The common consensus is that WWE mishandles the majority of NXT call-ups. Champions in the black and gold brand often never reached the heights on the main roster that their NXT runs promised, normally because of poor booking choices.
When you think of former NXT Champions like Andrade, Shinsuke Nakamura, Aleister Black and Bobby Roode, fans will almost always look back more fondly on their respective NXT runs compared to their time with either Raw or SmackDown.
However, you certainly cannot say that everyone who has been called up from NXT to either Raw or SmackDown hasn’t benefited in some way, with some going on to become bigger stars on the main roster than their runs in NXT would have hinted at.
Taking that into consideration, we’ve compiled a list of the ten people who actually did better on the main roster than they did in NXT. If you disagree with anything we’ve said or think we’ve missed something out, feel free to let me know on Twitter.
NXT Run: 2016-2018
Main Roster Call-Up: December 2018
NXT Accomplishments: None
Main Roster Accomplishments: Current Mr. Money in the Bank
There is no denying that Heavy Machinery were a very popular act with NXT during their two years with the black and gold brand. However, the last 18 months have seen Otis become one of the most over babyfaces in the entire company.
In particular, with his storyline with Dolph Ziggler and Mandy Rose and subsequent Money in the Bank win, Otis became one of the most loveable babyfaces on the SmackDown brand, something many fans wouldn’t have telegraphed during his time with NXT.
While it seems like WWE has dropped all of the plans they had for Otis’ reign with the briefcase, there is no denying that you would have been laughed out of the building if you suggested to someone during his time with NXT that Otis would win Money in the Bank on the main roster.
8. King Corbin
NXT Run: 2013-2016
Main Roster Call-Up: April 2016
NXT Accomplishments: None
Main Roster Accomplishments: Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale winner, 2017 Mr. Money in the Bank, 2019 King of the Ring, 1x United States Championship
While Baron Corbin did some great work down in NXT, he is clearly more built for the main roster, and has become one of the company’s most trusted heels since arriving on the main roster in 2016.
Corbin never won any titles or tournaments in NXT, but ended up winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale at WrestleMania 32 back in 2016 in what was his main roster debut. This has pretty much summed up his run on Raw and SmackDown.
While Corbin might not have won the WWE Championship, WWE showed their faith in him by giving him the Money in the Bank briefcase in 2017, just over a year after arriving on the main roster. Since then, he has been entrusted with main eventing pay-per-views and feuding with the company’s top babyfaces.
Corbin is one of the wrestlers who is certainly more suited to the main roster than he was to NXT, and it is clear that he’s benefited from a move to Raw/SmackDown as opposed to being hindered by the switch.