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The Writers’ Room: Who should be the new NXT champ?

The Writers’ Room takes you into the Cageside Seats staff Slack channel for a look at our answers to interesting, pressing or weird wrestling questions.

Today, we’re trying to unpack Ciampa’s injury and figure out the right direction for the NXT Championship.

Brent Brookhouse: With the Ciampa situation, NXT needs a new direction at the top. So what would you do with the big NXT belt?

I’m also willing to accept any options for top NXT storylines if you don’t feel like the title needs to be the focus.

Rev. Claire Elizabeth: My initial, instinctual feeling is to springboard ACH or Trevor Lee right to the top-- clean break, somebody totally new, no baggage or ongoing storylines to derail, because NXT’s main event scene has been very ACT-ING, THANK YOU for some time now and it’d be nice to have a champion more along the lines of Neville’s reign, just kick-ass matches and simple low-key wrestling stories.

Tommy Messano: My gut feeling was a tournament solves everything in any and all pro wrestling situations, but I don’t know if they have time or want to do another tourney with the Dusty Classic already going on.

Kyle Decker: Unfortunately for Gargano, I don’t think it means much if he doesn’t win it FROM Ciampa. That’s the story. That’s been the story for over a year now.

Plus, I think Gargano will be on the main roster pretty full time pretty soon.

You could go with Cole and get all the titles on the Undisputed ERA, but I think it’s a bit early for that given it really seems like they’re putting the ERA in a losing streak. So it’d rush that.

Cain A. Knight: I think it’s pretty clear that R-Truth should pursue the NXT Championship so he can follow in the footsteps of his other childhood hero, Finn Balor.

Kyle: I’d probably put it on a villain so they don’t waste a feel good moment in a hot shot. But outside Cole, they don’t have many top villains. If Kassius Ohno’s thing wasn’t “Losing all the time” (and he didn’t “quit” recently), I’d consider going with him.

And I’d definitely consider it even despite those things.

I also wouldn’t mind them getting creative and sending a WWE talent who isn’t doing much and putting it on them. Like put it on Rusev.

Brent: Yeah, I’d love to see something along the “ship a WWE guy down there” play, but it has to be the “right guy” for it to feel right. Or bring in WALTER.

Tommy: Tyler Breeze could fill that role. So many underutilized guys on the main roster. TakeOver is a month away so whatever NXT does they have to do it quickly.

Kyle: I trust NXT will do something pretty good. They have when faced with this type of thing before.

Brent: How close is Fandango to being ready? I mean, that PC video yesterday got me all fired up for hard-hitting Fandango.

Tommy: #FandangoLegTattoos

Cain: Kyle, when you say you don’t want them to waste a feel good moment, who do you have in mind that would fit that description?

Tommy: Riddle!!!!

(had to work my gimmick in)

Kyle: Gargano is the first that comes to mind. That he needs to earn that moment. And winning it because Ciampa got hurt and now he can isn’t that. But any babyface should earn the moment. Riddle is a guy who should earn it and not luck into it.

There aren’t a ton of babyfaces at the top of the roster either. Most are still midcard.

I could see them giving it to Dream since he’s a babyface but one who’s on a fast rise so it wouldn’t feel forced.

But he’s also a guy who isn’t an underdog babyface at his best like Johnny. He’s a cocky heel fans love.

Brent: Should they do a 4 man tournament or something at TakeOver? To not have to figure out how to cram a full storyline into short time? Just rely on a few badass matches?

Kyle: They could, but even 3 matches for one title at a TakeOver is pushing it. Because tag, women’s, and NA are all getting matches. (Probably)

Brent: You could pull the NA into being a first round match...in theory.

Kyle: Yes, you could do that. Or just not defend that title.

If anything, I’d do maybe 2 fatal 4-ways on NXT TV prior - maybe elimination style, and then have that build the TakeOver match.

Brent: Riddle vs. Dream for the NA, Gargano vs. Breeze (or whoever is interesting). Then you do the rematch of Dream vs. Gargano for the big belt. I dunno. This whole thing has really thrown a wrench into the top end of NXT’s men’s division. The 4-ways are probably the cleaner way to do it.

Kyle: It’s tough because if you don’t count Black and Ricochet, there are like three guys build enough to take that title and believably be champ- Gargano, Cole, Dream.

Maybe Riddle, though that’s a pretty fast push to the top.

Brent: Maybe the best plan for the title is just to leave it vacant and do a longer build to crowning a champion. Rather than rushing to April.

Cain: Does the title need to be decided on this event? Is there another way they could fill out the card?

Kyle: I would crown a new champion at TakeOver personally, even if it’s someone to transition. Don’t think they’re going to come up with a story good enough that’s worth going without a champion for a couple months.

I mean, they’ll probably just put it on Triple H.

Cain: Yeah you need at least six weeks for a masterstroke of storytelling that involves McMahons, suspensions, apologies, a title vacancy, and more McMahons.

Brent: Miz vs. Shane at WrestleMania for the vacant NXT Championship. Shane goes over, of course.

Cain: Vince would be so proud of Shane.

Kyle: Miz’s dad would not be proud of Miz. Still very much looking forward to that heel turn on Sunday.

Tommy: Need to work Zack Ryder’s Dad into this storyline somehow....

Brent: Speaking of...Hawkins for NXT champ!

Kyle: Talk about a complete roster burial.

Cain: Is the NXT title included on that pic of Triple H with all the titles?

Brent: In the interest of this wrapping up...everyone still here, throw out who you think needs to be holding the title as takeover ends.

Cain: I’d go all-in on Velveteen Dream.

Tommy: Johnny Wrestling.

Brent: I feel like if Gargano is main roster bound, I’d like him to have his moment as NXT champ first.

Rev. Claire: Trevor Lee, ‘cause of my earlier choices, ACH needs to be free for when the Troll Boyz finally come to NXT, and please don’t remind me that All Ego’s Impact contract has like two years left on it, I want to believe.

Brent: If there’s an act Vince would understand less, I don’t know if it.

Kyle: I say put it on Rusev as they build whoever they really want long term to take it.

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