The ratings war between All Elite Wrestling and NXT continues to bubble and boil, but in amongst the Jon Moxleys, the Orange Cassidys and Darby Allins, there’s quite a few wrestlers who haven’t quite carved out their niche on the Dynamite roster.
AEW have culminated some of the greatest wrestling talent in the world and giving them their rightful time in the spotlight; breeding their own talent while also tapping into the potential of those gone to waste in WWE. Nevertheless, there’s also a great deal of talent who have been left to flounder slightly, begging the question of whether they’re in the right place.
With NXT’s roster slowly diminishing due to call-ups and a lack of hype behind them, there’s definitely room for a few faces from AEW’s ranks to jump ship and cause another spike in the battle for supremacy. Much like the original inter-promotional war of the late 90’s, superstars from both WWF and WCW traded back and forth in an attempt to reinvigorate their careers in amongst the chaos of the Monday Night Wars. For some, it worked a treat, but that only really applied to about 50% of those who did take the risk.
In this case, we hope that the following 5 wrestlers who might find themselves better off in NXT, would indeed manage to swim in deep waters. Personally, I think it would be smart booking to give anyone from AEW the big push, showing that the grass is greener in the big time rather than the glorified independents. With that in mind, here’s 5 AEW wrestlers that could make the trade.
Make sure you throw down any of your own thoughts on who could/should make the jump from AEW to NXT down in the comments below.
1. Lance Archer
Lance Archer has been one of those rare cases where taking a step away from mainstream wrestling has done nothing but favours for his career. Since revamping his look and style as part of NJPW, Archer has become one of the most highly sought after big men in recent memory. Now a part of the AEW roster, his fire has somewhat diminished since losing to Cody at Double or Nothing.
At first, it seemed as if Archer was being groomed to become the next big thing in AEW, being given the legendary Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts as his manager and mouthpiece and instantly put into the running for the TNT Championship. Unfortunately, Archer has since fallen down into the mid-card, failing to get any feud off the ground despite still being given the monster heel run. Perhaps its a little too late for AEW to really make a deal out of ‘The Muderhawk Monster’ and NXT might be the better place for him.
Having already competed for WWE in the past, it would make for a pretty nice story for him to return with this revamped gimmick and attitude to make a go of things. You know Vince would take one look at him now and want to push him to the moon and plus I imagine Triple H would be all over his grungy look. Archer has the look and intensity to make him a marketable star for WWE.
2. Joey Janela
‘The Bad Boy’ has been consistently booked as one of AEW’s biggest deals in the mid-card scene, but despite this he’s yet to pick up a big win. Every time Janela gets a bit of momentum, he’s thrown back down the pecking order by a crushing loss to someone like Jon Moxley, Brodie Lee or Lance Archer, making him seem like a glorified chump as opposed to a future contender to one of AEW’s top championships.
Prior to signing to AEW, Joey Janela had become one of the biggest indie stars in the world, putting him on NXT’s radar before being snapped up elsewhere. At first, I would have believed that AEW was the best place for the mastermind behind the Spring Break shows, but instead it seems to be holding him back from securing time to show his true personality.
As of writing, Janela seems to be trying his hand in the Tag division, teaming alongside fellow colourful character, Sonny Kiss. They seem to be clicking together and becoming one of the more popular undercard teams, but like many others, I see Janela as a singles star who has lost a lot of credibility since joining All Elite Wrestling. It might be time for ‘The Bad Boy’ to bring his services to the black and gold brand.
3. Awesome Kong
Awesome Kong has undoubtedly been one of the biggest names in women’s wrestling since the mid 00’s, even getting a brief run in WWE as Kharma. It’s a shame that timings just didn’t marry up for Kong, as it looked like WWE were willing to run with her as the top of their division at the time. Even though the Women’s Evolution wasn’t quite about at that point, she’s a character with enough longevity in her to have eventually reaped the benefits of having some decent opponents to bounce off of.
During her time outside of the squared circle, Kong became best known for her work in the Netflix series G.L.O.W, keeping her in the conversation to then make her a huge signing for All Elite Wrestling when they first announced their women’s division. Kong was given the role of coach among the women’s locker room, a great candidate for sure. Overall, this is a pretty great standing for the latter stages of her career, but will we ever actually see her compete again? Probably not when AEW are doing their best to build a youthful division.
Should Kong ever look to dominate the ring once again like only she can, then maybe NXT would be the best venture for her. Having already made a connection with the WWE Universe, the former Kharma could certainly make some waves by showing up at Full Sail to destroy the competition and put over a few more stars on her way out.
Seeing her compete with the likes of Io Shirai, Rhea Ripley and Tegan Nox would be dream match material, so let’s make this happen, Trips.
4. The Butcher and The Blade
I’ll admit, prior to their AEW debut, I had no idea who The Butcher and The Blade were, but honestly I’ve never been more surprised.
They’ve won me over in a massive way with not just their look but their match quality as well, they’ve become unsung heroes of the AEW Tag division and deserve a lot more credit than they’re getting. Even though they strike me as the kind of team that would soon go to waste on the main roster, as part of NXT, I see these two throwback stars thriving.
NXT has been known for high-quality tag wrestling over the years, if anywhere’s going to make the most of the unique style of these two guys, then it’s going to be in that environment. Thinking about the matches we could see between Butcher and The Blade: The Undisputed Era, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch, Breezango, plenty of mouth-watering material for NXT fans to sink their teeth into.
Even though I’m sure these two will get their time in AEW’s incredible division, there may just be a little too much talent involved right now for them to make the most of the momentum.
5. Matt Hardy
It seems like the world has soured on Matt Hardy since making his Dynamite debut this year. The Broken gimmick has started to run its course with the fans and there isn’t many other of his multifarious personalities that’s connecting with the audience. Hardy still has plenty to offer in his career, and it seems to be drifting more towards establishing new talent.
NXT is rife with fresh stars waiting for their big moment, aligning them with Matt Hardy would be a huge way to get them off the ground if he was willing to return to WWE so soon after leaving. Whether it be in refining their already decent tag division, which seems to be his current motif in AEW (other than giving Sammy Guevara his own), or whether it’s working with those who are willing to go the extra mile with their characters.
Matt Hardy isn’t anywhere close to wrapping things up just yet, and his mastery of all things cinematic is more than needed to help get either company through this trying period of history. Maybe NXT will be calling him back sooner than he thought.
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