Tuesday 30 October 2012

NXT Call-Ups

On the August 8th episode of NXT Jim Ross told viewers that he considers both Bo Dallas and Jinder Mahal to be future WWE champions. While that statement is clearly untrue and verges on insanity it’s true that future WWE champions do currently compete on the show. The company’s hiring system means that the vast majority of people who make it to RAW pass through the developmental league. World champions who haven’t had a stint in NXT will be a rarity in years to come.

That doesn’t mean Bo Dallas and Jinder Mahal are going to win world titles though.

The man who has to be considered the favourite to make an impact on the main roster is Seth Rollins. Look back at his work in Ring of Honor as Tyler Black and you’ll see that even early on in his career he was an energetic and charismatic worker. His promos may not be particularly great, but that’s a skill he can pick up in time. He has the look and the athleticism to be a smaller headline star in the mould of Shawn Michaels, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.

Rollins has been presented as one of the major stars of the rebooted NXT and the fact that he was chosen to be the programme’s inaugural champion indicates that the booking team think very highly of him. His ability to connect with audiences as a babyface shouldn’t be underestimated either. It’s a useful skill for a WWE newcomer to have.

The next guy I’d pick is Big E Langston. There are guys I like more but none of them have his mixture of muscular torso and impressive strength. These are not qualities I look for when watching a wrestling match but they are qualities Vince McMahon likes. As he’s the man in charge I’m pretty sure that sooner or later Langston will be given a chance to make his mark with a push on RAW.

I’ve not seen him wrestle much. It’s too early to say whether he has what it takes to succeed. But he’ll get the chance. If he plays his cards right he could make it big.
Vince McMahon is a fan of muscles...
I am a huge fan of Kassius Ohno. He has a great look, wrestles a realistic style and knows his way around a microphone. He’s not really changed anything about his act since his time in Ring of Honor (as Chris Hero), but then he didn’t need to. It’s a well-rounded gimmick perfect for WWE television.

I expect Ohno will get a cursory callup sooner or later. The writing team likely won’t put much into it but Ohno will be able to get himself over. Dolph Ziggler managed it and I think ‘The Young Knockout Kid’ will too. It may take a little longer for him to get somewhere than the other two men I’ve mentioned above but I think that once he gets a fair chance Ohno will find a spot for himself.

Reforming the Kings of Wrestling alongside Antonio Cesaro, probably under a different name, would be great to see. Don’t hold your breath for that though.

One man who I think could surprise a lot of people is Bray Wyatt. He was on our screens a couple of years ago as Husky Harris of the Nexus. He eventually got demoted back to FCW (WWE’s then-developmental territory) because he was deemed too green for the main roster. His weight was also an issue.

There’s something about the guy that makes him stand out. Perhaps it’s that elusive “it factor”. Since going back down to developmental he has created a new gimmick for himself. It’s essentially a southern preacher persona but mixed with the former Husky’s rough and ready ring style and surprisingly slick verbal skills it’s a hit.

Also worth noting is that Paul Heyman has stated on Twitter and in interviews that he sees something in the son of IRS. Heyman appears to be gaining influence on the creative direction of the company and has a noted eye for talent. A blessing from Heyman is a good thing for Wyatt.

Finally there’s Richie Steamboat. The son of Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat has managed to garner cheers during his appearances on the show so far, including pops for using the arm drags favoured by his father. If he’s introduced to WWE television in an underdog babyface role, and given a sustained push and some credible wins, I think Steamboat junior could become a huge star.

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