Pro Wrestling

8 NXT Gimmicks That Don’t Have A WWE Future Source:

As wrestling fans, NXT has been spoiling us. Between high-profile independent signings like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Samoa Joe, and a genre re-defining women’s division led by Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Charlotte, it seems like everyone who shows up on NXT is ear-marked for future success. But let’s be realistic. In the opening minutes of the ESPN E:60 documentary about NXT, Triple H made a speech to all the talent that basically said Some of you will make it, a lot of you won’t”. For every NXT success story that makes it into WWE, there are going to be wrestlers who can’t quite get that high. Keep in mind, NXT is still a developmental program, where the line between success and failure can always be a gimmick change away. With that said, while no one can truly know who the “next big thing” in pro wrestling will be, here’s some acts currently on NXT TV that all seem like they may have caught on with the smaller NXT crowd, but which might be destined for failure on the main roster, if they can even get there at all.

8. The Vaudevillains

Listen, the Vaudevillains are great. They’re funny, they’re decent wrestlers, and they are above all else, appropriately old-timey. It’s a hilarious gimmick, but it’s one that runs a serious risk of ending up like Adam Rose. The joke of being ridiculously trapped in a Victorian mindset is hilarious the first couple of times, but after that? And we’re not saying that you have to be tall in the modern WWE, but both guys are definitely on the short side, which won’t help them in a tag division with behemoths like Bubba Ray Dudley, Big E, and The Prime Time Players stomping around, and the Lucha Dragons already filling the role of plucky under-sized team. They’ve both got unique looks and decent wrestling abilities, but Gotch is way too small to be the strongman he claims, and English resembles a man fifteen years older than his actual age (the scourge of male pattern baldness doesn’t care if you’re only 27, apparently). It’s fine to enjoy them in NXT, but that just might be as good as it gets for the team. Source:

7. “Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger

Dillinger is an excellent worker who has been used for a long time as NXT enhancement talent, putting on good matches with a lot of what have become NXT’s biggest stars in losing efforts. And that’s not an easy job to have, both losing all the time and being entrusted with getting good matches out of a wide variety of people. So it’s good to see Dillinger get a chance to re-invent himself, but the “Perfect 10” gimmick is just the latest attempt to try and re-create the magic of “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, and frankly, those are huge shoes to fill. Currently, the problem with the gimmick is that they haven’t really established his character. Are we supposed to like him because he’s awesome, or hate him for presuming to be perfect? NXT has not presented the character in a consistent fashion from the start, with Dillinger working as a heel in Brooklyn against the debuting Apollo Crews, but as a face on a recent NXT. Gimmicks like this one require a large amount of charisma, and Dillinger hasn’t proven that he can pull it off. At this point, it seems less like a gimmick designed to take Dillinger to the next level, but instead a way of making him a more recognizable enhancement talent. Source:

6. Baron Corbin

Simply put, Corbin can’t wrestle. Oh, he’s got the basics, but he’s been a near-weekly presence on NXT for a year now, and he’s had less than five singles matches that lasted longer than a minute. Squash matches have their place in building someone up, but at a certain point, you’re expected to move on to having longer matches, and the fact that they won’t let Corbin do that has to be considered a warning sign. People point to his decent match at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, but that was literally Samoa Joe carrying him on his back, because Joe is one of the best workers in the business. However, disgusing Corbin’s weaknesses by making him the “hot tag” guy in a team with Rhyno is an excellent move, and will give him time to get better. When you get right down to it, though, Corbin’s lack of wrestling skill isn’t his biggest obstacle, it’s the fact that for a big man, he has absolutely no presence. He looks less intimidating than his tag team partner, who’s at least a foot and a half shorter than him. Charisma is really what will make you or break you in WWE, and Corbin hasn’t really shown that he has any. Source:

5. Blake & Murphy

First of all, everyone hates dubstep. Don’t try and argue, you know you’re just lying to yourself, because the music is designed to be completely unlikable. Dubstep is the music that plays when you die and go to hell. And that’s great, because Blake and Murphy are heels, but what, exactly, are their characters? Two guys with weird hairdos? As recent episodes of NXT have started to show, at this point, the former NXT Tag Team Champions are basically being used as a vehicle for Alexa Bliss to get over as an evil, manipulative woman, which is fine, because she’s showing real personality in the role. Meanwhile, the latest development for Blake and Murphy is that they have trouble pronouncing multiple-syllable words. They’re good workers and they’ll probably be used to help prepare new tag teams by making them look good, but there’s just nothing unique about them that screams “this act needs to be on Raw”. Source:

4. Bull Dempsey

Good on NXT for figuring out a way to get the crowd into Bull, even if it does involve allowing them to chant a borderline obscenity (arguably a better option than when Bull was a heel, at which point the crowds were actually chanting a curse word at him). Hey, wrestling crowds are pretty immature, which would also explain why Adam Rose just introduced a character that says “poop” as much as is humanly possible (though that should probably end up on this list as well). Anyway, Bull is definitely in a better place as a smiling babyface, but when you get right down to it, he’s not very good. His promos are stilted, his skills are pretty poor, and as a big man in WWE, he’s not half as impressive as a bunch of other wrestlers already on the roster. None of that precludes him improving one day, but this “Bull-Fit” gimmick just doesn’t have legs to carry him much further. Source:

3. Carmella

She may be the Queen of Staten Island, but Carmella had better hope that when Big Cass and Enzo get the call to the main roster, they let her come along. Obviously, her solo act is going to be compared to that of the tag team she hangs out with all the time, and at this point, it’s falling far short. At one point, despite being part of one of NXT’s favorite teams, she was being booed as a heel because she was just so unlikable. Toning down the attitude has helped, but one can’t help but feel that if she gets left on her own in NXT, her character is going to slip back into being fairly unpopular. She’s improving in the ring, but not quite ready to be a full-time competitor in the women’s division, plus at this point she’d be well down the ladder of faces, behind Bayley and (presumably) the soon-to-debut Asuka. She might eventually find a place, but for now, if Enzo and Cass leave, she’s looking like she might be lost in the shuffle. Source:

2. Solomon Crowe

Crowe has been pretty much a disaster since his NXT debut in an ill-defined “hacker” character, which was clearly written by people who used the ’90s movie Hackers as a blueprint. It’s not a bad movie, but anyone who knows anything about computers who watches it will probably spend at least half the time laughing and the other half facepalming repeatedly. Anyway, Crowe has some wrestling skills and a unique look, but it’s not a look that fits with the persona he was given. The guy literally looks like one of those troll dolls wearing a leather vest, and that’s not good. His debut matches also failed to impress anyone, featuring a finishing maneuver that could best be described as “he hurls himself at the ropes, then falls on his opponent”. A gimmick change, or at least a heel turn, appear to be in the works for Crowe, which might save the wrestler’s career, but the gimmick he’s been working under up until now isn’t even getting over in NXT at this point. Source:

1. Tyler Breeze

Tyler Breeze should have graduated to the main roster a while ago. There’s clearly nothing left for him to do, and they apparently don’t want him to try and develop a new gimmick, so WWE must think he’s found something that he should stick with. And they’re not wrong, his Zoolander-esque model gimmick has been refined into something that is a fully realized character, and his wrestling skills are among the best in developmental. So why all the doom and gloom? It’s less a lack of faith in Breeze himself and more a lack of faith in WWE to “get” the character and do anything with him. In the right hands, Breeze is more than a one-note gimmick, he’s a wrestler with a great character and a good future. In the wrong hands, well, he’s on the pile of discarded gimmicks that WWE paid attention to until a few weeks after their debut, then forgot about because they didn’t set the world on fire immediately, like Fandango, Adam Rose, or Damien Sandow. The gimmick has endless potential, but also endless opportunities to screw it up, and it’s hard to have faith that WWE will treat Breeze the way he deserves. Because if they know what they have in Breeze, why isn’t he on Raw yet? Source:

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.