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CHIVERTON'S NXT SCOUTING REPORT - Year-End Review: Who are WWE's top prospects heading into 2013?

Jan 7, 2013 - 7:19:36 AM
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NXT Weekly Rankings & Evaluation
By George Chiverton, PWTorch NXT specialist


With WWE airing a year-in-review episode of NXT at the end of 2012, I may as well do the same. This is my final rankings for the year complete with some final analysis at the top and the bottom.

Final NXT Rankings for 2012

(1) Bray Wyatt (-)
(2) Kassius Ohno (-)
(3) Paige (-)
(4) Seth Rollins (-)
(5) Corey Graves (-)
(6) Bronson (debut)
(7) Jake Carter (-)
(8) Big E. Langston (-)
(9) Richie Steamboat (-)
(10) Roman Reigns (debut)
(11) Bo Dallas (-)
(12) The Ascension (-)
(13) Jason Jordon (-)
(14) Leo Kruger (-)
Waiting List - Luke Harper, Nemo Montenegro, Xavier Woods, Sasha Banks, Luke Harper, Rowan

Allow me to prequel everything I say with an explanation of the rankings and what they represent. Those at the top of my list are not necessarily the best in the eyes of WWE, or the most suited to join the main roster. However if I were in control of a promotion they would be my choices to earn me money.

- In Bray Wyatt there is nothing but positives to come from me. His gimmick of a swamp preacher is totally unique and utterly convincing. His acting is completely unmatched in NXT and - given the opportunity - he could skyrocket to success in WWE. Although injuries plagued his career towards the end of the year, his promos kept him relevant throughout this time and WWE has trusted him with a stable featuring indy star Luke Harper (formely Brodie Lee) and FCW standout Rowan. This will no doubt be a highlight of 2013.

- Kassius Ohno and Seth Rollins are similar in terms of background both coming with high regards from Ring of Honor. Seth has already made his mark on mainstream WWE as part of The Shield, but his contribution to the rebooted and repackaged NXT will be what I remember from his early career. As the first NXT champion, Seth carried the brand with a strong, if slightly bland, face persona. The title matches were well-built, well-promoted, and very well-executed. NXT does something Raw and Smackdown rarely does in making any appearance from the main champion special. Even interviews were main event material, which helped elevate Rollins to the star NXT needed.

Ohno and Rollins are exceptionally well-trained, internationally-revered, and have years of experience on their side. Both can have a great match and will perform on the mic if needed. Personally, I prefer Ohno, as represented in my rankings, for his strikes and uniquely personal mic work were his personality shines through. He feels less scripted and more himself whenever given the chance to talk. Pairing Rollins with Ambrose seems to be the way around this.

- On The Shield, Ambrose fits into the indy star slot, too, whereas Roman Reigns comes from the legendary Anoa'i family, whose legacy extends to virtually every American Samoan wrestler ever. He never really performed on NXT, but carried himself with an X-Factor, which gave him the image of main event star. The collective performance of all three men and TLC and since has legitimized their collective swagger and potential.

- Another star who has recently transitioned to the main roster is the monstrous Big E. Langston, who was a massive draw for NXT. The idea of Langston demanding a five count instead of a three is nothing new, but an effective build for the monster face. He can cut a decent promo (especially compared to recent monsters like Ezekiel Jackson and Mason Ryan) although pairing him with a good talker like Dolph Ziggler seems a good idea for now. A showdown with Ryback now seems like an inevitability and could be a fun clash of the titans encounter.

- Perhaps the greatest find from NXT has been the 'Raven-haired lady' Paige. The British wrestler is nothing short of brilliant with fantastic technical skills and an un-matched connection with the NXT universe. She was initially presented as a jobber, but through her natural charisma made a connection to the audience which earned her a deserved push. If WWE were to re-invent the Divas division (as was suggested when Kharma debuted) there could be a vehicle to doing this in Paige.

- Their are other stars currently in NXT who also deserve a spotlight. Corey Graves and Jake Carter were initially and odd couple pairing but were rightfully split. Graves with tattoos, a submission finisher, and a strong striking element to his offense looks a great prospect. Carter has a touch of Cody Rhodes about him being a good looking and technically-sound Superstar. His movement around the ring is pronounced and for his size, he can sell very well. As the son of Vader, he also has a legend to ask for advise from which as many second generation stars prove is not to be under-rated.

- Richie Steamboat, Bo Dallas, and Jason Jordan all have some great potential but, for me, need time to develop personality and in-ring skills. Richie is the most ready, but rushing his main roster debut would benefit no one. He is missing colour at the moment to add to his fun offense and his last name. Time will bring this. Dallas needs to work off his green-ness which will come with time, too. He needs to build a persona beyond 'happy go lucky.' As for Jordan, he is still in his rookie year, but the blue chipper has a look and a natural ability to learn, which could see him go far.

- The Ascension started off by totally bugging me. They seemed silly and an example of where a gimmick can get out of hand. Roaring and snarling to the ring, they would then proceed to wrestle an animalistic / twighlight style. But then they got over with the crowd and developed some interesting offense between them. The crowd reactions grew and, although it went on too long, their feud with the Usos made some good matches. They could succeed if given the right package introduction although they could equally flop.

- Finally Leo Kruger. Oh Leo. His gimmicks have been numerous, confused, and ineffective. His ring work is dull and he has not garnered a single reaction from the Full Sail audience. Of all the stars shown, he has the most to prove in 2013.

So there it is, a full run down of WWE's next stars to be. 2013 could see the NXT debut of the unbelievable indy star PAC or maybe a new inflow of talent. Will it be Kill Steen Kill? Or will an unbreakable Canadian crazy horse run rampant? Or perhaps even the Super Smash Bros. will get a 1 Up? Only time will tell, although if someone could make that all happen, I'd be very happy.

Happy New Year everyone!


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