We are a few weeks removed from Isaiah "Swerve" Scott's surprise win over Bronson Reed to win the North American Championship, but it is never too early to start thinking about the future of the NXT Mid-Card Title Scene. Hit Row is one of the most exciting things about NXT right now and creating dream matches for Swerve is an excellent way to get hyped for the second half of 2021.
Scott has already proven to us over the last year that he is able to have a good match with just about anyone, but these four competitors are guaranteed to bring the intensity that we want from NXT's "workhorse" title.
4. Austin Theory
After Candice and Indi lost the women's tag team titles last week at The Great American Bash, The Way are on the hunt for gold again. Currently, Johnny Gargano is looking to the top prize of NXT so why not have Theory go after the mid-card title?
Theory has improved greatly in-ring and character-wise from where he was this time last year. His return to NXT might've been seen as a step back, but it was the step back that he needed. Theory and Scott have not had a televised match against each other since March of 2020 and even then both have evolved quite a bit from where they were then.
This match-up would be refreshing and could honestly lead to great stories regardless of who takes home the belt at the end of it.
3. Roderick Strong
Yes, it seems like Roderick Strong and Diamond Mine are focused on Kushida and the Cruiserweight championship at the moment, but Roderick Strong has shown us before that he can do some great things with the North American Championship.
Strong's new attitude and hard-hitting style should pair well with Swerve's smooth high-flying abilities in the ring. Both competitors are well within the cruiserweight designation so their comparable size can also add to the excitement as they will come across as very evenly matched.
Roderick Strong has an opportunity here to show everyone what he is able to do outside of The Undisputed Era and this title would be an excellent coming-out party for him.
2. Santos Escobar
Escobar and Scott had a lengthy feud that lasted much of the last year and helped push Scott toward the direction that he is in now, so it might be best to keep these two away from each other for just a bit longer before having them feud for the title.
That being said Santos Escobar's next step in NXT is clearly the NXT North American Championship. Escobar worked hard to elevate the NXT Cruiserweight Championship from the kickoff show onto the main card and into the main event on some NXT weekly shows. The guy has superstar written all over him and if he isn't heading to the main roster soon then Triple H needs to do something big with him.
Escobar and Scott have shown that they can work a variety of different match types together and almost all of them have been clinics in the style that they were working. NXT also likes to pull the tag team division into these North American Championship feuds so there are definitely some potential 6-man tags waiting to happen between Hit Row and Legado Del Fantasma.
1. LA Knight
That's right, NXT's Million Dollar Champion should be a bit greedy and go after a double championship. The biggest thing here is that Knight is going to need to do something with his time while we all wait for Cameron Grimes to rise up and defeat his nemesis once and for all.
I imagine that NXT is going to play the long game with Grimes and let him simmer while Knight humiliates him over and over again similar to how The Million Dollar Man treated his bodyguard Virgil for years before Virgil was finally able to stand up to him. Grimes needs to wait but it will be nice to have him be forced to assist his new employer in his attempts to get the North American Championship.
Knight in just a few short months has proven himself to be more than capable in the ring and on the mic. If he really were to dethrone Scott, his skills would be more than enough to continue to carry the division while being a part of a story away from the title scene.
So there you have it, four guys who have exhibited the work rate and the heart that it takes to be North American Champion. Who do you think should challenge Swerve? Let me know by tweeting at me @robbydeshazer!