Samoa Joe is Your New NXT Champion, Balor Bound for Payback?

Samoa Joe NXT Champion

Well, shit all of the beds. It seemed like Finn Balor would be the NXT Champion for many, many months to come after recently surpassing Neville’s record as the longest-reigning champ in the show’s history. That sentiment came abruptly to an end when Balor dropped the title to Samoa Joe in Lowell, MA. At a house show.

To say it was a surprise would be an understatement. WWE hasn’t had any big title changes at house shows since Diesel defeated Bob Backlund back in the 90’s, but even then it was at Madison Square Garden. For a big title to swap hands at such a low-key event is indicative of either two things:

1. Balor is injured
2. He will be making an appearance at WWE Payback.

Fans reported seeing Balor limp around the ring and visibly struggle before he was put away by Joe’s Musclebuster. If it is a genuine injury, it’s a big loss not just to NXT but WWE as a whole. However, when a champion is injured during a match, it will usually go to a no-contest. For Balor to continue competing and then look as if he was making a final gesture of goodbye to the fans raises some excited eyebrows.

If WWE have finally realised how to swerve smarks, we could be looking at one hell of a debut at WWE Payback. It’s perfectly set up for it: Balor no longer has a title to split his obligations; the Bullet Club are forming, and him utterly destroying Reigns with some heavyweight backup would be the perfect introduction. For my money, AJ Styles shouldn’t join the faction and should stick to the babyface routine he’s compelling crowds with.

Congratulations to Samoa Joe on one of the most surprising results in wrestling history. Here’s hoping his run with the title is a competitive one before he inevitably meets a wall of stiff kicking from a certain Japanese star.

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