Not every act in NXT (and eventually NXT UK) will find the same type of success on Raw or Smackdown. The continuing saga of Raw Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley over the past few months is a prime example.
Sure, she’s the champion, but the character presentation has been less than stellar.
Success in NXT also doesn’t always translate to Raw or Smackdown. The Ascension were the longest reigning NXT Tag Team Champion only to become lower-card fodder. Then-Baron Corbin was fine in NXT, but it’s inarguable that he’s been a perfect fit for Vince McMahon’s wrestling shows.
Alexa Bliss started finding her niche toward the end of her NXT run, but she’s now been Women’s Champion multiple times on Raw and Smackdown.
There’s also the case of Elias, who found hardly any success in NXT, yet has carved out a solid mid-card career (and some high-profile feuds) after making the lateral move. I mean, he pinned former WWE Champion Kofi Kingston clean on April 19.
Of course, there are the big success stories like Roman Reigns, Asuka, Seth Rollins, Bianca Belair, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Kevin Owens, and others.
With rumors that NXT and NXT UK talent will make the lateral shift, here are five acts I’d like to see on Monday and Friday nights.
Fightful Select reported that they were informed talents from both NXT brands would be moved and many have been planned for a while, but weren’t told how many or what acts. They also reported that talent had been speculating amongst themselves as to who would be moved.
You know what that means: speculation time!
In choosing the five acts, I did my best to avoid those who are embroiled in or just began angles/feuds. L.A. Knight would have been a perfect choice had he not seemingly aligned himself with Ted DiBiase Tuesday night against Cameron Grimes. Frankie Monet seems tailor-made for Raw or Smackdown, but she just had her debut match in NXT.
Stranger things have happened (Braun Strowman was moved over pretty quickly).
I also wanted to avoid current champions as much as possible. As much as I would love to see WALTER and Sheamus beat the hell out of each other, or for KUSHIDA to have a grappling clinic with Cesaro, it just doesn’t make sense to move them now.
Lastly, while the article is about five acts moving over, there will actually be seven wrestlers discussed as there are two tag teams. Also, one act began in NXT UK, but is now mostly NXT stateside.
Some honorable mentions: Ilja Dragunov to Smackdown; Adam Cole to Raw; Ridge Holland (when recovered from injury) to Smackdown; Jinny to Raw; and purely for my fantasy booking purposes, Meiko Satomura to Smackdown for matches with Banks and Belair.
With all that preamble aside, let’s move to the first act, one so obvious that WWE would be engaging in (to steal a phrase from Luke Thomas) promotional malpractice if they decided differently.