Matt Riddle’s Departure Affected Plans For Eight Other NXT Stars
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Throughout NXT’s history, there have been plenty of instances of a certain storyline altering because of a main roster call-up. Sometimes, this ends up for the best, giving new stars a chance to seize the moment. Other times, it sends a ripple through the roster and throws even more off than you might imagine. In Matt Riddle’s case, it seems to be the latter. Fightful has recently reported from backstage at NXT that up to eight other talents had their booking plans change due to the Bro’s rise on SmackDown. Here’s what we can piece together:
Most obviously, Pete Dunne is now formally an NXT Tag Team Champion due to the global pandemic. Timothy Thatcher was brought in as a replacement partner turned rival to give Riddle some sort of sendoff before his departure. Imperium was also called in to carry the titles, which was not originally the plan.
If Riddle would have remained in NXT, WWE was happy to wait out the pandemic with the belt around his waist. His main opposition would have been Indus Shera, the team who recently debuted on NXT under the management of Malcolm Bivens. Indus Shera was considered too inexperienced to hold the straps, so their role was filled by another team and they were booted back off TV.
Riddle isn’t even the only NXT talent coming up to the main roster in recent times. Dominik Dijakovic is headed to RAW as of this week, and his departure leaves a hole in the NXT midcard. Another rumored departure is Chelsea Green, who fired manager Robert Stone after only a short partnership. It’s unclear how these two would have affected plans going forward, and if NXT creative can now breathe easy through a mask and plan for the future.