For any of those that can recall, after Wrestlemania 31 I chose to write up on the potential of two NXT call ups and where they may end up throughout the year. Last year we witnessed the main roster debuts for Neville and Kalisto. I actually expected both men to capture a midcard title by December, and to be honest, I was shocked that only one of them did. Neville was still featured quite prominently, except he just got lost in the shuffle towards the end of 2015. Even though he had a very similar in ring style to Kalisto, the WWE saw something more in the luchador. I’m assuming that they favoured Kalisto because of his hispanic background and unique look. There’s no hiding that the WWE loves appealing to all demographics in the United States.
Anyways, we’re now at a new season where we’ve witnessed a few other call ups from NXT. I figured I use this week’s edition of the WWA to discuss the potential of the new comers we saw on Raw. This includes Enzo Amore & Big Cass, Apollo Crews, and Baron Corbin.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass
I think it’s fair to say that the eccentric tag team received the biggest pop this past Monday, and it wasn’t for no reason. The hardcore fan base obviously knows these two, and I think the casual fan base (people who don’t watch NXT) will start to love them. Enzo has all the personality needed to be an entertaining professional wrestler, and so does Cass. While Enzo does most of the mic work, I don’t think he would be the same without his “7 foot tall” partner. They may not be the most polished in terms of in ring work, but that’ll improve over time. Right now the WWE needs to focus on making them loveable personalities. Other than the New Day, there’s really no other tag team the fans can get behind. If you ask me, I believe the company should give them some time to marinate before pushing them towards a big program. Their current spot with the Dudley Boyz is perfect. Bubba is an excellent heel, so he’ll be great when cutting promos against Enzo. Since the month of May has two PPVs, don’t be shocked if that feud is showcased on both. Once they’ve gone through the Dudleys, why not have them compete against a lower tier team such as the Ascension? I wouldn’t consider that to be a blockbuster program, but it’ll help maintain their momentum heading into the summer. If the WWE can figure out something for July (Battleground), then I’d say the duo should be ready to compete against the New Day at Summerslam. Both teams are babyface, however I don’t think that would matter. At the end of the day, it would be a hot program as both teams are over with the crowd. Enzo and Cass are both from the New York/New Jersey area, so it would only be fitting that they’re given an important match at Summerslam. Also, that Brooklyn crowd would ensure that match receives the most chants. Of course they can just get lost in the shuffle, but that I would consider that to be one of the most incompetent booking decisions to date.
Fans have mixed emotions on Crews’ promotion to the main roster. Some believe he’ll receive a solid crowd reaction night in and night out. On the other hand, some believe he needed some more time to grow as an overall performer in NXT. At the moment, NXT’s main event picture doesn’t look crowded, so I was shocked he wasn’t given one more program against Finn Balor. With Zayn, Corbin, and now Samoa Joe out of the title picture, the timing to give Apollo his push couldn’t be more perfect. There’s a good chance he gets lost in the shuffle on the main roster. I’m assuming he’ll be wrestling in the mid to uppermid card, and that means competing against Zayn, Sheamus, Ryback, Kalisto, Owens, Miz, Corbin, Cesaro, Ziggler, etc. That’s a big list for him to fit in with. However, the WWE has already made their decision to bring him up. His strengths are his move set, and they’ll need to play to that every show he competes on. In that sense, Crews is similar to Neville. Even when he’s not in a feud, the bookers need to have him on the show, just to keep him relevant. If they can do that, I’m sure Apollo will be ready to compete for the IC or US title by Summerslam/NoC. Unlike Neville, he carries more personality with his happy go lucky smile, so he should have no issue getting over within a few months. After his honeymoon phase, his character will need more depth. That’s exactly what hurt him in NXT, and it could very well hurt him on the main roster.
I always thought the Lone Wolf would get a run with the NXT championship before his call up. Based on his stint there, it only seemed fitting. For a while, Corbin was the Roman Reigns of the NXT roster. He was pushed as a babyface, and crowd rebelled. Luckily for us, the booking staff in NXT is quite in tune with the fan base, so they gave him an awesome heel gimmick. Some may still dislike him, although nobody can deny that his indie-killer gimmick was a good fit. If they’re smart, he would maintain a similar attitude on the main roster. I’m aware that indie work is hardly acknowledged on Raw and Smackdown, but he can transition that focus into hating mid card fan favourites, like Dolph Ziggler. After he’s established a personality and a presence, why not throw him into a title feud? I’m sure the fans would love to boo him if he defeats someone such as Kalisto or Ryder (assuming he wins it back). Of course, that should only occur once he’s receiving some sort of reaction on a week to week basis. His timeline for a title shot can vary though. If he works well as a heel, I wouldn’t surprised if he was competing for a mid card title by June or July. I’d say he has much more personality than Crews, so his gimmick can go further without becoming stale. In my mind, Baron will fit in perfectly with the main roster.