WWE NXT: All 26 Champions in Brand’s History, Ranked

26 of 26

1. Finn Balor

To close out the list, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this man is on top. He led WWE NXT through its biggest era and became its first, true long-running face of the brand. That person is Finn Balor.

Balor showed up to NXT in the fall of 2014 with all the hype in the world. He came over from New Japan Pro Wrestling as the leader of the popular Bullet Club stable, transforming from Prince Devitt the persona we now know him as. It saw him develop a following with the “Demon” warpaint, as everyone glued their eyes to the TV screen with his mystical entrance at TakeOver: R Evolution.

More from NXT

Only six months later, we saw Balor rise to the top as NXT Champion. It may have been in place of Hideo Itami, who had everything put behind him as the next big name of the brand. Then, we got hurt, and it made the Irishman the unquestioned Face of NXT, especially with Sami Zayn going down with an injury.

At Beast in the East, Balor conquered Kevin Owens to become NXT Champion and embarked on a journey for the next nine months. He took the belt around with him to live events, headlining just about all of them, as NXT toured the world. This was the international face that could fill out seats, domestically and abroad. He made the brand into a must-see show on the road and gave it an identity, one that has carried on through the tours since his call-up in July 2016.

Balor as NXT Champion also created a lengthy feud with Samoa Joe, as the two headlined three TakeOver events. The Demon King won the first two, with Joe walking out as champion at a live event and winning their rematch at TakeOver: The End. They produced a few very good matches, creating big-fight feels for every head-to-head.

Along with this, during his time as champion. Balor became a merchandise king for NXT. His t-shirts and other items received numerous incarnations, becoming staples of WWEShop.com. Anything “Balor Club” became red-hot clothing, could have brought in who knows how much money.

Oh, and he was the longest reigning NXT Champion ever. That has to mean something for a record that may not be caught for years to come, right?

Since Balor left WWE NXT, he hasn’t really been replaced. Shinsuke Nakamura took over his spot, but the brand lost a bit of lust during this time, which can’t be attributed to him, but the overall feel of the shows. That task may be given to Drew McIntyre and Aleister Black, who recently joined the show.

Next: WrestleMania 34 Card Predictions

These are all 26 champions in WWE NXT history, ranked. What do you think of this list?