Despite losing to Adam Cole at NXT TakeOver: In Your House, Velveteen Dream will continue to compete under the NXT banner, according to Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer (h/t Ian Carey of SEScoops).
By falling short on Sunday, Dream can’t wrestle for the NXT Championship again as long as Cole is holding the title belt. That left some fans to wonder whether the result presaged Velveteen Dream’s move to Raw or SmackDown.
With NXT’s move to USA Network, wrestlers aren’t leaving Full Sail University with the same frequency they did in years prior, yet shifting to Raw or SmackDown is still effectively a step upward. Matt Riddle is the most recent NXT star to change brands.
Even though he’ll be excluded from the NXT Championship future for the time being, plenty of fans will argue Velveteen Dream is better off right where he is.
No voice is ultimately louder than that of Vince McMahon, and it’s anybody’s guess as to how the WWE chairman would handle a character as different as Velveteen Dream.
WWE’s Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon said in August 2016 that “when it makes sense … absolutely we will integrate LGBT storylines into our programming.”
The promotion has little to show in that regard since then.
During Lana and Bobby Lashley’s wedding ceremony, Liv Morgan spoiled the occasion by referencing her feelings toward Lana. Rather than using that as the springboard to a compelling same-sex dynamic on Raw, WWE treated the revelation as a sideshow, with Morgan and Lana immediately fighting in the ring.
Vice’s Rob Rousseau raised the question in November 2017 about whether Velveteen Dream would be able to maintain the kind of nuance he has displayed while in NXT.
Perhaps his arrival on Raw or SmackDown would herald the start of a new era for WWE, but the company doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt based on its history.