NXT Fake Rankings, 5/8/2021
Men's singles division - babyfaces
Kushida (NXT cruiserweight champion)
Men's singles division - heels
Karrion Kross (NXT men's champion)
Johnny Gargano (NXT North American champion)
Unranked: Ari Sterling, Asher Hale, August Grey, Austin Theory, Ikemen Jiro
WWE used to meticulously update the rosters on their website to reflect which people were called up to which brands, but at some point in the past year they let it slide. I'll try to keep track of wrestlers who appear regularly, but aren't listed on the site, by putting their names in italics.
I've decided to stop listing the cruiserweight division separately. When you accept 205 Live as a filler show for job guy matches, it makes a lot more sense.
With the NXT-AEW war out of the way, NXT can now refocus on its original (and contradictory) goals of grooming new stars for Raw/Smackdown while also building its own stars to become an equivalent to Raw/Smackdown. Balor, Cole, Gargano, and O'Reilly (along with Pete Dunne and Tommaso Ciampa) are a solid base to build around, and don't appear to be going anywhere. But I don't see that group really elevating a lot of guys outside of Kross, Reed, and Lumis, who are clearly going to end up being the next wave of big dudes on Raw and Smackdown.
It's hard for me to imagine anybody else on this list becoming a big difference maker for NXT over the next two years. I certainly don't see anyone that will move to the "main roster" and get better treatment than Keith Lee or Ricochet. Maybe now that they're not in direct competition with Dynamite, NXT can work on building for the future instead of next week's rating. Or maybe the long-term damage has already been done. We'll see.
Men's tag team division - babyfaces
Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher
MSK - Nash Carter & Wes Lee (NXT men's tag team champions)
Killian Dain & Drake Maverick
Breezango - Tyler Breeze & Fandango
Ever-Rise - Chase Parker & Matt Martel
The Bollywood Boyz - Sunil Singh & Samir Singh
Men's tag team division - heels
Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde
Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel
The Grizzled Young Veterans - Zack Gibson & James Drake
Ariya Daivari & Tony Nese
It feels to me like the Thatcher/Ciampa team is bound to split up, but that may just be because each guy made their name off of breaking up a beloved tag team. I also keep expecting the Dain-Maverick odd couple story to actually go somewhere, so what do I know?
Aichner and Martel are officially listed on the NXT UK roster, but I think they happened to be in Orlando when the pandemic shut everything down and nobody ever bothered to acknowledge that they effectively switched brands. Ever-Rise, the Bollywood Boyz, and Daivari-Nese make up the core of 205 Live, endlessly wrestling each other and rarely making it onto the main NXT show.
Women's singles division - babyfaces
Women's singles division - heels
Unranked: Jessi Kamea, Zayda Ramier
Women's tag team division - babyfaces
Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart
Women's tag team division - heels
Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell (NXT women's tag team champions)
The NXT women's division is one of those things that sounds great until you actually look at the details and realize it's not all that it's cracked up to be. The current champion (Raquel Gonzalez) and the last champion (Io Shirai) haven't had a match in just over a month. The #1 heel (Martinez) is chasing the title and the #2 heel (Storm) is doing a losing streak angle with the rookies (Stark, Ramier) The tag division has exactly two teams in it. How is this deeper, or better, than anything Raw or Smackdown does with their women?
It's all well and good to do a photo op with Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, and Raquel Gonzalez together representing the triumph of NXT. (By the way, I'm so proud that NXT's ladies finally took over from...*checks notes* NXT alumnae Asuka, Sasha Banks, and Io Shirai.) WWE and NXT have lots of talented women, but their impact is dulled when they are siloed into four brands, so that each woman wrestles the same 3-4 opponents all the time.
To give women's wrestling its due, WWE/NXT needs to call up (at least) 20 more women for a proper expansion. The typical excuse here is that the women in developmental aren't ready, but that's bullshit because they've had years to work on this. At some point you have to admit that either the developmental system sucks or the company only recruits enough women to maintain a sideshow.
No matches in 30 days: AJ Francis, Aliyah, Boa, Briana Brandy, Brian Kendrick, Franky Monet, Io Shirai, Jessamyn Duke, Kacy Catanzaro, Kayden Carter, Marina Shafir, Mei Ying, Pete Dunne, Raquel Gonzalez (NXT women's champion), Rinku, Saurav, Tyler Rust, Vanessa Borne, Velveteen Dream, Xia Li
It feels like NXT had a lot of people on the bench throughout the Wednesday Night War. I don't know if you can chalk that up to stockpiling talent, or hotshotting storylines, or losing track of people, or what. For all I know many of these wrestlers have unreported injuries. For the sake of argument, though, let's just assume everyone here is able-bodied and ready to work.
It's past time they fish or cut bait with Kendrick, Duke, Shafir, Rinku, Saurav, and Borne. Figure out what to do with them or let them be useful for someone else. I don't know of a good reason why you wouldn't have Gonzalez, Shirai, Aliyah, Shirai, Monet, Catanzaro, and Carter in the ring right now, when you need all the women you can get.
Francis and Brandy just showed up as part of a new faction with Isaiah Scott and Ashante Adonis, so we'll see how they're doing in a few months. The Boa/Mei Ying/Xia Li faction never went anywhere, though, so even in NXT you can't count on having a storyline to keep you out of catering. Dunne is doing that stupid thing where a wrestler does weeks of promos about wanting opportunities instead of just winning a bunch of matches. Rust seems to have fallen off the face of the earth.
As for Velveteen Dream...look, they clearly don't believe the allegations against Dream, but they're never going to convince the fandom to just let it drop. This isn't Jerry Lawler in 1993. It's very possible that Dream's career ended 11 months ago, and it's just a question of how long WWE wants to pay him to pretend it isn't.
Arturo Ruas (right arm - biceps tear)
Bobby Fish (arm - triceps laceration)
Curt Stallion (wrist - fracture)
Danny Burch (shoulder - separation)
Kona Reeves (shoulder - labrum tear)
Ridge Holland (left leg - ankle fracture, patellar tendon tear)
Roderick Strong (storyline - "gave notice")
Tegan Nox (leg - ACL tear)
Information about NXT injuries is hard to come by, whether it's internal policy or because the wrestlers make fewer headlines. The only one here that I'm expecting to see soon is Strong, since his angle seems to be designed for him to pop up on Raw or Smackdown.