By RJ Marceau
A series that hasn’t had an installment in about a year finally returns with my Top 5 Favorite WWE NXT Superstars. Past installments are here on the website (May 2015, October 2015, April 2016, November 2016). The turnover in NXT has been pretty decent with the Superstar Shakeup and call-ups from the beginning of the year. Before the honorable mention if you haven’t seen NXT Takeover Brooklyn III yet, you have to watch it after you read this article. I would say it was the best TakeOver so far with all 5 matches being good to great. NXT keeps showing why it has better wrestling than the main roster so if you want to see incredible in-ring action keep watching NXT.
Honorable Mention: Adam Cole
With his debut this past Saturday I couldn’t include him in the top 5 but his debut in NXT has been my most anticipated since NXT started recruiting Indy talent. Cole who just turned 28 years old in July will be a main event player in NXT and eventually the main roster. I love the pairing of Cole with Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish who he teamed with in ROH. Don’t be surprised if all three are holding NXT championships after the next NXT special which I believe is in Houston the night before Survivor Series.
5. Peyton Royce
Royce was on the last installment and she is still my favorite women's wrestler in NXT. The turnover in the women’s division hasn’t really changed and it doesn’t seem like Peyton will win the NXT Women’s Championship. Her partnership with Billie Kay has been good and the act is still good but she hasn’t been on TakeOver since San Antonio and has lost to Asuka every time she fought for the title. She will continue to remain in NXT but she is only 24 so the future looks bright for Royce.
4. Roderick Strong
Roderick Strong has come a long way in a year. He started off as a bland guy with no real personality but NXT finally gave him some character development. He defeated Andrade "Cien" Almas at San Antonio, he defeated Eric Young at Chicago and lost in a good match with Bobby Roode. Strong might get lost in limbo right now with the addition of Adam Cole but Strong has been great this past year.
3. Andrade "Cien" Almas
Andrade "Cien" Almas has had a very interesting NXT tenure with a lot of losses. After losing to Roderick Strong, Almas took some time off but returned with a new manager in Zelina Vega. He was able to defeat No Way Jose on an episode of NXT TV and beat Johnny Gargano at NXT: Brooklyn III in a great match. I don’t think Almas will ever get the main title but he will be a good midcarder on the main roster.
2. Johnny Gargano
Johnny Gargano returns to this list and stays at No. 2. Gargano is similar to Sami Zayn because they are both underdogs and great wrestlers. Gargano has done well since the splitting of DIY with a great match with Andrade Almas at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III. Gargano will continue to be relevant and will wait for his feud with Tommasa Ciampa. I hope they actually use him correctly and he isn’t relegated to 205 Live.
1. Aleister Black
I would be lying if I said I was a fan of Aleister Black when he debuted at NXT TakeOver: Orlando. I texted Graham saying I wasn’t impressed at all with Black. However, watching him the past few months he has really grown on me. His entrance, the character and his wrestling ability have won me over. Since investing in Black he has become my favorite NXT wrestler and has star qualities. His match with Hideo Itami was great at Brooklyn 3 and I am very interested in what they do with him next. Possibly Black vs. Roode before Bobby Roode gets called up.