The New Year's Evil episode is over, and the next plan for NXT will be Takeover, which will take place on February 14. But, what about Damian Priest and Rhea Ripley? Here is my take on them:
Since NXT Takeover: In Your House, Priest started to shine. He had lost to Finn Balor in a singles competition but was recognized by his peers and Triple H for outstanding performance. The Archer of Infamy or Punisher has stood toe to toe with Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic. He continued his success by becoming the North American Champion by defeating Bronson Reed, Cameron Grimes, Johnny Gargano, and Velveteen Dream in a 5-way ladder match. His title reign was not long as he lost to Johnny Gargano in their second meet in the championship.
Just like Dijakovic and Lee, Priest lost to Karrion Kross. And if you lose to him, you are on your way to the main roster. Rumors are spreading around the wrestling community that Priest is to head to Smackdown and tag team with Kevin Owens. Regardless if that is the plan or not, Priest has come a long way to be a superstar. Unless he challenges Gargano for the North American title, there is no need for Priest to stick around. His time is up, and it is time to chase new goals.
In the women's division, both Raw and Smackdown need a spark. Rhea Ripley has lost three of the last four singles matches: Raquel Gonzales, Toni Storm, and NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai. Ripley, the "Nightmare," is causing her terror by remaining in NXT. She has already conquered the brand and is ready to move up to the main roster. Her perfect timing to enter the main roster is to surprise everyone and join the Royal Rumble. She could battle Charlotte Flair since she did not have a rematch when losing the NXT title. Asuka does not have an opponent, and it could be considered an opportunity for the Nightmare. In Smackdown, Bianca Belair is on the rise. Both Belair and Ripley have history, and they can bond together to start a tag team or a faction.
With Priest and Ripley losing their matches on Wednesday, it is a clear indicator that they will move on to bigger and better things. On the contrary, should they remain in NXT, what more can they do?