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The WWE Draft's NXT problem

Tuesday's Draft will be a historic night for Vince McMahon, but his minor league promotion has created a bit of a conundrum: What should be done with Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura?

We'll know the answers tomorrow night, but today, the questions are everywhere, as is the speculation. Who will be the NXT Six? Not since Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Aaron and Sun-Hwa Kwon left the island has a sextet created so much buzz and anticipation. While every wrestling website, including ours, has created a space to dream or predict, I instead want to look at two players who may not be called up during the WWE Draft, Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe.

We've got a problem here, folks, and I'm all ears for your take on it. NXT Takeover Brooklyn will likely feature a bout between the Submission Machine and the King of Strong Style. It's a match almost everybody familiar with these two men wants to see, and may be difficult for anything at SummerSlam to top. But, with that pairing looming, and with NXT wanting to pack houses on its various tours, how do you call these guys up?

Yes, it's been done before, as Kevin Owens was NXT Champion at the time he faced off with John Cena, and didn't lose the gold until July 4th, over a month later. Likewise, Sasha Banks came back to the NXT ring to square off with Bayley in Brooklyn last year, even though she had already debuted on WWE television in the dreadful Diva trio debacle.

But, Vince is in a predicament here, because his two top NXT stars are vying for that organization's richest prize next month. What purpose does that match serve if its participants have flown the coop? Never before have both components in an NXT main event made a simultaneous, cooperative leap to WWE. Could the probable Takeover match still have the same impact if both are already on the main roster? Why would they be battling on the lesser stage? Only in NASCAR do the top stars compete regularly on the secondary circuit.

So, the answer's easy then, right? Bring them up later, but keep those two guys where they are for the time being.

How exactly does WWE sell that, though? It's a Draft, where presumably those making the selections want to appear intelligent. The rules stipulate that six members of the NXT roster (where a tag team can also count as one slot) must be drafted during the event. What's the logic for any commissioner or general manager worth his sodium to simply ignore the two biggest male stars in that group?

Sure, we understand it, because the hardcore fans grasp the business side of leaving something valuable in NXT for a little while longer, as the powers that be sign new talent and begin infusing fresh blood into their pristine brand. But, for Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo, he may not be able to decipher all of that code. If he watches NXT, he knows Joe and Nakamura are big-time, but then they don't get drafted? Well, maybe they're actually just a couple of j-brones, or, these people at the podiums are a bunch of complete idiots.

There's no way these two guys shouldn't be a part of that six on a surface level. As a matter of fact, they should be one and two (Bayley also has an argument), and it's possible a progressive commissioner or GM would be a genius to select one of them as the FIRST OVERALL PICK. That's how special this duo is and how lucrative they would be to either brand that landed them.

For Finn Balor, Bayley, and American Alpha, there are no strings hanging behind to tie them to NXT. Each has held the promotion's top title, battled for it in rematches, and has nothing whatsoever left to prove. Asuka is on top, but she's been there for a while, so if she were to be moved, it would also make sense. From everything we've heard, though, she isn't seen as a main roster star at this point. Perhaps that perception has changed, which would mean someone grew a brain. Samoa Joe has been the Champ for months, but Shinsuke Nakamura hasn't had an opportunity to compete for any title to this point in his NXT career.

It depends on what WWE wants NXT to be in the next six months. The promotion can be filled with wonderful new talent, some coming from the Cruiserweight Classic, plus the usual free agent pickups, with some solid hands left behind, but the cupboard is about to find itself much more empty than it's been in a while. However, for the Draft to make sense, even in a kayfabe-less world (a reality that turns my stomach but is nonetheless true), NXT Takeover's main event should be blown up, MacGruber style. Even if the match means less, you still have to make this move, right?

If you want a talking point for the opposite side, it would be that either one debuting at the Royal Rumble or the night after Wrestlemania would be a monumental moment. I don't believe in the waiting game, not in an occupation so filled with risk, and not when they've both been ready since day one. But, there's your argument, though it fails the narrative logic test.

I don't think they're both getting the call-up. Just call it a hunch. I could see one, possibly, but both is a stretch, even if it's the right decision. And it is.

The goal for WWE should be WWE. It's ludicrous to sit on Joe and sit on Nakamura for NXT's sake, when both have been putting a heavy strain on their bodies for so many years. You must maximize value and not waste bumps, or time, on a group that now stands in a position of respect and adulation, but can survive their absence.

Plus, they deserve it.

NXT can recover from a few down months, but if WWE wants to build enthusiasm in advance of football season, the company can't afford this mistake. Here are two game changing faces, generationally significant talents, and bar none top line superstars. If Vince or H sees the obvious legitimate money in them, these performers should both hear their names called tomorrow night.

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