#AndNEW: Lio Rush Wins the NXT Cruiserweight Championship

On this past Wednesday’s episode of NXT, Lio Rush defeated Drew Gulak for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.

Since NXT’s move to the USA Network, one of the most notable stories to come from the black and gold brand was the rise of Rush. Following a run on the main roster that included a managerial role to Bobby Lashley, the Man of the Hour made his way back to NXT, immediately catching fire as a fan favorite. He defeated Oney Lorcan in a number one contender’s match, a bout that received immense praise from fans and critics alike, punching his ticket to a future NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Would the self-proclaimed Piece of Gold add more bling to his collection or find himself another victim to the Pennsylvania native?

Rush and Gulak opened this week’s edition of NXT with the title match in question.

Hungry to win his first championship in WWE, Rush quickly got on the offensive, nailing a standing Spanish Fly on the titleholder. From there, he executed a number of fast-paced maneuvers, including an Asai moonsault, before being caught by the more powerful competitor in Gulak. From there, Gulak began working on the arm. Though Rush valiantly fought back, Gulak cut him off multiple times, even sending Rush flying off the top turnbuckle and crashing to the outside.

Ever the underdog, despite being high on confidence, Rush continued to fight back against the powerful offense of Gulak. Following a roll-up attempt, Rush was trapped in the Gulock, a submission technique that put away numerous adversaries in the past. Rush managed to roll through with another pin attempt before transitioning into a dragon sleeper hold. Gulak’s expertise in submission offense proved invaluable, as he escaped, executing the Cyclone Clash on the challenge for the near fall.

The match officially ended when Rush fought out of a superplex attempt by Gulak, hitting his signature frog splash, the Final Hour.

Rush followed up with a cutter before going back to the top rope for a second Final Hour. This proved to be the end for Gulak, as well as his 108-day NXT Cruiserweight Championship reign, as Rush pinned the champion to win his first title in WWE.

As Rush was congratulated by NXT General Manager William Regal, Gulak was quick to interrupt, grabbing the championship he lost moments before. Gulak, clearly frustrated over his loss, stared down the new champion in Rush. In a show of respect, Gulak personally presented Rush with the NXT Cruiserweight Championship before shaking his hand. Gulak would make his exit to allow Regal to fasten the championship around Rush’s waist, allowing him to bask in the spotlight he longed for.

Since his return to NXT, Rush has seen a spike in popularity, becoming a fan favorite of the NXT Universe due to his combination of charisma and wrestling acumen. As the new NXT Cruiserweight Championship, he has the attention of both former 205 Live alumni and current NXT talent. Will he be challenged by an old foe or find himself mixing it up with fresh faces? Wherever this new path takes him, Lio Rush isn’t about to part his way with his new piece of gold so easily the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.