The anticipation for NXT Deadline is at an all-time high for Saturday, Dec. 10. Making its debut, NXT Deadline will include two Iron Survivor Challenge matches that will ultimately decide who are the number-one contenders for both the NXT and NXT Women’s Championships, respectively.
Two superstars will battle head-to-head to start the match, and the rest will enter every five minutes until the 25-minute time limit is up. Whoever scores the most pinfalls/submissions in that time frame will be the new number-one contender.
Before those matches happen, let’s take a look at who has the best chance to walk out as the number one contender for the NXT Championship to face either Bron Breakker or Apollo Crews (who have a title match at NXT Deadline).
Initially, I wasn’t too sure about A-Kid’s character change to Axiom on NXT, but it’s growing on me. Axiom earned his spot in this match after defeating Von Wagner and Andre Chase in a triple threat match on NXT earlier this week. To this point, Axiom hasn’t had the opportunity to display any improvement on the mic, but in the ring, he is electrifying and is one of the top high-fliers in the WWE.
That being said, Axiom is not ready for an NXT Championship battle and has room to grow, but being in this match is a huge deal for him moving forward and we could see him in the mix for the North American Title soon.
4. Grayson Waller
On the current NXT roster, there have been a few superstars that have built their character more effectively than Grayson Waller. His new talk show, The Grayson Waller Effect, is so terrible and cringe that it has you anticipating chaos more than anything else. Although his character is developing, he has yet to have any notable matches and comes into the Iron Survivor Challenge with seemingly no momentum.
Waller has had some decent matches this year, including a casket match against Crews at Halloween Havoc, and a Last Man Standing match against LA Knight back in March. He has had a good year, but he likely needs more time to build on what he has done in 2022.
3. JD McDonagh
JD McDonagh may be a lot of people’s favorite to win this match. He has already had a couple of incredible matches with Breakker and Crews on multiple occasions. McDonagh’s performance in the triple threat against Breakker and Ilja Dragunov for the NXT Title at Halloween Havoc was an absolute banger and is likely one of the top matches in NXT this year. He had an incredible match against Dragunov on NXT the week following that match.
Since coming over from NXT UK, McDonagh has brought an uncanny character to the program that is hard not to root for. He is tough as nails, incredible in the ring, and significantly improved on the mic. He may lead this match with the most falls for a while, but since he has already had matches/feuds with both Crews and Breakker, he is likely not going to win this match.
2. Joe Gacy
If I were to choose a dark horse pick to win this match it would be Joe Gacy. Although he had a shot at Breakker earlier this year in a feud that didn’t have much of a chance to grow, Gacy wouldn’t surprise me with a win here.
Gacy has grown Schism into the top faction in NXT and with the recent addition of Ava Raine, their notoriety has grown even more, whether they’re putting people through tables or taking down haters that don’t abide by their message like Cameron Grimes.
I feel like we didn’t get to see the Gacy/Breakker feud all the way through and he hasn’t even faced Crews yet, so we could get some fresh storylines if he were to win. For some reason, I see Schism holding all of the titles in NXT next year and becoming the face of the show. What puts them in that position more than their leader Gacy going into 2023 as the number one contender for the NXT Title?
1. Carmelo Hayes
If there is any clear-cut favorite to win this match, it is Carmelo Hayes. He has already held North American Championship gold twice and is the best superstar in the company on the mic and in the ring. When it comes to NXT, no other superstar has had the memorable matches that Hayes had. Whether it’s the banger with Ricochet, his rematch against Wes Lee, or his NXT North American Championship match against Solo Sikoa, Hayes has put on incredible matches all year long.
As the top heel on NXT, he instantly becomes the favorite to match up against babyfaces in Crews or Breakker. He has yet to have an NXT Championship match and after losing his North American Championship, he is ready and determined to hold some gold again. Hayes will win this match and put a stamp on a great 2022.
Whoever wins, it will be a historic NXT Deadline Saturday night. Coming very soon, I will take a look at the women’s Iron Survivor Challenge match and rank who has the best chance to walk out as the number one contender for Mandy Rose and the NXT Women’s Championship.