5 greatest NXT Superstars who never wrestled on the main roster
Since the launch of NXT in 2010, we have seen many stars grow and prosper from the development brand and make their way to the main roster. At that point, it was up to them to either make it or break it.
Some stars have become a huge success on the WWE roster - guys like Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Charlotte Flair, Rhea Ripley, and so many more.
However, there were a good few that never got to see the light of day on the WWE main roster. That’s not to say these stars didn’t have what it takes, but they never wrestled for Raw or SmackDown - either by their own choice or because they were released before getting the opportunity to move up the ladder.
Today, we look at five of the greatest NXT Superstars who have never wrestled on the main roster.
#5 – Bull Dempsey
Bull Dempsey was a star that was big and did have potential, but he never got the proper push in the right direction. He was initially signed by WWE in 2013 as an enhancement talent but would later move up to squashing guys on the lower card.
Dempsey’s biggest rivalry was with Baron Corbin, who he would lose his then-unbeaten streak to in 2015. After that, his gimmick was changed to someone who was subconsciously over his weight, starting his “Bull-Fit” club.
The gimmick never got off the ground, and his last match in NXT was a loss at the hands of Tommaso Ciampa.
Dempsey would depart the company in 2016. He is currently working on the independent circuit.
#4 – Franky Monet (Taya Valkyrie)
After a huge run in IMPACT Wrestling as Taya Valkyrie, she signed a deal with WWE and was sent to the NXT brand under the alias Franky Monet. She would make her debut for the brand in April 2021 confronting Raquel Gonzalez.
Monet maintained her feud/rivalry with Gonzalez throughout the run-up to November 2021, as she also became a member of the Robert Stone faction. Monet was released by the company in a round of budget cuts due to COVID-19.
Monet then made her return to IMPACT Wrestling and reverted to her original alias of Taya Valkyrie.
#3 – Ivelisse
Ivelisse wrestled for the NXT brand after signing a contract with WWE in 2012. She would make her debut under the name Sofia Cortez. She would only have a small handful of matches with Paige and Natalya.
Unfortunately, she never got a real chance to shine on the brand and move up the ladder, as she was released from the company later in the year, having wrestled her last match against Tamina.
Ivelisse is currently wrestling on the independent circuit, working for companies like SHIMMER and SHINE. She also made a few sporadic appearances for AEW in 2021.
#2 – Bronson Reed (JONAH)
Bronson Reed made his debut for the NXT brand in 2019 under the alias Jermaine Haley. After losing a few matches, he was repackaged as Bronson Reed. He had feuds with Dexter Lumis, Cameron Grimes and Adam Cole.
His biggest victory on the brand was over Johnny Gargano to become the NXT North American Champion in May 2020. He would lose the title almost a month later, then wrestle his final match for the company in June against Adam Cole.
Reed was released by WWE in August 2020, denying any rumors that he had signed a contract extension with the organization. He recently worked for IMPACT Wrestling under the name JONAH.
#1 - The longest-reigning NXT World Champion, Adam Cole
Adam Cole is without a doubt the biggest star from the NXT brand to never be given a spot on the WWE main roster. He wrestled for the brand between 2017 up until his release in 2021. Cole would form The Undisputed Era alongside Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong.
Cole would go on to win the World Championship, North American Championship, and Tag Team Championship over the course of those four years with the brand. His feuds and rivalries with Ricochet, Johnny Gargano, Tomasso Ciampa, Keith Lee, and Kyle O’Reilly were among the best matches in NXT history.
Cole also had the longest reign as NXT World Champion between 2019-2020. After failing to come to terms on a new contract, Cole would wrestle his last match with Kyle O’Reilly at TakeOver 36 in August 2021.
He would eventually make his debut for AEW a month later at the conclusion of the All Out pay-per-view.
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