Will the brand split cause another Indy invasion?
It wasn't too long ago that WWE creative made it obvious that they were having a difficult time creating stars out of the talent they had on the roster. So, what did they do? They went into the independent scene and started sniping talent, left and right. Guys like CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Claudio Castagnoli would soon become globally recognized names, performing on the biggest stage in all of the professional wrestling, WWE.
In the years since what some may consider the first true indy invasion, there has been a cultural change all throughout the industry. Scouring the independent ranks was once a taboo thought, but has now become a viable resource for the future of the WWE. Not only in the United States but indy promotions all over the world are being taken more seriously now, all because the response and respect they now get from WWE powers that be.
With this in mind, are we in fact headed towards yet another full-fledged indy invasion? We are only days away from the brand split and with that brand split comes opportunity. Not only opportunity for current main roster superstars, but also for NXT talents as well. Considering we will soon see two brands, both operating full schedules, which will require full rosters.
So, where will the talent be pulled from? Sure, the main roster is fairly stocked as of now, but what happens when the split takes place and the draft is complete? Of course, we will see some of NXT'S top names get the call-up, but that will still leave a void with the yellow brand. The bottom line is, we will be seeing some new, fresh faces in the coming weeks and months.
Who will get the call from NXT? The first names that come to mind, are guys like Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Bálor, maybe American Alpha, Samoa Joe and Austin Aries. This will all ultimately depend on how many of the lower tier NXT talents are prepared to step up, start taking some of that TV time and start contending for titles.
Stars like Tye Dillinger and Alexa Bliss will be expected to fill some gaps left behind by fellow talent who may be called up. The NXT rookies will also be asked to dig deep and prepare themselves for a possible fast-track to NXT TV.
Even with the guys and girls who may get elevated from NXT to either Raw or Smackdown, there is still a high degree probability that some of today's best independent talent will be given a hard look. WWE currently has the luxury of getting a closer look at some of today's top free agents, via the Cruiserweight Classic, which is currently under way in Orlando.
But, even outside of that particular tournament, there's still a plethora of quality indy talent. Zack Sabre Jr., Will Osprey, Ricochet, Adam Cole, Kenny Omega and Jay Lethal are just a few names that could spearhead a potential invasion.
It's an exciting time to be a WWE fan. Sometimes uncertainty brings about higher levels of excitement. Not only that, but competition breeds top tier entertainment. There are independent wrestlers all over the world, leaving everything they have in the ring, putting on the performances of their lives, all in hopes of being seen by someone in Stamford.
Regardless if there's an invasion or not, there's certainly plenty of room at the table for top talent. The evolution of the NXT system has enabled WWE to stockpile as much talent as they feel like paying for.
Will there be an indy invasion? That's a hard question to answer at this point. However, if someone would've told me 10 years ago that Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Kalisto and Seth Rollins would've all been on the WWE main roster, with Dean Ambrose as the World Champion...I would've told you to seek help. So, with that thought, an indy invasion is far from foolish thinking.