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WWE NXT Big Board: Updated Prospect Rankings and Analysis for September 24

Published by Bleacher Report on Thu, 24 Sep 2015

Asuka's arrival shuffles theWWE NXT big board.William Regal welcomed the hard-hitting submission specialist from Osaka, Japan, on Wednesday night. Her presence shakes up the NXT women's division, adding a highly talented and promising athlete to a field of mostly raw prospects.Fans have yet to see how her in-ring style will mesh with the NXT world, but her pre-WWE work suggests that she will make Bayley battle to keep her spot atop the rankings.Wednesday's NXT also featured two lower-tier prospects move in opposite directions. Aiden English carried the load in a big tag team match. Bull Dempsey, meanwhile, continues to be hurt by his comedy antics.The following is a breakdown of not only who is most ready for a call-up to the main roster but who projects to have the most impact and more significant career once they get that promotion.Mic work, ring skills, size, look, presence, gimmick and connection with the audience are all factors in determining the rankings.In addition to the performances from Wednesday's NXT, how prospects fared on last week's house show in Houston (which I attended in person) will be factored in.Note also that Eva Marie is now listed in the rankings despite her previous appearance on the main roster and being listedon WWE.com as a WWE Diva. She has not worked Raw since September of last year and is now being used exclusively on NXT.Male WrestlersProspects just outside the top 20: Murphy, Sawyer Fulton, Steve CutlerA Resume-Builder for Aiden EnglishThe Vaudevillains took on Blake and Murphy at Full Sail University in the best match these two teams have had together.After a number of underwhelming contests between them, the intensity picked up, as did the drama. Credit English for a good chunk of that. He was the central figure to the bout, the babyface taking the bulk of the punishment.Playing the Ricky Morton of the match, English sold well. Whether he was holding his back in pain or grimacing after a hard shot, he made it easy to have sympathy for him.This was the most chemistry he has shown against Murphy and Blake. He looked the most energized of the men in the ring, as well.Consider, too, that the positive reactions he receives aren't limited to NXT's home base. At last Thursday's live event in Houston, English and Simon Gotch were among the most popular acts to enter the building.English isn't likely to make an impact on his own, but as part of The Vaudevillains,he has a shot of getting over with casual fans, too.The Ball Chained to Bull Dempsey's AnkleDempsey's "Bull-fit" angle stands in the way of his success. The self-depreciating act may endear him to fans to a degree, but it won't last. He is not at his best as the punchline or the goofball with a big grin.Going up against Tyler Breeze on Wednesday provided further proof of that.The bout will not go in either man's greatest hits collection. It was a subpar, bottom-of-the-card, forgettable match. Dempsey just not being fully comfortable as a mostly comedy wrestler was a big part of that.He played with his hair, playfully slapped his belly and did a "hulking up" routine a la Hulk Hogan. None of it suited him.This man is born to have his fists squeezed tight, a snarl on his face and a license to throttle folks in the ring. You don't ask a bear to dog tricks. Like Sheamus, he loses momentum when asked to be silly.The longer officials keep utilizing Dempsey for laughs, the more his stock will sink.Big Cass Towers over His PeersColin Cassady appeared for only a moment on Wednesday's NXT. He and Enzo Amore barked at the screen, aiming their verbal jabs at Finn Balor and Samoa Joe, whom they will take on next week.Amore was his usual hilarious self. Cassady provided the promo with a surplus of intensity. His partner supplied the jokes; Big Cass brought the fury.That's a balance the duo should keep up. Don't make Cassady the straight man all the time, but he can help ground the pair, reminding the audience that they are formidable as well as funny.On last Thursday's trip to Houston, Cassady showed his value to the team and to NXT in another way. He came off as more of a larger-than-life presence than anyone on the roster that night.It's not just his size; his energy and how he carries himself make him feel like something pulled from a comic book. That's a truly vital asset, something that will have WWE plenty willing to showcase him.Female WrestlersFirst Look at AsukaShe has yet to throw her first kick to the chest at NXT, but it's already clear that Asuka is miles better than the majority of the women's division.For one, she comes in not as a project in the works such as Dana Brooke or someone just learning the basics like Eva Marie but a veteran of the squared circle. She has been wrestling since 2004, working for a variety of Japanese promotions, as well as SHIMMER in the U.S.Asuka is a skilled striker, strong on the mat and has a Finn Balor-like flair for theatrics.NXT fans will see all of that in due time. The first glimpse they got of her, though, came in a non-physical segment.Emma and Brooke crashed Asuka's contract signing, mocking her and demanding that she leave the ring.We learned a number of things here. Asuka's English is poor at the moment. She has ample enthusiasm. And most importantly, she can tell a story with just her face.She displayed convincing intensity, looked genuinely embarrassed and lastly flashed a chilling "I'm going to tear you apart" look. Using expressions that well is going to allow her to speak less often. And it's a skill that will bolster her ring work, as well.Expect her to go after Bayleynot just for her title but for the top spot in the division.
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