The longest NXT title reign in history is over.
It was spoiled last week, but NXT still got plenty of drama out of the main even of July 8’s Great American Bash. And it wasn’t because a Performance Center recruit tweeted about two endings.
The drama started when NXT champ Adam Cole and North American champ Keith Lee entered for their commercial-free Winner Takes All match with 30 minutes left in the show. A little shorter than some TakeOver main event “epics”, but plenty of time to tell the story of two proud titleholders going toe-to-toe and fighting tooth and nail to cement their place as the biggest star on the black-and-gold brand.
Undisputed ERA’s leader benefited from the first huge spot of the match. He sidestepped a charge from the bigger Lee, and watched as his opponent busted through the plexiglass barrier. That set the tone, as each man landed bigger and bigger shots on the other, but neither would allow their shoulders to be pinned to the mat for a three count.
In the end, after surviving a Panama Sunrise and two Last Shot knees, Lee countered a second Panama Sunrise into a Spirit Bomb. Then it was time for a Big Bang Catastrophe, and the confetti we saw in last Thursday’s spoiler pic.
But amidst the pomp, a historic run and ended. And it happened clean, with none of his Undisputed ERA boys even making an appearance, a real difference from the other title bouts of his year-plus long reign.
And a new challenger awaited.
Time to praise Cole, and worry about Karrion Kross later. For now, as Mauro Ranallo said, NXT has become N-X-Lee.