Grading every NXT call-up to WWE in 2017
Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura have had contrasting years.
Sometimes a Superstar is called up from NXT and you just know they’re destined to succeed in WWE. Other times, it’s not so simple.
Someone can have the greatest run in the history of NXT but when they make it to the main roster, a familiar phrase is posted all over social media: “I hope WWE doesn’t mess this up.”
Looking back to last year, 2016 saw the successful main-roster debuts of Baron Corbin and Alexa Bliss, among others, and the not-so-successful debuts of Apollo Crews and Simon Gotch.
In this article, with the exception of Asuka, who has only just debuted, and Killian Dain and Tian Bing, who made appearances at WrestleMania but remain in NXT, let's take a look at all seven 2017 call-ups and give them a grade from A to F.
#1 Samoa Joe
After almost two years in NXT, Samoa Joe made his WWE main-roster debut when he attacked Seth Rollins on Raw in January. The beat-down was so brutal that it re-injured Seth’s knee and he only just returned in time for his long-awaited match with Triple H at WrestleMania 33 – a show “The Destroyer” wasn’t even on.
Not the best of starts, you might say, but things have gotten better and better for Joe as the year has developed. He featured in the main event of three straight pay-per-views between June and August, during which time he won the Fatal 5-Way match at Extreme Rules and reportedly impressed Brock Lesnar during their encounters.
Considering the way some former NXT champions have been booked in WWE, this has been a brilliant first year on the main roster for “The Samoan Submission Machine”.