Samoa Joe’s Challengers Align on NXT

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Samoa Joe made NXT history on August 22’s NXT TakeOver 36 event. By defeating Karrion Kross, Joe became the brand’s first three-time champion. Their rivalry seems to have ended there, with Kross departing the black and gold brand to permanently join the Monday Night Raw roster. Samoa Joe’s other most likely challenger for the NXT championship, Adam Cole’s future with NXT is currently uncertain. Despite the absence of Cole and Cross,  the current crop of challengers for the NXT championship revealed themselves on August 24’s NXT.

Samoa Joe strode to the ring to address the crowd at the Capitol Wrestling Center, declaring that there was no time to celebrate his win in the “land of savages” that is NXT.

His instincts proved correct, as Pete Dunne quickly entered the scene to confront Joe, and demand a match for the NXT Championship. With the return of Ridge Holland, Dunne’s stable is feuding in earnest with Timothy Thatcher and Tomasso Ciampa. Earlier in the broadcast, Holland defeated Thatcher. When Ciampa confronted Holland, Dunne attacked Ciampa in Holland’s defense, leading to a brawl between the two respective camps: Dunne, Holland, and Danny Burch on one side, Thatcher and Ciampa on the other. Dunne and his stable are perpetually seeking dominance, and the NXT championship would be a crowning touch. Dunne last sought the NXT title in a fatal five-way against then-champion Kross, also featuring Cole, Dunne, Johnny Gargano, and Kyle O’Reilly, at NXT Takeover: In Your House.

Dunne was interrupted in turn by a new addition to the championship race, LA Knight. Knight recently lost the Million Dollar Championship to Cameron Grimes, but his confidence was far from dimmed by the loss. With his typical verbosity, Knight sought to prove why he deserved a title shot. O’Reilly then entered, making the claim that his own decisive win against Adam Cole in their Takeover 36 match entitled him to a title shot. He was, however, attacked abruptly by Ridge Holland. Holland was quickly followed by Thatcher and Ciampa, and the chaos that had followed the earlier Thatcher v. Holland match broke out amongst the rivals, challengers, and champions. With the subtractions of Karrion Kross and Adam Cole, the field for the NXT championship race is slightly altered, but with August 24’s installment, the game has been set for who Samoa Joe’s challengers will be. 

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