Report: NXT Creative Unaware Of WWE Draft Callups In Advance

Ridge Holland
Credit: WWE

The NXT creative team were seemingly unaware of which talent was going to be called up to Raw and SmackDown during the recent WWE Draft, according to a new report.

A raft of talent was moved away from NXT in the latest Draft, with Hit Row, Xia Li, Ridge Holland and Aliyah going to SmackDown, and Austin Theory landing on Raw.

It would appear that whilst many of these callups were expected, NXT creative were unaware of who was heading to which brand in advance.

Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has claimed that the decision to move The Hit Row was taken days in advance, but that information was not passed on.

The NXT call-ups were Hit Row, likely as babyfaces, to Smackdown; Xia Li to Smackdown, Ridge Holland to Smackdown, Aliyah to Smackdown and Austin Theory to Raw. While we were told the Hit Row decision was made days earlier, those in NXT were not told, and nobody in the organization really was told anything, even if the switches based on booking patterns to an extent were predictable in most of the cases.

Meltzer also revealed that many in WWE are very high on former rugby star Ridge Holland, and see him as a future World Champion.

Dakota Kai wasn’t drafted even though she had been pulled off NXT and was regularly doing try-out matches. The company does have high hopes for Holland, who some in the company have tabbed as a future WWE champion, as well as Theory, who is young and has a good look. I don’t see it in Holland at this point, as he came across as a generic looking guy with generic moves who has a powerful looking body and is a legit athlete. But like with Karrion Kross, who looked very big when next to the generally smaller NXT workers, but on the main roster his size won’t stand out as much with the bigger main roster guys. As far as Aliyah, she has a good look, but really, almost all the women have that. She wasn’t over in NXT and plenty of women were that didn’t get the call, almost all of whom were better in the ring. So she’s a mystery.

The latest WWE Draft picks come in to effect on 22nd October, the day after Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia.