2020 has brought us a ratings war, multiple titles changing hands, a number of different surprises and debuts, and a litany of shocking moments. But going into 2021, there may be even more big moments, especially for the black and gold brand known as NXT. In this special edition of Coming Up NXT, we break down what we may expect (or hope to expect) in the coming year. This is Coming Up NXT: 5 things we NEED to happen in 2021!
5 Things In 2021 We Need To Happen
1. NXT Show #2
A report circulated late this year that the head honcho of the black and gold brand was beginning to shape a budget for another NXT show. Triple H has usually set promises that he could keep, but this one may be a little ambitious. The current NXT product has only passed AEW’s Dynamite show once since the two brands have shared the same night, and rumor has it, it’s been a black sheep of WWE because of Vince McMahon.
But what if? What if Triple H can pull off the budget to do it? In 2021, I want this to come to fruition. Imagine, instead of just another black and gold show, it could be a silver and gold brand?
When the Invasion storyline ended, and there was a surplus of superstars, Vince was able to orchestrate a UPN network deal for this little known show, Smackdown. Since then, the powerhouse show is currently the second-longest weekly episodic show in television history (obviously, the first one is Monday Night RAW).
Imagine how many superstars will be featured instead of putting all the illustrious talent on one two-hour show on the USA? Imagine the 205 Live roster getting more than just WWE Network time? Or being able to put more of the best Women’s division on the map? Either way, a second brand may be… do I dare say, best for business. But that second show may give way for a certain trio of superstars to take advantage.
2. The Rascalz debut
Trey Miguel, Dezmond ‘Dez’ Xavier, and Zachary Wentz, and pound-for-pound, the best trio team in pro wrestling today. In many ways, they have been the reason Impact Wrestling has been so enjoyable to watch between their Treehouse segments to their amazing matches in the ring over the past two years in the Nashville-based company.
But reports circulated the reason for their departure is due to their signing to the WWE, and as of December 2nd, two of the three members have reported to the Performance Center. So imagine saving their big debut saved until this new show launches? Better yet, why not drive up WWE Network numbers and debut them on NXT and have them run 205 Live?
NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar and Legado De Fantasma have run rough shot through the division since the tournament, and his big reveal two months ago. Between Drake Maverick, Jake Atlas, and Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott, Escobar’s challengers are getting pretty thin. Add in (hopefully) Trey, Dez, and Wentz, and you not only have a significant three-person team but three new challengers to the Emperor’s reign. And since we’re talking challengers, we have to talk about one of 2020’s biggest surprises…
5 Things In 2021 We Need To Happen
3. Kyle O’Reilly as NXT Champion
While title-guitaring seems to make Kyle O’Reilly one of the NXT Universe’s favorite champions, it was his impressive 5-star showing against current champion Finn Balor that has opened eyes to the possibility that the Canadian superstar could carry the brand one day similar to his time as Ring of Honor World Champion.
But what if? What if the tag team specialist became NXT Champion? Even though the build to Takeover 31 was short-lived, we saw more charisma, character, and believability for O’Reilly to be a singles star in that time than we’ve seen in his entire 4+ year career on the black and gold brand. So why not give Kyle a shot?
And before we elaborate on this idea, I am not calling for the break up of the Undisputed Era, BUT I am looking forward to some friendly competition. Imagine what an amazing, technical match for the NXT Championship between Kyle and Adam Cole could look like 6-months from now? Or a #1 contender’s tournament where the champ runs into eventual winner Roderick Strong?
Then let’s look outside of the UE, and we are treated to Balor/O’Reilly II? Or O’Reilly/Thatcher in a submissions smorgasbord? The possibilities are endless with this idea, and I hope we can see this vision come to life. Crap… I did forget someone else a champion Kyle O’Reilly could face…
4. The Eventual Return of Karrion Kross
It was a mere sample size of destruction we saw as Karrion Kross descended upon the black and gold and became the doomsday to the Superman that was Keith Lee. Unfortunately for the ‘moment maker,’ he became an afterthought en route to a title win for Kross. Then came the injury and the rest is history.
So the obvious is Karrion Kross will be back, but the not so obvious is what will the landscape of NXT look like when he does return? He’s already coming back to a brand new Capitol Wrestling Centre, a brand new NXT Champion (for now), and almost half of the men he went to war with are now on the main roster. Does that mean Kross can come back and once again be one of the most dominant superstars on the brand? Possibly.
We are sure Finn Balor, a vengeful Tommasso Ciampa, a legend in the making in Adam Cole, a ‘Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne, and more all waiting for his return. Kross made his path to the title seem easy the first time; it may not be the second time around. But if Karrion Kross does return to the top of the mountain, let’s say around Fall 2021, I could only hope NXT can also return to another WWE staple…
5 Things In 2021 We Need To Happen 5. NXT Returns To Survivor Series Glory
You let Pat McAfee tell it, and he will repeat this sentiment: November 1, 2019, was the greatest moment in Smackdown history. Why? Well, that was the night where NXT invaded Friday Night Smackdown due to an unforeseen flight incident after WWE Super Showdown.
So with a short-handed roster and a bevy of black and gold soldiers ready for battle, Smackdown aired, and we were treated to greatness. First, then NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler on a single woman warpath tore through then-Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley, Nikki Cross, and Sasha Banks. Then, Sami Zayn was introduced to the tandem of Matt Riddle and Keith Lee, which fueled Lee’s ‘moment maker’ run in WWE. But it didn’t stop there as an edition of MizTV turned into an impressive match between the Awesome One and Tommasso Ciampa. But the ‘coup de grace’ of the night, and NXT Championship match between Adam Cole and Daniel Bryan.
Circumstances turned into a showdown between RAW, Smackdown, and NXT, which left NXT the 2019’s victory. And while 2020 may have missed the boat, 2021 should return it to glory. Can you imagine NXT superstars’ new crop against main show superstars and former NXT standouts such as Lee, Riddle, and Baszler? While Vince and the powers that be may not believe in NXT, the rabid fanbase says otherwise, but at the end of the day… WE ARE NXT!