Saturday, July 13, 2024
EditorialWhat If NXT Had a WWE Clash of Champions 2020 PPV?

What If NXT Had a WWE Clash of Champions 2020 PPV?

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Clash of Champions is built around the idea of every WWE title being defended on the card, yet there are two whole brands that have no representation on the pay-per-view: NXT and NXT UK.

This is no surprise, as it’s never been the case that these belts are on the line for this show. However, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be, or WWE shouldn’t have a Gold Rush or something for the NXT brands.

Going with that theme, I present you another round of fantasy booking answering the question “What if NXT and NXT UK were represented at Clash of Champions 2020?”

How would this play out? Which challengers would face the champions and what would the repercussions be for NXT’s expansion bump to two hours and the events leading to Survivor Series in November?

Keep in mind that I’ll be looking at this through a lens of my own likes and dislikes, but trying to filter all that with what I think WWE would do. It’s equal parts my creative juices and my guesswork of how it would go down without my influence.

Let’s get this started with the NXT UK belts!

Quick Note #1: Obviously, this couldn’t happen to get all these people on the same physical location with the travel restrictions in place. Let’s just pretend WWE is going WrestleMania 2 on this and doing multiple locations and splitting the broadcast.

Quick Note #2: I’m also ignoring the idea that NXT UK is returning and already skipping ahead with some of these feuds. This Clash of Champions thing isn’t happening anyway, but if it WERE happening, I think WWE would rearrange those plans accordingly. That’s what I’ll be doing here.

NXT UK Tag Team Title Belt

NXT UK Tag Team Championship

Gallus boys were on top, but they shouldn’t be any longer. Like most of the NXT UK titles, these reigns have been extended far longer than they likely would have, just because WWE hasn’t been able to run any shows. I think there’s a solid chance they would have dropped the titles at Dublin earlier this year when it was supposed to take place. Maybe not, though. Who knows for sure?

With Joe Coffey being on the outs due to #SpeakingOut allegations, I say it’s time to have new champions crowned and to go with the stable, reliable, babyface options of Moustache Mountain. They should win a No. 1 contender’s match that features all the other teams (South Wales Subculture, Amir Jordan and Kenny Williams, The Hunt, Tyson T-Bone and Saxon Huxley, Grizzled Young Veterans, Imperium, Pretty Deadly, etc) in a battle royal to earn the shot.

Following this, Imperium should be the next in line. Whenever the next TakeOver special is, they can capture those belts.

NXT UK Women's Title Belt

NXT UK Women’s Championship

Let’s just pick up where we left off. Kay Lee Ray has been champion FAR too long in my book. To be honest, I don’t think she ever necessarily should have been champion to begin with, but the deed’s been done for a long while now. Time to get the title off her.

Piper Niven is the most obvious choice. She was in the hunt for the belt prior to the shutdown and she’s a big enough name on the brand to take the title. She’s also more physically imposing, so I doubt anyone would call b.s. on her winning the match.

They could just go with Toni Storm again, but I’d rather see her go to NXT USA. She’s already been NXT UK champion and to repeat it would be treading familiar ground. Aoife Valkyrie hasn’t done enough to make me want to put the belt on her, most others are heels and Xia Brookside isn’t ready. Piper Niven’s the only way to go, unless you bring in someone new.

I’d love to be able to say we can switch things up and have Billie Kay come over to NXT UK as the new champion and make sure she doesn’t lose her spot on the roster after splitting with Peyton Royce, but that’s just not feasible. Not only does Kay live in the United States, she’s also not necessarily going to turn babyface and maybe she can even find a spot on the Raw roster all the same.

United Kingdom Title Belt

NXT United Kingdom Championship

Ilja Dragunov was the No. 1 contender and set to face WALTER at TakeOver: Dublin. I see no reason why that should change. While he had a shot to become the new champion, I don’t think that should happen. I’d rather WALTER keep it until someone with more staying power can be the next champion.

Plus, WALTER wasn’t able to have his match with Finn Balor, but they’re both champions now. Why not set that up for a Worlds Collide down the line?

The way I see it, Dragunov is a solid challenger who can come up short and won’t look weak losing to someone of WALTER’s stature and prowess. He’s beaten everyone else like Tyler Bate, Pete Dunne, Dave Mastiff, etc, so why not beat Dragunov, too?

For the sake of discussion, the names I could see being able to beat WALTER down the line are Ridge Holland, Cesaro, Pete Dunne (rather not see them repeat that, though), Killian Dain and maybe Bronson Reed. I’d have gone with Wade Barrett, but he seems content in a commentary role.

BONUS: Women’s Tag Team Championship

While this isn’t a true NXT or NXT UK title, it’s technically part of the family, since it can be defended across all brands. We’ve seen a few instances of NXT talent fighting for the title and there’s no need for it not to be on the card, right?

Since our champions right now are Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, I can’t think of any match I’d really want to see. It’s not like there are dream matches in mind with that pairing.

Best case scenario, the challengers are Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez. I don’t think anyone would buy into Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter actually winning the belts, but Kai and Gonzalez would be a maybe.

 

NXT Cruiserweight Championship

Santos Escobar is the interim champion while Jordan Devlin was unable to defend the title. Since then, Devlin’s been part of the #SpeakingOut allegations. In my mind, it’s likely better to just cut ties with Devlin and not make him part of the cruiserweight title scene than to keep that train going.

For my money, Escobar is a vastly better champion, too. There’s no way I’d sacrifice him in favor of Devlin. I’m enjoying Escobar more in every way than what Devlin was giving us.

The way I see it, we could go in four directions.

Option A) Jordan Devlin vs. Santos Escobar to determine who the real champion is. Escobar would win and the title’s lineage would retroactively be changed to say he became the true champion once he won that tournament and was crowned interim champion.

Option B) If they aren’t ready to have Jordan Devlin back in the mix, a different No. 1 contender would have to be established. This would likely be either just Isaiah “Swerve” Scott getting another opportunity (based on current feuds) or there would need to be another No. 1 contender’s match of sorts. To me, this is a little bland, but it might be a necessity if travel issues come into play.

Option C) Devlin fights someone. Escobar fights someone. Travel problems means we can’t settle who the proper champion is, but we just continue to have two champions at the same time until that can be sorted out down the line. This is my least favorite scenario.

Option D) My preferred option would be to have a Fatal 4-Way ladder match wherein Escobar thinks he’s the rightful champion and is set to defend the title, while Devlin thinks he’s never lost it and Escobar doesn’t deserve the honor of defending HIS belt, so he sets up a match for himself, too. Then, Johnny Saint and William Regal agree to merge the matches as Jordan Devlin vs. his No. 1 contender vs. Santos Escobar vs. his No. 1 contender and you have to grab both belts. As far as the challengers would go, I’d say Scott for the USA side of things, while UK could be a number of people. I’d actually go Noam Dar as he’s one of the few cruiserweights who isn’t involved in the tag situation, but A-Kid is a solid backup option if you wanted a babyface.

NXT Tag Team Title Belt

NXT Tag Team Championship

Breezango do have a title match against Imperium next week, but I can’t imagine they’ll just drop those titles back and reset everything to a few weeks ago. That makes their title win utterly pointless beyond just saying they are in the record books. So let’s assume Tyler Breeze and Fandango are the champs I’m working with.

Sadly, NXT doesn’t have a strong tag team division at the moment. There are a few options, but none of them strike me as super interesting.

Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan could have a solid match, but I doubt anyone would care. Indus Sher isn’t ready. Ever-Rise is an absolute no. Brendan Vink and Shane Thorne have been MIA long enough that it wouldn’t move the needle as they have no momentum. I’m not jumping the gun by having Drake Maverick and Killian Dain as a true tag team, either.

We’re pretty much working with Undisputed ERA and Legado del Fantasma. The latter, we’ve seen enough that I’m not too thrilled with that being on the card unless there’s a special gimmick that will spice it up, but I can’t think of any that would be worth it. A lumberjack match with other tag teams involved could work, but meh.

Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish is the better match. People love The Undisputed ERA, so they’ll be a more featured attraction. Plus, I think we’re past the idea of just giving the belts to The Undisputed ERA once again, so we might as well have them lose a match against Breezango and pave the way for new champions to come down the line.

Maybe, if you want to have the best of both worlds, you can make it a Triple Threat match and involve Legado del Fantasma along with them, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde will already take part in the cruiserweight title match, so they’ll have a spot on the card there.

NXT North American Title Belt

NXT North American Championship

I fully expect Damian Priest to retain the North American title against Timothy Thatcher. That’s no slight on Thatcher, though. It’s just far too early for Priest to drop the belt.

Moving on from there, who would be the best challengers for Priest? Thankfully, he has a lot of potential picks. Some of the standouts are Austin Theory, Bronson Reed, Cameron Grimes (been there, though), Dominik Dijakovic (doubtful), Johnny Gargano, Kushida, Roderick Strong, Tommaso Ciampa and Velveteen Dream.

Since we’ve already seen Reed and Grimes, I’d eliminate those options and focus more on Theory, Gargano, Strong and Dream as the best heels who can put up a good fight. Ciampa/Priest doesn’t strike me as the way to go. For that matter, Gargano seems off to pick, too. While I think Theory would be a great challenger, it’s a little early for him to look like he could actually win the title.

That narrows it down to Strong or Dream. Both would be solid matches and both are currently involved in feuds with other people. We have to pick one based on some other factors.

Dream vs. Priest is a better feud, so it shouldn’t happen here. That may seem like strange logic, but hear me out. On an event like Clash of Champions, you don’t need any reason for two people to be feuding other than the title being on the line and that challenger being the No. 1 contender. It’s a good excuse to have matches that require little to no setup.

I think Dream’s extravagant nature and Priest’s party guy lifestyle coincide and clash in a way that could invite some interesting story elements. They can discuss the difference in their personas and see common ground on some of the things where they overlap. That’s something that can develop over weeks and have twists and turns, whereas Strong is pretty much just “some guy for Priest to fight who wants that title again.”

Going with Strong is the less interesting option of the two, but that’s okay. The match would be great and I doubt anyone would complain. Priest retains and we move on to the Dream feud for the December TakeOver.

NXT Women's Title Belt

NXT Women’s Championship

Io Shirai hasn’t had the most awesome reign so far, from my perspective. It’s been on the bland side and I think that’s not necessarily her fault, but it’s also something she doesn’t have the ability to fix. She’s more of a wrestler’s wrestler and not a storyline performer, so without NXT writing intriguing feuds for her, she’s just going to continue fighting people for the sake of it.

Sadly, that has to happen here, too. There isn’t a single person on the roster available to fight Shirai that I think I could get an interesting enough story out of to really dive into. Even the Rhea Ripley option is just “I was the champion and WWE screwed me over with this Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania plan, then put the belt on you instead, so can I have it back?”

The one and only option worth exploring is Candice LeRae. She can win her feud with Tegan Nox to earn a title shot and say that this will be the culmination of The Gargano Way. I know that bypasses Shotzi Blackheart, but I don’t think babyface vs. babyface is the way to go for this.

As far as the winner goes, it depends on WWE’s plans for Mercedes Martinez. If she’s going to stick around in NXT, then she’s the next champion I’d prefer over Candice. However, if Martinez is going to be part of RETRIBUTION as currently rumored, there’s no better person to win the title from Shirai than Candice, who’s waited long enough.

Since I’m starting to buy into the rumors of Martinez being called up, I say let’s go with Candice winning the title. Later in the year during the draft, Shirai can be called up to the SmackDown roster.

NXT Title Belt

NXT Championship

Last, but certainly not least, is the NXT Championship. We now have an actual champion in Finn Balor, instead of the vacated title scene. That’s one of the reasons I’ve waited to post this article, as it was originally on my lineup to write this last week.

Balor’s likely the best option for champion at the moment, but he’s not someone I think can just be paired up with anyone and it would make me go nuts.

The one match we haven’t gotten in a proper fashion, though, that I would be interested to see, is Balor against Tommaso Ciampa. Now that Ciampa is a heel, he’s much more interesting to see as the driving force in a feud and I think he’ll make up for some of the downsides that come with Balor as champion. (Note: Balor’s great in a lot of ways, but I can’t think of a single story that I’ve been able to sink my teeth into when he’s the guy cutting the promos the feud hinges on.)

Balor vs. Ciampa is a money match with two of the biggest names on the roster and it hasn’t been beaten into the ground with repeats yet. We did see them interact in the Iron Man match, but I don’t think that’s killed the intrigue of a singles match.

After a hard-fought match, Balor would retain. He needs to keep that title until Karrion Kross is ready to return, destroy him and win it back.

The end result of this experiment would be this card:

NXT UK Tag Team Championship: Gallus (c) vs. Moustache Mountain
NXT UK Women’s Championship: Kay Lee Ray (c) vs. Piper Niven
NXT UK Championship: WALTER (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov
Women’s Tag Team Championship: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez
NXT Cruiserweight Championship Fatal 4-Way Ladder Match: Santos Escobar (c) vs. Jordan Devlin (c) vs. Noam Dar or A-Kid vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
NXT Tag Team Championship: Breezango (c) vs. The Undisputed ERA (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish)
NXT North American Championship: Damian Priest (c) vs. Roderick Strong
NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai (c) vs. Candice LeRae
NXT Championship: Finn Balor (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa

Those are my thoughts on the issue, but how would you imagine WWE would do this if it were to happen? Tell us your fantasy booking scenario in the comments section below!

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