NXT: Unifying the Cruiserweight and North American Titles hurts the roster


Unifying the NXT North American and Crusierweight titles is not the best move for the NXT roster.

WWE NXT announced a major match for NXT New Year’s Evil. Roderick Strong and Carmelo Hayes are set to compete in a title unification match to bring together the NXT Cruiserweight and NXT North American Championships. This is going to be an excellent match, as both men are great workers, but it will not bode as well for the overall booking of the show.

Whenever the cruiserweight division is re-introduced in the WWE, it’s a matter of time before the group is folded into the rest of the roster. One of the long-standing rumors in the WWE is that Vince McMahon is not a fan of smaller performers. So much so, that idea was pointed out across media channels when rumors leaked about new hiring mandates within the company. So, the revamp of NXT pointed to the folding of the cruiserweight division at some point.

Then there’s the NXT North American title. Hayes won this belt back in October from “Swerve” Scott in a moment that almost crowned him the future of the program. Since then, there’s only been one title defense, a triple threat against Johnny Gargano and Pete Dunne. That title should have been booked as the “worker’s belt” in the midcard; used as an opportunity to let fans see how great of a performer Hayes is and will become in the future. Unfortunately, he’s been marred with less than stellar booking since, getting wrapped up in other feuds and losing multiple singles matches.

The rest of the roster needs these titles to build their status in the brand.

Removing one of these titles also removes an opportunity for members of the roster. If booked properly, having all three titles creates the space for stronger feuds and building more names at the same time.

WWE has consistently failed in this situation. Look at how Shinsuke Nakamura’s run with the Intercontinental Championship has gone. But on the other side of that, Damian Priest’s run with the United States Championship has worked to get him over with fans. If WWE committed to booking both the NXT North American and NXT Cruiserweight Championships in that fashion, that would benefit the entire roster.

Performers like Boa, Andre Chase, Odyssey Jones, Ru Feng, and others benefit from having more to compete for when they are used. WWE needs to better utilize its expansive roster with mid-card and non-title feuds, culminating with an opportunity outside of the main event scene. Everyone can’t immediately be thrust into that position, but the build toward lower belts like the Cruiserweight and North American Titles would benefit all parties involved.

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Roderick Strong versus Carmelo Hayes will be one of the better matches on NXT New Year’s Evil, even an early candidate for WWE Match of the Year for 2022. But the outcome will have a negative impact on the entire WWE NXT roster.