As today’s Rumor Roundup reported, WWE’s plans for the brand split are (unsurprisingly) still a work in a progress.
There are signs NXT and the Developmental program are bracing for a wave of call-ups, however. And on a recent Wrestling Observer Live, Bryan Alvarez - with the same caveat about things being in flux - mentioned that he’d heard about six potential names who could be moved from NXT to Raw or SmackDown in the coming weeks.
Who could those six names be?
Former NXT champ Finn Bálor is the obvious one. After more than six months of saying “it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when”, if the former Bullet Club leader isn’t brought up now, it’s hard to imagine he ever would be.
But what about current champ Samoa Joe? Joe was so ready for the main roster, rumors of his call-up started the second he appeared at the end of TakeOver: Unstoppable. NXT has almost never hotshotted the title, and Joe’s been positioned for a long run after his war with Bálor, but at 37 years and firing on all cylinders, WWE has to be thinking about putting him on a bigger stage - especially after the successful rollout of his TNA contemporary AJ Styles.
Bálor’s next opponent, Shinsuke Nakamura, is a possibility. Even with the upcoming match with Finn, the New Japan Superstar has been kept out of NXT’s storylines, so he could leave on a moment’s notice, or work multiple brands.
After the impromptu promotions of Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews, it’s unclear if there’s less established talent they might tag for quick promotion. But acts that have gotten over like No Way Jose or useful pieces like Nia Jax might be options.
The tag ranks are full of teams ready to make the move. The tag champs and their rivals would both make sense. The recently debuted TM-61 arrived in WWE a fully formed attraction, and one half of the Hype Bros is already a former main roster champion. Even Blake & Murphy might be considered, having run out of options in NXT... and they’d at least be a fresh act on Raw or SmackDown rather than folks like Epico & Primo mainstream fans have already been conditioned to not take seriously.
Who do you think gets the call? Will it be more or less than six names? How will they do on the bigger stage?
Let’s talk about it, Cagesiders!