NXT Championship
The current NXT Championship belt with default side plates
(2022–present)
Details
PromotionWWE
BrandNXT
Date establishedJuly 1, 2012
Current champion(s)Trick Williams
Date wonApril 23, 2024
Statistics
First champion(s)Seth Rollins
Most reignsSamoa Joe
(3 reigns)
Longest reignAdam Cole
(396 days)[a]
Shortest reignKarrion Kross
(1st reign, 4 days)[b]
Oldest championSamoa Joe
(42 years, 158 days)
Youngest championBo Dallas
(22 years, 363 days)[c]
Heaviest championKeith Lee
(340 lb (145 kg))
Lightest championFinn Bálor
(190 lb (86 kg))

The NXT Championship is a men's professional wrestling championship created and promoted by the American promotion WWE. It is defended as the top men's championship of NXT, the promotion's developmental brand. The current champion is Trick Williams, who is in his first reign. He won the title by defeating Ilja Dragunov on Night 1 of NXT: Spring Breakin' on April 23, 2024; had Williams lost, he would have had to leave NXT.

Introduced on July 1, 2012, it was the first championship established for NXT, and the inaugural champion was Seth Rollins. In September 2019, WWE began promoting NXT as its "third brand" when the NXT television program was moved to the USA Network. The NXT Championship was referred to as a world championship during this time; however, this recognition was dropped when NXT reverted to its original function as WWE's developmental brand in September 2021. In September 2022, the NXT United Kingdom Championship was unified into the NXT Championship.

History

The inaugural NXT Champion Seth Rollins

From 2010 to 2012, the American professional wrestling promotion WWE hosted a competition reality television series called NXT. In June 2012, WWE restructured the show and established the NXT brand as their developmental territory, replacing Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). On July 1, the brand's first championship, the NXT Championship, was introduced as the top men's championship. NXT Commissioner Dusty Rhodes announced an eight-man single-elimination tournament, dubbed the "Gold Rush" tournament, involving four wrestlers from NXT and four wrestlers from WWE's main roster competing to be crowned the first NXT Champion. On the July 26 tapings of NXT (aired August 29), Seth Rollins defeated Jinder Mahal in the tournament final to become the inaugural champion.[1][2] On November 19, 2016, at TakeOver: Toronto, Samoa Joe became the first performer to hold the championship on more than one occasion.[3] The title was defended for the first time on the main roster on the June 4, 2015, episode of SmackDown, where Kevin Owens retained the title against Zack Ryder.[4]

In September 2019, the NXT brand became WWE's third major brand when the NXT program was moved to the USA Network.[5][6] After Drew McIntyre won the NXT Championship in 2017, the match description for his win in the official title history referred to it as a world championship.[7] In 2021, it was revealed that the NXT Championship was an option for the men's Royal Rumble match winner to challenge for at WrestleMania 37, along with the WWE Championship and WWE Universal Championship.[8][9][10][11][12] However, WWE revamped NXT in September 2021 and returned the brand to its original function as a developmental territory, with it no longer referred to as a world championship and no longer an option for Royal Rumble match winners.[13]

In August 2022, WWE announced that the NXT UK brand would go on hiatus and would relaunch as NXT Europe at a later time.[14] As such, NXT UK's championship's were unified into their respective NXT championship counterparts. On September 4, 2022, at Worlds Collide, reigning NXT Champion Bron Breakker defeated NXT United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate to unify the NXT United Kingdom Championship into the NXT Championship. Bate was recognized as the final NXT UK Champion, while Breakker went forward as the unified NXT Champion.[15]

Inaugural tournament

Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
         
Richie Steamboat Pin
Leo Kruger
Richie Steamboat
Jinder Mahal Sub
Bo Dallas
Jinder Mahal Sub
Jinder Mahal
Seth Rollins Pin
Seth Rollins Pin
Drew McIntyre
Seth Rollins Pin
Michael McGillicutty
Justin Gabriel
Michael McGillicutty Pin

Belt designs

Kevin Owens, shown here with the original NXT Championship belt design (2012–2017).

The original NXT Championship belt's design was simple: a large gold center plate shaped as the letter "X", with smaller letters "N" and "T" to the left and right of the center. The belt contained six total side plates on a large black strap, three sitting on either side of the center plate; each side plate only featured the WWE logo. When first introduced, the side plates had the WWE scratch logo but in August 2014, all of WWE's pre-existing championships at the time received a minor update, changing the scratch logo to WWE's current logo that was originally used for the WWE Network that launched earlier that year in February.[16]

One-time champion Aleister Black with the 2017–2022 version of the championship belt

On WrestleMania Weekend 2017, all existing NXT title belts at the time were redesigned. The new title belts were unveiled at TakeOver: Orlando that same night and given to the winners of their respective matches. Like the previous design, the plates were gold and on a black leather strap. The letter "X" again dominated the center plate with smaller letters "N" and "T" sitting on the left and right sides, respectively. On this new design, however, the letters were on an octagonal shaped plate. Above the "X" was the WWE logo, while below the "X" was a banner that read "Champion". Simple ornamentation with some silver filled in the rest of the plate. Coming in line with the majority of WWE's other championships, the new design included side plates with a removable center section that could be customized with the champion's logo; the default plates featured the WWE logo.[17]

On the April 5, 2022, episode of NXT, reigning champion Bron Breakker debuted a new belt design; it is largely similar to the previous version (2017–2022), but the silver behind the logo was replaced by multi-colored paint (matching the NXT 2.0 colorscheme) and the letters "N" and "T" on the center plate were updated to the font style of the NXT 2.0 logo. The default side plates were also updated, replacing the WWE logo with the NXT 2.0 logo. The new title retains the black leather strap.[18] When "NXT 2.0" went back to being called "NXT" in September, the default side plates were updated with the new NXT logo.

Reigns

Main article: List of NXT Champions

As of May 14, 2024, there have been 30 reigns among 23 different champions and three vacancies. The inaugural champion was Seth Rollins. Samoa Joe has the most reigns at three. Adam Cole's reign is the longest singular reign at 396 days (recognized as 403 days by WWE due to tape delay), while Karrion Kross' first reign is the shortest at 4 days (recognized as 3 days by WWE) as he had to relinquish the title due to a legitimate injury he suffered in winning it. Finn Bálor has the longest combined reign at 504 days. 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.

Trick Williams is the current champion in his first reign. He defeated Ilja Dragunov on Night 1 of NXT: Spring Breakin' on April 23, 2024, in Orlando, Florida; had Williams lost, he would have had to leave NXT.[19]

Notes

  1. ^ 403 days as recognized by WWE due to the episode airing on tape delay.
  2. ^ 3 days as recognized by WWE.
  3. ^ WWE recognizes that Dallas won the title when he was 23 years, 18 days old due to the date of his championship win airing on tape delay.

References

  1. ^ Parry, Josh (July 26, 2012). "NXT spoiler – first champion crowned". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  2. ^ James, Justin (September 5, 2012). "JAMES'S WWE NXT REPORT 8/29 – Week 11: First NXT champion crowned in big-match setting". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  3. ^ James, Justin (November 19, 2016). "JAMES' NXT TAKEOVER: TORONTO REVIEW 11/19: Nakamura vs. Joe, Asuka vs. James, #DIY vs. The Revival, and more". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  4. ^ Holland, Dustin (June 5, 2015). "WWE Smackdown Results - 6/4/15 (Reigns vs. Sheamus)". WrestleView. Archived from the original on June 8, 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  5. ^ Csonka, Larry (May 10, 2016). "Triple H Discusses NXT as a Third Brand, Putting Talent in a Position to Succeed, More". 411Mania.
  6. ^ Rollins, Khadrice (August 19, 2019). "NXT moving to cable TV on Sept. 18". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  7. ^ "NXT Championship". WWE. Fulfilling a prophecy first laid out by WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon years earlier, Drew McIntyre captured a world championship in a WWE ring when he defeated Bobby Roode to claim the NXT Title at TakeOver: Brooklyn III.
  8. ^ Burdick, Michael (February 5, 2021). "SmackDown results, Feb. 5, 2021: Owens attacks Reigns as Edge's WrestleMania opponent remains a mystery". WWE. Retrieved February 16, 2021. In the wake of his Herculean effort, The Rated-R Superstar traveled first to Raw to inform WWE Champion Drew McIntyre that whomever he decided to face, he would be walking out of The Show of Shows with the World Title. He then ventured to NXT and put both NXT Champion Finn Bálor and Pete Dunne on notice as well.
  9. ^ Thomas, Jeremy (February 3, 2021). "NXT Title Match Set For NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day, Edge Hints at Possibly Challenging Winner". 411Mania. Retrieved February 16, 2021. Edge noted he will be watching the Takeover [NXT Championship] match and may challenge the winner of that match if he hasn't decided who he will challenge by then.
  10. ^ Stewart, Rob. "Stew's Thoughts on NXT Takeover: Vengeance Day". 411Mania. Retrieved February 16, 2021. ...if Karrion Kross hadn't gotten injured, we wouldn't have Finn Bálor and his Opponent Of The Month actively trying to bludgeon each other in a ring for a world title.
  11. ^ Matthews, Graham (February 12, 2021). "Finn Balor Shoots on NXT, Bullet Club, Potential WWE WrestleMania 37 Match, More". Bleacher Report. Retrieved February 16, 2021. For the first time ever, the NXT Championship is officially among the top titles the men's Royal Rumble winner can choose to contend for at WrestleMania.
  12. ^ Burdick, Michael (February 21, 2021). "Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. Edge". WWE. Retrieved February 22, 2021. In the wake of his Herculean effort, The Rated-R Superstar [Edge] traveled to Raw, NXT and SmackDown to scope out the World Champions before declaring that he would not announce which World Champion he would challenge until after WWE Elimination Chamber [2021].
  13. ^ Currier, Joseph (December 3, 2021). "Preview and Predictions for 'NXT WarGames'". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  14. ^ Defelice, Robert (August 18, 2022). "WWE Announces The Impending Launch Of 'NXT Europe' Final NXT UK Event To Be 'Worlds Collide' On 9/4". Fightful. Archived from the original on August 18, 2022. Retrieved August 18, 2022.
  15. ^ Moore, John (September 4, 2022). "NXT Worlds Collide results: Moore's live review of NXT Champion Bron Breakker vs. NXT UK Champion Tyler Bate in a unification match, NXT Women's Champion Mandy Rose vs. NXT UK Women's Champion Meiko Satomura vs. Blair Davenport in a unification match, Carmelo Hayes vs. Ricochet for the NXT North American Championship". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved September 4, 2022.
  16. ^ Graser, Marc (August 15, 2014). "WWE Rebrands With New Logo Tied to Digital Network". Variety. Retrieved April 16, 2024.
  17. ^ WWE (April 1, 2017). "Exclusive: WWE NXT General William Regal arrives at WrestleMania Axxess with a HUGE announcement regarding NXT TakeOver: Orlando!". Facebook. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  18. ^ WWE [@WWENXT] (April 12, 2022). "It's all in the details. #WWENXT" (Tweet). Retrieved April 12, 2022 – via Twitter.
  19. ^ Moore, John (April 23, 2024). "NXT TV results (4/23): Moore's review of Spring Breakin' Night One with Ilja Dragunov vs. Trick Williams for the NXT Championship, Roxanne Perez vs. Lyra Valkyria vs. Tatum Paxley for the NXT Women's Title". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 23, 2024.