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Credit: WWE.com

A return balanced out a farewell again as WWE NXT’s landscape shifted once more.

Hideo Itami stepped back into the spotlight as Tye Dillinger officially departed the developmental brand on Wednesday’s NXT. A healthy Itami back in the fold rearranges the championship picture. The Perfect 10’s exit leaves a space open for another rising prospect.

Andrade “Cien” Almas is clearly ready to snatch up that spot and likely a higher one soon after. He continues to thrive, be it during defeats or in glorified squash matches.

Liv Morgan can’t say the same thing.

The New Jersey native didn’t impress in her latest showing at Full Sail University. Her evolution is crawling along. 

The following is a look at how Morgan, Almas and others stack up to their peers as WWE prospects. The wrestlers’ look, gimmick, charisma, mic skills and ring work determined the rankings. 

 

Male Wrestlers

NXT Male Prospect Rankings (Top 20)
Rank Wrestler Height/Weight Notes
1. Drew McIntyre 6’5″, 254 lbs Hard-hitting offense, strong presence, great intensity, improved physique.
2. Johnny Gargano 5’10”, 199 lbs Fast, fluid offense, strong babyface work, excellent seller.
3. Andrade “Cien” Almas 5’9″, 210 lbs Finding groove character-wise, strong striker, good presence.
4. Aleister Black 5’11”, 205 lbs Magnetic aura, unique look, great striker.
5. Bobby Roode 6’0″, 235 lbs Quality promos, dependable all-around performer, not as electric as NXT’s best.
6. Hideo Itami 5’9″, 182 lbs Excellent athlete, skilled striker, presence helps overcome language barrier.
7. Kassius Ohno 6’4″, 270 lbs Works well against a variety of foes, excellent in the ring, likable on the mic.
8. Eric Young 6’0″, 224 lbs Skilled storyteller, great seller, dramatic strikes, solid on the mic.
9. Tommaso Ciampa 5’11”, 201 lbs Strong striker, intense, average mic work.
10. Roderick Strong 5’10”, 200 lbs Beautiful ring work, varied move set, charisma remains issue.
11. Shane Thorne 6’1″, 220 lbs Injury will stall momentum, athletic, good presence, marketable look, not yet an elite babyface.
12. Oney Lorcan 6’1″, 190 lbs Thrives in slugfests, strong ring work, underwhelming talker.
13. No Way Jose 6’3″, 245 lbs Goofy gimmick holding him back, inconsistent striker, gifted athlete, high ceiling.
14. Tucker Knight 6’2″, 320 lbs Good acceleration, impressive power, fun energy.
15. Killian Dain 6’4″, 322 lbs Impressive movement for his size, intimidating, big potential.
16. Rezar 6’4″, 330 lbs Strong intensity, impressive power, solid presence.
17. Dylan Miley 6’3″, 284 lbs Great power, intimidating, monstrous aura.
18. Alexander Wolfe 6’2″, 244 lbs Good bruiser, solid striking, Sanity gimmick working well.
19. Akam 6’3″, 290 lbs Plenty of power, solid presence, improved selling, still green overall.
20. Otis Dozovic 5’10”, 330 lbs Great power, solid agility for size, good intensity.
WWE.com, CageMatch.net

Prospects just outside the top 20: Nick Miller, Buddy Murphy, Wesley Blake

 

Almas Does It Again

His match against Danny Burch on Wednesday was no classic, but Almas elevated his stock with his performance nonetheless. 

The former La Sombra has been on a tear of late. He has regularly been one of NXT’s highlights each week. 


Against Burch, Almas was smooth. His offense looked effortless. And he blended in plenty of viciousness.

John Moore of ProWrestling.net wrote after the bout: “Andrade Almas is showing signs that he might be NXT’s best in-ring worker.”

That’s definitely a discussion worth having. Almas is equal parts slugfest artist and technical ace.

And as he showed in a brief backstage altercation with Drew McIntyre, he’s found his footing as a character.

He came off too much like a cheap Chippendale’s rip-off early on but has since become something more befitting. He’s essentially the arrogant, belligerent guy at the bar everyone wants to punch but is too intimidating for anyone to try something.

 

EY the Storyteller

Eric Young may remain at the NXT level due to his age (37), but Raw and SmackDown will be missing out on a strong all-around performer. 

He was excellent when he collided with Dillinger inside a steel cage for The Perfect 10’s final NXT match. This was a send-off for Dillinger but a showcase for Young.

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