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5 stars who struggled in NXT but are soaring on the main roster

Gary Cassidy
Top 5 / Top 10
27.51K   //    21 Feb 2018, 04:22 IST

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Some NXT outcasts have found their way on the main roster

So, last week I posted a feature on the five NXT Superstars who have found themselves in a bit of a sticky patch on the main roster. I thought it would only be fair to look at the other end of the scale - the hidden gems unearthed from NXT who have exceeded all expectations since being brought to RAW or SmackDown in the WWE!

There's no doubt some Superstars have done it all, huge in NXT and translated perfectly to the main roster, even using the yellow brand to hone their craft and polish themselves before jumping up - like we've seen from the likes of Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

But who has been, sorry Buddy Murphy, NXT's best-kept secret?

I'm going to give a rundown of five Superstars who shocked the world with their NXT call-ups, and have taken the ball and ran with it on the main roster.

I have one honourable mention in the form of Braun Strowman - while he did compete in NXT very briefly and has gone straight to the top of the main roster - I felt that I should stick to Superstars who had a run on NXT television rather than a handful of live events.

With that being said, here's to the five hidden gems!

#5 Rusev

Rusev hit a slight dip in form, but his main roster run has seen him soar on several occasions

So, while Rusev never quite hit the heights of the NXT Championship on the yellow brand, his run was by no means a disaster - hence only making the fifth spot on this list.

It should be said that Rusev actually had a pretty triumphant end to his NXT run, but in the early days, he seemed to be seen predominantly as a tag team wrestler, having been teamed with Scott Dawson for a short run after losing to Dolph Ziggler and in a battle royal won by Bo Dallas.


In a short run towards the end of his spell, Rusev actually defeated three main roster talents while still on NXT - Sin Cara, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston. Rusev was one of those off ones who appeared on NXT even after his call-up and, while his NXT run wasn't by any means bad, he hit the ground running on the main roster.

Rusev went on a one-year undefeated streak with Lana by his side, won the United States Championship and even made his WrestleMania entrance in a tank in the culmination of a lengthy feud with John Cena. While he suffered a slight dip in form, Rusev has taken on a new form recently, being possibly the most over man on the entire WWE roster - a move no-one could have predicted during his time in NXT.

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Gary Cassidy
Gary Cassidy is a freelance journalist from Glasgow, Scotland, specialising in professional wrestling with Sportskeeda. Gary has ten years' writing experience and a 2:1 Honours degree, and is also a subtitler working on both live and prerecorded broadcast for television channels across the UK, USA and Australia.
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