Implemented on July 1, 2012 to give NXT a top title after the brand established itself as WWE’s developmental territory, replacing Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), the NXT Championship eventually succeeded the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship, having since been the subject of dispute in memorable combats.
It is therefore worth recalling the eleven best fights ever for the NXT Championship, in chronological order.
NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way (September 11, 2014)
Adrian Neville (c) vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Sami Zayn
On February 24, 2014, Adrian Neville defeated Bo Dallas to win the NXT Championship at Arrival. On the May 8 episode of NXT, a 20-man battle royal to determine the title contender ended in a tie between Sami Zayn, Tyson Kidd and Tyler Breeze. The following week, Kidd won a match between the three to receive the title shot.
In the first NXT TakeOver, Adrian Neville retained the belt by beating Tyson Kidd. That same night, Tyler Breeze defeated Sami Zayn to become the new lead candidate. However, the four were involved in a very intense rivalry, which led to a fatal four-way match for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way.
NXT TakeOver: R Evolution (December 11, 2014)
Title vs. Career match for the NXT Championship:
Adrian Neville (c) vs. Sami Zayn
At NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way, Neville prevented Zayn from winning by pulling the referee out of the ring to stop a settlement. Moments later, Neville capitalized on the situation to secure victory and retain the title.
The way Neville retained the NXT Championship increased tension between him and Zayn, who beat Tyson Kidd, Titus O’Neill and Tyler Breeze to earn another title shot.
During the title match between the two, Neville feigned an injury to get Zayn to drop his defenses, then surprised him with a roll-up that gave him the win. Zayn reacted, criticizing the dirty way Neville beat him and challenged him to a match at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution, promising that he would leave NXT if he couldn’t win the title.
NXT Takeover: Philadelphia (January 27, 2018)
Andrade “Cien” Almas (c) vs. Johnny Gargano
On the December 6, 2017 episode of NXT , General Manager William Regal announced four matches whose winners would face off in a fatal four-way match to determine the main contender for the NXT Championship from Andrade “Cien” Almas at TakeOver: Philadelphia : Kassius Ohno vs. Johnny Gargano (the latter replacing The Velveteen Dream), Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole, Killian Dain vs. Trent Seven and Roderick Strong vs. Lars Sullivan.
The winners of that series of matches, Gargano, Black, Dain and Sullivan, faced off on the December 27 episode, with Johnny Gargano taking the win after Aleister Black was distracted by The Undisputed Era.
NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV (August 18, 2018)
Last Man Standing match for the NXT Championship:
Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Johnny Gargano
On the July 25 episode of NXT , Tommaso Ciampa beat Aleister Black to win the NXT Championship due to interference from Johnny Gargano.
The week, as Aleister Black followed the ring to confront Ciampa, walked past him and attacked Ciampa. However, soon after Black attacked Gargano. A week later, Ciampa attacked Black and Gargano during a match between the two.
That said, a triple threat match between the three for the NXT Championship was scheduled for TakeOver: Brooklyn IV , but a groin injury to Aleister Black pulled him out of the match, which was changed to a Last Man Standing match between Ciampa and Gargano.
NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2018
Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Velveteen Dream
The feud between Tommaso Ciampa and Velveteen Dream began on the September 26 episode of NXT , when Dream accused him of attacking Aleister Black in the weeks leading up to TakeOver: Brooklyn IV . Ciampa denied the allegations, accused Velveteen Dream of “living in a dream world” and asked him to get out of his way or else he would “turn the dream [dream] into a nightmare”. The intrigue between the two developed in the weeks that followed, which led to the booking of a match between the two for the NXT Championship for NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2018.
NXT TakeOver: New York (April 5, 2019)
3 Stages of Hell for the NXT Championship (vacant):
Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole
Tommaso Ciampa, then NXT champion , was supposed to defend the title against Johnny Gargano at NXT TakeOver: New York , but one Ciampa had to undergo neck surgery and, consequently, give up the belt. Triple H announced that Gargano would remain in the match for the NXT Championship and that he would face the winner of a fatal five-way match between Adam Cole, Velveteen Dream, Matt Riddle, Aleister Black and Ricochet that was eventually won by Cole. However, The Game revealed that the match would be best-of-three.
NXT TakeOver: XXV (June 1, 2019)
Johnny Gargano (c) vs. Adam Cole
At TakeOver: New York , Johnny Gargano beat Adam Cole in a best-of-three match to win the vacant NXT Championship. On the May 15 episode of NXT , a rematch was scheduled between the two for the title for TakeOver: XXV.
NXT TakeOver: Portland (February 16, 2020)
Adam Cole (c) vs. Tommaso Ciampa
NXT won the battle of brands at Survivor Series 2019 , and on theNXT weekly show that followed, the entire roster (including NXT UK) celebrated the victory. However, The Undisputed Era interrupted the party, with NXT champion Adam Cole saying thatNXT ‘s victory was due to the stable it leads.
In response, Tommaso Ciampa reminded Cole that his team beat The Undisputed Era at WarGames on the eve of Survivor Series , and said he was focused on winning the NXT Championship. Finn Bálor interrupted him, but Ciampa challenged him to combat, with Bálor getting the better of him after Cole interfered. However, after the fight Bálor applied a Pelé Kick on the champion. On the December 11 episode of NXT, Bálor beat Tommaso Ciampa and Keith Lee in a triple threat match to determine the title contender.
However, Bálor proved unable to win the NXT Title, while Ciampa returned to the title race, which led to a match between Adam Cole and Sicilian Psychopath for NXT TakeOver: Portland .
NXT TakeOver 31 (October 4, 2020)
Finn Balor (c) vs. Kyle O’Reilly
On the September 23 episode of NXT , Kyle O’Reilly won the gauntlet eliminator match in which Bronson Reed, Cameron Grimes, Kushida and Timothy Thatcher also participated to earn the right to fight for the NXT Championship from Finn Bálor at NXT TakeOver 31.
NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day (February 14, 2021)
Finn Balor (c) vs. Pete Dunne
On the February 3 episode of NXT , Pete Dunne demanded that NXT champion Finn Bálor give him a title shot. Bálor then went to the ring and told Dunne that he would give him the title shot at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day. At the same time , 2021 men’s Royal Rumble winner Edge said he would be looking out for the match between Bálor and Dunne because he had never won the NXT Championship but also because he was still deciding which world title to fight for at WrestleMania 37 .