Shawn Michaels appeared on WWE's The Bump livestream ahead of NXT Takeover: In Your House tonight. HBK was asked about who he feels will be breakout stars in NXT. Though he's not a breakout star, Michaels brought up Drake Maverick, who was recently part of a big angle, somewhat controversially since it was based on the real-life layoffs or furloughs of dozens of WWE wrestlers and backstage talent. Michaels also praised Karrion Kross, Dexter Lumis, and El Hijo del Fantasma as future stars, and said he expects a lot more from Keith Lee, Johnny Gargano, and Tomasso Ciampa.
"It depends on what we're calling breakout stars," Michaels answered when asked the question. I think everyone knows that Karrion Kross has made a huge impact in NXT. I think there's a lot more to come. I think Dexter Lumis has done a great job. Fantasma, I think, has been fantastic I gotta say, look, I know he's not a breakout star, but I'm thrilled for Drake Maverick and I'm thrilled to have him."
"We've wanted old Drake for a long time, so I'm glad we've got him here," Michaels continued. "I think there are a number of people. Some of our older and seasoned NXT faithfuls are still gonna be there, are still gonna be making waves in NXT. Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. But Keith Lee has still got plenty ahead of him. There's a lot of exciting things on the horizon for Keith Lee. But you definitely gotta be looking at guys like Dexter Lumis and Karrion Kross and see what happens in the future."
Drake Maverick signed a new WWE contract on the most recent episode of NXT. That followed a storyline where Maverick was fighting for his career, participating in the Cruiserweight Championship tournament even though he was supposedly no longer under contract. Maverick lost the tournament but was offered a contract on air by Triple H anyway. The angle has been criticized, including by one of those laid off wrestlers, Lio Rush. That Shawn Michaels said NXT was looking to get Maverick on the brand before the tournament lends more credence to the idea that the whole thing was a work from the start.