The transition from the indies, to developmental, to the main WWE roster is something very few wrestlers will ever get to experience. Naturally to many it feels like you've made a step up to the big time, and from there on out you expect things can only get better. So when a Superstar makes the move from NXT up to the main roster, it is naturally assumed they will be able to translate what they learned in their time there onto a bigger platform. However, this doesn't always appear to be the case, and some stars struggle to have that same connection with the main audience, compared to the connection they had with the NXT Universe.
Case in point right now is The Ascension. They were a monster tag team in NXT, holding the NXT Tag Team Championship for well over a year, dominating and destroying any team that got in their path. Not only that but the fans in NXT ate up their gimmick and loved it. It seemed almost impossible for these guys not to be a main roster success. So why have they struggled to connect? The gimmick hasn't changed any, and it isn't anything they have done in the ring. The problem is the content they have been given to get them over with the audience, and their inability to be able to translate that to their on screen characters. They were never the strongest on the microphone in NXT, so why did WWE suddenly decide to put a microphone in their hands and have them trash talk legendary tag teams? Not the smartest move, and the audience has seen they are very one dimensional characters, lacking any real depth or imagination, meaning that until something big is tweaked with them the Ascension is going to struggle to connect with the audience, no matter what they do.
Another case in point is Adam Rose. Seriously, go back and watch him in NXT with the party gimmick. That thing looks like it should never have gotten over, but he made it into one of NXT's most popular and entertaining gimmicks, and for a while he was able to translate the gimmick to the main roster and connect it with the WWE Universe, but very quickly that disappeared because people struggled to take the gimmick seriously, especially when the Bunny started getting involved in matches. Much like his Leo Kruger gimmick, the Adam Rose character doesn't really have anywhere else you can take it to keep the fans engaged and interested. It's all well and good having a party coming to and from the ring, but when what you are doing in the ring doesn't seem to be connecting with fans then your days are numbered. Rose is a great wrestler, there's no question the guy can go in the ring for me, but I think he needed more time in NXT to find his character and find who he was. That way he stood a better chance of being a success, rather than having his character just moves up and left to fend for itself when he perhaps was not ready for such a step.
Not all transitions have been failures though, an that is important to point out. WWE Managed to find success early on with The Shield and the Wyatt Family, two of the products most popular and intriguing creations to date. The Shield were introduced to the world in a way no one will forget any time soon, when they helped CM Punk defeat Ryback to retain his WWE Championship at the 2012 Survivor Series by attacking the Big Guy and putting him through an announce table. The Shield had announced their arrival to the world and none of them have looked back since. The same applies to the Wyatt Family. Granted, they debuted in NXT as a group with mysterious and eerie video's, before the same things were used to promote their arrival on the main roster. No one will forget the impact and arrival of the Wyatt's, their entrance will forever be remembered for it's creepiness alone, and just like the Shield they have only gone from strength to strength, despite them also no longer being a united group.
Perhaps the most successful of all the NXT debuts has to go to the group that kicked everything off, way back in June 2010, where Wade Barrett and the Nexus arrived out of nowhere to attack John Cena and CM Punk. The group bought with it carnage and an attack on a scale never seen before in WWE. No one knew the impact the Nexus would have on the company then, but the groups attack would turn into one of 2010's most compelling stories, eventually seeing John Cena forced to join the group. It was from that point the story went down hill, but the Nexus were clear proof, along with the Shield and the Wyatt's in the later incarnation of NXT, that if a group is booked correctly and with impact, then they can be successful. I guess maybe that's why The Ascension and Adam Rose were not as big a success, because upon their arrival they didn't do something to have such a big impact on the crowd. Perhaps success on the main roster from NXT comes down to the key of the right introduction to an audience. The bigger your impact, the better your chances of success.
With names like Sami Zayn, Hideo Itami, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Tyler Breeze, and Adrian Neville, rising through the ranks of NXT, I can't help but worry that these guys, who are all big names in NXT, are going to suffer and struggle with the transition if they are not introduced to the main roster in the right way. Depending on what they are given as a gimmick to begin with, their popularity and futures will be determined within weeks of their move. If they make a success, and there is no reason any of these guys can't because they have all the in ring skill and knowledge to do so, then that's great. But if they struggle to connect with the fans then it begs the question, why is WWE going wrong when introducing it's new stars to the wider audience? If the key to success is making an impact then surely it pays for WWE to wait for the right moment before they move a new star into the spotlight. It seems like a simple enough formula to follow, I just hope the company learns from it's mistakes before moving new names in the future up to the main roster.
If you have any thoughts on WWE and their transition of NXT stars to the main roster, then please leave your comments in the section below.