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WWE NXT: Updated Prospect Rankings and Analysis, Predictions for Week of Jan. 19

Few things propel a WWE NXT Superstar like finding a character that fits them snugly.
Both Nikki Cross and Tye Dillinger have done just that of late, and Wednesday’s NXT provided more proof. Cross is thriving as a rabid, bloodthirsty loon. Dillinger has evolved his gimmick to be about far more than counting to 10.
Cross’ craziness exploded on the screen at Full Sail University. Dillinger connected with the crowd by going public with his self-doubt.
NXT also featured The Revival dishing out another beatdown and Roderick Strong excelling between the ropes. Scott Dawson continues to look ready to jump to the main roster. Question marks remain for Strong.
The following is a look at how all those prospects stack up against each other. The wrestlers’ charisma, ring work, mic skills, looks and gimmicks determined the rankings.
          
Male Wrestlers

Prospects just outside the top 20: Tucker Knight, Buddy Murphy, Akam
            
Dillinger on the Mic
Early in Dillinger’s run as The Perfect 10, he was exuberant and flashy—a spark plug who chanted “10!” with the crowd. That was enough to get him noticed, but he’s beginning to add depth to the act to better it.
On Wednesday night, he addressed the crowd, talking about his recent struggles in the ring.
An emotional Dillinger wondered if he had a future in this business. He was stunned and downtrodden by his failures, unsure of what’s to come. This was one of his best promos to date.

It found the right balance between theatrical and believable.
And when Eric Young emerged to recruit him to be the newest member of the Sanity faction, drama filled the screen. Dillinger looked plenty comfortable as a key figure in this developing story, and he held his own in the scene with the more experienced Young.
This Dillinger vs. Sanity narrative has a ton of potential if The Perfect 10 is not headed to the main roster soon.
              
Can Strong Stand Out? 
Strong took down Steve Cutler in a solid match on Wednesday’s NXT.
We didn’t learn anything new about the former Ring of Honor star here, though. Strong looked crisp and fluid in the ring. His offense was picture-perfect; his intensity was just right for the setting. 

That’s all old news.
Strong is one of NXT’s best in-ring performers. He dishes out the prettiest backbreaker in the business. But will that translate to a connection with the crowd?
The audience was mostly quiet for this bout. 
Personality, presence and promos will determine how far Strong goes in NXT and beyond. There will be little time for that last item before his recently announced showdown with Andrade “Cien” Almas at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio on Jan. 28. The bout, though, will be a chance for Strong to win over a fanbase that has been largely cool on him.
              
Bruiser’s Stock Rising
Dawson’s verbal acumen is catching up to what his fists can do.
Before he and Dash Wilder took on TM61, Dawson cut down his foes on the mic backstage. He continues to sling strong, new catchphrases. His insults sizzle, too.
And when he says things like comparing coming after him to going down “40 miles of bad road,” it doesn’t sound like lines fed to him. His trash talk feels genuine.  
The Revival member didn’t stop talking when the bell rang, either. He mocked his foes mid-match, his cockiness compelling in the process.

Nobody does disdain on the NXT roster like Dawson right now. And add that to what he’s done in the ring for the past two years, and WWE would be foolish not to bring him to Raw or SmackDown before long. 
           
Female Wrestlers

Superbly Crazy 
Being Sanity’s frenzied wild dog has been the perfect vehicle for Cross.
Even in an over-before-you-know-it squash match against Kennadi Lewis, Cross’ insane energy managed to get the audience’s attention. She yanked on Lewis’ hair, twisted her nose and pounded on her with fury.

Her presence has been enthralling thus far. Her facial expressions have been top-notch.
As Total Wrestling magazine noted, the gimmick fits her well:

It’s time to see how that character translates to a high-profile bout. The Fatal 4-Way match for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver: San Antonio featuring Cross, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce and Asuka will be a proving ground for her. 
           
Predictions
The Revival left Shane Thorne hobbled on Wednesday night, presumably to write him off TV while he recovers from a legitimate injury. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Marc Normandin of Cageside Seats), Thorne is expected to undergo knee surgery.

That will leave his tag team partner, Nick Miller, in a tough spot.
Miller doesn’t have the mic skills or presence to flourish on his own. With TM61 on hiatus, Miller is going to be starved for TV time. This won’t be anything like when Big Cass came into his own while Enzo Amore was hurt in 2014.
Sanity’s newest member, the monstrous Damo, will make a big impact in a hurry.
The NXT roster is sorely lacking in giants like him. WWE is going to showcase the Irishman to fill that void. Being a part of a faction will allow bookers to bring him along slowly, but opportunities will come in bunches.Read more Pro Wrestling news on BleacherReport.com
Source: pro wrestling

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