Fall 2020 is swiftly approaching, and that means that we are nearing one year of NXT being (at least in theory) the third official brand of WWE. Since NXT's weekly show moved to the USA network and debuted its two-hour format, the black and gold brand has undoubtedly had some jaw-dropping moments, fantastic matches, and has consistently offered some of the best wrestling on television each week. The biggest drawback to all of NXT's success this year has been that many casual fans still view it as a developmental brand. The biggest reason for this view, in my opinion, is that (except for Finn Balor and Breezango) WWE superstars don't really move back and forth between NXT and "the main roster" the way that they do between Raw and SmackDown, and that moving from NXT to the red or blue brand is still generally viewed as a call-up.
"So, what is the easiest way to fix this?" You might ask. Well, I think the most impactful change that WWE can do is to use the upcoming draft to send some major players from Raw and SmackDown to NXT to elevate the product in the eyes of the casual viewer. Doing this could not only help NXT but also aid WWE in telling larger company-wide stories that need time to build and not get rushed to a conclusion so quickly.
With all of that being said, here are six WWE Superstars (three from Raw and three from SmackDown) that I think should get drafted to NXT in no particular order.
Much like NXT, Seth is approaching one year of his Monday Night Messiah persona, and to be totally honest, it has been hit or miss for me. When Rollins is given new and interesting material to work with, I start to think that he might be the best heel in WWE right now, but then weeks go on of the same promo over and over again, and I start to wonder when Seth will kill this gimmick and try something new. A move to NXT could be the way to set in motion changes to Seth's character and position him again as one of the best and most exciting wrestlers in the States.
Seth has a history with NXT as the inaugural NXT Champion, and this means that Seth could easily burst onto the scene and challenge whoever is champion before settling to wherever he fits best on the NXT roster. Rollins has been a massive draw for a long time, and to see him take on the brand that launched his WWE career would no doubt bring eyes to NXT's show.
Rollins could also end up having some great matches with guys currently on the NXT roster (assuming they don't move to SmackDown or Raw), including Cameron Grimes, Timothy Thatcher, and Damian Priest, who all would provide interesting challenges to Seth's wrestling style—making this move not only good for WWE but also good for Seth.
It is time for NXT to feel the glow! Earlier this year, after competing in the SmackDown Karaoke Showdown, it was clear that Naomi deserved better. The former SmackDown Women's Champion can put on solid matches with just about anyone she is in the ring with and even had one of the more exciting matches at February's mostly disappointing Super ShowDown.
Even if you weren't a part of the #NaomiDeservesBetter movement, most of us would agree that her place on card at SmackDown does not represent her talent and ability as a Superstar. Naomi should be putting on some of the best matches of her career right now, and the best women's competition without leaving WWE is on NXT.
Naomi hasn't been on the NXT roster since it switched from the reality competition series to an actual wrestling brand, and with women like Kacy Catanzaro, Raquel Gonzalez, and Shotzi Blackheart likely staying on NXT, we are likely to see some stellar bouts out of Naomi should she make the move.
As of a few weeks ago, Billie Kay is no longer "iconic." This comes after weeks of reports that Vince wants to push her former partner Peyton Royce to the moon. However, that doesn't mean that Kay should get pushed aside or left to rot on Main Event. It's just time to separate the former tag-team partners and build them as singles competitors on different brands.
All of my same notes about the fantastic women on NXT that Naomi could face also apply to Billie Kay, but I think that Kay, in particular, brings something to NXT that sets her apart from the current roster. NXT, in its current state, is often criticized for the dominant character trait of their superstars being "I am a badass, and no one can beat me." This is not the case for Billie's character; her obnoxious heel persona could add some fire around the non-title scene in the NXT women's division as well as continue to build Kay as a singles competitor. WWE doesn't need to change Billie's character or turn her into something that she isn't. Just let her run wild on the locker room and see what happens.
Shorty G has had a pretty sad existence as a single's competitor. The former tag-team specialist has spent most of 2020 as an enhancement talent for Sheamus and an afterthought in the current Matt Riddle-King Corbin feud. The worst part is, most fans agree that Gable is a solid in-ring worker and that when he does get time to shine in the ring, it is always fun to watch.
NXT could be a new beginning for the former Olympian, a place where he could start to build momentum. Not only does a run on NXT give Gable a new batch of stellar wrestlers to work with, but his size would not be an issue. With top stars like Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano, and not to mention the entire 205 Live crew being under the NXT umbrella, the need for a "Shorty G" moniker just doesn't make sense. Of all the wrestlers on this list, I think that Chad Gable could benefit the most from an NXT run.
Now for what might be my most controversial pick on this list.
Apollo Crews is currently killing it with his run on Raw, as the former United States Champion and the forever thorn in the side of MVP's Hurt Business stable. But it is time for a change before this story wears out its welcome. The Hurt Business needs to move on to a new feud (or at least focus on the Ricochet-Cedric Alexander feud that began on Raw this week), and Apollo needs a new challenge to go after. Unfortunately, I don't see Apollo being a convincing WWE or Universal title challenger, but I do see him having a bright future as NXT North American or NXT Champion.
WWE's third brand works as an excellent place for Apollo to continue the character development that he had this Summer, NXT is the brand where everyone does whatever it takes to win regardless of their status as a heel or a face, and that totally fits with the direction that WWE seems to want to take Crews. A draft is a perfect time to give Apollo a clean break from his stories on Raw and let him run wild on NXT.
It is fair to say that the end of The Golden Role Models was inevitable and that Bayley vs. Sasha is going to be an incredible match whenever it happens. Still, I'm going to be honest and say that their match shouldn't happen at Hell in a Cell or TLC. In fact, their big match deserves to occur at least at the Rumble if not WrestleMania itself. The big question is, how do we keep delaying this match so that it doesn't fizzle out before a major pay per view? The answer? Move Sasha Banks to NXT for a few months.
Sasha competed on all three brands this Summer as one half of the WWE Women's Tag-Team Champions. She and Bayley defended their titles against the team of Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox, and Sasha had a great match against NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai on night one of NXT's The Great American Bash. Banks has proven that she can hang with the current NXT women's division, and a series of matches building her up against opponents like Io Shirai, Rhea Ripley, Shotzi Blackheart, and Candice LeRae would make her seem unstoppable going into the Royal Rumble.
I'm not the first one calling for a Sasha Banks Rumble victory followed by a program between the former best friends, but in my humble opinion, this is how we keep possibly the best women's wrestler in the world on our TVs while still building to a showdown on wrestling's biggest stage.
What do you think? Which Raw and SmackDown stars would you like to see on NXT? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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