The possibility of WWE’s wildly popular developmental brand, NXT, competing at WrestleMania 31 has been one of the most talked about topics among wrestling fans in recent weeks. A couple of weeks back, one of the rumored matches involved Kevin Owens defending his NXT Championship at WrestleMania, but Owens recently suffered an injury that required surgery that will keep him out of action until after WrestleMania 31. However, WWE announced on Friday that NXT will be a part of WrestleMania weekend in California anyways.
WWE sent out word via their mobile app and official website that there will be a NXT tournament during WrestleMania Axxess that will determine an entrant from the NXT brand who will compete in the second annual “Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.”
This is the first time ever that an NXT star will compete on WWE’s biggest stage. NXT has competed in the Royal Rumble in the past (Bo Dallas in 2013), but an active competitor from the NXT roster has never garnered a spot on the WrestleMania card.
The possible inclusion of NXT’s Adrian Neville, Finn Balor, Tyler Breeze, or Hideo Itami in the battle royal at WrestleMania is intriguing, to say the least. Of these wrestlers, Neville had appeared to be the wrestler on the fastest track to debuting with the main roster. There were rumors months ago that WWE was toying with the idea of debuting NXT’s Neville with a “mighty mouse” style gimmick on the main roster in the near future. That idea received all kinds of criticism from writers and fans online, and it appears to be shelved for the moment.
Of the other three wrestlers announced for the NXT tournament so far, Balor appears to be most ready for the main roster. He is a superstar in the making, and if given a proper push, he could be a top star on the main roster from the get go. From his over-the-top entrance, to his look, to his impeccable wrestling, Balor screams future of the WWE. Some of the talent brought in from NXT to WWE probably should have received a bit of a makeover to succeed with the more diverse WWE audience (see: Emma), as compared to the crowds who watch NXT, but Balor possesses a gimmick that should remain as is when he makes the jump to the main roster.
Itami is still learning the WWE style and needs a bit more time in NXT. Though he has been a worldwide star while wrestling in Japan for several years, the WWE wrestling style is something that Itami is still adapting to. His transition to wrestling full time in America hasn’t gone as smoothly as expected thus far.
Tyler Breeze, while a hot name in NXT a year ago, has lost a lot of steam in recent months. He’s a solid wrestler in the ring, but taking his gimmick as is to the main roster would most likely lead him to a failed WWE debut similar to what has been experienced recently by former NXT talent Adam Rose, the Ascension, and Emma.
Which NXT star do you think is most ready for the spotlight of the main roster?