What do you get when you make a developmental brand one of the hottest professional wrestling properties of the modern era? You get a plethora of phenomenal talent that hasn’t even debuted yet, despite two hours of weekly television on the USA Network at the disposal. One of the very unique things about WWE’s third brand, WWE NXT, is the levels to their deep talent pool.
The WWE Performance Center is home to more than just the NXT TV crew. Talent from all over the world report to the WWE PC after signing to WWE, hitting the NXT house show loops to hone their craft & learn the “WWE-style” (for better or for worse). Some talents are even being sent to EVOLVE Wrestling now to have unique match-ups that you wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else and gain experiences they couldn’t have anywhere else. Having nearly a dozen future stars in the making at any given time, the WWE PC is filled to the brim with potential breakout talent.
Kicking things off is someone you actually may have seen on Monday Night Raw recently. Getting a potential call-up and skipping NXT completely, Catalina Garcia, the nineteen-year-old standout from Chile, made her Monday Night Raw debut alongside Sin Cara. In the midst of a feud with former NXT Alumni, Andrade and Zelina Vega, Catalina was thrown right into the main roster mix & passed with flying colors. However, after Sin Cara requested his release from the WWE, Catalina was sent back to the NXT House Show loop and the Performance Center.
Back in the Performance Center for now, and back on the NXT House Show loop, Catalina is actually at a benefit. At the youthful age of only nineteen, she has her entire career ahead of her. Not too many of the current NXT women bring a lucha influence like Catalina, making her future matches with the likes of Io Shirai or Kayden Carter even that much more interesting.
The art of the manager/valet has nearly been completely lost over the years within not only WWE, but professional wrestling as a whole. Outside of recent standout Zelina Vega, breakout managers in the land of WWE have been few and far between. Which is why WWE signing prominent manager Stokely Hathaway was a surprise to some, but a welcome one. Stokely, now known as Malcolm Bivens, was known as one of the absolute best-talkers on the independent scene & just might be the man to bring a lost style back to prominence in the WWE.
No matter who Malcolm is paired with in WWE NXT, you can be absolutely certain their status is going to raise because of the mountain of a man behind the microphone. Malcolm has been tested with a few different superstars on the NXT house show loop, so it’s not exactly certain who will show up to NXT TV on USA with Malcolm Bivens, but whoever it is, they’re almost guaranteed to be a star under his tutelage.
The longest signed to WWE on this list, Babatunde stands tall at six feet and nine inches tall. The biggest man in his class, and possibly the biggest man in the entire WWE Performance Center currently, Babatunde was announced as signing to WWE all the way back in April 2016. So why would he be on this list? Surely he’d already have broken out as a big star after all this time, right? Babatunde has still yet to be properly used on WWE NXT television, however, he has been growing as a dominant performer over at EVOLVE Wrestling.
Along with the Street Profits and Fabian Aichner, Babatunde was one of the first superstars from NXT to be sent over to EVOLVE and make a big splash. Babatunde has had a few big matches in the EVOLVE company against talented men like Eddie Kingston, Joe Gacy, Austin Theory, and J.D. Drake just to name a few. The level of talent he’s faced recently at EVOLVE has truly elevated his game, and the big man has a lot to bring to the WWE NXT banner in 2020 because of his recent travels. He’s only gaining experience, and with experience comes ability. Babatunde is going to be a huge force to be reckoned with moving into 2020.
If you’re a fan of IMPACT Wrestling, you had to find yourself excited when the formerly named Laurel Van Ness was announced signed to WWE. Chelsea Green’s WWE roots, however, stemmed from the 2015 edition of the reality show Tough Enough. She finished in fourth place for the female contestants, and after the Tough Enough stint she went off to make a name for herself on the independent scene.
Her work in IMPACT Wrestling is where many found themselves becoming a fan of her; Chelsea Green’s “Hot Mess” character was some of the absolute best television the company had at the time. Currently, it’s well known that Chelsea Green and another WWE Performance Center recruit, Deonna Perozza, have been teaming on the NXT house show loop. In fact, recently on an WWE NXT on USA dark match, Chelsea battled another woman on this list, Catalina Garcia. Typically the next up compete on dark matches, so perhaps it won’t be too much longer before Chelsea Green joins the WWE NXT Women’s Division each and every single Wednesday night on the USA Network.
Is there anyone more impressive than “Impressive” Indi Hartwell? Starting her career in Australia, Indi Hartwell has been wrestling on the indy circuit since 2016. Hartwell has been well-regarded as one of the absolute best independent wrestlers in the scene, tailor-made for the WWE-style.
Hartwell made waves on the United States independent scene as well, most may have seen her tag team with current IMPACT Wrestling star, Tessa Blanchard. It’s unknown currently if Hartwell is going to be keeping her “Indi Hartwell” name in WWE NXT, but what is known for sure is that no matter what name she’s given, her talent & heart will carry her to a standout year in 2020.
Austin Theory is only 22 years old, but you’d never be able to tell that if you viewed his in-ring work. His style is truly unlike anyone else under the WWE NXT umbrella currently, and when he makes his debut on television, he’ll be an immediate star considering his look, promo ability, and his in-ring prowess.
As of his signing, Theory was at the time the EVOLVE Wrestling Champion; EVOLVE is the place Austin Theory called his home prior to signing with WWE NXT. If I could recommend a feud to watch, go out of your way to check out the saga that Austin Theory and Darby Allin had in EVOLVE. It was one of the absolute best rivalries the company has ever seen. Austin’s talents grew tremendously through that feud, and it’s what made me a huge fan of his.
Of everyone on this list, I truly believe that Austin Theory is just a WWE NXT Champion in waiting. The only thing separating him from that stardom is the fact he hasn’t graced WWE NXT television yet. When he does though, you’ll want to keep your eyes glued to everything he does. It’s only a matter of time before he’s carrying around gold on the black and yellow brand.
The Smokeshow, Scarlett Bordeaux, has arrived at the WWE Performance Center to an extreme amount of fan-fare. Possibly one the biggest signings to the WWE in 2019, Scarlett Bordeaux has been all around the pro wrestling world. From her days in the Hoopla Hotties with Ring of Honor, to her days with the Besties In The World in AAW, to her most recent stint with IMPACT Wrestling as The Smokeshow.
Scarlett debuted over eight years ago, and don’t let her looks fool you, she’s certainly not just a pretty face. Her in-ring ability has improved tremendously throughout the years, and her character work works insanely well with WWE’s style. It’s not a question of if Scarlett Bordeaux will succeed in WWE, but when will she succeed as the only thing holding her back currently is a debut date. The self-proclaimed “SuperDiva” of the WWE is on the right track for stardom, all she’s waiting for now is the official debut on Wednesday nights.