So now the speculation becomes, if this is all fact, NXT or the rare immediate WWE roster spot? With NXT as hot as it is right now, it makes the most sense, right? With WWE’s main roster desperate to build stars, amidst the many injuries occurring in 2015, it can happen, right? While both arguments are valid, let’s investigate each wrestler:
- Karl Anderson/Doc Gallows- WWE’s Tag Team division, while fruitful in talent, is hurting. Not a lot of attention is being brought to it other than The New Day being the face of the division. Yes, you have The Dudley Boyz, The Usos, and Lucha Dragons, but the division is stale. Not a lot of time is being dedicated to the division. Every time the competitors are given time to shine, they shine, with the latest example being the Ladder match at the TLC PPV. That was arguably match of the night. NXT’s Tag Team division, however, is on a different level. Between The Vaudvillians, Blake & Murphy, Dash & Dawson, Jordan & Gable, and The Hype Bros, they’re putting on clinics of Tag Team wrestling on a weekly basis and are given adequate time to do so. I know someone will say to me, “But Dave, you named pretty much the same amount of teams for both rosters. Aren’t you being a little biased”? Maybe I am, but I know the WWE’s main roster needs an awakening in the Tag Team division. To the smarks that don’t tune in, bring on the Bullet Club! Many will remember that Gallows has already spent time on WWE TV with the Festus and Luke Gallows characters. I don’t foresee them bringing this team to NXT, where yes, it would be more competition, but the quality of their tag division is so good it can carry itself without outside adjustments. It won’t serve Gallows/Anderson well nor would it benefit NXT any further. Bring these two on the main roster and give your division a boost as well as potentially your ratings.
- Shinsuke Nakamura- Here’s the real interesting one that is going to be up for the most discussion. The five-time and current IWGP Intercontinental Champion has just been that, the top of New Japan’s mid card. As pointed out at Wrestle Kingdom 10, some view the IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight Championships to be on an equal playing field as far as significance and prestige. With that being said and with the WWE Intercontinental Championship being decided by two more Indy darlings in Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose, it wouldn’t hurt to add Nakamura to this feud and to headline the WWE’s mid card. WWE always wants international presence for their foreign markets, with Japan being one of the biggest. You have the inevitable return of Hideo Itami coming and Asuka making a tear in NXT’s Women’s division. You have that Japanese presence. On WWE’s current main roster, you don’t have that big name Japanese presence. You have the Canadian in Kevin Owens, the Swiss in Cesaro (currently injured), Sheamus the Irishman, King Barrett the Englishman, and Alberto Del Rio “Mexico’s Greatest Export”. If you were to add Shinsuke Nakamura to this main roster, you add that Japanese name it’s been looking for, along with a larger than life personality, which is lacking in WWE’s mid card. Though the dream matches with NXT’s current roster are something fans drool about, “Japan’s Michael Jackson” in my opinion is best suited and currently NEEDED in WWE’s main roster.
- AJ Styles- Arguably the biggest name of the mentioned potential latest WWE signees. AJ vs. Joe on WWE/NXT TV? AJ vs. Balor: former Bullet Club leaders collide? AJ vs. Zayn? AJ vs. Itami? All dream matches for WWE/NXT fans. All nice matches, all of which will have fans glue their eyes to the WWE Network and pack arenas in NXT’s tour. Not necessary, not now. Those matches should be saved for WWE Main Roster television. You should be thinking about AJ vs. Seth Rollins, AJ vs. Kevin Owens, AJ vs. Dean Ambrose, AJ vs. Dolph Zillger. Those matches will be quality and, if built right, should be great TV for the WWE, and if you insert AJ in to the World Title hunt, which is also seriously lacking currently with the absence of star power, you’ll get immediate attention. I’m normally on the side of patience when it comes to building things up. But with AJ Styles at 38 years old, you don’t have much time left to get what you want out of him. He belongs and is NEEDED on the main roster, NOW.
As of this writing, we are six days in to 2016 and already a lot of noise is being made in WWE’s landscape. Mauro Ranallo joining SmackDown as the main commentator and these four wrestler signings are already a lot, and we have plenty of time until 2017. We could see a lot of change. Between those names being “called up” from NXT, NXT’s current status, and the talent on hand, it looks like WWE is going for it all to put a further stranglehold on the major market of professional wrestling. They are moves that could reduce companies like ROH, Lucha Underground and TNA to dust. The year 2016 for the WWE has no reason to suck!