Finn Bálor will finally get his hands on Adam Cole after dangling the NXT Championship to do so. But as personal as their rivalry has become in recent weeks, with Cole repeatedly one-upping The Prince with blindsided attacks, Wednesday night’s showdown also represents a matchup of arguably the two greatest NXT Champions ever.
Who has the edge?
No Superstars have made more history as NXT Champions than Bálor and Cole. Bálor became only the third two-time winner of the title when he knocked off Cole for the vacant prize in a thriller at NXT Super Tuesday II. That was a week after both men went the distance in a Fatal 4-Way WWE Iron Man Match alongside Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa that was ruled a draw after Bálor and Cole scored two falls each in the 60 minutes.
Bálor has dispatched staunch challengers like Kyle O’Reilly, Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe in NXT Championship Matches and most recently knocked off Pete Dunne at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day to improve to 9-3-1 in NXT Title bouts.
As impressive as Bálor’s record is, Cole has not only won the most NXT Title Matches in history, but he’s also fought in the most with a 13-5-1 record that includes one disqualification loss. And Cole is the longest-reigning NXT Champion ever with a reign that spanned 403 days.
Of course, both men are responsible for one of each other’s blemishes.
They’ve split their only previous two one-on-one meetings, with Cole knocking off Bálor on NXT TV in December 2019 shortly after The Prince returned to the black-and-gold brand. Meanwhile, Bálor bested Cole last September to capture the vacant title.
If there’s one x-factor in Wednesday night’s collision, it may be The Undisputed ERA — or rather, lack thereof.
The Prince posited that Cole only assembled The Undisputed ERA to win and keep the NXT Championship. And without question, Cole’s masterful in-ring skill combined with his downright devious plots with the support of The UE almost always proved unbeatable.
But now Cole has eschewed his brotherhood, severing ties with O’Reilly and Roderick Strong. What will be Cole’s game plan without his usual ace-in-the-hole?
Regardless of what Cole has in store, the matchup between him and Bálor has all the makings to be a can’t-miss classic. Be sure to catch it Wednesday night at 8/7 C on USA Network!