wrestling / Columns

The Latest NXT Call-Ups: Will They Work?

December 20, 2018 | Posted by Steve Cook
WWE NXT Call Ups

Monday night was one of countless times that WWE has teased massive changes & delivered…well, not so much. We’re getting more McMahons on Raw & SmackDown Live going forward. At this point, it’s kinda useless to complain about it. It is their company, and they are some of the most recognizable characters still under some form of WWE contract. We might not like it, but there are some folks out there interested in what those crazy McMahons are up to now. All we can do is hope that they’re used effectively and maybe even help create some new stars.

(I was afraid that somebody would make me write about the McMahons this week, and that one paragraph is all I’ve got.)

Speaking of new stars, we found out that some NXT talent will be making its way to the main roster soon! Now this is the part that I find interesting. One of the most panned aspects of the current WWE product is how the NXT wrestlers are transitioned in. Basically, most die on the vine because management & creative don’t know what to do with them. The majority of talent called up from NXT ends up meandering through their first few months on the roster doing little of note until they either catch on with somebody or fade into obscurity.

It’s quite the debate. NXT fans complain about how their favorites are used on the main roster & wish they’d get sent back to Orlando. Meanwhile, their favorites make more money and are living the dream of working all across the planet for the brand synonymous with pro wrestling. Even if they aren’t used as well & don’t get to have the types of matches that hardcore fans love, it’s not the worst way to make a living.

If WWE is serious about changing things up, one major change would be for NXT call-ups to be used to their fullest potential. Who are they? Well I can fill you in there…

Lars Sullivan

We already knew that Lars was on his way in as the hottest free agent in WWE. That had been hyped for a few weeks now, and when you look at the guy it’s easy to see why. As he says, he is a freak of nature. You don’t see too many people out there looking & acting like Lars Sullivan.

You know the man that’s been given names from Lars Anderson & Kevin Sullivan has to have big plans in store for them. I know people got excited over some message board posts young Lars made, but let’s be honest. Nothing young Lars posted is more offensive than anything that the politiicans WWE supports say on a regular basis. My stating this will cause certain readers to call for my firing, but I only speak the truth. If we can’t blame politicians for their various rantings, we can’t blame young Lars Sullivan for his. I hold no hatred in my heart towards this man and wish him nothing but the best.

With all this being said, the kid has more to prove before I can put him over as the best in the business. I can call him a kid since he’s only 30, therefore younger than me. Anybody younger than me is a kid, which is good news for all of these NXT call-ups. It’s also bad news for me.

The man is a physical specimen. He’ll get his chance.

Lacey Evans

Those of you that are familiar with my work aren’t surprised that Lacey is the one person out of all these call-ups that I’ve had an eye on. Even if I don’t catch every NXT episode, I try to watch any YouTube clip I see with the Lady of NXT. I first noticed her during the first Mae Young Classic. She has everything that WWE management could possibly want. She’s military. She’s blonde. She’s attractive. What more could Vince McMahon & Kevin Dunn want?

I think Evans has the most upside out of anybody I’ll talk about in this column. She’s obviously impressed NXT management. As somebody that’s observed WWE for more years than I care to remember, I know Evans checks all their boxes. There’s one more box they don’t care about that we do, and she checks it too. She’s good in the ring.

The sky is the limit for Lacey Evans. I’ve said that since the first time I saw her, and it hasn’t changed since then. People wanna tell me that Alexa Bliss gets pushed since Vince likes built blondes? Well, Lacey is a built blonde that was in the Marines. Her real life story is too good that she has to be a heel because otherwise people would be jealous and make her a heel out of spite.

People gonna get mad, but Lacey Evans is the real deal. She doesn’t have the barriers in front of her that other call-ups had, but she had plenty of barriers before this point. She’s worked her ass off her whole life, and will earn whatever she receives. I hope she wins as many championships as possible.

Heavy Machinery

You gotta love a couple of big ol’ hosses, right? Their combined weight is around the 650 pound mark. Tuker Knight & Otis Dozovic won’t be pushed around by anybody, that’s for sure. They’re all about steaks & weights, and who isn’t? They seem like fun cats that could be a fun team for years.

The main downside? They’re a tag team! As much as we all love our tag team wrestling, we know its not a priority for WWE. You probably remember what happened to your favorite NXT tag teams.

American Alpha: Did very little, then broke up when Jason Jordan became Kurt Angle’s son.
The Revival: Got beat up by DX & Balor Club at Raw 25 and everybody thought it meant big things ahead. It hasn’t as of yet.
AOP: Dropped Paul Ellering in favor of Drake “I pee my pants” Maverick.
The Ascension: LOL WTF
Vaudevillains: One got fired & the other hung out with Rusev for awhile.
Sanity: Are they still there? Well, they actually did something this week so you’re saying there’s a chance.

I’m not going to buy a tag team coming out of NXT for a very long time, no matter who it is. I hope that these fellas prove me wrong, but I can’t see them emerging from the abyss that NXT tag teams go into on the main roster.

Nikki Cross

Nikki’s already made one main roster appearance, as she accepted Becky Lynch’s open challenge on the November 6 edition of SmackDown Live. It was pretty amazing, as I didn’t recognize Sanity’s entrance music until they appeared and brought her out. Those poor boys have not had much to do since their call-up. I mean, you could get away with not associating Nikki with Sanity & a lot of the audience would not know better.

But if this week’s SD was a sign of things to come, and Sanity is actually part of plans going forward, Nikki needs to be right on their side kicking ass & taking names. Build her up with them, and once the time is right she can challenge Asuka, Charlotte, Becky or whoever is there when the dust settles.

Unless everybody hates Sanity, this is what will happen. Hell, it puts Nikki over even more to make her addition be what puts the group over the top. If we want to put NXT more over, this is a perfect way to do it. I feel like Nikki will be fine either way. She’s got that crazy charisma about her that you can push her as a challenger every few months. It’ll be better if she gets pushed with Sanity at the same time.


The minute that the man known to Impact Wrestling fans as Ethan Carter III appeared on camera at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, we knew that trouble was on its way. After bouncing around WWE developmental territories & weird-ass NXT seasons for years, EC3 came into his own when he arrived in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Ethan Carter III was the spoiled nephew of TNA Owner Dixie Carter, and he was treated like a big deal from the moment he first appeared. Oddly enough, when people are treated like a big deal from the beginning, sometimes they keep being a big deal. EC3 was one of the shining lights in TNA throughout his time there.

Sometimes you need to get out of WWE to find yourself, and much like Drew McIntyre figured things out and made himself better during his time away, EC3 began to achieve his full potential as a performer. I think they helped each other out with that, actually.

EC3 is a ready-made WWE Superstar that will fit in on any spot on any brand. If you want him to be a heel champion on any level, he can do it. He’s better at the heel thing than the face thing, but I feel like he can make some hay on the babyface side as well. He’s a lot like Bobby Roode in that he’s already a proven commodity upon his call-up, and NXT was kind of a waste of time for him. The difference is that Roode’s six years older. Though, Roode at least got the “Glorious” entrance music out of his time with NXT. I think EC3’s TNA theme was better than his NXT one.

I feel like EC3’s path will be similar to Roode’s. They’ll struggle for awhile to figure out what to do with somebody that can do basically anything. They’ll shoehorn him into the worst possible role. Then they’ll put him in a tag team. I feel like EC3 & Roode would be a hell of a tag team, actually. Maybe they could do that once the Roode/Gable team runs its course.

Final Thought

We all know by now that success in NXT does not equal success on the WWE main roster. I could argue that the most successful NXT product on the main roster this year was Elias, and he was far from popular with the NXT Universe. Everybody being called up could easily succeed. They have that potential, as long as they aren’t hamstrung by people that don’t want future stars to be a thing. There’s no reason for somebody to sink any of these talents except out of spite.

The biggest sign of change would be for everybody on this list to succeed beyond our wildest expectations. I would love that. At the same time, I recognize the reality of the situation. If we’re lucky, one or two will succeed.

If I had to pick one that would work, it’s Lacey Evans. If I had to pick two, I’d add EC3 in there. It’s gonna take some effort from WWE Creative to make them not work. I love Nikki’s weirdness & Heavy Machinery’s work, but I can see creative messing them up. Lars has enough of an x-factor to possibly overcome it.

WWE talks a good game about changing things up. The real sign they actually will comes down to the success of these folks. If none of them become big money ball players, nothing has changed. If they all do, then business has by gawd picked up.

article topics :

NXT, WWE, WWE Smackdown, Steve Cook