It has become tradition in recent years for the nights immediately following WrestleMania to feature call-ups from NXT. These moves make perfect sense as part-timers ride off into the sunset leaving featured spots open, and as WWE unofficialy reboots for a new year of programming after the biggest show of the year. All that, plus the Raw and SmackDown after ‘Mania general play host to a hardcore live audience, more likely to be familiar with names from NXT than the general audience might be.
There are a number of talents rumored to be on their way up to the main roster. But who will actually crossover and, of little less importance, what storyines will they find waiting for them? I’ll be the first to admit that this column engages in more than a little fantasy booking, but it’s my largely arbitrary picks for rivalries I’d love to see play out on the main roster, that I believe could quite realistically happen as soon as this spring.
#7. The Iconic Duo vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley
The Iconic Duo of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay seems to have done about all it’s likely to in developmental. Neither of the pair look primed for an extended women’s title program in NXT, and they come across as ready for the big time—it’s just a question of when WWE will pull the trigger.
I’m among those fans eager for WWE to pull the trigger on a Sasha Banks heel turn, but assuming they hold off until after WrestleMania, having her team up with Bayley for one more program could be a fine send off for her face character, and perhaps even a catalyst for her to turn when she and Bayley come up short. On a practical level, there are few better choices than Banks and Bayleys to help Royce and Kay make the adjustment from NXT to the main roster.
#6. Velveteen Dream vs. The Fashion Police
The best thing that could happen to Velveteen Dream at this point would probably be to get another full year in developmental to really hone his act and his in ring game. In another year, he may well be a viable NXT Championship contender, and may well be ready to make a meaningful impact in moving up to the main roster post WrestleMania 35.
Dream is hot, though, as one of the wrestlers with the most buzz around him coming out of the last two TakeOver specials. I can see him getting hotshotted up to the main roster, Adam Rose-style, before he might be entirely ready. If that does come to pass, The Fashion Police could pose an intriguing welcoming committee, as a pair of long-time NXT alums who can certainly go in the ring, and who more importantly have the kind of outlandish, comedic gimmick to help accentuate Dream’s own eccentricities as he transitions to SmackDown Live.
#5. Cien Almas vs. John Cena
Cien Almas is an NXT success story in every sense. After talents like the original Sin Cara failed to grasp the WWE working style and ultimately crashed and burned, a part of NXt’s concept was to provide a playground for stars from other parts of the world to learn how to work a more Americna style, in a WWE ring, and come to the main roster a more polished, final product. Almas struggled mightily in NXT, but after two years found his footing in a heel turn and pairing with Zalina Vega.
Casting Almas against John Cena could well be a death sentence for the former La Sombra’s momentum. However, if WWE would like him to become a big deal fairly quickly, as they did with another hot heel debuting out of Mexico, defeating, or at least going toe to toe with such an established star out of the gate could go a long way toward establishing his credibility. Moreover, Cena has proven his ability to work to talented opponents’ strengths, play up to their level, and even put them over in recent years. This program could be just the ticket to establishing a new top player.
#4. Charlotte Flair vs. Ember Moon
One of the cool things about the current state of women’s wrestling in WWE is that, in a short span, the company has successfully developed sub-generations or classes of female talent, and with that the promise of legit first time matches between some very talented stars. While Paige and Emma truly established the NXT women’s division,The Four Horsewomen—Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Bayley are more synonymous with elevating it to the stratosphere. Asuka succeeded them as the face of women’s wrestling in developmental, but was a unique case for going undefeated and so clearly being booked as the definitive star for her time in NXT. Now, we’re seeing a more legitimate class of prospects, including Nikki Cross, Ruby Riott, The Iconic Duo, and, most prominently, Ember Moon.
With a new class of Mae Young Classic alumni like Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane gearing up to take the mantle in NXT, Ember Moon may well get the call up soon. On Raw, at least as the rosters currently stand, she’d threaten to get lost in the shuffle quickly, and there’s little point in doing an Asuka-Moon retread just yet. There are fresher matchups to be had on SmackDown and squaring off with Flair, in particular, could be an exciting new matchup between two athletic powerhouses who haven’t had the occasion to lock horns yet.
#3. The Authors of Pain vs. The Bludgeon Brothers
There’s a certain allure to hoss battles, and in particular ones at the tag team level. I’m talking confrontations like The Legion of Doom vs. Demolition. While big, bruising teams tend to actually do their best work against contrasting teams that can highlight their strengths, the idea of all out warfare between four men has a certain sense of awe attached to it, and particularly so when three or more of the men involved are actually good workers.
In The Bludgeon Brothers, WWE seems to have finally found a suitably dominant role to plug Luke Harper into, and while Erick Rowan can’t compare to his talents, he has made progress since his early days with the Wyatt Family. They’re rolling now as a dominant heel team, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them walk out of ‘Mania as SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
The Authors of Pain are the tag team WWE once wanted The Ascension to be. They’re big and extremely powerful, with an aura of intimidation around them. On top of that, they have the athleticism and MMA and amateur wrestling backgrounds, respectively, to lend a complexity and authenticity to their ring work. Best of all, the Authors of Pain have proven in recent months an ability to play (at least de facto) faces opposite The Undisputed Era. Put them up against The Bludgeon Brothers and it may deliver that rarest spectacle of all—a hoss war that actually does offer an entertaining enough sprint.
#2. Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa
This is admittedly an oddball pick because it’s a match up we’re set up to see in NXT itself, and probably at the TakeOver that goes down over WrestleMania weekend. I’m excited to see this program on the main roster, though, because I get the impression it has the potential to be a new Saimi Zayn vs. Kevin Owens—a rivalry hot enough, put on between capable enough workers to justify crossing over and happening at the main roster level without skiping a beat. Best of all, because these two are smaller in size, feuding with each other may well be their ticket of staying out of the 205 Live fray, and rather having the opportunity to be appropriately featured on Raw or SmackDown, at least early in their main roster runs.
#1. Sanity vs. The Woken Hardys and Bray Wyatt
From arguably my least ambitious selection of the countdown, we go to my most fantasy-booking heavy pick.
Sanity has been a lot of fun on NXT as an oddball stable that makes the most of Eric Young’s experience, and has helped Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe get over and find their footing in the WWE system (not to mention a fun fit for Nikki Cross’s unstable act). At its inception, it may well have been designed as an NXT only act, with Dain graduating to the main roster on his own out of it (maybe others, too). Now, the faction has become something of an NXT staple, most recently engaging in some really entertaining feuds opposite The Undisputed Era, The Authors of Pain, and Roderick Strong. Sanity brings a fine combination of chaos, power, and fine workmanship, all of which could translate to the main roster in really interesting ways.
Meanwhile, on the main roster, Woken Matt Hardy vs. Bray Wyatt seemed like a good fit on paper, but lost its luster quickly for an absence of clear creative direction. While most angles don’t benefit from adding moving pieces and making them more complicated, this is just the kind of offbeat, quirky pairing that may well benefit from some fresh blood. If the Woken gimmick survives long enough, we can only assume Jeff Hardy will get involved. But what if rather than Wyatt continually battling the brothers, or reassembling the Wyatt Family, he were to form an unholy alliance with them against a greater threat?
Again, there’s a lot of fantasy booking at hand here, but if executed well enough, this story of Wyatt and The Hardys against Sanity, or a three-way rivalry of Wyatt and his latest cult against the other two teams, WWE may well hit the sweet spot between the Attitude Era gang wars, and the Broken Universe over on Impact. Maybe that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it sounds pretty interesting to me for a wacky spring/summer storyline, and perhaps a vehicle to finally turn Wyatt face.
Which programs would you add to the list? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Read more from Mike Chin at his website and follow him on Twitter @miketchin.
Source : https://411mania.com/wrestling/magnificent-seven-7-wwe-main-roster-feuds-look-forward-post-mania-call-ups/