A Breakout Star; Former UK Champion - 5 NXT stars who could debut in the Royal Rumble

Carmelo Hayes is one of the most polished stars in NXT.
Carmelo Hayes is one of the most polished stars in NXT

One staple of the Royal Rumble in the past few years has been the inclusion of performers from NXT. Before Sami Zayn joined the main roster, he entered the 2016 Royal Rumble.

Stars like Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne (Butch), Damien Priest, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, Iyo Sky, and Candice LeRae all entered the match while members of NXT.


The 2022 Royal Rumble broke from that tradition as the big surprises were Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey. Celebrities Bad Bunny and Johnny Knoxville also entered the match.

With Triple H now in charge of Creative, expect NXT to again have a presence in the 2023 Royal Rumble. The roster is full of talented stars that can fill out both fields of 30 competitors.

When it comes to which NXT performers can debut, however, only a select few make sense. The next five NXT wrestlers could participate and/or debut in the 2023 Royal Rumble.

#5 The Royal Rumble is a perfect spot for Cameron Grimes' debut

Grimes has been ready for a call-up for quite some time
Grimes has been ready for a call-up for quite some time

Grimes debuted for NXT three years ago in the first-ever Breakout Tournament. He's a one-time North American Champion and has already made appearances on the main roster.

His last feud featured an ongoing angle against Joey Gacy and the Schism. Grimes needed backup so he went to RAW and asked the OC for help. They obliged after he handed them a big bag of cash.

Grimes' last match was a month ago in another losing effort to Gacy. He's been off of TV since then, which likely means he's headed to the main roster. The easiest way for Grimes to debut would be to enter the 2023 Royal Rumble. His goofy demeanor could fill in for Riddle while he's off the TV.

#4 Alba Fyre has been a regular in NXT

Alba Fyre's feud with Isla Dawn could be her last angle in NXT
Alba Fyre's feud with Isla Dawn could be her last angle in NXT

Fyre might have been the longest-reigning NXT UK Women's Champion, but her tenure in NXT hasn't been as successful. She's challenged for the Women's title on a few occasions but was unsuccessful in those bids. Fyre also competed in WarGames and other high-profile matches on special episodes of NXT.

Isla Dawn debuted a few weeks ago, costing Fyre in her latest attempt to capture the NXT Women's title. Alba also fell in her ensuing match against the newly-arrived Dawn.

Since Fyre has dropped her last few matches, she could be on her way to the main roster. Despite all of the additions to RAW and SmackDown, new faces always keep things fresh. How she'd fit in is another story, but her journey seems like it should start at the upcoming Royal Rumble.

#3 JD McDonagh could join his mentor Finn Balor

.@Sanga_WWE & @VeerMahaan REALLY want the Creed Brothers at 100%#WWENXT

Like Alba Fyre, McDonagh was a mainstay in NXT UK. He was prominently featured there and that has continued since his move to the States. McDonagh hasn't captured gold but has been a consistent presence in title chases.

It's likely because he's one of the more technically sound performers. Performers newer to the craft can always learn the tricks of the trade from veterans. The Irish Ace is a good star to learn from in NXT.

Despite being one of the safer workers in NXT, his ceiling has been limited by already losing twice to Bron Breakker. He competed in the Iron Survivor match but was the only participant not to score a fall. The Irish Ace can move to the main roster with an official debut in the Royal Rumble.

#2 Carmelo Hayes is one of the top stars in NXT

Once Carmelo Hayes burst onto the scene during the second Breakout Tournament, it was easy to see his potential. He was already one of the best all-around performers in both the ring and on the mic.

The A-Champ was synonymous with the North American title, winning it twice during his NXT tenure. He almost won the Iron Survivor Match but was outsmarted at the last minute by Grayson Waller.

If Hayes isn't going to win the NXT Championship in the near future, then he should officially debut in the Royal Rumble. He's already solid in the ring and confident enough in promos to carry himself. His style will allow him to impress main-roster fans with ease.

#1 Indi Hartwell has been in NXT for several years

Indi could have more success if paired back with Candice LeRae
Indi could have more success if paired back with Candice LeRae

If there's one NXT star who could truly benefit from a move to the main roster, it's Indi Hartwell. Hartwell has had difficulty standing out on her own once the rest of the Way moved to RAW.

It would be easy to have her rejoin Candice LeRae and Dexter Lumis on the main roster. The easiest way for that to happen is to take part in the Royal Rumble. She and LeRae could have a moment during the match and rekindle their partnership.

Moving up to RAW would also give LeRae an ally against Bayley and Damage CTRL. Hartwell isn't going to be the NXT Women's Champion so the best bet would be to move up to RAW by debuting in the Royal Rumble.

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Edited by Ashvinkumar Patil
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