Over the past year-and-a-half, NXT has become the premier destination for rookie WWE talent to try to gain a spot on the main WWE roster. The NXT Championship is the top prize in NXT. This championship symbolizes readiness for an active role on the main WWE roster.
The current NXT champion, Bo Dallas, has held the NXT Championship since June 12, 2013, when he defeated Big E Langston. With each NXT Championship defense, Dallas continues to establish himself as a future WWE Superstar.
There are many NXT Superstars looking for a shot at Dallas’ championship. In identifying the top five contenders for the NXT Championship, audience reaction, the NXT Superstar’s persona, and the entertainment value of matches must be looked at.
If Tyler Breeze bears a resemblance in his persona to early 1990s WWE Superstar Rick “The Model” Martel, it is because Breeze portrays a male model as well. Instead of spraying the WWE Universe with "Arrogance" cologne, Breeze takes “selfies” with his cell phone on his way to the ring.
Breeze has established himself as one of NXT’s most conceited Superstars. His biography on WWE.com states that “Once Breeze actually parts ways with his camera phone, his in-ring capabilities are as good as any Superstar on the NXT roster.” With an aerial offense at his disposal, Breeze brings a skill set to the ring that is athletic and entertaining.
Even though he portrays a heel, the Full Sail University NXT audience often cheers more for Breeze than they boo him. His popularity on NXT is growing by the week, and it should not be long before he receives a shot at the NXT Championship.
Having an extremely unique persona as “a South African mercenary,” Kruger remains one of NXT’s most sinister heel characters. In the ring, Kruger stalks his opponents relentlessly and strikes when the best opening presents itself. With a unique persona and cagey in-ring presence, Kruger remains a top superstar in NXT.
Kruger is consistently one step away from achieving the NXT Championship. In previous title shots against Bo Dallas, Kruger has come up short. If given another shot, Kruger could very well defeat Dallas and finally become NXT Champion.
One of the newest NXT contenders on this list, Alexander Rusev has already made a lasting impression. With an imposing gladiator-like presence and physique, Rusev continues to dominate the competition.
In defeating current and former NXT Superstars such as Mason Ryan, Camacho, Colin Cassady, Kassius Ohno and Curt Hawkins, Rusev has quickly established himself as a threat to Bo Dallas’ NXT Championship.
With “uncanny agility and skill for a man of his stature,” according to his WWE.com biography, Rusev presents a unique challenge to anyone on the NXT roster. If given a shot at the NXT Championship, Rusev has an excellent chance of coming out the winner.
“The Man Who Gravity Forgot” Adrian Neville is one of NXT’s most exciting Superstars. Having an array of unique high-flying maneuvers, an unrivaled work ethic and the drive to be the very best, Neville has quickly become one of NXT’s top Superstars.
On the Dec. 4, 2013, edition of NXT, Neville took on Bo Dallas for the NXT Championship. In an extremely competitive, back-and-forth match, Neville defeated Dallas by countout.
Neville deserves another shot at Dallas’ NXT Championship after the countout win. Even though NXT contains a wide variety of personalities, Neville stands out because he “has devoted his life to learning wrestling disciplines across the globe,” according to his WWE.com biography.
Sami Zayn seems to always have a smile on his bearded face in interviews on NXT. It is no wonder that Zayn is happy, as his WWE.com biography states, he has “competed in a staggering 29 countries before arriving in NXT.” Before appearing on NXT, Zayn already had an incredible fan following. The chants of “Ole, Ole, Ole” heard during his matches herald back to his pre-WWE career.
The jovial pre-match Zayn turns serious when the bell rings for his bout. His WWE.com biography states, “His in-ring presence incorporates an eclectic blend of styles, from his explosive aerial moves to his hard-hitting strikes.” With a varied offense, Zayn presents a difficult challenge for opponents.
In one of NXT’s most high-profile matches, Zayn lost to WWE Superstar Antonio Cesaro in a Best 2-out-of-3 Falls match this past July. Even though Zayn lost the match, his popularity amongst the NXT Universe increased.
Even though Zayn lost a NXT Championship match to Bo Dallas this past October, he remains part of the NXT main event scene. With incredible popularity and a wide variety of creative maneuvers, Zayn could be NXT champion at any time.
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