NXT is one of the most consistent wrestling shows on television currently. Each week fans are treated to clinics in both in-ring ability as well as storytelling. Whether you are a fan of the old school "rasslin", new age acrobatics, or WWE "sports entertainment" there is something for you on NXT.
The current lineup of champions on NXT show just how diverse the current offering currently is but that doesn't mean that some of the champions don't have room to improve. Let's take a look at all of our current NXT Champions and give them each a report card of their performance so far.
Bronson Reed B +
NXT's resident thicc boi has not had much time to be the NXT North American Champion, but his win against Johnny Gargano in a steel cage match is enough to set him up for success in his current run.
So while it feels too soon to truly grade Bronson Reed on his current run, his budding feud with Santos Escobar is very promising and has big box office potential. He is also one of the few babyface champions on the brand and that helps him stand out from the crowd.
All that being said it's too early to give him an A so a B+ will have to do for now.
Raquel Gonzalez B
Raquel Gonzalez has a bright future ahead of her. She offers something that not many other women in WWE offer and that is her mix of strength size and speed that makes her a formidable force in any sport.
The issue for Gonzalez doesn't have many defined characteristics as a character. Since winning the title she has worked as a babyface against Mercedes Martinez but as a heel against Ember Moon with very little change in her character. She is also so tied to her friendship with Dakota Kai that it is starting to become an issue now that she has surpassed her status on the brand.
Her matches however have yet to disappoint and that is a good thing, but at best I can only give her a just above average grade of a B.
Kushida has defended his championship three times since winning it off of Santos Escobar back in April. His 2 out of 3 falls match with Escobar has the potential to be a top 10 match of NXT for this year already and we are barely halfway through 2021.
Kushida has been successfully built to the point that his run here feels overdue and beyond legit. He is also continuing a stellar run for the cruiserweight division on NXT that began last year with the interim champion tournament. All in all Kushida is one of the most exciting prospects in NXT at this time champion or not.
The Way C+
This will surprise long-time readers of my pieces because they will know that I am a huge Candice LeRae mark, but if we are being honest the way hasn't had much opportunity to shine since taking the NXT Women's Tag Team Titles off of Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart. They have had just one match since winning the titles, but their main rivals in the division are currently tied up in the main women's championship scene so it seems like the tag titles have been put on hold.
Of course, I could be wrong and the best is yet to come for Indi Hartwell and Candice LeRae, but I have yet to see anything outside of their initial win that gets me hyped for the future of this reign.
The NXT Tag Team Champions get the same grade as their women's counterparts but not for the same reason. MSK hasn't had enough time to really establish themselves as anything other than the champions. In their former lives as Impact Wrestling's Rascalz, they had fairly developed characters that made them stand out from other tag teams, but in NXT they fall into the unfortunate role of smiling babyface team that just wants to win matches.
It's not that I don't like MSK, they are incredibly consistent in the ring and are so much fun to watch, but NXT has yet to give me a reason to care if they win.
NXT needs to make these guys stand out from other teams on the roster and tell me why it is that they deserve the titles over teams like Legado Del Fantasma, or The Grizzled Young Vetrans.
Karrion Kross A+
I will admit I was not a fan of Kross in the beginning. I wasn't sure what he deal was, and I thought that Scarlett was the only part of his act that made him interesting. Fast forward several months later and we see him as the guy that is leading NXT into its next phase.
Yeah, he runs through challengers and feuds quickly but that is the point. He is not the kind of guy that is going to take his eyes off of the prize and that is why he is the champion. Karrion Kross isn't the kind of champion that is going to get sidetracked into a WarGames match, or an ill-fated tag team run. He is a warrior that will do anything to keep his prize.
I am beyond hyped to see him and his four challengers all face off at TakeOver In Your House because each match-up is intriguing in its own way. With the belt around his waist whoever bests him for it will have to be something special.
So there is your NXT Champions report card. Do you think that I was too harsh on someone, or am I grading some champions too soon? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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