NXT: Three names that should be the next NXT champion

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WWE NXT finds itself in a precarious position heading into the launch of the rebrand on Tuesday, September 14. News broke that three-time champion, Samoa Joe, was forced to relinquish the title due to an undisclosed injury. That means the brand doesn’t have a top champion heading into what will be an important moment in its immediate direction. Looking at the roster, these three individuals stand out as the top names that could be the next to carry that NXT title.

Honorable Mentions:

Carmelo Hayes

Isiah “Swerve” Scott


Pete Dunne

Pete Dunne has been well protected as a part of the NXT brand. At 27-years old he stands out as one of the potential names that the WWE can build around for the future. His catalog of matches within NXT stands as some of the best seen within the brand. He’s currently leading the way with Ridge Holland as his second, setting up an important tandem that could sit at the top of NXT for an extended period.

Questions continue to loom about Dunne’s contract status with the WWE. WWE has found itself in some embarrassing situations as contracts have come up for big names with little recognition in the promotion, Adam Cole’s contract being the biggest to date. Dunne was offered a new contract a few short weeks ago, but news has not broken about a signed deal. WWE cannot continue to lose young talent such as Dunne, so expect the company to pull out the stops. He’s someone that should be on the shortlist as the next champion.

Kyle O’Reilly

Kyle O’Reilly is the fan-favorite that has been up and down within the main event picture in NXT. Recently he’s competed multiple times for the NXT championship, coming up on the losing side. His in-ring work is among the best in the entire promotion, but where he’s lacking is in character and personality. O’Reilly excelled as a member of The Undisputed Era, but as a single, he hasn’t become the type of character that immediately attracts fans.

O’Reilly’s performances during the matches are the type of wrestling that fans want to see. But he’s not the type of character that WWE seems to push to the forefront. That will be the biggest challenge for KOR if he finds himself in the top slot as the next individual to hold the NXT title.

Santos Escobar

Santos Escobar and Legado del Fantasma have been an interesting aspect to NXT booking. Together, there isn’t anything this group can’t do. Right now, they are locked into an intense feud with Hit Row, which is one of the top angles in the WWE. But Escobar has long performed as the top heel that NXT had, both with his character abilities and what he can do in the ring.

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The addition of Elecktra Lopez adds a new wrinkle to Legado del Fantasma. WWE could build a strong future for NXT with multiple individuals chasing Escobar for the title. It’s time to put Escobar in the main event as the heel that can deliver in all ways for NXT.