Since his debut, Velveteen Dream has won over the NXT faithful with his excellent character work, and he may get the main event spotlight because of it.
Since his 2015 reintroduction, the Velveteen Dream has become something of a revelation. When the charismatic grappler properly debuted on NXT with a flamboyant, Prince-inspired gimmick, it would’ve been understandable if fans assumed the worst.
However, the Washington, D.C. native managed to subvert many of the offensive camp gay tropes that WWE often attaches to acts that don’t project the stereotypical tough guy aura and has become one of the best and most fleshed out characters in the company.
Through his memorable feuds with Aleister Black, Ricochet, and EC3, Dream has blossomed into one of the breakout stars of WWE’s developmental branch. Considering the enviable wealth of talent that wrestles under the NXT umbrella, that’s saying something.
But it’s the truth, Dream has wowed audiences and with his memorable promos, show-stealing matches, and attention-grabbing ring attire. Simply put, he has a firm understanding of his character and his commitment to the role has made him a fan favorite despite his designation as a heel.
If last Wednesday’s episode of NXT is any indication, it seems as though the NXT creative team has decided to give in and let the audience embrace the Dream as a full-fledged babyface. Not only that, but it also appears that he is next in line to challenge Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship. While the budding program should serve as a nice change of pace for Ciampa following his longstanding war with white meat babyface Johnny Gargano, it also gives Dream a chance to show what he can do in a main event situation.
Yes, Dream has turned in classic in-ring performances at past NXT TakeOvers. He even has a five-star match on his resume, albeit in a gimmick match that featured five other people. But those matches took place on the undercard of those TakeOver specials. It’s one thing to go out mid-show and exceed expectations.
It’s another to go into an event as the focal point of the card and deliver. Dream, who is still somewhat green in the ring, has also benefitted from working alongside flashy, top-flight workers like Black and Ricochet. Ciampa is a very good worker, but he wrestles more of an old-school style, so who knows what a match between him and a babyface Velveteen Dream would look like.
Chances are that the bout would turn out fine. After all, Dream would be a face in this scenario, which means that he would spend a majority of the match bumping and selling for the champion, which he excels at.
He would also be able to use his still-developing moveset as part of his comeback instead of spreading those moves out through an extended heat segment. But putting Dream in a championship match against a methodical worker like Ciampa is still a bit of a risk.
Of course, a one-on-one title match between Dream and Ciampa isn’t set in stone. The conclusion of the “Who attacked Aleister Black” storyline could insert the former NXT Champion into this feud (I think the attacker will be someone else though).
There’s also a chance that this match won’t even main event the next TakeOver in November, which will once again feature WWE’s version of War Games. Still, this feud with Ciampa will serve as an early litmus test for the 23-year-old.
As of right now, it seems like Dream is slotted as an upper-midcarder that can occasionally slide into the title picture to give the titleholder a win over a credible opponent. For right now, that’s a good slot for him as he continues to develop in the ring. But this feud will give fans and company officials a glimpse of Dream’s potential as not only a guy that hovers around the main event but one that is a regular mainstay.
Dream has become accustomed to snatching the audience’s attention. With this feud, we’ll see how good he is when he’s at the center of it.