Surprises have a key role in professional wrestling. Just when fans think they know how a situation is going to play out, promotions must make it a point to throw in a curve ball or two. The ability to make fans whiplash their necks or scrolling fingers to catch a headline or video clip that’s shocking makes wrestling interesting. That was what happened on the January 9 edition of WWE NXT when Oba Femi used his Breakout Tournament contract to surprise Dragon Lee and become the NXT North American Championship.
WWE is truly putting some momentum behind Femi. The 22-year-old has one year of wrestling and the company has made the move to put one of the best “working” belts in North American wrestling around his waist. With that win, Femi became the first NIL signing to pick up a championship. That title has seen some important champions hold it and they’ve delivered with some of the best wrestling in the brand and within WWE entirely. All eyes will be on Femi, as there’s a growing interest in him and the opportunity to build a figure for NXT to build around.
During the last year, WWE has built Femi up. He started on NXT Lvl Up where he took losses in matches that were from four to five minutes. That started to shift when he was introduced to NXT in a match against Oro Mensha on April 25. That win put him into the NXT Breakout Tournament and each of his match times increased. He looked competent in his nearly 10-minute match against Riley Osborne, and he’s showing progression in the right direction.
So, what does WWE do with him now? Expect more squash matches as North American champion to come. That is until he gets his first true feud. NXT has some veterans and skilled names on the roster that could fit well into that role. Drew Gulak, Dijak, Joe Gacy, Baron Corbin, and others can work as his first true feud as champion. The company can always pull a veteran from the main roster as well. It will be interesting to see who the company tags as the man to play the next role in Femi’s development.
It is always fun to see fresh faces burst onto the scene in professional wrestling. Oba Femi looks like someone with a lot of promise and WWE is moving quickly to see how far he can go.