Tuesday, January 21, 2020

As it’s nearly a year since William Regal announced the introduction of the North American title I thought it would be a good time to review its status in the company. Does it deserve its place in NXT and has it been used effectively to the benefit of the product and its performers.  

Well it certainly got off to a roaring start at TakeOver New Orleans, as EC3, Ricochet, Lars Sullivan, Adam Cole, Killian Dane (remember him) and Velveteen Dream competed in what would be a 5 star classic ladder match for the Brand New Championship. Making the title feel very prestigious and important from the off. All six competitors fought tooth and nail to be crowned the first ever North American Champion, with Adam Cole eventually winning. A worthy man and competitor to carry the Brand New title in my opinion. 

But at the following takeover NXT Takeover Chicago 2. Things took a step backwards as Adam Cole and the North American Championship were no where to be seen. A big mistake for me the title was only introduced at the proceeding Takeover and it needed all the traction it could get. Leaving it off this card made little sense and hurt the prestige of the title for this writer. 

But things got back on track on Aug the 18th at TakeOver Brooklyn 4. When Adam Cole would defend the North American Title against Ricochet in an instant classic. It was the kind of match the North American Title needed to bring it back into prominence after missing the last TakeOver and not really been defended or featured much on TV. Ricochet would win the bout and become the second ever North American Champion. Another guy with heaps of talent who Triple H had been pushing hard, so once again the title felt important and valid.

At War Games 2 the title wasn’t defended on a TakeOver for the second time since its introduction in January. But this didn’t have the same detrimental effect as missing the Chicago show. Because at least the Champion was on the card and competing in the War Games main event. Ricochet had also recently defended the belt twice on NXT in barn storming matches against U.K champion Pete Dunne and in a three way which also featured Dunne and Former Champ Adam Cole. Because of a combination of these defences and Ricochets prominence in the main event, the title hadn’t lost any value once War Games had ended. 

Just a few short weeks after War Games on December the 12 Ricochet would successfully defend the title against a mystery opponent who would turn out to be Tyler Breeze in a good match. Though I don’t think anyone really doubted the outcome it at least put focus on the NAC title on television. 

So it seems that the booking committee had found their feet with the new title and were featuring it far more prominently than they did during its inaugural reign. 

This strong booking would continue with another classic defence as Ricochet would put the title on the line at TakeOver Phoenix vs Johnny “TakeOver” Gargano. Johnny would finish the match as the New North American Champion, but his tenure as champ would be short lived as a new challenger was waiting in the wings. 

During the Rumble weekend a tournament was held between Competitors from NXT, 205 live and NXT U.K called Worlds Collide. The eventual victor been allowed to challenge a champion if his choosing. And who would the winner be? Well let’s just say it was Dream Over for the rest of the field.

Velveteen now had the option to challenge for any title from the 3 mentioned brands and he chose the North American title over even the NXT championship. This was good booking for the new title that wasn’t even a year old at this point. The most over star in the company had declared his desire to have that belt around his waist. and what a glorious waist it is by the way. This move really elevated the title making it feel important and wanted which you need to do with any championships let alone brand new ones.

As you no doubt know Dream was victorious and doesn’t the title look good on him? But as we speak Dream is scheduled to defend that title this Friday against Matt Riddle. This could mean another short run if Dream drops the title as is expected. So to remedy this Riddle would really need to keep it for at least 6 months. As hot shoting titles constantly or too often is another sure way to devalue them make them feel meaningless. Let’s hope this isn’t the case as after a shaky start the North America title feels prestigious and elevates the wrestlers holding it! It’s safe to say at this juncture The North American Title fully deserves its spot on the NXT product.

Carl Pearce

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