Over the past year or so, it seems that NXT's status as WWE's developmental brand has been in flux. Superstars from the black and gold appeared at Survivor Series 2019, Royal Rumble 2020, and WrestleMania 36. However, superstars like Bianca Belair, Keith Lee, and Matt Riddle's debuts on Raw or SmackDown were still treated like call ups from the "minor leagues." Sure, NXT has tried to establish itself as a brand by keeping wrestlers on their rosters for extended periods of time, and NXT consistently turns out high-quality matches that are as good if not better than WWE's "main roster" shows, but none of these have been able to change the fact that even in the eyes of Vince McMahon, NXT is a developmental brand.
So if WWE doesn't want to treat NXT as a true third brand, then I won't either. It doesn't really matter to me; I still think that these five superstars are ready to move on to new adventures on WWE's red and blue brands.
5. Damian Priest
Priest might not be my favorite wrestler on NXT, but it is hard to deny that someone in NXT creative is a big fan. This guy recently received a great push with his North American title run, which included a pretty decent feud with Johnny Gargano. In my opinion, Damian Priest still hasn't quite figured out exactly what he wants his character to be. Is he a playboy rockstar? Is he a vampire? What is an archer of infamy? I don't know, but I think it is time someone just told him to be one of them and just work from there.
I think the best move here would be to call Damian Priest up to Raw and let him just be a playboy rockstar who can wrestle. The creative team on Raw would love to work with that. If all else fails, Raw also has Keith Lee and Riddle, who they can just tell to put on NXT quality matches, which will please some people.
4. Tegan Nox
Currently, Tegan Nox is out of action due to yet another ACL injury earlier this year. It is unclear when she will be back, and when she does come back, it seems likely that she will finish her feud with Candice LeRae. After that feud is over, I think it is time for Tegan to move up and start showing the ladies on the main roster what the shiniest wizard can do.
With the current rosters in mind, I think the best place for Nox currently is SmackDown. I could see her having stellar matches with Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Bianca Belair. It doesn't seem like NXT will be giving Nox a run with their women's title anytime soon, but I think we could see Tegan Nox as SmackDown Women's Champion soon after her debut.
3. Tommaso Ciampa
Ciampa has done almost everything there is to do on NXT. He has held the Tag-Team Championships with Johnny Gargano, he has had several match of the year candidate matches, feuded with NXT's top stars, and he's even been an NXT Champion. The only thing that Ciampa could do is have a run with the North American Title, but at this point, that feels below him. Ciampa is one of the best things about NXT, and if I were selfish, I would say that he should stay on Wednesday nights forever, but the fact of the matter is that it is time for him to move on up.
Let's put Ciampa on Raw and get some of those dream matches that we really want to see. Ciampa vs. Randy Orton, Ciampa vs. AJ Style, Ciampa vs. Jeff Hardy, the list goes on and on. This move just feels right, and even though I'd miss having him on NXT, it would be the best thing for everyone.
2. Rhea Ripley
It feels like for several months, NXT has been waiting for Rhea Ripley to get called up to the main roster. Ripley is a proven draw on the main roster as her segments on Raw with Charlotte leading up to their match at WrestleMania 36 got huge pops in front of live crowds and got buzz on social media. People are ready for Ripley on the red brand.
Maybe WWE is waiting for Charlotte to come back and have that be Rhea's first feud on the main roster, but this needs to happen sooner rather than later. NXT has been spinning their wheels for a while, just waiting to give her an opponent that can write her off the black and gold and onto the red.
1. Adam Cole
Adam Cole is another one that has done everything in NXT. I was tempted to add the rest of the Undisputed Era to this entry, but I think it would be good for the boys to have some time apart. Kyle O'Reilly is finally getting some of the spotlight he deserves, and Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong can hold down the fort for a while in the tag division. Maybe Pat McAfee's new faction causes Cole to have to leave NXT, and he goes off on his own to SmackDown for a while until he reunites the Undisputed Era at SummerSlam or another big event in front of a huge crowd. I think this could work.
So put Adam Cole by himself on SmackDown, let him fight Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, and Shinsuke Nakamura and re-establish himself as a powerhouse, then bring back The UE to the primetime audiences on Fox. Perfect!
What do you think? Who are some NXT superstars you think are ready for the main roster? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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