The NXT Championship is a professional wrestling championship created and promoted by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE. It is the top title on the NXT brand. The current champion is Finn Bálor, who is in his record-tying second reign.
The current NXT Championship belt with default side plates
|Date established||July 1, 2012|
|Current champion(s)||Finn Bálor|
|Date won||September 8, 2020|
Introduced on July 1, 2012, it was the first title established for NXT, which at the time was a developmental territory for WWE. The inaugural champion was Seth Rollins. NXT eventually became WWE's third main brand in September 2019 when NXT was moved to the USA Network.
In June 2012, WWE established NXT as their developmental territory, replacing Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). On July 26, the NXT Championship was introduced as the brand's top championship, as well as its first title, in turn replacing the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship that had been retired along with the FCW territory. NXT Commissioner Dusty Rhodes announced an eight-man single-elimination tournament, dubbed the "Gold Rush" tournament, involving four wrestlers from NXT and four wrestlers from WWE's main roster competing to be crowned the first NXT Champion. On the July 26 taping of NXT (aired August 29), Seth Rollins defeated Jinder Mahal in the tournament final to become the inaugural champion.
On November 19, 2016, at TakeOver: Toronto, Samoa Joe became the first performer to hold the championship on more than one occasion. After Drew McIntyre won the title in 2017, it was briefly referred to as a world championship, but has not been officially classified as such. In September 2019, the NXT brand itself became WWE's third major brand when it was moved to the USA Network.
The original NXT Championship belt featured a simple design. The large gold center plate was the letter "X". On the center left side of the X was a smaller letter "N" while on the opposing right side was the letter "T". The belt contained six total side plates, three sitting on either side of the center plate; each side plate only featured the WWE logo. When first introduced, the side plates had the WWE scratch logo but in August 2014, all of WWE's pre-existing championships at the time received a minor update, changing the scratch logo to WWE's current logo that was originally used for the WWE Network. The plates were on a large black leather strap.
On WrestleMania weekend 2017, all existing NXT title belts at the time were redesigned. The new title belts were unveiled at TakeOver: Orlando that same night and given to the winners of their respective matches. Like the previous design, the plates are gold and on a black leather strap. The letter "X" again dominates the center plate with smaller letters "N" and "T" sitting on the left and right sides, respectively. On this new design, however, the letters are on an octagonal shaped plate. Above the "X" is the WWE logo, while below the "X" is a banner that reads "Champion". Simple ornamentation with some silver fills in the rest of the plate. Coming in line with the majority of WWE's other championships, the new design includes side plates with a removable center section that can be customized with the champion's logo; the default plates feature the WWE logo.
As of January 25, 2021, there have been 21 reigns among 18 different champions and two vacancies. Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura and Finn Bálor are tied with the most reigns at two. Bálor also holds the record for the longest combined reign as the NXT Champion. Adam Cole's reign is the longest singular reign at 396 days (403 days as recognized by WWE due to tape delay) making it the only reign running a continuous year, while Karrion Kross' reign is the shortest at 4 days (3 days as recognized by WWE) as he had to relinquish the title due to a legitimate injury he suffered in winning it. Bo Dallas holds the record as the youngest champion, winning the title two days before his 23rd birthday, while Bobby Roode is the oldest champion, winning the title at 39.
Finn Bálor is the current champion in his record-tying second reign. He won the title by defeating Adam Cole in a sudden death match for the vacant championship (after the two had tied the previous week in a 60-minute fatal four-way iron man match that was originally for the vacant title and had also involved Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano) at NXT Super Tuesday II on September 8, 2020 in Winter Park, Florida; previous champion Karrion Kross had relinquished the title due to suffering a legitimate injury.
- 403 days as recognized by WWE due to the episode airing on tape delay.
- 3 days as recognized by WWE.
- Parry, Josh (July 26, 2012). "NXT spoiler – first champion crowned". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
- James, Justin. "JAMES'S WWE NXT REPORT 8/29 – Week 11: First NXT champion crowned in big-match setting". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- James, Justin. "JAMES' NXT TAKEOVER: TORONTO REVIEW 11/19: Nakamura vs. Joe, Asuka vs. James, #DIY vs. The Revival, and more". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
- "NXT Championship". WWE.com.
Fulfilling a prophecy first laid out by WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon years earlier, Drew McIntyre captured a world championship in a WWE ring when he defeated Bobby Roode to claim the NXT Title at TakeOver: Brooklyn III
- "Triple H Discusses NXT as a Third Brand, Putting Talent in a Position to Succeed, More – 411MANIA". www.411mania.com.
- WWE (April 1, 2017). "EXCLUSIVE: WWE NXT General William Regal arrives at WrestleMania Axxess with a HUGE announcement regarding NXT TakeOver: Orlando!". Facebook. Retrieved April 1, 2017.