Who should make the jump and become the next break-out star on the main roster!?
2020 was a crazy year that caused many changes in many industries, and wrestling was no exception. In particular, NXT was on a trajectory to finally begin to take shape as a main brand of WWE instead of just the developmental show. It Found its way onto broadcast television with the USA network instead of strictly on the WWE network. Being apart of Survivor Series and having a more significant role in the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania in the NXT Women's Championship angle between Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair. However, the momentum that had been built up all came crashing to a halt when Covid19 struck. Now in 2021, this is around the time call ups usually occur for NXT with Wrestlemania season officially upon us. With Covid still being an issue, I don't picture too many call ups to the main roster and most definitely feel the few we get will be spread out throughout the year. None the less here are my 2021 predictions for who will be moving up from NXT.
The former NXT Women's Champion is probably the most obvious and most rumored to move up to Smackdown or Raw. Ripley is also the readiest to move, seeing as all of her NXT storylines are up to date and concluded. I would not be surprised if the Aussie arrives as soon as Royal Rumble and then appear on the following Raw or Smackdown. The last woman standing match at New Years Evil, where Raquel Gonzalez went over, is a natural ending to Rhea's time in NXT, solidifying Gonzalez as the new big star of NXT's women's division. Either Raw or Smackdown would be a good fit as Ripley has proven she can be a top face or heel depending on what's needed and her time competing with Flair shows she can perform with the top talent in WWE and put on a great show.
The Undisputed Era(Minus Kyle O'Reilly)
Fans of UE have been clamoring for Adam Cole (BAY BAY) and the boys to show up to shock the main roster's system. I believe this year will be the year The Undisputed Era debut. I could see this being the big moment on the Raw after Wrestlemania. However, I think it would be safe to assume at this point, the group would be down one member in its call up. Kyle O'Reilly has recently broken into the main event title picture in NXT, and I don't think he is leaving anytime soon. However, I think Cole, Fish, and Strong moving on without him would benefit everyone. The separation would allow Kyle to really shine on his own, and the eventual reunion would be a huge moment later on down the road.
Obviously, Shirai is not debuting on Raw or Smackdown anytime soon due to her being the current NXT Women's Champion. However, I would not be surprised if she makes a Royal Rumble appearance. Before she jumps up, she will first need to lose the belt. Right now, the Women's division in NXT is stacked with potential women who could dethrone the champ. My pick would undoubtedly be Gonzalez. I hope, though, that Io can arrive by Money In The Bank because I can only imagine the pure genius she could bring to that match. Whenever the moment may come, it seems clear that Io Shirai's ready to make a mark in WWE, and the impressive women's division of NXT is ready to move on into a new era.
This starts the more, less obvious choices of my predictions as, for one, Tyler Bate & Trent Seven are on NXT UK and haven't even teamed up since the post-Covid relaunch of the black, gold, and red brand. If you have watched the few new NXT UK episodes, I think it is clear that the two are currently putting over the new stars of that show like Heritage Cup holder A-Kid. I believe that means the big strong boys are moving from the UK brand that they were influential in its creation. Now that being said, I don't think they have any reason to go to NXT, but Smackdown is in desperate need of pure tag teams, and Mustache Mountain would be a great addition to the blue brand resurging the tag division. I'm not going to guess a date or PPV for this one as I did for the others, but I definitely see the Britts moving up this year.
This is one I see more as a necessity as all of the controversy and rumors around The Dream have supposedly put him in hot water amongst the rest of the NXT locker room and slowed his once heaven like momentum. Moving Dream out of the black and gold would hopefully revive that momentum at least momentarily with the immediate ah factor of a surprise debut. The talented superstar would then be able to get back to work like he was before all the allegations arose. NXT is currently in the process of rebuilding Velveteen, but if they can't, I would highly recommend refreshing him with a call up sometime this year.
Imperium (Walter & Alexander Wolfe Rejoin Fabian & Marcel on NXT)
Okay, so this last one is not a main roster call up but is an NXT call up of its UK sister brand. Two members are already on NXT regularly and are former NXT Tag Team Champions. Imperium as a whole has made numerous appearances on NXT, and I am willing to bet at some point this year Wolfe and Walter join their comrades full time on NXT. Of course, much like Io Shirai, Walter would need to lose his United Kindom Championship before moving on. I believe they are in the process of building up the recently debuting Rampage Brown to eventually defeating The Ring Generale to become the new champ and establish the next class of NXT UK. I also feel like there will be a need for Imperium once The Undisputed Era leave.