While WWE still likes to pretend that NXT is now its third brand, and that moving to Raw and SmackDown is a lateral move, everything we have seen would suggest the opposite.
The fact that when someone moves it is described as a “call-up” is all you need to know.
The latest of these call-ups was former NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler on this week’s Raw. Baszler attacked Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, bit her neck and seemingly set up a match between the two at this year’s WrestleMania.
Triple H spoke during a WWE medial call about Shayna, and interestingly claimed she is still an NXT star, and that her Raw appearance was part of a deal between the two brands.
“Well I’m scared to see her here – I don’t wanna get bitten. She’s got sharp teeth and it’s a scary thing and I’m wearing a big collar today just in case. I think that will play out. There’s a fascinating thing for me with that in that there was a ton of buzz going into Survivor Series with Becky Lynch. Her rise to where she is has been insane and I’m so happy for her, but you have to have that base of opponents.
“Hopefully that turns into something massive for both of them and we’ll see where it goes. At this point, I’m not 100 percent sure.
“As far as I’m concerned right now, Shayna is still an NXT talent until we make a deal for her to go somewhere else. Does that mean there’s a moment where Becky comes hunting for Shayna or vice versa? I don’t know yet. We’ll see.”
Trips also discussed the possibility of other stars making the move to the so-called main roster, including North American Champion Keith Lee, Royal Rumble star Bianca Belair, Velveteen Dream and Tommaso Ciampa.
“Anybody that gets any kind of momentum, there’s always clamoring about, ‘Oh, I’d like to have that.’ Those are strategic discussions had with Heyman, with Bruce and with my team. It comes down to people’s development.”
He noted that while there are moments that make you think someone is ready for the main roster, you have to think about the wider picture to make sure it’s the correct decision.
“Those are all things that we have to weigh through on all of these talents. But yeah, you don’t have to look past just looking at Keith Lee. You see what he looks like, who he is, his personality and what he does in the ring and you go, ‘Can I have him please?’ Same thing with Bianca Belair in The Rumble or her personality in promos. You see Velveteen Dream. You see Ciampa. I could go down that list but you wanna make sure they are ready for success on all levels.”
H/T to WrestlingInc for the quotes.