If a recent report is to be believed, two of Monday Night Raw‘s top superstars — Kevin Owens and Asuka — could be headed to NXT at some point after WrestleMania 36 in April.
Citing a YouTube video from freelance wrestling reporter Tom Colohue, Forbes revealed on Saturday that WWE is apparently planning further moves to change the idea of NXT being a developmental promotion and make it more of an “equal” to the so-called “main roster” brands, Raw and SmackDown. To this end, it was noted that Asuka and Owens are among the top-tier wrestlers who might be giving the black-and-gold brand a further injection of talent, possibly via the Superstar Shake-Up that usually takes place right after WrestleMania.
“There currently still is a short list of people discussed between Vince McMahon and Triple H as to what superstars from Raw and SmackDown want to come to NXT,” Colohue was quoted as saying.
“Asuka…is at the top of that list. She has had discussions about wanting to visit or at least be involved in NXT…Kevin Owens is another one who is on that list. He is someone who is interested in returning to NXT, and that could come at the next Shakeup.”
The new report comes shortly after Owens appeared on WWE’s The Bump, revealing that he wouldn’t mind coming back to NXT, especially if he is given a chance to fight for the brand’s top championship, as cited by Sportskeeda. While he remains one of the more established male wrestlers on Monday Night Raw, the former Universal Champion did take part in NXT’s TakeOver: WarGames pay-per-view in November, where he helped teammates Tommaso Ciampa, Dominik Dijakovic, and Keith Lee pick up a win over The Undisputed Era.
As for Asuka, Forbes noted that she was among several superstars who were, as of October, purportedly due for an upcoming move to NXT. She will be facing reigning titleholder Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on January 26, though the outlet pointed out that she is “widely expected to lose” the match and resume “being underutilized” as one-half of WWE’s Women’s Tag Team Champions, the Kabuki Warriors.
If Owens and Asuka both move to NXT as rumored, they won’t be the first high-profile returnees to the brand in recent months. Late last year, Finn Balor came back from a months-long hiatus as part of the NXT roster, with Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reporting that WWE transferred him to the black-and-gold brand in order to give it some additional “star power” and improve its eponymous weekly show’s struggling ratings. Additionally, less-heralded wrestlers such as Fandango, Tyler Breeze, and Killian Dain were also sent back to NXT last year, in a similar effort to further beef up the brand’s talent pool.