NXT Cruiserweight champion Jordan Devlin has been unable to travel overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic, so WWE started a tournament in April to crown a new interim champ.
That NXT Interim Cruiserweight Title Tournament culminated last night (June 3) with El Hijo del Fantasma winning the interim gold. But a curious thing happened along the way - WWE recently made sure to stop using the word “interim”. The word was heavily featured during most of the tournament, but then recently vanished, with no explanation.
This has created some confusion as to whether or not Devlin is still the NXT Cruiserweight champion, or if Fantasma is only the interim champion. Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez discussed the bizarre situation on Wrestling Observer Radio:
Meltzer: They never said interim.
Alvarez: Not one time did they mention interim. What’s going on here?
Meltzer: It’s no longer interim. It’s the championship. Evidently Jordan Devlin’s been stripped of it in secret.
Alvarez: Well he doesn’t know about it. He’s still tweeting about how Fantasma is running around with a fake replica.
Meltzer: Well, I mean they are building to a match, so either way it’s the same ending.
Alvarez: It’s just bizarre that you would go out of your way to call it an interim title for the majority of the tournament, and then all of a sudden, with no explanation, all of a sudden it’s just the title now.
Meltzer: Yes. Agreed. It is bizarre. Like you said, with no explanation.
Meltzer. It’s not even addressed. What are you gonna do? They changed their mind.
Alvarez: So explain it.
Meltzer: Exactly. If you change your mind, don’t you owe the fans an explanation?...The deal is that the fans will come up with their own explanation if they need one.
This conversation reads to me more like Meltzer is just taking his best guess at what’s going on here rather than actually declaring with confidence that Devlin is no longer the champ. For what it’s worth, WWE’s web site lists both Devlin and Fantasma as the NXT Cruiserwight champion.
WWE has a penchant for making up quirky rules that don’t make any sense, so my best guess is that for whatever reason, they decided to drop the word interim out of the blue, but Devlin is still the NXT Cruiserwight champion. However, it looks to me like Fantasma is also the NXT Cruiserwight champion, and there’s simply no interim champion. I’m thinking it’s like the situation when John Cena and CM Punk were both the WWE Champion heading into SummerSlam 2011, with each man holding his own separate WWE Championship.
It’s not clear what’s going on here. Would you care to take a stab at explaining this situation, Cagesiders? And if you do believe that Devlin has been stripped of the title, we’d love to hear your best made up explanation to justify that decision.