Okay, no, I’m serious, this article is gonna spoil a chunk of the foreseeable future of NXT in my mad rush to have an opinion.
March 7th’s taping of NXT included a lot of development in the Gargano/Ciampa feud and the Dusty Classic Tag Tournament. For me, the standout was William Regal’s announcement of the North American Championship, followed by one of TNA’s biggest successes of the past few years, Ethan Carter III. It’s a refreshing surprise that he didn’t have to reclaim his generic old NXT name of Derrick Bateman.
(I maintain that making Chris Hero return to the less-dynamic Kassius Ohno is part of why he’s not very exciting in NXT.)
Why EC3 Is Exciting
A guy who’s 65 percent character and 35 percent good wrestling is a pretty choice ratio, especially in a place like NXT where he’ll be surrounded by the opposite. (This is also why his “You can’t wrestle!” “I disagree.” “You can’t wrestle!” “I’m very good.” dueling chant with a fan played so well, I imagine.) Especially with his debut against others like Cole and Ricochet.
An entitled upstart who’s not incredibly intimidating can play off the reasonable authority figure in a way that’s perfect. He’s almost a mirror image of Samoa Joe’s rebellion issues.
Not to mention he and his old friend/foe Rockstar Spud are back together at last, even if they’re likely never going to interact onscreen. But hey, with EC3 a main roster no-brainer, it’s not impossible.
Plus, now Dixie Carter is WWE canon, so there’s that.
The NXT North American Championship
Fans have been debating whether or not a midcard NXT championship would be worth it since the good old days of R:Evolution, but I really do feel this is the right time for it considering the roster size.
For a long time, the problem with the NXT Championship was a lack of actual storylines. Joe/Balor was never ending and didn’t have enough frills to keep it fresh. Joe/Nakamura had great matches but still felt a bit repetitive. Nakamura/Roode was fine but flat. Roode/Macintyre almost got there with Drew trying to “take back NXT” for the fans from the snobby, “classy” Roode. Macintyre/Almas was kind of nothing.
The days of racking up successful defenses and telling a long, compelling story were over until Almas won, and I definitely think that’s because of an impulse that you need to give certain guys the title as soon as possible. It was the Latest Hot Signing Championship if anything else.
Hopefully, the North American Championship can fulfill that role and let the NXT Championship breathe for a while. Winning it should mean something, the way it meant the world when Sami Zayn finally won the big one.
With Adam Cole likely filling in for the injured Bobby Fish as the Undisputed Era’s tag man, my money is on Ricochet or Velveteen Dream (the star of my 2017 Match of the Year) to be the inaugural NA Champ. Ricochet feels just a hair more likely because he’s hotter right now.
No matter what, EC3 is an exciting character and a midcard title might be what 2018 NXT needs.
-Bobby Murphy (@RobertJMurph)
Image courtesy of hulu.com