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WWE NXT Scouting Reports: Kalisto and Neville

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Kalisto's Instagram

While not on the level of Paige's championship debut on the last post-WrestleMania Raw, and not the expected arrival of another Diva in Charlotte or the fantasy booking of last night's main event that would have seen Finn Bálor or Hideo Itami replace Ryback, last night's show from WWE did look like official promotions to the main roster for a couple of Performance Center workers.

Neither was making their first appearance on the travelling, nationally televised shows, as both have worked extensively on WWE Live events and popped up once or twice on screen with Raw, Smackdown, Main Event or Superstars. But based on how commentary put them over, they're getting their chance to stick for good now.

So for those without the Network or who don't like enjoyable wrestling shows and refuse to watch NXT, here's some background and what to look for the two men.

In order of appearance:


Background: A 28 year old lucha libre stylist from Chicago, Kalisto has been wrestling for almost a decade. A Mexican-American who speaks fluent English and Spanish, he worked U.S. independents as Samuray del Sol, and sent a couple of years appearing for Mexico's AAA as Octagon, Jr.

He signed with WWE in late Spring of 2013, but it would take him nearly a year to appear on a televised NXT show. When he did, he was paired with Ricardo Rodriguez's El Local. That team quickly earned a shot at the NXT tag team championship, but became the latest fodder for The Ascension at the first live event bearing the Takeover name.

When Rodriguez was released, Kalisto was paired with another Latino with WWE experience, Sin Cara (Hunico version). That duo won a #1 contenders tournament that earned the masked man another shot at Konnor & Viktor. At Takeover: Fatal 4Way, where they were announced as Lucha Dragons for the first time, they defeated The Ascension to become tag champs.

They survived an entertaining feud with The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch), but were upset by the current tag champs, Wesley Blake & Buddy Murphy. Having put that team over again in a rematch, it looks like they're main roster mainstays from here on out.

Scouting report: Capable of ridiculously acrobatic and fun spots, even for a luchador, most notably head scissors takedowns and his finisher, a standing sitout shiranui called the SDS (Salida del Sol), he can pop even the most jaded crowds.

Has not been granted a ton of microphone time, and the Lucha Dragons fell out of favor at NXT's home venue because their characters were never developed - and their longest feud was with an entertaining tweener-ish team in Gotch & English. The Dragons occasionally did a cute bit where Kalisto would translate Sin Cara's promos, only for the larger man to then sign off in English while his partner looked perplexed/frustrated, but even that only showed up a few times in the half-year they spent atop the tag division.

It's also unclear why the powers-that-be insist on keeping Kalisto in a team, but it may work in his favor as the main roster is desperately in need of fresh babyface pairs with Catsaro holding the bronze eagles. His high-flying style is a nice counter-point to Sin Cara's power game, but their matches could feel a little rote down in Developmental. That's likely a by-product of working with greener talent, and a potential feud with master technicians like Tyson Kidd & Cesaro could launch the duo to the stratosphere.

Fun fact that might please only me (and Reverend Kain): Kalisto's feline sidekick, Lucha Kitty, has his own Twitter and Instagram accounts. He is very proud of his cat dad:

Adrian Neville

Background: (cheating a bit from my NXT Primer posts before ArRIVAL last February) A high-flier signed from the indies, where he worked for nearly ten years across Europe, Japan and North America as PAC, the Newcastle native won the NXT title from Bo Dallas on their live Network debut. Signed by WWE in the Summer of 2012, he debuted in January of 2013 and quickly became the promotion's first tag titleholder with countryman Oliver Grey as the unfortunately boy band-sounding British Ambition.

Gray tore his ACL (and was later released), and Neville chose Dallas as his new partner. This fact was rarely mentioned, though, as they lost their first defense before Adrian moved on to a program against The Wyatt Family with new partner Corey Graves.

Those two also won the tag titles, defeating Luke Harper and Erick Rowan and holding them for a few months before beginning a feud of their own (which ended when Graves' concussion issues flared up and eventually put him behind the microphone). After that, The Man That Gravity Forgot - as he has been known since his indy days -entered the championship program, where he was cheated out of the title a couple of times by the BO-lusional champ before earning his ArRIVAL shot in a Triple H-mandated beat the clock challenge.

Neville survived feuds with Brodus Clay and Titus O'Neil, but also got to turn in epic work with Kidd and as the main foil in Sami Zayn's "Road to Redemption" program. It was over the Summer and Fall of '14 that fans saw real growth in his character when he displayed a willingness to cut corners and be just shy of playing the heel in order to keep his title. After a couple of less than honorable title defenses again Sami, the Likeable One finally beat him on his own terms at R Evolution. Neville embraced his rival after that match and returned to the babyface side.

Since then, he's unsuccessfully stood up for Sami to current NXT champ Kevin Owens and put over Bálor in the finals of a tournament to determine the official #1 contender to KO's crown. As of last night, it looks like he's dropped his first name and moved up to the bright lights of the main roster.

Scouting report: Really strong with a great physique for an aerialist. This lead to the "Mighty Mouse" gimmick rumors, but if last night was any indication, Vince McMahon's idea was just to portray him as a undersized superhero - which is kind of what he is. At 5' 10" and about 200 pounds, he's going to look small up against a lot of guys, but because of his strength and the ridiculous moves he can snap off flawlessly at any time, he should be a believable competitor for any opponent if booked properly.

His weaknesses from early in his title run in developmental have largely been addressed. He's still not the greatest talker, but he's dealt with some anxiety issues to become a solid mic worker who's shown he can cut a promo with babyface heat or heelish arrogance. Neville's transition to the WWE-style took a little while, as he originally seemed station-to-station in order to set up his big spots, but his bouts now flow with the best of them, and his in-ring storytelling will hopefully continue to improve if he's allowed to work more than two-to-three minute matches.

We're going to worry about how a guy of his stature, his accent and his ears will be treated on Raw and Smackdown until it's proven they won't hurt his chances - and we're right to. But if they let him go out there and hit flawless tornado DDTs, standing moonsaults and the Red Arrow (his corkscrew shooting star press finisher - which is literally perfect EVERY TIME he does it), he should make a lot of money as an upper mid-carder who can occasionally be pressed into main event duty.

Fun fact that might please only me (and TMadeBurner): Neville's greatest heel move is the dreaded "buttoning all the buttons on his polo". Seriously, it's impossible to not want to slap him when he wears his shirts that way.


There you have it, Cagesiders. Some background, and one guy's opinion, on two wrestlers who could end up as the next Rey Mysterio...or the next Evan Bourne.

Hit us up with any questions, concerns or predictions about Neville and Kalisto below!