The transition from NXT to the main roster varies for every superstar. Some receive title reigns and TV time while others can be considered Missing in Action (M.I.A). Many fans on social media question how WWE utilizes certain superstars on Monday Night Raw and Smackdown Live. Former champions and fan favorites in NXT that barely see the spotlight on the main roster. Let’s break down the journeys of some notable superstars, as we break down from NXT to M.I.A.
Whether on NXT or the main roster, the goal is to capture championships. During their time in NXT, Robert Roode, Drew McIntyre, Sami Zayn, and Kairi Sane made their mark on the brand with memorable feuds in pursuit of their respective titles. Before her NXT arrival, Sane first made her presence known to the WWE Universe as the winner of the inaugural Mae Young Classic. Although it took some longer than others, each superstar accomplished their championship goal.
Since their main roster debuts, each superstar continues to face their own challenges with keeping their names in the spotlight. Roode started out strong with capturing the United States Championship and later the Raw Tag Team Championships with Chad Gable. Since April 2019, his TV appearances have been scarce.
McIntyre’s shared most of his time on the main roster with one or more superstars. Although he captured the Raw Tag Team Championships with Dolph Ziggler, McIntyre has not had the opportunity to shine on his own as a champion-caliber powerhouse.
Zayn’s main roster debut was a continuation of his NXT feud with Kevin Owens. Although he’s scored several victories during his tenure on the main roster, all of his title opportunities have ended in defeat. As of late, most of Zayn’s time in front of the cameras is with a microphone criticizing his competitors and/or the WWE Universe.
Sane’s main roster debut occurred this past April as she teamed up with Asuka to form the Kabuki Warriors. She’s seen limited TV time with unsuccessful attempts at capturing the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. Sane has still not stepped out on her own as the dominant single’s competitor who captured our hearts in NXT.
The bottom 1%
Part of what attracts the audience to a superstar is their personality and presence. This was definitely the case for EC3. His signing with WWE in January 2018 sent shockwaves throughout the sports entertainment industry. EC3 made his NXT debut in March of that same year and went on to feud with the likes of Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan, and the Undisputed Era.
In December 2018, WWE Universe announced that EC3 would be debuting on the main roster. At first, he mainly appeared in backstage segments as more of a side attraction. EC3 did not make his in-ring debut until the following February. His time on the main roster has consisted of quick matches and minimal TV time. It’s crazy to think that for a superstar whose entrance music says that he’s in the top 1%, he’s now been reduced to the bottom 1% of the roster who is only seen chasing around the 24/7 titleholder every week.
The Empress has fallen?
Any fan will tell you that the most successful NXT run was by the Empress of Tomorrow, Asuka. Her legendary reign as NXT Women’s Champion lasted 510 days with title defenses against Bayley, Nia Jax, Mickie James, and Ember Moon. She still holds the record for the longest reign in the title’s history. After facing every possible competitor, Asuka vacated the title and made her main roster debut in October 2017.
She initially continued her success and held her undefeated streak into 2018 as the winner of the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble match. Wanting the challenge of her life, she chose SmackDown Live’s Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair as her Wrestlemania 34 opponent. Fans were shocked when Charlotte defeated Asuka and broke her undefeated streak.
The next few months for Asuka were difficult with unsuccessful title opportunities against Carmella and few TV appearances. Asuka found herself back on top in December 2018 by winning the SmackDown Live’s Women’s Championship against Flair and Becky Lynch in the first-ever Women’s Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. Fans hoped that Asuka would continue her title run until Wrestlemania 35. Unfortunately, fate would deal her another crushing defeat as she lost the title to Flair within weeks of Wrestlemania.
Asuka currently fights along side her fellow Kabuki Warrior Kairi Sane in hopes of capturing the women’s tag titles. We don’t know at this time if the duo will succeed in their conquest or if this shows that the empress has fallen for good.
Part of a long list
While only some journeys were highlighted, the list of superstars with inconsistent booking since their NXT days is long. We as the WWE Universe hope that these forgotten superstars can see their way to the top and have their names in the spotlight next to the industries’ best!