As of this writing, Adam Cole has been NXT Champion for 374 days. He has shattered the former record for longest-reigning NXT Champion and is well on his way to having 400-plus days. No one has been on top of NXT longer than Cole, but the time will eventually come to an end. The problem is the fact that he has almost gone through everyone in his reign with few names being available to un-crown the record-breaker. Defeating a who’s who of NXT talents makes his list of potential threats slim, but those remaining may be the biggest threats yet.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) June 8, 2020
Adam Cole’s Conquered Contenders
Cole has defended his championship 11 times against a number of top names in NXT and even outside. Akira Tozawa got a shot at the special EVOLVE network show and came up short. Johnny Gargano was the man he defeated to capture the championship, then finished off their trilogy of matches with a successful defense in a best 2 out of 3 fall match. The short-lived run of Jordan Myles in NXT also saw him suffer defeat after winning the Breakout Tournament. Matt Riddle, one many thought would leave NXT as a former champion, also came up short against Cole.
His two defenses that follow may be his most impressive in terms of name-value, as he defeated Daniel Bryan on SmackDown in the middle of the ring and survived his defense against Seth Rollins on Raw. His defeat of Pete Dunne at Survivor Series finished off an impressive run of defenses on his biggest stage. Cole got through Finn Balor thanks to a Gargano distraction and his two biggest threats in Tomasso Ciampa and Velveteen Dream both failed. That’s a lot of names that failed in their efforts of destroying the run of Adam Cole, leaving only three legitimate choices of rising to the top and winning the NXT Championship from the longest-reigning champion. Here’s who could dethrone Adam Cole and why there’s only one surefire answer.
Finn Balor wants his spot back from Adam Cole
The only man on this list to suffer defeat already at the hands of Adam Cole is Finn Balor. However, Balor’s attention was skewed by Johnny Gargano, allowing Cole to win and walk away with his title. Since their first match with each other, Balor has only gotten better. He has gone 8-1 since, with his only loss also coming via distraction as Damien Priest aided Cameron Grimes. On Wednesday night, Balor intends to get his payback vs. Grimes and that could put him directly back into the title picture.
Once the one-time longest-reigning NXT Champion, the biggest name on the brand today should be seen as a legitimate threat to the reign of Cole. There is no other good reason for him to return to NXT than go for the championship that he made. His record stands for itself, but there’s a good shot he can earn it if needed.
Keith Lee can take Adam Cole to his limit
The reigning NXT North American Champion has been destined for greatness for a long time. Keith Lee is one of few in the past year to get a clean victory over Adam Cole, making him one deserving of stepping up. While he may have to lose his title to move on to brighter lights, there is always the chance that he could step up to Cole to be a double champion. Nothing is impossible when it comes to the “Limitless” one. He has been a dominant champion to the same level, if not more. Lee stomped out Gargano at NXT TakeOver: In Your House and awaits a new challenge. He has never been one to be shy and has made his own future on multiple occasions.
Setting his sights on Cole to eventually dethrone him could be the next step. He is the one who began the breakdown of The Undisputed Era’s prophecy, making it fitting to finish off what he started.
Karrion Kross is a major new threat
The most likely man to dethrone Adam Cole will be NXT’s newest star, Karrion Kross. “Fall and pray” has become a cloud over the NXT roster and it could be the same cloud that vanishes Cole’s title reign sooner than you know it. Have doubts? Look no further than In Your House, as Kross faced his toughest opponent to date in the banner boy, Tomasso Ciampa. Ciampa has long been the proving point in NXT and Kross destroyed him. It was no question of who was winning that match when the bell rang. Kross, with Scarlett Bordeaux by his side, could be the most destructive and unstoppable force NXT has ever seen. Kross’ mantra of “Tick Tock” means Doomsday for more than just NXT, but the reign of Adam Cole.
Something tells us that The Undisputed Era may not be a factor in a match with Kross. Of course, if they dare to try and get involved, Scarlett’s presence could come into effect. The prospect of a Kross vs. Cole match is exciting, and the likelihood of Cole’s historic reign coming to an end at the hands of Kross is very high. Cole’s reign will fall, and Kross is the ideal option to prepare NXT for a new era of dominance.
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