A former NXT Champion could soon be on either the Monday Night Raw or SmackDown Live roster following this weekend’s exciting WrestleMania 33 pay-per-view. If the latest rumors prove true, it will boost the current roster of either show, especially in a crucial week after Sunday’s events. With former NXT stars such as Samoa Joe recently showing up on the main roster, as well as recent retirements or stars taking time off, WWE will certainly welcome more talent to the “WWE landscape.” Here’s the latest on who may be joining one of the television show brands in the coming weeks.
This weekend not only featured WrestleMania but also the NXT TakeOver: Orlando event in Florida. That pay-per-view on WWE Network Saturday night featured all of the brand’s championships on the line. All of the current champs were able to successfully retain including women’s champion Asuka and men’s champion Bobby Roode. So that makes it unlikely that Roode or Asuka are leaving anytime soon, as they will be carrying the show against newer talents.
However, one superstar who was on the losing end is a strong bet to show up on the main roster. After Saturday’s loss to Bobby Roode in the NXT Championship bout, Shinsuke Nakamura got a big send off from the fans in attendance for the show. According to WrestleZone, Nakamura took the opportunity to also say thank you to the fans in his own way. As they hummed his theme music, Nakamura did his trademark poses in the ring and then up on stage. He finished by pointing down at the WWE NXT logo being projected on the ramp to close out his time on the roster.
That means Nakamura is going to be the hottest free agent in WWE right now. At 37 years old, he’s certainly got the wrestling experience needed to compete within the WWE’s bigger picture. Nakamura is known for not only competing in NXT in the United States but also years spent honing his craft with New Japan Pro Wrestling. He’s also quite familiar with several of the stars currently on main rosters including Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, and Sami Zayn.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer recently commented that it could be other NXT stars coming to the main roster in addition to Nakamura. Meltzer named Tye Dillinger, Andrade “Cien” Almas, and tag team The Revival, may all be headed to Raw or SmackDown. According to PWMania, all of these NXT stars were on the losing end during Saturday’s NXT TakeOver: Orlando event.
So which roster will Shinsuke end up with following his departure from NXT? Nakamura was interviewed on YouTube and was asked about that. Nakamura was discussing the various cuisine and how tough it can be to find authentic Japanese food. The interviewer mentioned that he’ll be on the main roster soon and on the road so that shouldn’t be as difficult for him. Nakamura said, “I have no idea..after Mania.”
The interviewer mentioned that Nakamura wears red in the ring (the color of the Raw brand) but was wearing blue (SmackDown brand colors) in his street clothes during the interview so he could “keep everyone guessing.” Nakamura brought up how he has a lot of friends on the Raw brand, but SmackDown is also a good roster. When asked about some other NXT stars who should make the jump, Shinsuke name dropped Tye Dillinger, No Way Jose, and current champion Bobby Roode.
Bringing Nakamura to the SmackDown roster could make a lot of sense right now. With Finn Balor scheduled to return to Raw very soon and Samoa Joe already there, it makes sense that the blue brand would want more talent. There’s also the recent departure of The Undertaker who appears to be retired, as well as John Cena probably leaving to do some other work for a bit. Nakamura to the brand could give some dream matches including Nakamura vs. Styles, Nakamura vs. Orton, and Nakamura vs. Dean Ambrose, among others.
As of this report, Nakamura has 20 to 1 odds to win the 2018 Royal Rumble at Paddy Power sportsbook which certainly isn’t a longshot. His odds could shoot up even more if things change within the way he’s pushed by WWE on the main roster. Based on his popularity in NXT and around the world, that shouldn’t be too hard to do. Whichever brand he ends up on, one thing is very likely, and that is the fans will go into a frenzy as his popular entrance music hits with the light show.
[Featured Image by WWE]