By RJ Marceau
In 2015, NXT took a huge step forward when it comes to putting out a better product than the main roster. NXT had great specials and saw tremendous wrestling. The WWE over the years has had a ton of hits and misses when it comes to “NXT” home grown talent. The WWE has made Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Sasha Banks from bland newcomers into household names. NXT has seen popularity with bringing in Independent wrestlers like Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins to just name a few but coming into 2016, NXT has developed new talented superstars. Here are my 5 most improved NXT talents going into 2016.
5. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson (The Mechanics)
After the Ascension and Lucha Dragons left NXT it left me wondering who would be the next new tag team in NXT. NXT tried to shove Blake and Murphy into the spotlight but I gravitated to the old school, rough and tough tag team in Dash and Dawson. These guys have been good since they started teaming and I was excited when they beat the VaudeVillians. At NXT TakeOver: London, the match of the night had to be Dash & Dawson vs. Enzo & Cass. The final minutes were amazing and hitting that insane codebreaker got me out of my seat. These guys aren’t transitional champions but I think they will hold the belts till NXT TakeOver: Dallas. From their music and the chemistry these guys have has injected new energy into the NXT tag team division.
4. Dana Brooke
In one year, Dana Brooke has come a long way. She was really green when she debuted last year but has improved immensely. Her pairing with Emma has definitely improved her position on the show. Dana has had two good matches with Asuka especially at NXT TakeOver: Respect. Brooke has limited the theatrics and groping herself. She still has a long ways to go especially with 4-5 women wrestlers in NXT ahead of her but she has improved a lot over the year.
3. Jason Jordan
Since Chad Gable and Jason Jordan became a tag team they have gelled perfectly. Gable has been great since he debuted so instead of adding them as a tag team on this list I wanted to focus on Jason Jordan. Jordan has been in NXT for some time now and has been great since pairing with Chad Gable. I thoroughly enjoyed his tag team with Tye Dillinger but they never really pushed them. Jordan split up on his own but never got over as a singles competitor. A NXT tag team championship reign is on the horizon and big things should be in the cards for Gable and Jordan on the main roster.
2. Baron Corbin
Wow what difference a year makes. Corbin went from squashing every enhancement talent in NXT to having good matches with Samoa Joe and Apollo Crews. In 2015, Corbin’s feuds with Rhyno and Bull Dempsey were forgettable and their matches weren’t good at all. Corbin broke out against Samoa Joe at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and was a beast in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. I was surprised he beat Apollo Crews at NXT TakeOver: London but it was good to see that officials think highly of him to be the first person to pin Crews in NXT. Corbin has a number 1 contender’s match in two weeks against Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe. Corbin should have a big 2016 and I can’t wait to see how he’s booked.
This was a tough decision when it came down to Baron Corbin and Carmella on my list. The kicker for me was the improvement made throughout the year. Corbin did have a great year but compared to Carmella I had to give her the nod at #1. Carmella started off as a valet for Enzo and Cass. Carmella had a few matches but wasn’t good in the ring and didn’t connect with the Full Sail Crowd. Carmella eventually got character development and had some good matches on NXT TV against Alexa Bliss and Blue Pants. She recently won the NXT Women’s Battle Royal and will face Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship in the future. Am I saying Carmella is on Bayley’s level, No but she has improved enough that she is getting a title shot over Alexa Bliss, Emma and Asuka. 2016 should be Fabulous for the “Princess of Staten Island” and wouldn’t be surprised if she captured NXT Women’s gold or went to the main roster with Enzo and Cass.
If you think I snubbed anyone of my list let me know on my Twitter @RJ_Marceau. NXT will have another great year in 2016 and should continue to develop great talent as well.
SEE ALSO: "RJ's Two Cents - 3 Ways the WWE Has Started 2016 Perfectly"