NXT needs to freshen up its stale world title picture


Over 200 days into his second reign as NXT Champion, Bron Breakker has run through almost every notable name on the brand’s roster. The likes of Cameron Grimes, Tommaso Ciampa, Ilja Dragunov, Tyler Bate, Dolph Ziggler, and Joe Gacy have succumbed to the champ’s indomitable mix of power and athleticism.

Even with some notable missteps — randomly putting the title on Ziggler to have Breakker pointlessly chase him, the entire feud with Gacy — WWE has effectively cemented Breakker as the top guy in NXT and a potential top-of-the-card attraction once he reaches the main roster.

However, things have grown a little stagnant for him in recent weeks, and the men who have stepped up to challenge for that title have been emblematic of that rut.

NXT’s main event scene needs a revamp.

On the Nov. 1 episode of NXT, WWE gave fans a glimpse of who could next challenge for Breakker’s gold, and most of those choices aren’t particularly promising. Throughout the show, the creative team sprinkled multiple teases for Von Wagner’s intentions to pursue the NXT Title. Wagner made his motivations clear following Breakker and Wes Lee’s loss to Pretty Deadly in their quest to win the NXT Tag Team Championship, booting the champion in the face.

Meanwhile, Apollo Crews, fresh off of his victory over Grayson Waller at Halloween Havoc, also lamented about being passed over for several title shots, and by the end of the show, JD McDonagh confronted him to potentially position himself for another try at Breakker.

While Crews makes sense as a fresh opponent who can pull a good match out of Breakker (though Breakker needs less carrying than he did a few months ago), going back to McDonagh after multiple chances and elevating the uninspiring Wagner shows how thin the cupboard has gotten on the top shelf.

Moving Carmelo Hayes up the card to challenge Breakker would’ve solved a lot of these problems, but WWE elected to keep him in the North American Championship hunt to feud with Lee, which few will complain about. If WWE plans to book Lee to beat him in a one-on-one setting to fully establish him as champion, that’s perfectly fine.

Of course, it would’ve been more exciting to see him go after the NXT Title, and maybe he will, but ultimately, the main event scene shouldn’t require one person to uplift the entire apparatus. WWE needs to do a better job of identifying midcarders who would make for compelling challengers to Breakker.

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After all, they wouldn’t want the champion to become as stale as the contenders, right?