For the last several years, NXT has had a limited presence on WWE's grandest stage of them all. The black and gold brand has had at least some representation at WrestleMania since 2015's WrestleMania 31, but things have changed since then. Last year Rhea Ripley defended her NXT Women's Championship against Charlotte Flair on night two of WrestleMania 36, a huge step forward for the third brand and a massive moment for NXT fans. This year I expect WWE to capitalize on the growing popularity of NXT and continue the trend of adding more NXT to the card of the biggest show of the year.
But what exactly should NXT's role be in WrestleMania 37? Here are five ways that WWE's Wednesday night show could represent this year.
This one feels pretty obvious to anyone who has seen any of the recent annual WrestleMania battle royals (excluding WrestleMania 36, which did not feature either men's or women's battle royals). WWE has been quick to pad out the roster of the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and Women's Battle Royal with NXT talent. It isn't the most glamorous spot on the card, but it can still be a critical showcase for some lesser-known talent.
NXT has had some great showings at these battle royals in the past. WrestleMania 34 featured NXT's Bianca Belair, Dakota Kai, Taynara Conti, Peyton Royce, and Kairi Sane all standing tall chanting "NXT, NXT, NXT" after teaming up against some veteran talents, and Baron Corbin was making his main roster debut from NXT when he won at WrestleMania 32. This year presents an opportunity for some of the mid-card talents on NXT to stand out on the biggest stage in wrestling.
Women's Tag Team Championship Match
This week Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez have the opportunity to face Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship. Seeing as those belts can be defended on any of WWE's shows, it is well overdue for the champs to pay a visit to Wednesday nights. While I'm not sure I expect Kai and Gonzalez to walk out with the belts this week, it would be fun to see a team from NXT challenge at WrestleMania 37.
Maybe other hopefuls Naomi and Lana or the Riott Squad, get involved in making this match a triple threat or fatal four-way, but regardless of the women's tag titles are being defended at WrestleMania, it would be a great opportunity for NXT to get involved.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship Match
At the moment, WWE has two NXT Cruiserweight Champions, Santos Escobar and Jordan Devlin. A match is coming at some point to unify the two titles and declare who is the true NXT Cruiserweight Champion, and while this might be a long shot for this year due to travel restrictions, it should be unified at the show of shows.
This has been building for a year, and it is time to see who can lead the cruiserweight division into the 2020s.
Alternatively, if Devlin vs. Escobar isn't able to happen, the title has been defended at Mania in the past, and putting it on the kickoff show wouldn't be a bad idea at all.
NXT Women's Championship Match
Io Shirai will most likely be carrying the NXT Women's Championship into WrestleMania weekend. It would be a great idea for WWE to continue to let the title be defended at their biggest show. If WWE wants to have a main roster talent challenge, like Charlotte Flair did last year, I could see someone like Bayley stepping up and having a fantastic match with Io. They could also just book the match with an NXT wrestler like Toni Storm or Candice LeRae. There really isn't a bad option other than ignoring this title.
There isn't much time to build to this match, but I think with the depth of talent on the roster, WWE could make a satisfying feud for the NXT Women's Championship at WrestleMania 37.
NXT Championship Match
Recently there has been discussion about Finn Balor defending his title not once but twice around WrestleMania 37. Balor has discussed the idea of title defenses at both TakeOver and WrestleMania, which has got wrestling fans talking about the potential matchups.
The two of the most common names to come up in these discussions are Karrion Kross and Adam Cole, and I absolutely agree with both of these matches. Kross is building himself up to be a major threat to the champion once again, while Adam Cole is starting what looks to be a promising heel run. The biggest issue that I have with these potential title defenses is that while I think Kross has the best chance of taking the belt off of Balor, I think the better WrestleMania match is Cole vs. Balor. If TakeOver happens after WrestleMania, this isn't an issue. Still, seeing as it is likely for TakeOver to happen before the granddaddy of them all, this could present a problem for WWE.
But whatever happens, the NXT deserves to have a massive title defense at WrestleMania just like all of these other matches that could really help elevate NXT to the more mainstream WWE fan.
How would you like to see NXT show up at WrestleMania 37? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!
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