What should fans expect on the first SmackDown after WrestleMania? The RAW after WrestleMania came and went without any debuts from NXT stars. Bron Breakker did appear on RAW, defeating Dolph Ziggler for the NXT Championship. He then successfully defended the belt the next night against GUNTHER.
Tuesday had some noteworthy moments during NXT. Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai, who won the NXT Women's tag titles at Stand & Deliver on April 2, lost the championship to Toxic Attraction (Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne) on April 5.
With such a quick turnaround with those championships, could it mean Gonzalez is on her way to RAW or SmackDown?
Tuesday's show came and went without appearances from some of the brand's top stars. After losses at Stand & Deliver, LA Knight, Tommaso Ciampa, and Io Shirai didn't appear. Cora Jade and Kay Lee Ray were also absent.
The absences could've been to feature rematches or other stars of the brand. Another reason could be that some performers might be joining SmackDown. Here are five NXT stars who could debut on SmackDown after WrestleMania:
#5. Fabian Aichner left Imperium in the dust on NXT
LA Knight could've taken the spot, but he might debut on RAW to help AJ Styles. That angle looks like it's leading to a tag match, and Knight helped Styles in NXT.
The Italian Strongman has been with WWE since the Cruiserweight Classic. Aichner deserted his partner, Marcel Barthel, on the latest episode of NXT. Imperium was facing the Creeds, but he must've been tired of working with the group.
Aichner has a special blend of power and athleticism. With Cesaro departing, he could fill the strongman role on SmackDown. Imperium's dissolution could still play out in NXT, but don't be surprised if Fabian Aichner shows up on Friday night.
#4. Io Shirai could be moving on after Stand & Deliver
Both Shirai and Kay Lee Ray were unsuccessful in their attempts to dethrone Mandy Rose. Rose walked out of Stand & Deliver with the NXT Women's title. She'll face Dakota Kai next week with the title on the line.
Shirai has won the women's title and the women's tag team titles. She's one of the most gifted in-ring performers and deserves a bigger stage. The Genius of the Sky also has a history with SmackDown's Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair.
She won the NXT Women's title in a triple threat with Flair two years ago. The Boss then faced Shirai in a featured singles match over that summer. SmackDown needs depth in its divisions, and Shirai would be a great addition.
#3. Tommaso Ciampa is more than ready to join SmackDown
Ciampa essentially said goodbye to the NXT faithful. After losing to Tony D'Angelo, he had a proper send-off at Stand & Deliver. In matches featuring the NXT title, The Blackheart appeared on RAW on the Road to WrestleMania. He also appeared on RAW and SmackDown a few years ago.
Since Ciampa has already given an official goodbye, he should be joining the main roster. He's still in great shape and has a lot to offer. SmackDown could use his services after over 100 releases and departures over the last two years.
Check out Ciampa's exclusive interview with Sportskeeda Wrestling:
#2. Raquel Gonzalez has had great success in NXT
Raquel Gonzalez is a former NXT Women's Champion and a two-time NXT Women's Tag Team champ. She returned at the Stand & Deliver go-home episode to reunite with Kai. The duo challenged and defeated Toxic Attraction at Stand & Deliver.
However, the reunion was short-lived as Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne regained the titles on NXT. Gonzalez took the pin after Dolin & Jayne targeted her injured ankle. With such a quick title swap, it could mean Gonzalez is moving on to SmackDown or RAW.
After wrestling in dark matches, she was positioned for a main-roster call-up a few months ago. As mentioned above, SmackDown needs help across all its divisions. Gonzalez would provide a legitimate threat to Flair or whoever holds the SmackDown Women's title.
#1. GUNTHER's loss to Bron Breakker could signal a move to the main roster
Once Bron Breakker regained the NXT title on RAW, it shook up the list of challengers for the championship. Breakker is a face, and it seemed like a matter of time before he squared off with GUNTHER.
GUNTHER was a former NXT UK champ before moving across the pond. The Austrian was the first challenger for Breakker following Stand & Deliver. WWE should've saved the pairing for the TakeOver events or special episodes of NXT.
However, part of why he did face Bron could've been because he's moving up to SmackDown. It might also be why Aichner left Imperium on the same show. The blue brand is more of a no-nonsense brand. GUNTHER fits that better than the three-hour drama that is RAW.
We asked two former WWE head writers about Vince McMahon stepping back from the company. Click here.