Photo credit: WWE.com
Tommaso Ciampa won a Fatal 4-Way on Tuesday night’s edition of NXT to win the NXT Championship vacated by Samoa Joe.
Ciampa beat LA Knight, Von Wagner and Pete Dunne in the match, which was originally slated to determine the No. 1 contender for Joe and the NXT title. Ciampa won after catching Wagner with the Fairytale Ending for the pin and win. Wagner took the place of Kyle O’Reilly, who did not participate after Dunne and Ridge Holland attacked him in the locker room on Tuesday.
The original intent of Tuesday’s match changed Sunday night when Joe announced an injury would keep him out for a brief amount of time. As a result, Joe noted that he would relinquish the NXT Championship:
In his first match in well over a year, Joe beat Karrion Kross at NXT TakeOver 36 last month to become the new NXT champion. It also marked Joe’s third NXT title reign, which is the most all-time.
Joe vacating the title after just 20 days created a massive opportunity for the four men who were originally slated to compete in Tuesday’s match. Dunne, O’Reilly and Knight were all in search of their first NXT Championship reigns, while Ciampa was looking to win it back for the first time since vacating it due to injury in March 2019.
Tuesday also marked the launch of “NXT 2.0,” which is essentially the new era of NXT, complete with an updated logo and a revamped set.
It remains to be seen precisely how else NXT 2.0 will differ from the prior iterations of NXT, but the bulk of the speculation has focused on WWE gravitating more toward bigger, younger performers with a background in athletics rather than independent wrestling.
Dunne is 27, as is Wagner (formerly known as Cal Bloom). The remaining three members from the original Fatal 4-Way match lineup are at least 34 years old. Outside Wagner, they all have experience on the indie wrestling scene as well.
That suggests WWE still plans to utilize existing members of the NXT roster and put them in big spots even if they don’t 100 percent fit the mold the company is looking for going forward.
Ciampa, Dunne, Wagner and Knight proved their value Tuesday by putting on a highly entertaining match with huge stakes hanging in the balance.
Ciampa has been trying to scratch and claw his way back to the top of NXT for well over two years, and the 36-year-old veteran finally made it there Tuesday.
Many consider Ciampa to be the greatest NXT champion of all time, and he will now have the opportunity to solidify that distinction if his latest title run is anywhere close to his first one.
Few superstars are more synonymous with NXT than Ciampa, and now that NXT is embarking on a new era, it is fitting that someone who has had such a large influence on the brand is at the top once again.
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