WWE NXT: The Future’s STILL Brighter Than You Think…

So, did you take my advice back in April (y’know, the first one of these articles I wrote) and start watching NXT? If your answer to that is no, then you, my friend, are a fool. A foolish fool of foolhardy proportions. The fooliest of fools. You’re the one ring to fool them all. And I pity the fool who hasn’t been watching NXT, because you’ve been missing what has frequently been the best solid hour of wrestling on TV. That’s okay, because once again I’m here to bring you up to speed and let you know which NXT stars you should be expecting to make the jump to the main shows in the future…

big-wwe-nxt-logo

It’s been 6 months since we last visited the world of NXT to see just who was ready to take that next step up to the main stage, and what a difference those 6 months have made. Adrian Neville and Corey Graves have been working the house show circuit to get them ready for the main shows, as has Leo Kruger. Paige has been awarded the first ever NXT Women’s Title. And Bray Wyatt? Well, I’m sure you’re all well aware of The Wyatt Family and their awesomeness by now. Just remember who clued you in on them months ago, okay?

wwe-wyatt-family-bray-erick-070913

 

Sure not everyone has been successful, Kassius Ohno has (from the look of things) been shipped away until he starts to work out to the required level (thanks Triple H), and Conor O’Brian floundered for a while until NXT recently resurrected The Ascension as a unit (albeit unfortunately without the cool hand light thingamajig gimmick). But that’s the beauty of NXT, it’s allowing us a glimpse into the developmental world and the evolution of wrestlers and their characters. So with that in mind, here’s my picks for the “NXT wave” (see what I did there) of up and comers ready to make a mark on the main shows.

Emma

Who is she?

Emma started out as Tanille Tayla (a trainee of Lance Storm, no less), working for promotions such as Shimmer and Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (as well as several promotions in her native Australia). Tanille was offered a WWE developmental contract in 2011, but chose to tend to a recurring shoulder injury first, meaning her move to Florida was delayed until 2012. She made her debut as Emma on NXT Television in January 2013, as a clumsy ditz heel, but by April had rapidly become a favourite with the Full Sail crowd.

Why should I care?

If you ask anyone who’s watched NXT over the last few months, they should be able to tell you all about Emma. They’ll tell you all about her bubbles (and they are her bubbles) and her now famous (or should that be “infamous”) dance. In fact, I got some stick following my last article for not including Emma or her Emmalution, which is why I’m trying my best to resolve that now.

I’ll be honest, at first I didn’t get it. It was just a goofy wench who couldn’t dance and couldn’t even skin the cat when she tried to do it to enter the ring. Meh. Then it happened again the next week. And then again the week after that. Which is around the time I noticed that I was wearing a big goofy grin of my own as I watched Emma try and fail each week with her entrance and her dancing. Then the weirdest thing happened. She actually managed to skin the cat into the ring during her entrance and got a HUGE pop for it. Like, an unrealistically huge pop. So huge in fact that I was certain they’d piped it in, or added in post-production.

Then it happened again the next time she was out, with the added bonus of bubbles! I can’t really explain why Emma is so great. It’s definitely one of those Marmite situations where you’re either gonna love her or hate her. Me? I love her to bits. She’s so ditzy and adorkable that it’s a joy to watch. Add that in with the reactions she’s drawing from the NXT crowds, and WWE could have an unexpected sleeper hit on their hands here. Personally I’m interested in seeing if the enthusiasm of the NXT fans spreads to the main show crowds should Emma work her way onto Raw or Smackdown. The Emmalution is coming, so you may as well get on board now.

Bayley

Who’s that then?

Not a lot to say here unless you’re a big fan of Shimmer. Bayley started out as Davina Rose in 2008, working mainly for Big Time Wrestling and Shimmer. In fact, there’s not a lot of info out there. All I can find out is that she spent 4 years working with Shimmer and was trained by Serena Deeb? Oh well, it’s not where she’s from that concerns us, it’s what she’s doing now…

Why should I care?

Because she is the literal embodiment of the term “adorkable” as her new NXT character. Basically Bayley is the ultimate starstruck fan, except she’s a wrestler. If you can find it, I suggest you go and find the promo from NXT where she met Ric Flair and marked the hell out. In a similar fashion to Emma, I can’t exactly put my finger on what makes Bayley so entertaining to watch week in, week out. The hugs, the marking out, the not wanting to hurt her opponent, I dunno, the whole package just clicks. It’s a testament to Bayley’s abilities as a character that she gets this to work, as it could just as easily have bombed without trace if we didn’t buy into the person portraying the character. But like I say, Bayley is the human embodiment of cuteness in everything she does. I just want to hug her and tell her everything’s gonna be okay. Which it is.

Sami Zayn

Who’s that then?

Rami Seibi may be better known to some of you as El Generico. If you don’t know that name hang your head in shame, then go do some research because you’ve been missing out big time. I personally recommend you going and finding out some of his work with Kevin Steen from the last…geez…8 years?! You will not be disappointed.

Why should I care?

Because Zayn is currently lighting NXT on fire with his performances. His recent series with Antonio Cesaro was an absolute joy to behold, and the final 2 out of 3 falls match between the pair is a solid contender for MotY. I’ll openly admit that I was one of the masses who were outraged at the very idea of taking Generico out of his mask, then I heard the name Sami Zayn and the outrage only amplified.

As it stands I’m quite happy to suck up all that bile I was producing and say that I was wrong. Working without the mask has added another element to Sami Zayn, and the performances he’s put in have blown away any illusion of him not working well in a WWE environment. The performances have launched Sami directly into the NXT title scene in short order, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Sami gain the title then make the transition to the main shows in a similarly short timeframe.

Xavier Woods

wwe-xavier-woods-070913

Who’s that then?

You may better recognise Austin Watson as the one time Consequences Creed from TNA fame/infamy. Yes, the same Consequences Creed who lost his lunch in the middle of a ring during a match. Well he’s moved on from being shoehorned into tag teams based on making puns from his name (remember Truth and Consequences, or how about Lethal Consequences?) to a WWE Developmental contract and a total gimmick overhaul (picking himself up a PhD or two along the way, seriously). Gone is Consequences Creed and his lack of defined gimmick, to be replaced by Xavier Woods and his love of all things 90s.

Why should I care?

Not only is he now the owner of the best entrance music in NXT (since Wyatt left, anyhoo), he also has one of my favourite current NXT gimmicks of being simply a 90s kid. He’s got 90’s hip-hop for his entrance, his ring gear proudly displays that his power level is “over 9000”, and he’s billed from Angel Grove. If those references mean nothing to you, then we can no longer be friends.

Just to reiterate. HE’S WORKED POWER RANGERS INTO HIS GIMMICK!! From the call of “it’s Morphin’ Time!!” to his Power Rangers communicator watch interrupting his promos, to his bio telling us that Woods was trained by Zack Taylor in Hip-Hop Kung-Fu at the Angel Grove Community Centre, everything about his gimmick brings a smile to my face.

Now don’t get me wrong, Woods still needs some work. His moveset definitely needs some polish and his Honour Roll finishing move is all style and no real substance, but Woods just seems to have an infectious enthusiasm that’s caught on with the NXT crowd. If he can avoid being snatched away by Rita Repulsa and Goldar, Woods should be a hot prospect for the future.

Enzo Amore

Who’s that then?

BA-DA-BOOM…the realest guy in the room! In fact very little is known about Enzo Amore’s history. He appears to have mostly bypassed the Indy Circuits, seemingly making NXT his first real home when it comes to wrestling. I’ve managed to find out that Enzo started out as Eric Arndt from Hackensack, NJ, and he’s spent time as a manager of Hooters (I sh*t you not), a DJ, and a piano mover, but that’s literally all I can find. All you need to know is he’s a certified G and a bona-fide stud, and you can’t teach that.

Why should I care?

You know those rare occasions where a chickensh*t heel is so damn good at what he does he inadvertently gets himself over by trying to get booed? That’s Enzo Amore. For some reason this brash Jersey boy just struck a chord with the NXT crowds. Maybe it’s the exaggerated personality, maybe it’s because his promos are instantly quotable, maybe it’s simply because what he does stands out as so different from anything else in NXT right now, but Enzo Amore has found himself a following with the Full Sail crowd.

He’s now teamed with Big Cass (Colin Cassidy), which has been a complete rejuvenation for Cassidy also, with the big guy looking way more motivated than in any of his other appearances as “generic tall guy #3”. The duo are rapidly becoming one of the most over teams on NXT and it really wouldn’t surprise me to see them challenging The Ascension for the tag straps in the very near future.

I know I’ll probably wind a few of you up the wrong way by saying this, but I can’t shake the notion that Enzo reminds me more than a little of the late, great Eddie Guerrero. Big Cass and Enzo running a “Lie, Cheat, & Steal” gimmick? I’d be all over that and you should be too. Unless the mush between your ears is too S-A-W-F-T…SAAAAAAWWWWWWWFFFFFT!! You chicharoo.

Tyler Breeze

Who’s that then?

You may possibly recognise Breeze from his earlier stint on NXT as Mike Dalton. If you really pay attention to developmental territories, then you’d also be aware that Mike Dalton was also FCW Heavyweight Champion for a short while in early 2012. Obviously this means that someone somewhere saw good things in Dalton, but not enough for him to immediately make it onto NXT television in any major way. Cue one gimmick overhaul, and enter Tyler Breeze, the most gorgeous man NXT has ever seen.

Why should I care?

Because Tyler Breeze is Derek Zoolander (for all intents and purposes). I’ll happily admit I wasn’t sold on the character after his debut, but over the following weeks Breeze has gone from one trick pony to a damn entertaining character. This was only topped off by him coming to ring to chastise CJ Parker in his best Zoolander-esque voice. The only thing missing is that Breeze can obviously turn to his left.

Again this seems to be a case of a heel doing his job so well that the FSU faithful can’t help but applaud him. There’s even regular “Tyler’s gorgeous” chants when he graces us with an appearance these days (although that commute from his seasonal residence in Milan each week must be a killer). Sure we’ve seen very little of Breeze actually working matches, but the dude’s trained by Lance Storm, he’s bound to be more than competent between the ropes? Now that Breeze seemingly has a discernible character I’m expecting big things. I think he’d be a great heel addition to either of the main rosters, and I can’t wait to see his entrance played out on a Raw or Smackdown set.

So there you go. 6 more hot prospects currently being put through their paces at the brand new WWE Development Centre, who you can expect to see landing on a main show near you soon. But what do you think? Have I missed anyone? Have I mentioned anyone you don’t agree with? Then by all means, feel free to comment below and put me right!

Until NXT time…

Tags

Latest Articles

WWE RAW Results: August 21, 2017

WWE RAW Results: August 21, 2017

Review: LOGAN LUCKY is redneck heist “done good”

Review: LOGAN LUCKY is redneck heist “done good”

WWE SummerSlam 2017 Results

WWE SummerSlam 2017 Results

NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III Results

NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III Results

Your SO OF COURSE preview of WWE SummerSlam 2017, brought to you by Game of Thrones!

Your SO OF COURSE preview of WWE SummerSlam 2017, brought to you by Game of Thrones!

WWE Spoilers: Final card for NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III

WWE Spoilers: Final card for NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III

REMEMBER NXT? Preview of NXT TAKEOVER BROOKLYN III

REMEMBER NXT? Preview of NXT TAKEOVER BROOKLYN III

WWE Spoilers: Final card for SummerSlam 2017

WWE Spoilers: Final card for SummerSlam 2017

WWE SmackDown LIVE Results: August 15, 2017

WWE SmackDown LIVE Results: August 15, 2017

WWE RAW Results: August 14, 2017

WWE RAW Results: August 14, 2017

Twin Peaks 2017 Review: Part 14 – Okay, so last week was gently numbing us to prepare for this week!

Twin Peaks 2017 Review: Part 14 – Okay, so last week was gently numbing us to prepare for this week!