By RJ Marceau
What’s up guys, I am back with my fourth installment of my current Top 5 favorite WWE NXT Superstars countdown. I did my first installment in April 2015, second installment in October 2015 and my last installment in April 2016. The turnover has been great with everyone being called up to the main roster except four superstars. You can check my past installments by clicking the hyperlinks above.
This list will have familiar faces to past installments and we will dive in with the usual honorable mention.
Honorable Mention: Roderick Strong
Similar to my last honorable mention, Manny Andrade, I recently went to NXT: Boston and saw Roderick Strong. It was my first time seeing him live and I am familiar with his ROH work. Strong had an amazing match with Cedric Alexander which was easily the match of the night. Strong has been a tweener on NXT TV and hasn’t really gone face or heel. I think he would be a great face since NXT has Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and Samoa Joe as their top three heels.
The future is bright for Strong and I think NXT is a great start for him to make it to the WWE main roster
5. Andrade "Cien" Almas
Andrade was an honorable mention in April and has finally cut the mustard and made it on the list. Andrade was good as a face but wasn’t getting the reactions officials expected especially going against faces like Tye Dillinger and No Way Jose as well as big name stars like Austin Aries & Bobby Roode. Andrade turning heel on Alexander was perfect and I think he is one of the best wrestlers in NXT.
His new heel persona is good and he is a tremendous wrestler which should help him get over. It does suck however that he is competing against heels that have been seen by way more people than his exposure in the Indies but when it comes to Almas I believe his wrestling will get him over the hump.
4. Peyton Royce
Every installment has had at least one woman competitor and right now my favorite NXT women's wrestler is Peyton Royce. She has really grown since debuting in early 2015 and her pairing with Billie Kay has been nice. She has really taken the poison ivy gimmick to full lengths and took a random idea and made it serviceable. I wish they hadn’t turned Emma into Emmalina (which is the dumbest thing ever and they should’ve made a heel stable with these three Aussies).
I will save that rant for another time but I think Royce has been one of the top women on NXT since the horsewomen left and she has fit perfect.
3. Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe has been amazing in NXT and hasn’t had one bad match. He either destroys an enhancement talent or has a great match with Balor or Nakamura. Joe recently won the NXT Championship for the second time and is hands down the #1 heel in NXT. Joe has been a perfectly booked heel and I love the aggression he shows in the ring or his segments.
I would think Joe gets called up in 2017 but who knows. He has been the top heel in NXT for over a year so I think he can do it for another year if needed.
2. Johnny Gargano
Honestly I can’t stand the team name of DIY but Gargano is the man. He has been great since debuting in NXT and it was nice to see him win the NXT Tag Team Titles at NXT TakeOver: Toronto. Gargano would be perfect in the cruiserweight division since the ceiling for him seems low. Gargano could be a star if booked right but his build is smaller then Rollins or Ambrose.
Gargano having success on NXT is exciting since he has been through the indies and probably got the speech that he was too small to make it to the WWE so the payoff must’ve been amazing. Gargano should be on the main roster in 2017 as a competitor in the cruiserweight division or tag team division.
1. Shinsuke Nakamura
Who else would be #1? Shinsuke has been absolutely amazing since joining NXT and his win at NXT Brooklyn II was great. Seeing videos of people singing his theme song gave me goosebumps. His charisma, his in-ring abilities put him a notch above the rest of the superstars. Nakamura recently lost his title so I wouldn’t say a call up would be out of the question.
Nakamura at the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania would be great especially vs. AJ Styles. The match they had at Wrestle Kingdom 9 was stellar and having a match at WrestleMania 33 which I will be in attendance for would be a classic.
This is easily my favorite installment since the turnover has been extraordinary from NXT into the WWE. It’s also great to see where these superstars started in NXT and how good or bad they have been used on the main roster. The next installment will be in 2017 after WrestleMania weekend.
SEE ALSO: "RJ's Two Cents - 5 Matches I Want to See at WWE WrestleMania 33"