Five NXT Call-ups that must happen in 2024

WWE NXT's current roster has several superstars ready for the main roster. Here are five NXT call-ups that must happen in 2024.
Ilja Dragunov 5.jpg
Ilja Dragunov 5.jpg /

Ilja Dragunov

Looking back at the best matches of 2023 you will see Ilja Dragunov on several occasions. Whether he was facing Dijak, Carmelo Hayes, or Trick Williams, Dragunov had an incredible run of instant classic matches last year in addition to becoming the NXT Champion. He also made history by becoming the only superstar to win both the WWE NXT UK and NXT Championship (unless you count Bron Breakker unifying them). Although he has only been champion for a few months, Dragunov has nothing else left to prove in NXT. He was brought to WWE back in 2019 started on the WWE NXT UK brand, and has yet to make his debut on the main roster.

Likely, the only reason Dragunov wasn't called up to the main roster in the 2023 WWE Brand Draft was because he had yet to win the ultimate prize - the NXT title. Now that he has accomplished that, give me Dragunov vs. Gunther for the Intercontinental Championship (assuming Gunther is still holding the belt when Dragunov moves to the main roster). He has been thoroughly enjoyable in NXT, but his days on the brand should be numbered as he continues his career on Raw or Smackdown to finish 2024.

Roxanne Perez

There are two superstars in NXT that I was honestly surprised weren't included in the WWE Draft last year and Roxanne Perez was one of them. Being trained by WWE Hall of Famer Booker T. helped guide Perez to superstardom early on in NXT. At the age of 22, Perez has made history multiple times. She became both the youngest Ring of Honor Women's Champion and the youngest NXT Women's Champion of all time.

In addition to breaking records, she has also added a NXT Women's Breakout Tournament win, she's been a women's tag team champion, she's already appeared in the Royal Rumble match, and she won the first women's Iron Survivor Challenge at NXT Deadline last year. Over the past year, we have watched her improve significantly in the ring and have watched a new spicy, fiery side of her. We have also watched her fall victim to some weird and random feuds on NXT. It is clear her time in NXT is coming to a close, and her move to the main roster is inevitable.

Bron Breakker

Remember moments ago when I mentioned two superstars should have been called up to the main roster last year -- one being Perez? Breakker is the other. Arguably, he has been the most main roster-ready superstar on NXT in quite some time. Although it was too long, we can now look back at how memorable Breakker's title reign was and appreciate how much prestige he brought to the NXT brand and that NXT Championship so guys like Hayes and Dragunov could hold it.

While many would agree he was ready for the main roster last year, watching the new sadistic side of Breakker as a heel has been exhilarating to watch. He has been spearing people through walls and has become an absolute beast. Fans grew tired of the babyface Breakker, so the past year watching him grow as a heel was much-needed and for once we can say WWE got it right. Other than his feud with Hayes that led up to him losing the NXT title, Breakker hasn't really been in a meaningful angle since then (unless you somehow enjoyed that mess with Von Wagner).

With that being said, it is almost a waste at this point still having him on NXT. His days in NXT are numbered, and don't be surprised if there is another WWE Brand Draft this year if his name is the first we hear from NXT.

Tiffany Stratton

The NXT Women's Championship seemed to playing a game of hot potato since Mandy Rose dropped it to Perez back in December of 2022. After Perez held it, Indi Hartwell held it, just for it to be vacated again since she was drafted to Raw, and eventually won by Tiffany Stratton at NXT Battleground last year. This all happened in a matter of five months. Although Stratton only held the belt for four months, she brought prominence to the title that for a moment seemed to be lost.

From the second she made her debut in NXT, Stratton had superstar written all over. Not only does she have the charisma, but she also has the best finisher in NXT and that is not up for debate. Her moonsault is amongst the best in all of professional wrestling. It's a move the crowd is waiting to see in every match she is in. She dropped the NXT women's title to Becky Lynch on a weekly taping of WWE NXT in September of 2023, but in that match we watched Stratton go toe-to-toe with one of the best women's wrestlers in WWE. In doing so, provided one of the best matches in NXT last year.

At just the age of 24, Stratton has a bright future ahead of her and it will be beautiful to see her eventually headline WrestleMania against the likes of Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair, and many more. She is that good and is ready for the main roster. Before she starts getting into meaningless feuds like some of the others mentioned earlier, she needs to keep that momentum going with a move to Raw or Smackdown.

Carmelo Hayes

The "Him" era was one to remember in 2023. Everyone in the wrestling world knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when. Hayes didn't exactly go into 2023 with the best momentum. At NXT Deadline back in 2022, Hayes was by far the favorite to win the Men's Iron Survivor Challenge and earn himself a shot at Bron Breakker's NXT Championship. Instead, his opportunity was stolen from Grayson Waller, who literally ran the clock out to win the match.

Before Hayes even won the NXT Championship, he had a classic run as a two-time NXT North American Champion. During this run, I believe is when Hayes grew into the top-level performer he is today. To quote Sheamus, "Banger, after banger, after banger." Since accomplishing all that he has in NXT, we have already seen him face Finn Balor on Raw, and most recently watched him reach the Semi-Finals of the United States Championship number one contender tournament (In which he defeated Waller to advance to the second round).

"Melo Don't Miss" has become a tagline not only because Hayes says it on the mic, it's because he lives it. Every time Hayes steps into the ring, against any opponent, the WWE Universe knows it's going to be a great match. It would not shock me at all to see Hayes appear in the men's Royal Rumble match later this month, and he will be called up to the main roster later on in 2024.

While NXT continues to be one of the most exciting weekly wrestling shows, there will be a lot of change coming with so many wrestlers likely making the move to Raw or Smackdown. Several names weren't mentioned that also could see their time in NXT end in 2024, but these five superstars are more than ready and in some cases have nothing left to prove on the brand.

While that seems like bad news, it isn't. All that means is it will be time for some new superstars to shine in 2024 in NXT. But when it comes to these five superstars, they could be moved to the main roster today and it would make perfect sense.