twitter laugh and say “and now what, Tye Dillinger vs. No Way Jose for the NXT Championship?” And to that end, I say, “Hell yes, please.”
How quickly we forget that the talking points for beloved NXT heroes like Jason Jordan used to be “LOL poor Jason Jordan.” NXT’s lifeblood is that moment where everything clicks, and there is a lot of potential clicking on deck at the moment. This article is brought to you by the Adam Sandler movie Click, and also those things that were tough to kill in The Last of Us.
Here are the NXT stars who have the most to gain following the upcoming mini-exodus from the yellow brand. (We reserve the right to be very wrong if some of these people end up getting drafted.)
The face-kicker formerly known as KENTA’s signing and debut in NXT last year was absolutely massive. Back then, William Regal welcoming KENTA to the WWE Universe was something out of our wildest fantasy booking dreams. But while Hideo Itami was sidelined with an injury, the landscape changed: almost every signee is now “the biggest free agent ever to be signed to NXT” and the dance floor has gotten crowded. While Itami is a clear main roster talent, he needs some time to reassert himself on the main roster and kick a path to Samoa Joe.
The highest praise I can give Alexa Bliss is that she’s still able to make everyone hate her, despite having every tool in the kit to make Full Sail love her: she’s a homegrown project that we’ve watched evolve from a smiling and glitter-sneezing rookie to a fully-realized, crazy-eyed heel. And yet, unlike Sasha Banks, Bliss refuses to let anyone cheer for her. She’s a gloved force to be reckoned with and more than ready to carry her division into the future.
Yeah, I know. It’s Mojo. But this guy has really come into his own as a guy who loves being hyped and also has a brother. Pay attention to his work: Mojo has focused in the ring. He’s less worried about dancing and being hype and more concerned with killing you dead with Jim Duggan offense. The dude has a solid future as the loyal best hyped bro of a babyface champ or as a shark eyed bully who beats the crap out of you because you’re not hyped. Think Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds if he started getting smart. That’s terrifying — tell me you can’t picture Mojo just endlessly Alabama Slamming Hideo Itami and screaming “NNNNNERD!”
It’s time for a TEN. If ever there was a time for NXT’s ultimate underdog to stand up and chase the title, that time is now. Dillinger is fantastic in the ring and he’s over with the crowd. He just needs a few indie stars to get promoted to the main roster in order to take his shot. And that’s about to happen.
If you were to tell me that the Cruiserweight Classic was first created on a whiteboard list of “ways we can do Rich Swann up big,” I wouldn’t doubt it. He’s fantastic in the ring, and his real life story will connect with audiences in a way “I am a cowboy” or “I was a luchador and here are my suspenders” never will. All night long!
I’m really enjoying the tag team formerly known as The Mighty Don’t Kneel, but there is just something about Shane Thorn that makes me love the dude. He’s a little off, and he’s a little mean. Being a great wrestler is one thing, but that intangible “it” factor is another thing all together, and I think Thorn has it.
We’d be remiss not to mention that Empress Asuka has the Goddess Athena waiting at the border of her kingdom. Currently performing on the house show circuit as Ember Moon, this Booker T-trained Texas native might be the answer to the question “Who can actually be a legit threat to Asuka?”