With the WWE set to resurrect the brand split, speculation is running wild on social media and various wrestling news websites on who will be called up and which wrestlers should part ways, in order to give the younger stars more room to blossom. With the WWE singing a plethora of talent, there certainly is no better time to do this draft split. You can expect the NXT roster to take a serious hit however, as the company will likely dip into their talent pool. This article will take a look at seven likely names to receive the pat on the shoulder for a possible call up on a main WWE stage with either the Raw or SmackDown brand.
This article will also take a look at the other side of the spectrum: which wrestlers should part ways to either make room for the younger stars or to leave in an opportunity to resurface their careers (similar to a path that Cody Rhodes recently took)? All in all, this brand split has done a fantastic job at making wrestling fans talk about future bookings and possible storylines. What we hope this brand extension offers is simply something new and something we’ve never seen before. From new rings to new entrance sets, we truly hope the product ushers in the new era properly. With a product that seems so complaisant, we hope changes are on the horizon!
Enough of the talk, let’s get to it; here are seven wrestlers than need to part ways and seven that need to be called up. We start this article off with someone from outside of the ring, in the commentary booth!
14) Part Ways: JBL
With the WWE draft on the horizon, this is a big opportunity for the company to freshen up the product and officially usher in a new era on both Raw and SmackDown. In order to do so, the talent isn’t the only answer. Fans are expecting something new and exciting, from a new entrance stage to a new ring to even aa new announce team. To pull this off several wrestling fans are requesting JBL to part ways with the company in order to give his position to somebody fresh, exciting and young. Having a new voice on commentary would certainly give the product a different feel, especially when you think that JBL has been with the announce team since April of 2013. Releasing him may seem a little absurd since he’s been with the WWE on an on and off basis since 1995, however, changing his role with the company will certainly do everyone some good.
13) Call Up: Corey Graves
Fresh and exciting, look no further than Corey Graves to fulfill this role at commentary every week. After suffering multiple concussions, Graves and the WWE agreed it was probably best to step out of the ring before things could get worse. With the company being so high on Corey, Triple H decided to leave him on NXT, making him join the commentary team as a color commentator. He is also a panelist on a pre-show before the start of Monday Night Raw. Still only 32, Graves has excelled at his position leaving the WWE a great opportunity to call up a fresh new face at commentary. As his experience grows, the guy just seems to get better with each NXT telecast. With the brand splits launching soon, this would be a great time for the WWE to make this bold decision and call up Graves to either Raw or SmackDown.
12) Part Ways: Summer Rae
Since signing with the company back in November of 2011, the WWE had high hopes for Summer, who had quite the athletic background and star power image to succeed in the sports and entertainment business. Fast forward a couple of years in development with FCW and NXT, Summer is still trying to find her way in the midst of a stacked women’s roster. The WWE should take a big part of the blame for her failed run thus far, giving her gimmick no sustainability whatsoever. It seemed like every time she’d win a match we wouldn’t see her for weeks. After defeating Paige, many fans thought this was finally her big break, but once again, she would fall in the under-card, losing matches. With a division overflowing with talent, Rae may be better off pulling a “Cody Rhodes” by further developing her worth on the independent scene. As of right now, the chances of her being a big time player seem extremely farfetched.
11) Call Up: Bayley
Women’s Title reign: check. Five star match quality: check. Main event an NXT PPV event: check. Work over three years with development: check. With all these checkmarks, you probably find it hard to believe that the 26 year old still hasn’t been called up to the main roster. Her age might be the only factor contributing to her not being called up because asides from that, the Newark native has proved her worth time and time again. For fans of NXT, it has come to the point that they’re not quite sure what else Bayley can accomplish at this point, because as we discussed she’s pretty much done it all in the last three years. Some believe the division is too stacked at the moment which is why Bayley is yet to be called up. I seriously hope Bayley finally gets her opportunity to make the jump during the brand split or following this year’s SummerSlam PPV event. We can all agree that it’s long overdo.
10) Part Ways: The Ascension
I really don’t think the WWE creative team could have made more of a mess of this Tag Team that had so much potential upon its arrival to the main roster. After Konnor and Viktor dominated the NXT Tag Team division, it looked to be set in stone that the duo would reach newer heights on the main roster. Well, that certainly did not come true squandering such a good opportunity. Constantly losing matches really hurt the team, losing their credibility they had worked so hard for during their stint with NXT. At this point, the damage has already been done and the team has few options left. Option one: keep working live events for the company while doing little to salvage your character. Option two: go back down to NXT and try to regain your credibility with a crowd that loves you. Option three: (the most unlikely scenario to take but maybe the best) part ways and further build your reputation as a dominant Tag Team on the independent circuit taking on the likes of The Young Bucks. It’ll be interesting to see which route these two take.
9) Call Up: American Alpha
At this point, American Alpha is considered one of the top Tag Teams in the world rising to fame rather quickly with their spectacular in-ring skills and amateur wrestling backgrounds. Despite being together for such a short time, rumblings have already began to surface regarding the Tag Team being called up to the main roster. According to rumors, the team apparently dropped the Championships to The Revival because Vince already wants them up on the main roster. Big E added to the speculation via Twitter, telling the duo, “see you soon”. With a brand split in place, the Tag Team division will need all the credibility they can get on both brands, and calling up American Alpha would certainly do just that, adding some much needed credibility to any of the two brands. Fans certainly hope the team will debut on the main roster sooner rather than later.
8) Part Ways: Zack Ryder
For a true wrestling fan, seeing his love and passion for the business is truly a joy to watch. This factor led Zack Ryder to an unlikely rise only to see his stock fall time and time again. At the age of 31, the New York native still has plenty of time to blossom as a pro wrestler. The only question that remains is if that development should happen in the WWE ranks or outside of the company. As of right now, it seems like Ryder is destined for a lower-card career. Asides from a brief Intercontinental Championship run, Zack is plugged into a storyline with Tag Team partner Mojo Rawley, down in NXT. If you’re thinking long term success, Ryder is probably better off parting ways with the WWE and recreating himself independently with the likes of Evolve, New Japan and Ring Of Honor. I’m sure seeing Cody Rhodes leave the company really made Ryder think about things. He’ll be another wrestler to watch in the upcoming months.
7) Call Up: Shinsuke Nakamura
With such an accomplished resume and being over 35 years old, many thought that, like AJ Styles, Nakamura would be fast-tracked to the main roster skipping out on NXT. Well, this did not go down. The WWE wants Nakamura to get adjusted to the WWE style of match, along with their high value production level. Most of all, the company wanted fans to get to know Nakamura and while listening to their reactions, I’m pretty sure they’re well aware of who he is and what he is all about. Shinsuke is far ahead of the field right now and it’s rather obvious. The Japanese star possesses a basket of talent, along with a contagious charisma that leaves you in awe. With the company starving for its first ever Japanese high profile talent, a call up seems likely rather soon. I think we can all agree, this guy is certainly already call-up-worthy. Don’t be greedy Hunter, send him up!
6) Part Ways: Dolph Ziggler
Destined for a WWE Championship run, Dolph Ziggler fulfilled his destiny by capturing the World Heavyweight Title on two different occasions. Since those runs however, Ziggler has fallen into some serious irrelevancy with the company. To make matters worse, the 35 year old just doesn’t seem to care, with his career likely winding down. Nowadays, Ziggler looks better suited for a job at commentary, something he has actually begun to do. In the ring, his future seems uncertain; don’t expect Dolph to continue his wrestling career if he parts ways. With over a decade with the WWE, you can believe his wrestling days will be done once he leaves. Look for Dolph to pursue a possible acting career once he leaves McMahon’s empire. Despite his recent struggles, we wish him nothing but the best and are grateful to have seen such great performances by the Ohio native.
5) Call Up: Samoa Joe
Not sure how wrestling fans felt about Samoa Joe winning the NXT Championship. Don’t get me wrong, the guy is more than deserving, but at the age of 37 I think we can all agree that we would rather see his talents be exposed up on the main roster, which is starving for accomplished heels (like Samoa Joe) at the very moment. His title run will probably prolong his stay with NXT, with Brock Lesnar out until August, now would be a good time to use his brute and barbaric force up on the main roster. Thinking about future opponents for Joe is certainly mouth-watering, to say the least. We hope to seem him called up with the big boys before 2016 comes to a close.
4) Part Ways: Alberto Del Rio
It is hard to remember the last time the company squandered a return so badly, that was until Alberto Del Rio’s comeback. What started off as a return with so much potential, quickly came crashing down for Del Rio. It was pretty embarrassing to watch how many twists and turns his gimmick went through since coming back. Del Rio’s talent speaks for itself, so you can blame some terrible creative writing for his undoing. How a wrestler can defeat a wrestling star like John Cena and fall to obscurity is honestly beyond me. With little to no character direction, you would probably think that Del Rio is better off asking for a release and continuing his upper-card dominant status with the likes of CMLL, AAA Mexico, Ring of Honor and the unique Lucha Underground.
3) Call Up: Austin Aries
Out with the old and in with the old… Well, in the case of Austin Aries this would be the scenario, seeing that he is already 38 years old. Known as “The greatest man that ever lived”, Aries managed to have a great career outside of the WWE working for Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate USA and multiple runs with TNA Wrestling. Despite his age, Aries still moves rather fluently in the ring. He is an excellent storyteller in the squared circle and his veteran instincts would be invaluable up on the main roster, particularly with a younger brand like SmackDown. The company will probably keep Aries with NXT for the time being, but with the draft set to launch in a couple of weeks, his addition to a brand would certainly go a long way, from in the ring to outside of it as a mentor to the younger talents.
2) Part Ways: Tyler Breeze
I think I speak for a lot of wrestling fans when I say: what a disappointment Breeze has been on the main roster. What makes NXT so special is its ability to create stars out of nothing. Breeze went from bouncing around several gimmicks till he finally found one the resonated with the underground crowd, a character known as Prince Pretty. What made it so cool was how unique the gimmick really was and how Tyler managed to back it up in the ring, becoming one of the best in-ring technicians in all of NXT, so his call up was certainly merited. Like so many others, the WWE creative team seems to have trouble with writing good material for NXT stars. Some believe this is because they don’t want to rush them too quickly, but this has only resulted in fans forgetting about them more so than anything else. At this point, Tyler is better off either going back down to NXT or pulling a “Cody” and resurfacing his band value on a different stage. At the age of 28, the Canadian certainly has time on his side to do so.
1) Call Up: Finn Balor
Similar to Bayley’s situation, fans are growing impatient with Balor still not being called up to the main roster, despite being with NXT since May of 2014. With the loss of his Championship, many truly believed this would be the end for Finn and his NXT run, but not so fast. Balor is set to take on Nakamura at the next TakeOver event which certainly leads many to believe that this will finally be his curtain call with the developmental brand. With the brand splits going down, Balor will add even more depth to Raw or SmackDown while being given the proper amount of time to develop his character each week. Call it long overdue, but the WWE may have done the right thing in keeping him down there till this point. Though we can all agree, his time is now.