Current champion Ilja Dragunov

The NXT Championship is a professional wrestling championship created and promoted by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE, defended as the top championship of their NXT brand division. The championship was first introduced on the July 1, 2012, episode of NXT when NXT Commissioner Dusty Rhodes announced a Gold Rush tournament, involving four developmental roster wrestlers and four main roster wrestlers competing to be crowned as the inaugural NXT Champion in a single elimination tournament. Seth Rollins became the inaugural NXT Champion by defeating Jinder Mahal in the tournament finals on July 26, 2012 (aired August 29).[1][2]

As of February 20, 2024, there have been 29 reigns among 22 different champions and three vacancies. Samoa Joe has the most reigns at three. Finn Bálor has the longest combined reign at 504 days. Adam Cole's reign is the longest singular reign at 396 days (403 days as recognized by WWE due to tape delay), while Karrion Kross' first reign is the shortest at 4 days (3 days as recognized by WWE) as he had to relinquish the title due to a legitimate injury he suffered in winning it. Bo Dallas holds the record as the youngest champion, winning the title two days before his 23rd birthday (although WWE recognizes it was 18 days after his 23rd birthday due to tape delay), while Samoa Joe is the oldest champion, winning the title at 42.[3]

Ilja Dragunov is the current champion in his first reign. He defeated Carmelo Hayes at NXT No Mercy on September 30, 2023, in Bakersfield, California.

Title history

Key
No. Overall reign number
Reign Reign number for the specific champion
Days Number of days held
Days recog. Number of days held recognized by the promotion
+ Current reign is changing daily
No. Champion Championship change Reign statistics Notes Ref.
Date Event Location Reign Days Days recog.
1 Seth Rollins July 26, 2012 NXT Winter Park, FL 1 133 133 Title was established on July 1, 2012, for WWE's developmental brand NXT. Rollins defeated Jinder Mahal in the eight-man NXT Championship tournament finals to become the inaugural champion. WWE recognizes his reign as beginning on August 29, 2012, when the match aired on tape delay. [4][5]
2 Big E Langston December 6, 2012 NXT Winter Park, FL 1 168 153 This was a no disqualification match.
WWE recognizes Big E's reign as beginning on January 9, 2013, when the match aired on tape delay.
[6]
3 Bo Dallas May 23, 2013 NXT Winter Park, FL 1 280 260 WWE recognizes Dallas' reign as beginning on June 12, 2013, when the match aired on tape delay. [7]
4 Adrian Neville February 27, 2014 Arrival Winter Park, FL 1 287 286 This was a ladder match. [8]
5 Sami Zayn December 11, 2014 TakeOver: R Evolution Winter Park, FL 1 62 62 This was a title vs. career match where if Zayn had lost, he would have voluntarily quit NXT. [9]
6 Kevin Owens February 11, 2015 TakeOver: Rival Winter Park, FL 1 143 142 Owens won when the referee decided that Sami Zayn was unable to continue. [10]
7 Finn Bálor July 4, 2015 The Beast in the East Tokyo, Japan 1 292 292 [11]
8 Samoa Joe April 21, 2016 NXT Live Lowell, MA 1 121 121 [12][13]
9 Shinsuke Nakamura August 20, 2016 TakeOver: Brooklyn II Brooklyn, NY 1 91 91 [14]
10 Samoa Joe November 19, 2016 TakeOver: Toronto Toronto, ON, Canada 2 14 13 [15]
11 Shinsuke Nakamura December 3, 2016 NXT Osaka, Japan 2 56 56 [16][17]
12 Bobby Roode January 28, 2017 TakeOver: San Antonio San Antonio, TX 1 203 202 [18]
13 Drew McIntyre August 19, 2017 TakeOver: Brooklyn III Brooklyn, NY 1 91 91 [19]
14 Andrade "Cien" Almas November 18, 2017 TakeOver: WarGames Houston, TX 1 140 139 [20]
15 Aleister Black April 7, 2018 TakeOver: New Orleans New Orleans, LA 1 102 108 [21]
16 Tommaso Ciampa July 18, 2018 NXT Winter Park, FL 1 238 237 WWE recognizes Ciampa's reign as beginning on July 25, 2018 and ending on March 20, 2019 due to both episodes airing on tape delay. [22][23]
Vacated March 13, 2019 NXT Winter Park, FL The title was vacated due to Tommaso Ciampa requiring neck surgery. Aired on tape delay on March 20, 2019. [24]
17 Johnny Gargano April 5, 2019 TakeOver: New York Brooklyn, NY 1 57 56 Defeated Adam Cole in a two out of three falls match to win the vacant title. [25]
18 Adam Cole June 1, 2019 TakeOver: XXV Bridgeport, CT 1 396 403 WWE recognizes Cole's reign as ending on July 8, 2020, when the following match aired on tape delay. [26]
19 Keith Lee July 1, 2020 NXT:
The Great American Bash

Night 2
Winter Park, FL 1 52 44 This was a Winner Takes All match, in which Lee also defended the NXT North American Championship.
WWE recognizes Lee's reign as beginning on July 8, 2020, when the match aired on tape delay.
[27]
20 Karrion Kross August 22, 2020 TakeOver XXX Winter Park, FL 1 4 3 [28]
Vacated August 26, 2020 NXT Winter Park, FL Karrion Kross relinquished the title due to suffering a separated shoulder during his match at TakeOver XXX. [29]
21 Finn Bálor September 8, 2020 NXT:
Super Tuesday II
Winter Park, FL 2 212 212 A 60-minute fatal four-way iron man match for the vacant championship took place on the September 1 episode of NXT Super Tuesday between Finn Bálor, Adam Cole, Tommaso Ciampa, and Johnny Gargano, but the match ended in a tie between Bálor and Cole. NXT General Manager William Regal then scheduled a match between the two for the following week, in which Bálor defeated Cole to win the vacant title. [30]
22 Karrion Kross April 8, 2021 TakeOver: Stand & Deliver
Night 2
Orlando, FL 2 136 136 [31]
23 Samoa Joe August 22, 2021 TakeOver 36 Orlando, FL 3 21 20 [32]
Vacated September 12, 2021 Samoa Joe relinquished the title due to what WWE reported as an unspecified injury; Joe later clarified that the vacancy happened due to him testing positive for COVID-19 as well as the overall directional change of NXT, which saw NXT rebranded as NXT 2.0. [33][34][35]
24 Tommaso Ciampa September 14, 2021 NXT 2.0 Orlando, FL 2 112 111 This was a fatal four-way match for the vacant championship, also involving LA Knight, Pete Dunne, and Von Wagner. [36]
25 Bron Breakker January 4, 2022 NXT 2.0:
New Year's Evil
Orlando, FL 1 63 63 [37]
26 Dolph Ziggler March 8, 2022 NXT 2.0:
Roadblock
Orlando, FL 1 27 26 This was a triple threat match also involving Tommaso Ciampa, who Ziggler pinned to win Breakker's title. [38]
27 Bron Breakker April 4, 2022 Raw Dallas, TX 2 362 361 On September 4, 2022 at Worlds Collide, Breakker defeated Tyler Bate to unify the NXT United Kingdom Championship into the NXT Championship. The NXT United Kingdom Championship was retired and the NXT Championship became the Unified NXT Championship. [39][40]
28 Carmelo Hayes April 1, 2023 Stand & Deliver Los Angeles, CA 1 182 182 [41]
29 Ilja Dragunov September 30, 2023 No Mercy Bakersfield, CA 1 143+ 143+ [42]

Combined reigns

Inaugural champion Seth Rollins
Record three-time champion Samoa Joe
Longest reigning champion Adam Cole
Two-time champion Finn Bálor holds the longest combined reign

As of February 20, 2024.

Indicates the current champion
Rank Wrestler No. of
reigns
Combined
days
Combined days
rec. by WWE
1 Finn Bálor 2 504
2 Bron Breakker 2 425 424
3 Adam Cole 1 396 403
4 Tommaso Ciampa 2 350 348
5 Adrian Neville 1 287 286
6 Bo Dallas 1 280 260
7 Bobby Roode 1 203 202
8 Carmelo Hayes 1 182
9 Big E Langston 1 168 153
10 Samoa Joe 3 156 154
11 Shinsuke Nakamura 2 147
12 Ilja Dragunov 1 143+
13 Kevin Owens 1 143 142
14 Karrion Kross 2 140 139
Andrade "Cien" Almas 1 140 139
16 Seth Rollins 1 133
17 Aleister Black 1 102 108
18 Drew McIntyre 1 91
19 Sami Zayn 1 62
20 Johnny Gargano 1 57 56
21 Keith Lee 1 52 44
22 Dolph Ziggler 1 27 26

References

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