While some superstars appear to be making great progress in NXT and are destined to break into the main roster, there are others in WWE’s developmental territory that seem to be stuck there forever.
It wasn’t until NXTs latest network special, Takeover: Respect, that it I realised it’s now nearly five years since Tyler Breeze has joined WWE development. It’s even crazier to think that, at one stage in early 2013, he was on the brink of release until he came up with the narcissistic model gimmick. Since then he has grown as a performer, and been allowed to showcase a personality and develop his in-ring skills to become one of NXTs more reliable wrestlers.
In the last year Breeze has morphed into NXT’s go-to guy for putting over new stars, as he has counted the ceiling lights for almost all of his opponents. Many fans of his are wondering when his time to be elevated to the top of the NXT card or even the main roster.
Breeze is fulfilling his role perfectly as enhancement talent to the stars and there is no reason why he can’t transfer his act to the main roster at any time. At 27-years-old, WWE creative may be in no rush to add him to the already-packed main roster, and his stock continues to grow in NXT as he’s consistently entertaining and popular in his current role.
However, having been in developmental for almost five years and having shown his ability time and time again, I can imagine Breeze growing frustrated with his spot in NXT. Other performers such as Kevin Owens, Neville and even the inexperienced Braun Strowman have made it to the main roster ahead of him, it isn’t hard to see him becoming disillusioned by staying in NXT much longer.
Just like Breeze, Tye Dillinger has been under WWE contract for five years, though he was known as Shawn Spears when his WWE tenure began back in 2006. He battled away against the likes of Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow and even Colt Cabana in OVW before eventually getting a shot as part of WWE’s ECW reboot under the name Gavin Spears.
After being introduced by ECWs General Manager, Teddy Long, Spears’ career failed to take off and he was released in 2009. After a four-year spell on the independent circuit, Spears was resigned in 2013 and given the name Tye Dillinger and, up until this summer, he was mostly used as a generic lower card tag team with Jason Jordan.
Dillinger has now been given the “Perfect Ten” gimmick and appears to be over to some degree with the crowds at NXT live events. It’s a gimmick he seems to be making the most of, yet whether WWE sees any potential in him is another thing as he was already fed to the debuting Apollo Crews at Takeover: Brooklyn.
Dillinger is fairly capable in the ring and, if given the right development in the coming months, he could be a breakout star in NXT. However at 34-years old, time isn’t on his side and his hopes of making it to the main roster surely decrease with every passing month. He may already be on the main roster if he came up with this gimmick in 2009, alas it’s almost 2016 and I fear Dillenger’s chances of a main roster spot are long gone.
Colin Cassady and Enzo Amore
If you read my profile piece on this tag team, you’d know that I feel WWE missed the boat big time by not having Enzo and Big Cass explode on to the scene in some way or form over the WWE’s big Brooklyn weekend. Whether it was in place of the Vaudevillians in the NXT tag match at Takeover or even a debut on RAW to duel with The New Day, I truly feel it was a missed opportunity on WWE’s part by not capitalising on the monstrous hometown reaction they achieved.
As the weeks pass, the stock of Amore and Cassady drops as they were nothing more than background players during the NXT Brooklyn event and even in the Dusty Rhodes Classic.
What WWE has planned for this team is unknown to me, but by failing to push the button on Big Cass and Enzo when the iron was hot could prove to be a big mistake. For a team that has been in developmental for nearly three years, they might have to wait some time before regaining their momentum and achieving their main roster promotion.
Chad Gable and Jason Jordan
With Jason Jordan and Chad Gable having been in WWE developmental for four years and two years respectively, they are only now beginning to show what they can do and, over the coming months, they have the opportunity to showcase their talents.
Jordan has only been able to show flashes of what he can do since his arrival in 2011 and, in many pundits, eyes he was in danger of being released. But now, with the help of the highly-likeable Gable, he can begin to show his own personality in this odd couple tag team. Gable is undoubtedly the star of the team and it’s only a matter of time before he breaks out on his own, but these two have the potential to be highly entertaining both inside the ring and out as a duo.
Both men are under 30 and can easily breakout of the shadows in NXT in the next six months and I see no reason why they can’t make it to WWE’s main roster within the next year.
Before he became the Solomon Crowe we see today in NXT, I had high hopes for the former Sami Callihan when he debuted under the hacker gimmick at WWE live events. It was a gimmick which, if done right, could have had plenty of great main roster possibilities. Imagine Crowe hacking into the Titantron to distract enemies, hacking into opponents private emails or even controlling the polls on WWE.com to get title opportunities. The character was dropped though, and he has since become NXT’s resident monster, whatever that is.
From his in-ring attire to his short matches where he frequently loses, Crowe has been unable to show any real potential. He’s a capable worker, which we have only seen glimpses of, and he has a unique stature and look. Yet Crowe hasn’t found his groove at all since debuting and he is going nowhere fast in his current role. He has a nice independent résumé and over two years in WWE developmental, but he seems to be further away from success than when he started in NXT. If he ever finds his niche in NXT there may be hope for him, but until then he is an afterthought on a very talented roster.