Cewsh Scouts NXT 2013

Why hello, I didn’t see you there. Welcome to the Cewsh Institute for Careful Observation and Contextual Knowledge. Here at COCK we take our jobs very seriously as the foremost wrestling scouts on the internet. Previously, we have brought you detailed breakdowns of both the NXT roster and the New Japan Pro Wrestling roster, and today we’re here a year later to retrace our steps and evaluate the new recruits and blossoming prospects of WWE’s developmental program, as well as revisiting our evaluations from last time.

We have 16 men and women here who will be judged by their pros and cons, and will be assigned a grade based on their potential as WWE prospects. We will also be rendering judgement on whether or not these individuals are ready for full time main roster competition. Today we’ll be breaking down the first four of these, focusing on everyone holding gold in NXT at the moment. Joining me in the venture are my esteemed colleagues: Psycho, Artie and Dennis. Psycho joined us last time, Artie is new to NXT but is very enthusiastic about it, and Dennis is so familiar with the product that eating the cupcakes he brings to shows has become a rite of passage for new talent. Together we will put our lab coats on, carefully evaluate strengths and weaknesses, and try to find out just exactly who the stars of tomorrow will be. Are you ready for some hardcore fact mining and grueling tape watching? No? Well then lucky for you that we did it all for you.

Bo Dallas (NXT Champion)

 

 

Pros:
– Good babyface fire
– Solid on promos
– Lots of experience in a WWE atmosphere with a wide variety of opponents
Cons:
– Prone to dull matches
– Small
– Perhaps the most hated man in NXT
Last Year’s Analysis:

Cewsh: Bo Dallas is a second generation guy, and like most of those he seems to be ahead of the curve in terms of comfort in the ring. His matches, especially during his FCW Heavyweight title reign, were real show stealers, and that’s no surprise with how great he is at firing up in a match. He’s one of a rare breed of guys who just seems to naturally click as a good guy early in his career, and that’s an insanely rare and valuable commodity, but I worry that he’s plateaued in his development since his title reign. There’s something missing from the whole package to take it to the next level.
Cewsh’s Prospect GradeC+

Ready For Main RosterNo

Cewsh: Bo Dallas is kind of a weird story. The son of Mike Rotunda and the brother of Bray Wyatt, Bo has been a main event fixture in WWE’s developmental system for years now, back into the FCW days. He’s been in the system longer than almost anyone else in the company, and yet you’d never guess it. Because even after all these years, he doesn’t seem anything like a finished product. His character work is often awkward and spotty, his matches drag in the middle and depend upon hot finishes to carry them, and over the years he has been the focus of tons and tons of hate from the majority of the fanbase for his blandness and excessive push. Currently, they’re trying him out as a heel who acts like a traditional babyface and mugs for cheers, and he’s getting Cena-like reactions from the crowd on a much smaller scale. But I don’t think it’s the kind of thing that can translate easily to the main show, and he’s shown himself to have huge trouble getting over conventionally.

If the reports that WWE is planning to put a time limit on the amount of time people can spend developing is true, then I think Bo Dallas will be, and should be, a casualty long before he ever figures out what he is as a performer.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeD+

Ready For Main RosterNo

Artie: The less talented of the two Rotunda brothers, we’ve already seen Bo taste a bit of the WWE spotlight with a Royal Rumble performance and a few sightings on RAW & Smackdown. Bo seems to have a good sense of ring awareness and a fairly good look, but boy oh boy is he devoid of personality. He’s already been in developmental for five years and still speaks into the microphone with no conviction or sense of personality.

The WWE seems intent on bringing him up to the main roster, but I feel that he’ll flop horrendously without a manager and a mean streak. He’s recently started flirting with the prospect of turning heel due to the negative reactions from the NXT audience and I believe greatly that he could flourish in the role. Given his current status, I can not see him on the main roster just yet, but with perhaps another year of work and character development, Bo Dallas could be something special.

Artie’s Prospect GradeB-

Dennis: Ahh, Bo Dallas. The WWE seems determined to push this man. This man that everyone seems to hate. The man with the face of a female child, and the ultimate trollface grin. The crazy thing is, he’s not that bad. He’s very sound in the ring. He can have good matches. But a combination of being noticeably less gifted than his older brother, Bray Wyatt, and WWE’s relentless persistence in pushing him has led to fan backlash. People boo poor Bo Dallas out of every building NXT runs. Here’s the plus side… they’ve finally noticed it and instead of going the obvious route and having him turn, thus having him go from boring face to boring heel… they have turned Bo Dallas into a “Babyface that doesn’t know he’s a Heel” that acts oblivious to the fans’ jeers. And you know what? It’s making the goofy lookin’ bastard grow on me.

Dennis’ Prospect GradeB

Ready For Main RosterNo

I don’t think so, not yet. In a normal situation, I’d say he needs to step it up to avoid the “been in developmental too long” round of releases, however WWE’s hardon for him may save his job for a couple more years, maybe between then and now he’ll be ready, though.

Psycho: Last I spoke of Bo, I didn’t have much to say about him. Things haven’t really changed much. His mic skills have almost become more atrocious except one instant where he got serious on Big E. Langston. His wrestling is actually better than most give him credit for, but everything about the guy is just underwhelming. The personality is plastic, and the fans don’t want to connect with him. Perhaps as a heel, he could make some strides, but trying to pitch him as a baby face has failed tremendously. Though, things are looking like they are heading that way, so we’ll see how things progress.

Psycho’s Prospect GradeC+

Ready For Main RosterNo

Paige (NXT Women’s Champion)

 

 

Pros:
– Fantastic connection with audiences
– Extremely good character work and promos
– Completely unlike any woman on mainstream wrestling television
Cons:
– N/A
– N/A
– N/A
Last Year’s Analysis:

Cewsh: Guys, seriously, this woman needs to be on television yesterday. No major wrestling company has ever gotten such a complete package in a female performer at such a young age. She could be the top heel in the Divas division for the next decade. At minimum.
Cewsh’s Prospect GradeA

Ready For Main RosterYES

Cewsh: Uh, that same thing again, except even more so, because she has another 8 months of experience with the WWE style. No joke, she is the finest female wrestler working for WWE right now, and she’s only 20. There’s so much potential here that its almost too much pressure to place on one person. She’s a once in a generation prospect, and I expect nothing less than greatness from her.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeA+

Ready For Main RosterYes

Artie: The absolute Queen of the NXT Women’s division, Paige is everything the WWE could possibly want in a diva. She has a great look that fits her character and years upon years of wrestling experience. She’s quite good at cutting character promos and could have some great matches with practically any woman on the main WWE roster.

Artie’s Prospect GradeA+

Dennis: Paige is great. Paige has a great look, and she’s good in the ring. Her Anti-Diva persona is cool, and she’s mega over with the NXT crowd. She’s example #1 of Cewsh’s scouting ability. The former Britani Knight was praised by Cewsh and he said she should be signed…. and she was. To great success. I honestly think the only reason she’s not on the main roster already is just because of her age. She’s only 20 years old. I think they’re waiting for 21 before they put her on the road.

Dennis’ Prospect GradeA

Ready For Main RosterYep

Psycho: Did you not hear me last time? THIS WOMAN WILL BE A SAINT TO THE DIVAS DIVISION! All three of the prospects on this list will! For the first time since Awesome Kong signed with the WWE, the future of the Diva Division is so damn bright that a pair of shades will only delay the permanent blindness of perfection.

Psycho’s Prospect GradeA+

Ready For Main RosterYES YES YES

Adrian Neville (NXT Tag Team Champion)

 

 

Pros:
– One of the best high flyers in the world
– Great selling, always gets sympathy
– Great muscular look
Cons:
– Shoooooooort
– Below average promo skills and a hard to understand accent
– Still untested in major singles matches in WWE
Last Year’s Analysis:
Cewsh: N/A
Cewsh’s Prospect Grade: N/A

Ready For Main Roster: N/A

Cewsh: Adrian Neville is an extraordinary performer. Every time I had seen him before he was signed by WWE, he immediately drew my attention and stole the show, whether it was Dragon Gate, NWE or anywhere else. Coming in, many thought that he wouldn’t be able to gracefully transition to the WWE style, but he’s shut all those people right the hell up by fountaining awesomeness all over match he’s been a part of. In terms of in ring skills and wow factor, he was ready yesterday, and is at least as good as Evan Bourne was when he debuted.

BUT, this isn’t just about in ring skills. When it comes to promos and acting, Neville is still very much still in progress. And I think it says something about how is seen by the people in charge that he has been at the top of the tag division with multiple partners since coming in the door, but has not been pushed seriously as a singles wrestler. His matches might lead you to think he’s ready, but another year would do him wonders.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeB-

Ready For Main RosterNo

Artie: Neville, an almost ten year veteran of the business came to NXT from England. WWE seems to be scouting a lot of talent from England in recent years, most of whom are quite excellent, and Neville is no exception. He’s a wonderful high flyer with the nickname “the man that gravity forgot”. In terms of ring work, he seems to have adapted quite well to the WWE style and knows how to utilize his high flying style to the maximum in 10-15+ minute matches. His biggest downfall seems to be his mic work. He often comes across as nervous, something that will always hinder someone under 6′ and especially high flyers. The best course of action, IMO, would be to bring Neville up in a tag team, partnering him up with someone who can handle the talking.

Hero’s Prospect GradeB

Dennis: Not many flaws can be found in Neville’s game at the moment. One of the major criticisms against “Pac” in the past was his scrawniness, he fixed that in a hurry by becoming one of the most jacked Cruiserweights in history, and he’s all natural folks.

Quote Originally Said by Kassius Ohno/Chris Hero to me in the parking lot after a show
“People think Neville’s on some sort of stuff but believe me, he’s gotten that way through hard work and he does not put one bad thing in his body.”

Another criticism placed against him in the past was his habit of being quite a spot monkey. Neville has inhuman abilities to the point that his “Man That Gravity Forgot” nickname isn’t just a nickname, but fact. In the past he’s overutilized his abilities at the expense of a cohesive story. But under the guidance of WWE’s 5 star training staff in NXT, He has evolved and can now still do the amazing things he used to, but he knows WHERE and WHEN to pull them out to make the match spectacular. I think Adrian Neville is an amazing performer, who’s youth should not be wasted. The things that make him spectacular… will not be able to be done by him for too many more years. It’s just called being human. If continued to be given the opportunity, Adrian Neville will continue to shine.

Dennis’ Prospect GradeB+

Ready For Main RosterIf an appropriate spot can be found, Yes. But the problem is, I don’t see where he’d fit in right now.

Psycho: Wow…I don’t even know where to start with this guy! I saw only one match of his when he wrestled under the name PAC, and I was rather impressed with what I saw, but I wasn’t sure of his ability to be something more substantial than a spot-fest with wings. Whether he had always been this way or WWE’s reserved environment changed his game, Neville has erupted onto the NXT scene with a complete package of excellence. He has a strong, noticeable look. His work in the ring is both exciting and well thought-out. He has been a part of NXT’s highest quality storylines, and most of all – He connects with the crowd like legos with children. Or each other, even… I didn’t think that one through.

If I could point out one flaw, it would be his mic work still hangs on the rough side, but it never hinders his charm, and if he keeps up what he’s been doing…he’s only going to improve on all aspects and be one of the best performers the WWE audience has ever seen.

Psycho’s Prospect GradeA-

Ready For Main RosterAlmost

Corey Graves (NXT Tag Team Champion)

 

 

Pros:
– Unique look
– Very comfortable on the microphone
– Ready made catchphrase
Cons:
– Not exciting to watch
– Better in solo promos than face to face
– Has a tendency to come off like CM Punk-lite
Last Year’s Analysis:

Cewsh: If he makes it in WWE you can slap me with a fish. Seriously. It isn’t going to happen. His look is just outright off putting, his skills lend him towards being a tag team specialist in an age when those aren’t in hugely high demand, and he hasn’t even done any real character work that I could tell you about. If you were wondering who the bottom of the NXT barrel is, you’re looking at him.

Cewsh’s Prospect Grade: F

Ready For Main Roster: No

Cewsh: Please don’t slap me with a fish.

The single most common complaint that we got on our scouting report last year was about Corey Graves. The man has supporters all over these fair internets, and while I couldn’t figure out why for the life of me at the time, Graves has really blossomed since the change in format to NXT. He’s a comfortable talker, his look stands out, and he clearly has the support of the office because he is one of the 5 or so most pushed people in developmental. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the main roster sooner, rather than later. But even saying that, a lot of my reservations from last time remain, if not quite so severe as before. His matches are not involving, which is worrying in a performer with so much experience under his belt, and I find that he gets overshadowed very easily around other charismatic performers. I don’t think that’s something that he’ll be able to fix in NXT, but it makes him a risky call up for the main roster. So does he belong there? Let’s say that I think that he’s as ready as he will ever get.

I’m not quite certain what the future holds for Graves. But it certainly does seem like I’m being forced to eat my words. And my fish.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeC

Ready For Main RosterYes

Artie: Corey Graves has the face of douche, personality of an asshole, and character of a dick. He’s one of those guys that you don’t want to like, but you’re almost always interested in watching. Character-wise, he seems to have it all there from the punk-rock haircut, tattoos, cut-off denim, right on down to the rights. His in-ring style is nothing special, but he does seem to be a fairly good seller. One of the more interesting characters in NXT, I’d say he’s nowhere near ready for the main roster yet, but with another year or two to learn more about adapting his character into his ring psychology and picking up his promo game, he could be golden.

Artie’s Prospect GradeC

Dennis: Corey Graves is one of my favorites in NXT. He has an incredible look, and some slick moves. However with that said, he also needs promo work and still hasn’t reached his full potential in the ring, I think. I love the character, and I enjoy his matches. But he’s still got some work to do.

Dennis’ Prospect GradeC

Ready For Main RosterNot yet.

Psycho: I had some hurtful words for Mr. Graves last time around, and I don’t necessarily take all of them back. The good thing is they’ve found a character and look that diminishes the “High School Creeper” look, and his wrestling abilities have shined through as he’s evolved. On the stick, he can be a tad formulaic, and the “STAY DOWN” catch-phrase is often a miss rather than a hit, but he holds his own better than those who can not even claim to have a personality. I still struggle to see a long-term WWE career for the man, but he pours his heart into this business, and its beginning to show.

Psycho’s Prospect GradeC

Ready For Main RosterNo



Sami Zayn

 

 

Pros:
– Immediate rapport with any crowd
– Incredibly exciting in the ring
– No obvious flaws
Cons:
– May need some additional work on promos
– Lucha inspired styles have not always clicked with the WWE audience
– May be pushed too hard at first due to his matches with Cesaro
Last Year’s Analysis:

Cewsh: N/A
Cewsh’s Prospect Grade: N/A

Ready For Main Roster: N/A

Cewsh: Sami Zayn is the former El Generico, and he has made more noise since debuting on May 22nd than perhaps any other individual in NXT. His matches with Antonio Cesaro have been nothing short of breathtaking, and he’s shown an easy charm that has made him a clear audience favorite from the word go. Oddly enough, I never rated him highly during his time on the independent scene, though I saw the potential there, but he truly has blossomed in a big way since coming to WWE. A mixture of a luchadore and a classic style babyface, Zayn has every tool at his disposal to be WWE’s new underdog sensation if he plays his card right. A great look, decent size, a terrific repertoire of moves and the wherewithal to make them count.

Honestly, the question isn’t whether or not Sami Zayn is ready for the main roster, it’s whether or not the main roster is ready for Sami Zayn.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeA

Ready For Main RosterYes

Artie: OLE~! Sorry, had to get that out of the way.

Another big name indy guy now working for WWE, Sami Zayn may be one of the most oddly complete packages to ever walk into WWE developmental. You see, for years, under his El Generico promo, we never saw his face or heard him give a real promo. Now in NXT, he’s unmasked to reveal that he’s fucking handsome AND he cuts a wonderful little promo. His in-ring style is actually perfect for the WWE and he’s one of the most easily likable guys ever. With just a few more months down in NXT to further develop character and work on a finisher Sami Zayn will be absolutely ready for the main roster.

Artie’s Prospect GradeA

Dennis: The former El Generico… I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. Wasn’t the biggest fan of El Generico in the first place. When the first pics leaked of him mask-less leaked, I thought “he’s…. Generic”. He had a very plain look to him and he’s not very big and I just thought he wouldn’t be able to go far at all. Then I saw him live. Man, he was exciting. But that’s not enough in WWE so I still had my doubts. Then he puts on a little bit of muscle, that helps in WWE land, then he starts cutting promos… and they’re good. Then he KILLS it in a promo/match with Antonio Cesaro. He’s not firmly in the NXT Title race and deservedly so. He’s mega over with the NXT crowd and I honestly see a bright future for him. He’s not a bad promo and he’s great in the ring. Sami Zayn came in ready.

Dennis’ Prospect GradeA

Ready For Main RosterYes

Psycho: We all know him as El Generico, a man of very little words who would never be caught dead without a mask. Highly entertaining, electric, and loved by many fans, Generico had all the tools to be a star…if it weren’t for the gimmick being a joke. Many speculated whether he could cut it without the mask, but upon removing it, Sami Zayn emerged as a man who knows how to pull you in. In a matter of weeks, he’s displayed a strong command of the microphone. Somehow, he enters a room filled with fans, and they immediately connect with the guy and get on his side. It turns out his success was not just the charm of his gimmick: El Generico, or rather, Sami Zayn is star material. He knows this business, and knows how to please a crowd. It’s too soon to be a fair judge, but we might be witness to one of the most meteoric rises in the WWE from one of the most unexpected men to ever grace a ring…but did we ever really doubt Generico’s ability?

Psycho’s Prospect GradeB+

Ready For Main RosterNo… but only because he just arrived.

Emma

 

 

Pros:
– Solid foundation of technical expertise
– Undeniable likability
– A natural babyface, wrestling’s rarest commodity
Cons:
– Can come off flat on promos
– Her gimmick will either sink or swim and nothing in between
– N/A
Last Year’s Analysis:

Cewsh: N/A
Cewsh’s Prospect Grade: N/A

Ready For Main Roster: N/A

Cewsh: I’ve made a big deal in the past about indy wrestlers who I “called” so to speak. Meaning that I predicted their success before it took place. But while I’d love to take credit for Emma, it was actual Mrs. Cewsh who, after seeing her wrestle in Shimmer for the first time as Tenielle said, “We’d better get her autograph now, she’ll be in WWE by the end of the year.” We gushed about her in our reviews of that event, and lo and behold, she was right and even so, in that time, Emma he has grown so much that it beggars belief. She got her training from Lance Storm, and you can see it in her simply mastery of technical wrestling and her ability to carry lesser opponents to solid matches, which will serve her well in the current Divas landscape. But while she is frankly advanced in the ring compared to her peers, it’s her strangely lovable gimmick as everyone’s favorite weird dancing, bubble loving weirdo that has marked her for future success. The gimmick itself is very niche, and may not make it to the main roster, but through it she has shown a great ability to run with anything given to her and commit. That will serve her well no matter how they present her on Raw.

In sports scouting, there’s a lot of talk about ceilings and floors. A person’s ceiling is how good they could possibly get, while their floor is the bare minimum of how good they will be. And that is apt here when comparing Paige and Emma, the two future stars of the Divas division. Paige has the higher ceiling, with the potential to be a transcendent star, but Emma has the higher floor. The worst that Emma will be is very good. As for the best, well, we’ll have to see.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeA

Ready For Main RosterYes

Artie: Another young female veteran, Emma was trained by Lance Storm and it definitely shows in her ring work. Her character is quite silly, yet surprisingly over. I’m very much unsure of how the character would work on WWE television or if she’d even have a real character, which is what I feel could hold her back the most. She’s been in developmental for just over two years, but she may just be ready for main roster action soon. Personally, I’d keep her in NXT for another year at the very least.

Artie’s Prospect GradeB-

Dennis: Emma is an example of “WWE must read Cewsh Reviews” because shortly after Cewsh praised her, she was signed. I love Emma, what should be a stupid dance has become insanely over with the crowd. Everybody in the arena joins in and Emma is charismatic enough to pull it off. The thing that tops it all is, when the bell rings, she proceeds to be amazing in the ring as well. Emma’s special and I think the dance that’s gotten so over in NXT will EASILY carry over to the main WWE audience, especially the kids.

Dennis’ Prospect GradeA

Ready For Main RosterYes

Psycho: Charming and beautiful, this “rookie” diva also wrestles better than your favorite WWE low-carder. That’s probably true in most cases, because she has a unique style when she grapples. Her charisma bleeds into her performance while her move-set mastery only helps her to stand out more than she already does. Her dance is bizarre, her whole schtick is strange, but the fans have immediately fallen in love with it, and she’s made it all work into her platter of pure wrestling potential.

Psycho’s Prospect GradeA-

Ready For Main RosterAlmost

Kassius Ohno

 

 

Pros:
– Has a built in fanbase of smark fans
– Immediate history with both Antonio Cesaro and CM Punk
– Is capable of some truly great things
Cons:
– Inconsistant
– Doesn’t stand out on his own
– Unimpressive build
Last Year’s Analysis:

Cewsh: Kassius Ohno, (previously Chris Hero to you indy fans,) has a lot going for him. He has a solid look, he has easy connections to two guys on the main roster, (Antonio Cesaro and CM Punk,) and he has a wealth of experience from wrestling in virtually every promotion on the planet over the past 10 years. All of that makes him very comfortable in the ring and on the mic, and he’s adapting quickly. But it’s important to understand that he’s not there yet, and he’s still trying to work the kinks out of a new in ring style and a new kind of character, just like CM Punk, Low Ki and Daniel Bryan had to. Ohno isn’t the talent those three are, but he’ll be a solid addition to the main roster in a year or so.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeB

Ready For Main RosterNo

Cewsh: Believe me when I tell you that I’m not happy to be saying what follows here.

Kassius Ohno, formerly Chris Hero, was a low key favorite of mine on the independent scene for years. He was likable, he had some memorable matches, and he seemed like one of those guys who was naturally right on the cusp of being special. But the thing is that he never GOT special. He was never a Ring of Honor world champion, even in the days where your mother could have been ROH World Champion if she had been willing to teach the school for 6 months. He was never one of the names that people clamored to see. And it wasn’t until his tag team with Antonio Cesaro that he really clicked as someone who was truly important. After that his stock rose through the roof, and WWE brought him in, much to all of our delight. But the results since Ohno has arrived in WWE have been… mixed.

Basically, it breaks down like this. Kassius Ohno has not had a standout moment since joining the company. He has been put in the right position to do so, and was even given a feud with Regal that mirrored the one that put Dean Ambrose on the map, but at the end of all of it, here he is being surpassed again and again by other people with less credentials and less hype. His promos are not strong, his character is poorly defined, and he seems to disappear in his own matches. Since our review of him last year, he seems to have declined worryingly. And with the rumors of management heat for his inability to keep in shape added on top of this, I find it hard to sit here and honestly tell you that Kassius Ohno can be a success in WWE.

I’m still rooting for him, and I badly want to be proven wrong. But Ring of Honor might want to wait by the phone. WWE won’t wait on Ohno forever.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeC-

Ready For Main RosterNo

Artie: Legend of the independent circuit, the former Chris Hero, has adopted quite beautifully to the wacky world of world wrestling entertainment. He seems to have learned the art of condensing matches down to 10 minutes faster than either of his predecessors in CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. He’s got a fantastic look these days with the beard and slimmer body and obviously knows how to wrestle well, but in a controversial move here, i’m going to say that he’s not quite ready for the main roster yet. Ohno seems to still struggle with delivering strong promos as we saw in his feud with William Regal and his finishing maneuver, a discus elbow, will need to be changed before he hits the main roster, as Wade Barrett already uses something similar.

Hero’s Prospect GradeA-

Dennis: Kassius is a toughie for me. Kassius Ohno is my favorite wrestler currently. Now that fluctuates frequently, but it’s the truth as of now. So it’s hard for me to point out his flaws. I love his unique moveset. He has an almost infinite moveset and just when you think “Man, Ohno’s been boring as of late, he’s been doing the sam… WHOA WHAT WAS THAT?! That was awesome!” He has a great ability to be “out of nowhere” with his moves. I like that he’s not the prototype model of a wrestler either. He manages to take his fairly average looking self, and make it dangerous because he’s unpredictable. I even like his promo work, though some don’t agree, I like his calm/quiet approach to an interview.

Kassius Ohno pretty much joined FCW/NXT ready for the main roster as a well seasoned worldwide performer, all he needed to learn was the WWE style, which he has done. He had a great feud with William Regal that I believe he shined in. But SOMETHING is missing. I don’t know what it is, maybe he needs one more big feud to push him over the top. He’s currently in a good one with The Wyatt Family so we’ll see where that goes. But Kassius has yet to reach his full potential, I feel. I think a chance on the main roster may be sink or swim for him, but I also think it’s the only way he will evolve any more than he has already.

Dennis’ Prospect GradeA

Ready For Main RosterYes. But it may be a crapshoot on whether or not he’ll be successful.

Psycho: While still one of the hottest prospects on the NXT roster, Ohno has cooled down a bit in momentum it feels. Ring-wise, he’s still on top of his game(though on rare occasion disappointing), and personality-wise, he’s still quirky and has that Kassius Ohno charm. There’s just…something missing. Perhaps it’s his recent face turn, maybe it’s the abrupt postponing of his feud with Richie, but it feels like he’s taken a step back. This is probably a slump of which he’ll rise out, but something has to be worked out before they bring him up.

Psycho’s Prospect GradeB

Ready For Main RosterNot Quite

Leo Kruger

 

 

Pros:
– Aura of danger
– Tremendous character work
– Awesome backstory
Cons:
– Tendency towards dull matches
– Doesn’t shine in normal promos
– Already 34
Last Year’s Analysis:
Cewsh: Leo Kruger is from South Africa, and is currently working a “Big Game Hunter” gimmick that has main roster written all over it. His gimmick intensity is tremendous, his look is just right, and this act is bound for stardom without a question in my mind. The only thing stopping me from putting my stamp of approval on him is that he just recently really transitioned into his current gimmick and still needs some time to work out the kinks in his in ring style to make it just right. There may be something special here, but it needs more time to simmer.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeB

Ready For Main RosterAllllllllmost

Cewsh: Leo Kruger is an imperfect prospect. It’s likely that he will never be a really great in ring performer, and that’s just who he is as a product. He gets the job done, and his character work is first rate, but his matches don’t excite and I don’t think he’ll ever get over based on them. If WWE expects him to become someone who can do that, then they should release him now and accept what they have in him.

BUT, they shouldn’t release him now, because he offers a whole hell of a lot in other ways. There isn’t anybody in NXT right now who carries an aura around with them of danger and THREAT like Kruger does. Simple things like sitting next to the ring and watching matches lead to huge stretches of me watching him to see what he’ll do rather than watching what is in the ring. That’s a special quality and he has worked diligently at finding the aspects of his character that work. If they have a plan for him when they bring him up, then this man could make WWE some god damned money, especially since he isn’t exactly The Boogeyman in the ring. But he will require more careful handling and carries more risk of failure than anyone else we’ve mentioned here.

Buyer beware.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeB

Ready For Main RosterYes

Artie: A ravenous South African madman, Leo Kruger is certainly an interesting one. He’s got a unique character, but not a perfect one. I like the direction in which he’s heading, but he needs to adopt a more Kraven the hunter like approach to it. His in-ring work is solid and he has a great look, I just feel like he needs more time to fully flesh out this character and develop all of the little things that could make it a big time gimmick.

Artie’s Prospect GradeA-

Dennis: Leo Kruger is one of my favorites. He plays this character that could be considered over the top, but never seems forced. The man himself has more ability than he can necessarily show on TV. At many NXT Live Events I’ve attended, he’s had some of the most hilarious Comedy Matches I’ve ever seen. He has a lot more charisma & entertainment value than you may have seen. The point is, the character he plays is great and he plays it well, but he’s capable of anything that is asked of him. He’s very athletic and talented in the ring as well, with a slew of great matches under his belt both pre-and-post “creepy hunter” persona. He adds lots to NXT events, and I think he has all the tools, but I don’t see where his character could fit on Raw or Smackdown right now, unfortunately. Sometime soon though, I’m confident in that.

Dennis’ Prospect GradeB+

Ready For Main RosterHe has the tools, the man is ready, but I don’t see where he’d fit right now.

Psycho: He’s been absent from much of NXT TV as of late, but that has not deteriorated his abilities. He runs the ring like it was a state and he was a governor. No match goes without psychology and exciting mannerisms that add more flavor to otherwise bland moments. His speech is…passionate, but a bit goofy. It mostly work with the twisted personality he’s portraying, but it seems a lot of those are popping up in the WWE. Perhaps his gimmick should have the slightest bit of tweaks? Or maybe I’m just harping on nothing? Regardless, Kruger has a lot of talent that seems to be focused, we just haven’t seen much focus on him since the NXT shift, so bringing him up now would be a bit odd.

Psycho’s Prospect GradeB

Ready For Main RosterNo?

Connor O’Brian

 

 

Pros:
– Big
– Cool coat
– N/A
Cons:
– Boring promos
– Boring matches
– Boring promos and matches
Last Year’s Analysis:

Cewsh: N/A
Cewsh’s Prospect Grade: N/A

Ready For Main Roster: N/A

Cewsh: On his own, Connor O’Brian is basically the Boogeyman without the fun.

Let that sink in for a minute.

I know that this entry is going to sound mean, and I would like to point out that I have nothing against the man and he may very well be capable of changing my mind. It happens all the time. But here’s the book on Connor:

He has great size, and an interesting look, though he just doesn’t seem to fit his gimmick as this gothic weirdo the way that the other members of the Ascension have. In his years in wrestling, he’s always had the reputation for being someone whose look wasn’t quite there, and whose matches were a great excuse to take up a new hobby, such as self face stabbing for example. This hasn’t changed. And while he is perfectly fine in a tag team where he can just do power moves from time to time and be protected by his partner, WWE is not a tag team heavy promotion. Eventually he would have to set out on his own. And, yeah. He won’t.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeD

Ready For Main RosterNo

Dennis: O’Brian is very imposing and scary. He has a tremendous presence about him. He’s another one who uses little things/mannerisms to really get across his character. Things like the disturbing little head-flick he does. “TSST!”. And the mighty roar, by god. He is scary. Besides a few unique spots, though, he’s rather basic in the ring. As of right now he requires his Ascension tag team partner (at this time, it’s Rick Victor) to really feed off of and be a complete package. He has the potential for future singles stardom for sure, though.

Dennis’ Prospect GradeC+

Ready For Main RosterAlmost, not quite. Missing… something to make him a complete package on his own.


Psycho: I’ll start by saying Conor O’Brian is physically intimidating and has a muscular figure that trumps most of the roster. The problem is he’s always been a mixed bag of success. The Ascension gimmick is something fresh for the era, but his performance often comes out cheesy. As a wrestler, he’s a hard-knocks brawler that is fun with a worthy opponent, but he was much more entertaining when he had a partner in crime. Let’s get on with this supposed pairing with Rick Victor so the Ascension can rise…again!

Psycho’s Prospect GradeC+

Ready For Main RosterNo

Bayley

 

 

Pros:
– Very solid in the ring
– Charming character that she commits to fully
– Great experience at a young age
Cons:
– Needs more experience
– Sink or swim gimmick
– N/A
Last Year’s Analysis:

Cewsh: N/A
Cewsh’s Prospect Grade: N/A

Ready For Main Roster: N/A

Cewsh: Much like Emma and Paige before her, I was fortunate enough to see Bayley perform in Shimmer before she was signed with WWE. Since she hasn’t had many matches in NXT thus far, that makes it a lot easier to judge who she is as an in ring performer, and that’s a big reason why I recommend that anyone who wants to see the future of WWE unfolding should be following Shimmer closely. But we’re talking about Bayley specifically and, setting her character aside for a moment, she has proven herself to be very solid in the ring. I can’t point to any one great performance that she has had in her career, but she has steadily improved over time, and has anchored a number of quality midcard matches in a relatively short period of time. She impressed the Shimmer office enough that she seemed primed for a big push before WWE signed her, and since that is a wrestling focused promotion, that tells you that she wasn’t messing around.

Now back to her character. She’s a strange mixture of Eugene and announcer Maria and I find it difficult to get a solid read on what her character is supposed to be or where it’s intended to go. But what is undeniable is that she has taken to it in a big way, and it has gotten her over with the crowd in short order. Whether it will translate to the main stage or whether it will need to be changed remains to be seen, but it is working for her right now.

I’ve praised her a lot thus far, but I also want to make it clear that she’s not far along in her development cycle. The potential is there, but this is someone who could be special with a year of attention and training out of the shadow of Emma and Paige, and hopefully she’ll get it. The scouting report on her next year should be interesting.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeB-

Ready For Main RosterNo

Artie: Bayley is beyond precious and just flat-out adorable. She hasn’t shown us too much in the way of in-ring technicality, but she works the matches quite well as her character. I firmly believe that another few months in NXT perfecting her character and Bayley will belong on the roster.

Artie’s Prospect GradeB-

Dennis: Bayley is another one who’s unique character makes her so much better. It’s not been shown too much on TV (it has a little bit), but she’s recently adopted this goofball character. She waves at the crowd like a little girl “Hi!”. She always seems star struck to be in the ring with her opponent, no matter who it is, she’s a huge fan. She wants to hug & high five them, and emulate their moves/mannerisms (which she always hilariously gets wrong)… but here’s the cool twist… whenever they don’t want to (always) and start beating her up… she gets PISSED and goes off an them, and kicks their ass. On top of all this, she’s good in the ring, as most former SHIMMER wrestlers are. I love Bayley, but she needs just a little bit longer to develop this great character before exposing it to the World.

Dennis’ Prospect GradeB

Ready For Main RosterAlmost

Psycho: This girl is a special talent. I believe she’s only been on NXT no more than 3 times, but she makes me hungry for more. Her character is mysterious, forcing you to wonder what she will be like, or where she will fit into the roster. One thing is for sure is that she has that glow of a star, and is rather sound in the ring. I want more Bailey in my life. I need it.

Psycho’s Prospect GradeB-

Ready For Main RosterNo

Xavier Woods

 

 

Pros:
– Hugely charismatic
– Very comfortable on the mic
– Gifted athleticism
Cons:
– On the small side
– Gimmick may not translate to main roster
– No longer awesomely named Consequences Creed
Last Year’s Analysis:

Cewsh: N/A

Cewsh’s Prospect Grade: N/A

Ready For Main Roster: N/A

Cewsh: There are some guys who are just fun to watch. Some of them are great performers, some of them are natural comedians, and some of them bleed charisma so heavily that you feel like you need to wash your clothes after watching them. Xavier Woods is in that mold, as a guy who comes on screen, entertains you endlessly with his antics, delivers a solid match, and dances his way back off again. I would be lying if I said that I saw main event potential in Woods, because his height will be a problem even in the new WWE, and I’ve never really seen anything serious from him. But wrestling isn’t about a roster full of John Cena’s, and if you’re looking for a midcarder to jazz up your show and sell some t-shirts to kids, I don’t think there’s a more viable young prospect in all of wrestling to fill that spot than Xavier Woods.

All hail Professor X.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeB+

Ready For Main RosterYes

Artie: Talk about a funky guy. Last I saw Woods, he was in TNA, where I thought he was immensely entertaining. Tuning into NXT and I’m happy to announce that he’s still damn entertaining. I love his current gimmick of being a 90’s geek and in today’s hyper-nostalgic society, I can see it being VERY over with the 20-something crowd. His in-ring style reminds me of Kofi as being very crisp, but spontaneous and his promos are pretty spot-on. I can see him fitting right into the main roster with very little issue.

Hero’s Prospect GradeA

Dennis: Xavier Woods at first was nothing more than “Hey, it’s Consequences Creed” to me for a while. But recently his “That Nerdy 90’s Guy” character has been really growing on me. Mostly because I know it’s not a character. In the parking lot after the shows, the man has a Super Mario Iphone case, a Ninja Turtles backpack, and a Power Rangers Gym Bag. We’ve had lengthy conversations with him about Anime and Video Games. He’s doing what so many wrestlers say makes them the most successful, he’s playing an exaggerated version of himself. And he’s doing it so well. He’s a unique character, and he’s exciting in the ring. I’d love to see him on Raw or Smackdown.

Dennis’ Prospect GradeB+

Ready For Main RosterGive him a shot.

Psycho: To be honest, I had trouble caring for Xavier Woods when I started watching FCW. He was one of those people who tried so hard to have a personality that he was somehow void of one. He disappeared off TV, and next thing you know, he pops up in recent weeks with new vigor and swagger. Somehow…it seems to work already. His “return” match was one of the most interesting bouts of his I had watched to this point, and for once I’m interested to see where he goes. Kudos, Woods, for catching my attention.

Psycho’s Prospect GradeC-

Ready For Main RosterNo

Anyone Else?


Bray Wyatt

 

 

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeA

Ready For Main RosterYes

Artie: The crown jewel of the Rotunda boys, Bray Wyatt is the absolute package. He’s got the character down perfectly, the mic skills to keep the crowd hooked on his every word, and the ring presence to pull it all together. The WWE hasn’t seen anyone this ready the main roster in years. Everything from his ring entrance to the way in which he incorporates the character of Bray Wyatt into the way he moves and wrestles is just perfect. There are wrestlers on the main roster right now who could take lessons from young Mr. Wyatt here.

Artie’s Prospect GradeA+


Psycho: While the other Rotunda brother is a lot like his father(talented but forgettable), Bray Wyatt exceeds family expectations and carves his own path into the wrestling world. Even as Husky Harris, there was something that drew your eyes to the guy, but it wasn’t until he was given freedom with his character that he truly began to shine. Perhaps the best presence in the company altogether, whether it be his haunting glare or his chilling words, and he hasn’t even stepped foot on WWE Television yet. Always psychological in the ring, and though he’s yet to have a stellar match, he hasn’t quite received the opportunity to do so.

Psycho’s Prospect GradeA

Ready For Main RosterHave you seen him on Raw?

The Wyatt Family

 

 

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeB

Ready For Main RosterYes


Dennis:

(Luke Harper) – The former Brodie Lee is a smash-mouth throwback. He hits hard, and out of nowhere. I’ve been a fan of his for a little while and can confidently say that he’s improved tremendously in NXT. He’s done what’s so hard for people coming from the indies to do, taken what he’s good at, and learned where to place it in a match to better tell a story. He’s got a unique look too and I think once the Wyatt Family drifts their own ways, unlike Erick Rowan, Luke Harper should have a bright future of his own. At the very least a successful midcard monster for years to come.

(Erick Rowan) – Erick Rowan is part of the AMAZING Wyatt Family. He plays his part VERY well. The problem is that his part consists of being the “stupid” one who can’t think for himself. And by design his moves are boring and robotic at times. Because of this I can’t really properly evaluate him. As a part of a whole, he serves his purpose great.

Dennis’ Prospect Grade:

(Luke Harper) B+ 

(Erick Rowan) C-


Psycho: When these two step into a ring, you know you must prepare for absolute destruction. They play the part of brain-washed bayou country boys almost too well. Their very appearance is grotesque. Individually or as a tag team, they have a way of grabbing your attention and holding onto it when they enter the ring. There’s no flash, no bells and whistles: they’re just rough bastards that like to clobber the hell out of any poor fool who is booked to wrestle them. Hard to say much about Rowan as an individual, but Luke Harper has the best clothesline among his co-workers.

Psycho’s Prospect GradeB+

Ready For Main RosterYes




Rick Victor

 

 

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeC

Ready For Main RosterNo


Dennis: Rick Victor was doing well for himself towards the end of FCW, but hasn’t adjusted with the evolution into NXT very well. He’s floundered for months until recently becoming Conor O’Brian’s new partner in a reformed Ascension. He fits this role perfectly, perhaps better than the man he replaced (Kenneth Cameron). The new Ascension puts it together much better than the former Ascension. Victor plays his character well and is competent in the ring. I think Rick Victor, like his partner O’Brian, is not ready for the main roster on his own. However the tag team of The Ascension could do wonders for the Tag Team Division on Raw or Smackdown.

Dennis’ Prospect GradeC

Ready For Main Roster: As part of the tag team, yes, not as a singles guy.



Psycho: Well, the dude has been mostly non-existent since the last scout report, outside of house show confirmations of an alliance with O’Brian, so…uhh…here’s my report from last year!

Rick Victor has something in him. He has a strong arsenal of maneuvers, and he actually knows how to use them well, but he’s not the most charismatic man. He tries, and he definitely is an oddball of a character, but I don’t think he has anything the fans can relate with yet. He’d make a good midcard contender at this point, but he has a path to improvement before he can deserve some gold on his waist.

Psycho’s Prospect GradeC+

Ready For Main RosterNo



Mason Ryan

CewshI think we all understand that I’m ever bit the muscle mark that everyone claims that Vince McMahon is. As such, when I first saw Mason Ryan on Raw, when he dramatically helped CM Punk take over the Nexus, I saw something special. Not just in his look, but in the way that he did things. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to the ring, where he looked hesitant and sloppy more often than not.

I’ve commented before on the propensity of big guys who haven’t previously played physical sports seeming very tentative about hurting people and using their size, and how that’s a thing that many of them never overcome. That renders their size useless. Luckily, Ryan has improved on this hugely, and I continue to see something special buried deep down there. It may come to the surface and it may not, but watch out if it does.

Cewsh’s Prospect GradeC+

Ready For Main RosterNo

Dennis: Mason Ryan, I feel bad saying this because he’s a real nice guy, but I don’t think he’s gonna get much of anywhere. He’s been showing noticeably more charisma of late, and he of course has a scary-ridiculous look to him. He’s HUGE, and CUT. But his matches are boring. Always. Whenever it’s more than a squash, it’s boring, and that’s a shame. It really is. Unless he improves a little more (I don’t see that happening, unfortunately), he may find himself joining Derrick Bateman & Briley Pierce sooner than later.

Artie’s Prospect GradeD

Ready For Main Roster: No


Psycho: If this report had taken place while Ryan was a part of the main roster, I would have trashed the guy so hard that he’d smell like spoiled ranch for weeks. He would be lucky to score more than a D, and WWE must have taken note of this as he was removed from television and seemed to wallow in the darkness…until a few weeks ago when he re-debuted on NXT with a whole new resolve. His moves appear to be less dangerous, and he actually knows how to not only play his power role well, but also be a generally entertaining wrestler. His showing in the NXT Battle Royal was phenomenal, and is one of the reasons why that match is worth a watch(That’s a great match, by the way. You should watch it if you haven’t already).

Psycho’s Prospect GradeC+

Ready For Main RosterNo

————————————–

Well that’ll do it for this scouting report. We hope you enjoyed our yearly excursion into the the future, and that you’ll recognize a few of these faces when they arrive with great pomp and circumstance on your television screen. If you noticed any of your favorite NXT wrestlers missing from our report, that either means that they were pulled up to the main roster already or haven’t been very active on the shows of late. But don’t worry, there’s always next year!

Let’s have a big round of applause for my three guest scientists who gave up the time that they would have spent curing cancer in order to do this, and a bigger round of applause to you for being both literate and incredibly handsome. Until next time, COCKateers!

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2 thoughts on “Cewsh Scouts NXT 2013

  1. Unknown says:

    I'd still like to see O'Brien and Victor get a shot on the main shows. And I hope Ryan continues to improve, I like the guy too.

    Like

  2. Anonymous says:

    Rick Victor looks like an evil EVIL elf. I think his look combined with an renamed Conor O'Brien could be pretty impressive tag team playing the Brutish Brawler/Vicious Technician pretty well. Maybe a goth chick manager could help them if their live promos don't work as well as their taped ones but I like them very much.

    Like

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