Although WWE is currently dealing with record-low ratings and the increasing popularity of rival companies such as AEW, it appears that there are certain NXT talents who might not ever get pushed on the main roster even if they have the skills and fan-favorite status to turn things around for the promotion.
As quoted on Thursday by WrestlingNews.co, Dave Meltzer explained on a recent edition of Wrestling Observer Radio that NXT is facing a lot of issues as it consistently loses to AEW Dynamite in terms of Wednesday night ratings. These include the perception that fans have become jaded after seeing so many members of the black-and-gold brand’s roster get notable pushes on its eponymous show but fail to make an impact when called up to Monday Night Raw or Friday Night SmackDown.
Meltzer went on to explain that there are certain NXT superstars, including Johnny Gargano, who may never leave the brand despite his popularity among fans and ability to deliver high-quality matches. He also mentioned the case of Adam Cole, who held the NXT Championship for well over a year and has also become one of the most popular talents in all of WWE.
As further explained, Cole has almost all the tools to make a bigger name for himself on Raw or SmackDown, but his lack of size makes him less of a priority for company officials than other wrestlers with more impressive physiques.
“I think that mentality right there is part of the problem. As much as Karrion Kross gets pushed and as much work as they do on his entrance, the fact is that Karrion Kross is not as over as Adam Cole but, in their mind, Karrion Kross is a potential star and Adam Cole is an NXT guy.”
Meltzer also described WWE’s apparent approach of prioritizing size over in-ring skill as being “behind the times,” as such an approach might have worked in 1985 but wouldn’t work in the modern era due to how much professional wrestling has evolved.
According to WrestlingNews.co, Meltzer’s comments about Gargano and Cole are in line with what James — who also wrestled for the company as “Road Dogg” Jesse James — said on Corey Graves’ After the Bell podcast in June. At that time, the producer told the color commentator that Cole, in particular, is an individual with a lot of professionalism and loads of talent in the ring and on the microphone. However, James also noted that the diminutive Cole would only be booked to win the Universal Championship if he was as large as Kross, who is billed at 265 pounds.