5 Superstars we want to see in WWE NXT
Yes, NXT is the proving ground for the Superstars and Divas of the future. However, the brand that’s been tearing it up around the country has also served as a place where main roster Superstars can go to rediscover themselves and relaunch their careers for a big run on Raw and SmackDown.
Current Superstars like Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, and even ring veterans like former ECW Champion Rhyno, have shown up in NXT to test themselves against the best prospects WWE has to offer. Their success between the yellow ropes has us wondering if some Superstars on the main rosters would find similar results in NXT. We picked five that we’d love to see go up against the likes of Finn Bálor, Tyler Breeze and Samoa Joe.
Where has our Damien Sandow gone? The onetime Intellectual Savior of the Masses went from gopher to G.O.A.T. to ghost in the span of eight months. After shooting to stardom by cosplaying The Miz and "Macho Man," Sandow Houdini-ed off the face of the Earth, and it’s time we got him back.
Sandow spoke of rebuilding himself from the ground up after he reclaimed his identity, and there’s no better place for him to do that than in NXT. Under the watchful eye of General Manager William Regal, Sandow could settle into something new, then make his impact back on the main roster for a redemption tour (Money in the Banks and Battle Royals for all!) when he’s ready to roll. After all, no Superstar this unique should spend his career pretending to be somebody else. Trust us, you’ll thank him this time around. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Fandango tangoed his way into the hearts of the WWE Universe in early 2013, sashaying to the ring with an infectious theme song and the ability to tear up the dance floor. But beneath the sequined tights there’s a grizzled grappler. The fleet-footed Superstar is deceptively big, too, standing at 6-foot-4 (he’s taller than John Cena and Seth Rollins) and sporting a totally ripped 244-pound frame. Almost in defiance of his natural size, he can fly through the air and crash down brutally on his opposition with a devastating leg drop, a perfect combination of a dancer’s grace and a wrestler’s ruthlessness. So why aren’t we seeing him in the main event on Raw?
A run in NXT could awaken the killer instinct within Fandango. Taking off his dancing shoes and testing himself against hungry talent like Finn Bálor, Hideo Itami and Tyler Breeze would bring out the best in the Superstar. There’s a lot more to Fandango than a fancy two-step and a catchy theme song. It’s time he showed it. — BOBBY MELOK
Jack Swagger can snap an opponent’s ankle like a twig with the same tendon strength as Kurt Angle. He can throw a rival across the ring with the same unbridled power as Brock Lesnar. He can move throughout the squared circle with the same big-man swiftness as The Undertaker.
That scary combination of skills catapulted Swagger to a hot start in WWE, after having an All-American wrestling career at the University of Oklahoma. When Swagger captured the World Heavyweight Championship by age 28, it seemed like the sky was the limit for this 6-foot-7, 275-pound beast. But at some point, his career took a detour.
Maybe Swagger, and the rest of the roster, needs a reminder of just how dominant he can be. A brief trip to NXT could help him regain some confidence, but also build his cred. When you line up across from Swagger in the ring, you’re in for a battle and a cauliflower ear. It’s time for him to prove that’s as true now as ever before. — JEFF LABOON
Henry Rollins once said that “one defines oneself by reinvention.” Heath Slater might want to think about adding that quote to his collection of tattoos — and then heading down to NXT to act on it.
Despite a win-loss record that’s spotty at best, The One-Man Band is a scene-stealer whenever he appears on Raw or SmackDown, which is all too rarely. His comedic chops are topnotch and he makes any situation he’s put in — from tangling with Flo Rida to teaming with Hornswoggle — work. A run in NXT could be the shot to the arm that Slater needs to begin crafting a new image, demeanor and much-needed new tune to his career. — RYAN PAPPOLLA
Well it’s the Big Show … in NXT? The World’s Largest Athlete has pretty much done it all in sports-entertainment: winning every major championship, main-eventing WrestleMania, and battling the biggest names in the business. So, why not try something new and step in the ring with NXT’s up-and-coming crop of Superstars?
A derisive pocket of the WWE Universe has chanted “please retire” in reference to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, but a 450-pound Superstar who is still performing sunset flips and climbing to the top rope should not be hanging up his boots. Quite the contrary, the agile big man should be seeking new challenges. And if the former World Heavyweight Champion really wants to shut up his critics, he can do just that by showing he can “hang” with the brightest young talent in the industry. The self-proclaimed “greatest giant ever” would also present some enticing matchups against NXT big men like Baron Corbin and Colin Cassady.
And if anyone is concerned that a move to Full Sail would be a “demotion” for the surefire future WWE Hall of Famer, they clearly haven’t been paying attention to every NXT TakeOver special. — SCOTT TAYLOR