There are three unwavering certainties in this madcap world: death, taxes and NXT stars being called up to the main roster after SummerSlam.
The ‘Biggest Event of the Summer’ marks the midway point of the calendar year and is usually viewed as an opportunity to inject some fresh blood into the Raw and Smackdown Live rosters.
This time last year, for instance, marked the main roster debut of Bobby Roode. Within a few weeks, he was joined by Asuka, Absolution and… god, I’m losing the will to live here… The Riott Squad. The year before saw Bayley getting the post-SummerSlam call-up.
Each of these debuts were accompanied by waves of optimism and excitement. And yet, barely a year removed, it’s clear that optimism has sadly given way to frustration. The excitement to indifference.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. As we approach SummerSlam on Sunday, I feel that familiar kernel of hope that maybe this year WWE will get an NXT call-up right. Like the spurned female lead in a bad teenage rom-com, I defiantly yell “things will be different this time!” into my pillow, while I sloppily comfort eat a pint of rocky road ice cream.
Except, is it actually possible that this time things really COULD be different? Given the current state of NXT, dare we dream? The developmental brand arguably boasts some of the most talented individuals we’ve seen in its short history. Perhaps even talented enough that one or two of them could make the jump to the main roster and, crucially, thrive.
A few short explanatory notes before we get into it. You will not find any women on this list (sorry Shayna Baszler fans!). As talented as they are, I simply cannot justify adding any more women to the creative black hole that is the Raw and Smackdown Live women’s scene. Not until WWE either figures out a way to develop multiple storylines simultaneously and/or pulls the trigger on the long-rumoured women’s tag team division. Similarly, I haven’t bothered to look at potential tag team call ups. Why? Just look at who’s currently sitting atop the Raw tag team division and you tell me why.
With the ground rules laid out, here are the three NXT stars who I believe should get the call after SummerSlam.