When I sat down to write this column, I was originally going to do a top 5 of the most likely post WrestleMania NXT call ups. There is so much talent at NXT that there is simply not enough room for all of them to be showcased when NXT only gets an hour a week. There are guys like Enzo and Cass, who barely get in the ring in front of a live crowd once a month. I was thinking it is well past due for WWE to pull the trigger on Sami Zayn or Adrian Neville. Hell, Kevin Owens looks like he didn’t even need a stop at NXT. He looks ready for the main roster right now. But the more I think about it, the more I don’t want any of NXTs best to get the call.
I know that the goal of every NXT Superstar should be to get “the call”. They have worked their whole lives to get to the WWE, they should not be content to be in what WWE considers a developmental territory. But, is getting the call really what is best for some of NXTs biggest stars? The WWE really nailed it with the Shield and the Wyatt Family, but they were the last call ups to have a major impact. Since then, it has been one failed call up after another for guys who, quite frankly, deserve better. Whether it be a change in gimmick(Fandango, Adam Rose) or a mismanaged push(Bo Dallas before his injury), NXT guys have failed to make a major impact. Even a guy like Cesaro, who seemingly has everything WWE looks for in a main event talent, can’t get passed the mid card.
So, instead of the top 5 most likely call ups, I am going to go with the top 4 NXT Superstars who should not be called up. This has nothing to do with the Superstar’s abilities. It has everything to do with how the WWE is most likely to mismanage their careers. Now, I hope you don’t misunderstand what am I about to say. These 4 guys are more than capable of being tremendous WWE Superstars, and I would love to see what they can do working with established WWE veterans. I just have no faith in the WWEs ability to let them continue to do what made them so good in the first place. So without further ado, I present to you my Top 4 NXT Superstars Who Should Never Be Called Up(for their own good).
4. Adrian Neville
Adrian Neville is, arguably, the most athletic man in NXT(maybe even the entire WWE). His high flying style is amazing and unique, which is hard to come by in today’s WWE. I would love to see him in matches with the likes of Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, or Daniel Bryan. But the biggest thing working against Neville is his size. Yes, the WWE has been trending to smaller, more athletic wrestlers lately, but Neville is smaller than most. He will eventually make it to the main roster based on his athletic ability alone, but short of the fans forcing him to the top(a la Daniel Bryan and the Yes Movement), he will never get passes the mid card. I personally would rather see him be the big fish in the small NXT pond, than get lost among the apex predators than swim in the WWE ocean.
3. Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn is the name I was considering leaving off this list. He is a natural athlete with a great move set, and his mic skills are vastly improved. As far as promos go, he is better than some of the guys already on the main roster. But Sami has 2 big things working against him. First, he has been wrestling around the world for more than a decade. While the experience clearly shows in his in ring work, we all know today’s WWE likes to create stars, not bring in stars. Second, and I think more importantly is his look. I happen to think he looks a lot like Christian. Guys that look like Christian don’t make it to the top of the WWE mountain too often. If not for Edge’s sudden retirement, Christian doesn’t ever get close to a World Championship. There is a reason Zayn was El Generico in a past wrestling life. Average height, average weight, and average build leads to an average WWE career in most cases. With obvious exceptions(Chris Jericho, Edge), not many guys have the charisma to overcome what WWE perceives as physical shortcomings. Zayn, much like Neville, would need a huge push from the fans to get any sort of push from management.
Kalisto is so exciting to watch. And for a guy who is clearly lacking in size, he is surprisingly powerful. You would think he would be exactly what the WWE is looking for to replace Rey Mysterio. Then I started to hear rumors of a gimmick change and I cringed. When the WWE changes a gimmick specifically for a call up, it seems to, more often than not, fall flat. Why don’t you ask Adam Rose how his new gimmick worked without being tested in NXT first? Fandango was “over” for a while, but I think that had more to do with a catchy tune and a very smark-filled , pissed off post WrestleMania Raw crowd than his ballroom dancer character. According to Inside Pulses’ own Philip DiGiulio, Kalisot is “rumored to be unmasked and portrayed as a flamboyant hairdresser”. Can anyone remember a character that over the top being successful in the WWE? I sure as hell can’t.
1. Hideo Itami
Hideo Itami is one of the most talented wrestlers in NXT, but he has so many things working against him, it will be almost impossible for him to succeed on the main roster. He has the below average size of Adrian Neville and the unimpressive physical stature of Sami Zayn. But the biggest thing working against Itami is his ethnicity. Now, I am not saying anyone in WWE is openly discriminating towards any race, but lets be honest, WWE doesn’t exactly have a great track record handling Japanese wrestlers. They are all given Asian sounding entrance music and a mysterious character that doesn’t say much, if anything at all. I don’t think Tajiri ever spoke in WWE, and he was one of the most talented Japanese wrestlers WWE ever signed. Hell, they took Prince Albert A-Train and PRETENDED he was Japanese just because he worked in Japan before coming back to WWE. If Itami ever gets the call, he’d better hope they bring back the Cruiserweight Title, because that is the only belt he would ever have a chance of winning in the WWE, and that is a damn shame.
Tags: adrian neville, Hideo Itami, Kalisto, NXT, sami zayn