Everyone has their expectations for 2021 to be a much better year than the mess we had in 2020. People set New Year’s resolutions (which we’ve already covered) and personal goals all the time, especially in pro wrestling.
Inevitably, one of the things you hear about from WWE superstars is that they hope at some point in the year, they’ll win a championship. Sometimes, it’s a specific belt in mind (ie, “I want to be world champion”) while others just want to take a step up in their careers with more gold to their names.
We don’t have access to control WWE Creative, nor can we influence any particular performer’s pros and cons, but we as fans can at least set our own expectations and hopes for these people in comparison. That’s what I’ll be doing here.
Instead of an article predicting who I think might win championships in 2021, I decided I’d switch it up a bit and open the floodgates. Let’s talk about who we WANT to win championships this year.
Since I’ve already talked about this similar topic for the main roster on B/R, I wanted to write a companion piece here that focuses on the stars from NXT and NXT UK. I invite you all to do the same with your own lists in the comments below!
Without further ado, let’s just start naming some superstars.
Josh Briggs – North American Championship
Admittedly, I’ve only seen a few matches of Josh Briggs’, but from what I did see, I was a fan. He seems like the type of guy who could come into NXT with a bit of a name already attached to him, rather than some totally random entity that has to be molded from nothingness.
I say give him a push straight to the midcard title. Allow just enough time for him to get his bearings with a starter feud and then move him into the title picture.
Look. If Leon Ruff can call himself a former NXT North American champion, why can’t Briggs? He’s a bigger athlete, so it’s easier to see him beating someone rather than having to do a fluke thing like with Ruff. But it’s also not too far up the card where he’s destined to fail from being pushed too fast. He still has room to grow.
I could see Briggs being a good foil for Cameron Grimes, maybe a heel Bronson Reed (more on him later) and others, including this next guy…
Austin Theory – Triple Crown
I feel like Austin Theory is the type of guy you can give a Randy Orton type of push toward, where we know he’s rock solid already and can be trusted with a lot early on.
For my money, make him a tag team champion alongside Johnny Gargano. Eventually, when Gargano drops the North American Championship, Theory could be one of the next in line, if not the next person to win the title from Gargano or from the person who beats Gargano.
Then, if there’s still time in the year and it makes sense, I could see him being NXT champion, too. A triple crown in one year would be something very noteworthy for his future as he could always tout “In my first year, I wrestled at WrestleMania. In my second year, I became a triple crown champion in NXT.” That’s monumental.
Noam Dar – NXT UK Heritage Cup +/ Cruiserweight Championship
For being as good as he is, Noam Dar continually gets overshadowed. I’m surprised he never won the Cruiserweight Championship back when 205 Live was less of an afterthought (a shame that happened).
Let’s rectify that. I’d rather have him as champion right now than Jordan Devlin. Not only do I prefer to watch Dar cut a promo, I think he’s arguably better in the ring (although that’s a tougher contest) and it wouldn’t hurt Dar to get a boost to his credibility so when he’s being so cocky, he has something to back it up.
But let’s assume the cruiserweight title doesn’t stay in NXT UK forever and it sticks with the current interim champion, Santos Escobar, instead. That would be my ideal scenario, by the way, even more than Dar winning the cruiserweight belt.
Instead, the other option would be for him to win the Heritage Cup. I think he should have been the winner from the very start, mind you, rather than A-Kid. I don’t get much out of watching A-Kid that I feel needed to be given the stamp of approval for the future with that honor, so I’m fine with him losing it soon enough to someone like Dar.
That is effectively the midcard title of NXT UK and since Dar isn’t going to beat WALTER any time soon, this is the next best option.
NXT Women’s Championship
Let’s lump all these superstars together, as I have basically the same thoughts about each one.
Dakota Kai’s been on the sidelines long enough. I don’t think I’d have her be the one who beats Io Shirai, but I’d like to see her win the title at some point instead of just never reaching the top. However, I’ll also shout out an idea that she and Raquel Gonzalez become women’s tag team champions. That would do, too. But in an ideal world, Kai could win the title and drop it to Tegan Nox to see the end of that storyline culminate in the nicest way possible. That’s likely never, ever going to happen, though.
Mercedes Martinez is someone I imagine will never win the belt, but I’m hoping I’ll be proven wrong. She’s too good not to, but she’s older than WWE tends to focus on. My guess is she’s brought on to work with everyone else and stay just strong enough that it matters when she’s fighting someone, but never actually reach the top. I think if she were to win the title, even for a short reign, being a former champion would help her in that mission to put over younger talent while being a nice feather in her cap.
Let’s also give the belt to Toni Storm—who should beat Io Shirai—and then Shotzi Blackheart (Breakout Star of the Year award winner) should be the one who beats Storm. If need be, that’s your year, with Storm holding it until the summer and Blackheart winning it then and carrying it into 2022.
Imperium – Heritage Cup & NXT UK Tag Team Championship
If WALTER is going to hold the NXT UK Championship forever (which I’m not even entirely opposed to), maybe it’d be nice to see the rest of Imperium hold titles, too.