Alex Riley and Rhyno amongst five gunning for Kevin Owens' NXT Championship

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At NXT Takeover: Rival, Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship in what could be seen as a surprising title change, and with Sami Zayn and Finn Balor on the horizon for the champion, who else is a threat?

Tried and tested

Sami Zayn is definitely someone who will get a rematch with Kevin Owens because their first match was great, with an inconclusive finish it allows the writers to book the two for another championship match and display their amazing chemistry once more.

Finn Balor is the #1 contender to the NXT Championship but he hasn't take his opportunity quite as he planned either as Kevin Owens continues to dominate.

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Adrian Neville is another superstar who has had plenty of run-ins with Kevin Owens, and it’s likely that the two will definitely clash again before Neville moves up to the main roster, with the title possibly on the line.

But there are contenders there for Kevin Owens, genuine threats to his title reign which aren’t only realistic, but it would make both superstars look great, especially if Kevin Owens wins dominantly, here’s who I think the writers will turn to at some point in the near future.

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Alex Riley is the a predictable choice for the NXT writer’s to turn to, he and Kevin Owens have clashed numerous times now and Riley has even left his position as a commentator to get a match with Kevin Owens.

It’s unclear as to whether the two will clash in a championship match, but Riley is a dependable superstar who could put on a great show alongside Kevin Owens. He won’t necessarily win, but a dominating performance by Owens can make him look unbeatable.


This choice is 50-50. On one side, Baron Corbin still needs to work longer matches, engage in longer and more interesting feuds after his long-winded feud with Bull Dempsey finally came to an end, but he has the potential and the fans are firmly behind him.

He has a great look, he is explosive even with his limited move set, but Kevin Owens is someone who can possibly bring the best out of The Lone Wolf. On the NXT roster right now, presence-wise Corbin is probably the only big threat to Kevin Owens, but wrestling ability-wise, not so much.

NXT has a lot of time to build Corbin up as a strong contender, and if Owens is still the champion by the time he is ready, the feud could be very interesting.


I’m not sure if and when the main roster will call up Hideo Itami. He was destined for success when he signed for the WWE with all of the spotlight on him. He was the most talked about superstar for a long time but other superstars have leapfrogged him since.

Kevin Owens and Finn Balor are just two of the newer signings who are starting to make bigger impacts than Itami, but Itami does have the ability to contend for the gold soon. The only weakness he has in his game is lack of English, but the fans are behind him even though that is the case.

Itami and Owens have teased something on their Twitter accounts, so a clash between the two is probably on the table for the near future.


This is a choice to make Kevin Owens look even better than he already is. Fans will call for The Brian Kendrick, but it looks unlikely that Kendrick could actually defeat the imposing Owens. Rhyno on the other hand recently returned and is already targeting the NXT Championship, his experience will rub off well on Kevin Owens.

The fans are still firmly behind Rhyno and a feud between the two will only make Owens more over with the audience, even as a heel he’s getting incredible reactions on a weekly basis, that’s when you know you’re on to a winner.

The match – should it happen – will be a good one for Owens, Rhyno and for us fans as well as Rhyno will be a very tough opponent, and defeating him would be a huge moment.


Even though he’s only been on television for a few weeks, Solomon Crowe is one of the most talented guys on the NXT roster, perhaps more talented than the majority of the main roster, don’t let the negative aspects fool you.

His hard core fans will know him as Sami Callihan and will know that he is capable of sadistic things, which makes him favourable amongst the fans, similar to Dean Ambrose as the two were partners known as the Switchblade Conspiracy.

Right now, it seems as if Crowe is competing as a face even though he has a gimmick which probably suits a heel better, he has made it clear that he’s coming for the NXT Championship and his gimmick is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum with Kevin Owens’ gimmick, but their in-ring styles could work well and is another match which can make both men look very strong, and keep the fans interested.


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