NXT Superstars I Hope Win Championships in 2021


Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner as tag team champions while Alexander Wolfe holds the Heritage Cup makes sense. That’s the dynamic of the group’s makeup, after all.

I’m not as sold on this one as some of the other things on this list, though. Frankly, it doesn’t need to happen. They’re already a credible faction without this. However, at the very least, I’d like for Barthel and Aichner to win the NXT UK Tag Team Championship. They’re more than worthy of those belts.

Damian Priest – NXT Championship

To be honest, I’m on the fence about this, too. It’s not a shot at Damian Priest, either. I think he’s more than capable of being NXT champion, as he’s impressed me a lot this year and I feel like he’s grown immensely as a performer.

I think it might be past the point where he should win it, though. Priest is already ready enough for the main roster, in my opinion. Why bother waiting any longer before moving him up to Raw or SmackDown, if that’s the case?

If Priest were to win the NXT Championship, he’d have to stay on the brand the majority of 2021. He definitely wouldn’t be winning it any time soon. It’ll go from Balor to Kross and then, Priest might be the guy to take him down. That’s pushing it until at least the summer, if not fall, which is a bit too long.

If that’s not the trajectory, though, I say give him the belt. He should either win that or go to Raw/SmackDown, rather than linger around in the midcard of NXT fighting for the North American Championship. There are plenty other superstars who can vie for that title instead while he’s off doing something above that.

Jake Atlas – Cruiserweight Championship

Simple. I think the guy’s talented enough that he should be the one who beats Santos Escobar or at least wins this title somewhere down the line.

There’s not much more to it than that.

Pete Dunne – North American or NXT Championship

Pete Dunne is great, isn’t he? The guy’s got this weird charisma on the mic despite how most people with that delivery would be a total bore. He’s phenomenal in the ring, too, and looks better than ever.

Give him the belt. Any belt. All the belts. He proved himself with his super long NXT UK Championship reign and how much fun he was alongside Matt Riddle as tag team champions The BroserWeights.

If you don’t want Dunne getting too involved in the NXT Championship (assuming that goes to Kross after Balor, rather than Dunne being the guy to beat Balor), then the North American Championship would be taken care of in his possession.

However, I’ll go one step further to say Dunne maybe should just go to the main roster, too. Depending on his travel interests, if he’s down for that, I say put him on Raw or SmackDown and give him the United States or, preferably, Intercontinental Championship.

Set up Dunne vs. Daniel Bryan for that Intercontinental Championship and I guarantee you it will be one of the Match of the Year candidates.

Bronson Reed – North American Championship

The colossal Bronson Reed is just begging for a heel turn. I can feel it. Once he does that, I think he’d make for a great midcard champion.

He’s not ready for the NXT Championship itself. Even if he stayed babyface, I’m assuming Finn Balor drops it to Karrion Kross. Then, Reed would be sacrificed to make Kross look stronger by beating someone so large.

Being fed to Kross would still be a step up, as he’d be fighting for that title. But I’d rather him be the secondary monster on the brand that people have to overcome. Maybe he’s the guy who someone like Josh Briggs beats to win the title.

Backtracking a bit, here’s a projection I’d like to see: Gargano drops it to Reed, who drops it to Theory, who drops it to Briggs, who can feud at some point with a heel Reed but not necessarily drop it back.

Mansoor – Something with NXT India

When Mansoor first came onto the scene, it seemed like WWE was just pandering to Saudi Arabia. They hire some guys, tout that they’ll be the future, then slowly release them over time.

However, Mansoor’s actually pretty damn good! He seems dedicated, passionate and all-in on being a WWE superstar, and I’ve legitimately enjoyed most of his performances enough to endorse him to win a title this year.

If he were to stay stateside, I think the only realistic title for him would be the cruiserweight belt. However, with NXT India supposedly in the works, that could present a bigger opportunity for him.

Assuming NXT India does happen and it includes wrestlers from Saudi Arabia, Mansoor could be the best choice for the first NXT India champion. He plays the babyface part well and I could see fans getting seriously behind him being their guy they put on a pedestal and watch grow over time, too. Maybe, just for the sake of it, he can beat Jinder Mahal in the final of the tournament so it feels like he accomplished something even better because he defeated a former WWE champion.

Drake Maverick – Cruiserweight Championship

One of my favorite things from 2020 was seeing Drake Maverick sign an NXT contract and get to keep his job. In a year with such little joy and hope, that was a standout moment of things turning around for the better.

I really wanted him to win that cruiserweight title, too. In the end, he got something better, but I want to come back around to this.

I don’t think there’s much of a chance he wins the NXT, North American or even tag team titles. However, I do think he could make for a great cruiserweight champion if WWE ever decides to give him the ball.

He could be the type of guy who wins the belt multiple times because he doesn’t retain it super long, but he just keeps coming back into the picture. Imagine him similar to The Miz winning the Intercontinental Championship so many times—except, of course, Maverick wouldn’t play that sort of A-lister d-bag character. Then again, he could probably pull that off in his own unique way, too.

At the very least, one reign where he can officially say he was a champion in WWE would probably mean the world to him and I think he deserves that sort of happiness.

Piper Niven – NXT UK Women’s Championship

By now, the ship has mostly sailed for Piper Niven. She’s had numerous attempts to beat Kay Lee Ray and failed each time. If she won it any time soon from KLR, it would feel like a misstep.

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