How WWE Decided On Which NXT Stars To Promote To The Main Roster

Lacey Evans

When Vince McMahon appears, he tends to leave Raw looking much different than he found it. And on a night when he promised to “shake things up” on the red brand, The Chairman made his most sweeping change to the WWE landscape in years, announcing that the McMahon family — himself, Stephanie, Shane and Triple H — would collectively oversee both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown LIVE.

The move, as Stephanie explained, was a corrective to recent weeks where they had failed to listen to their audience and instead allowed petty grievances to take over. Shane’s SmackDown LIVE was included as part of the family’s plan to “empower” the Superstars and the audience. Triple H followed up with a promise to the audience that “as of now, you are The Authority,” with an additional vow to introduce new matchups and new Superstars.

Those new faces were later confirmed to be NXT Superstars Lacey Evans, Heavy Machinery (Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight), Nikki Cross, EC3 and the previously-announced Lars Sullivan, though it was not clear which brand they would be competing on.

WWE later aired this video package highlighting all six competitors.

There are two big factors on how WWE came to the decision to promote these six individuals and not others. According to John Pollock of, WWE officials were looking to promote wrestlers with strong characters, but without taking away too much of NXT’s star power. While the creative team would love to have the top names on the main roster, it’s not their decision. Management wanted to leave certain talent in NXT that would be able to sell tickets for the touring shows.

There are also no current plans to promote anyone else.

“We have been told these are the only planned call-ups for the time being. They were looking for call-ups that have strong characters and wanted to leave certain talent in NXT that would be able to sell tickets for the touring shows. There are lots of people in creative who would love to have the top names in NXT on the main roster but ultimately is not their call,” Pollock wrote.

Bryan Alvarez also noted on Wrestling Observer Live that all six were promoted to the main roster earlier than planned due to McMahon’s announcement (h/t Ringside News).

“I am told that they were scheduled to be called up in January and they just bumped it forward because they wanted to do a show where Vince McMahon came out and turned everything around,” Alvarez said.

“So it’s not like these people weren’t going to be called up. They were always going to be called up. They just happened to be called up early as part of the storyline that they’re turning things around.”

According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Vince is the person who makes the final decision on who gets promoted to the WWE main roster.