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Exclusive: What’s Happening With The NXT North American Championship?

Explaining the confusion at the NXT taping.



NXT North American Championship

Greg DeMarco has the exclusive details on exactly what happened with the North American Championship at the NXT taping!

Online wrestling fans have been put through the ringer this week, complete with an emotional Royal Rumble win for Becky Lynch, to the announcement of Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania, followed almost immediately by news that Charlotte Flair is expected to be added to the match, to the hard to believe revelation that Dean Ambrose is leaving WWE after in April, and the news that AJ Styles has signed a new WWE deal (or has he?).

Lost in the shuffle is the fact that Velveteen Dream won the NXT North American Championship from Johnny Gargano at Wednesday’s NXT taping at Full Sail in Orlando. Shortly after the initial news broke, more details surfaced about a re-tape that happened in the aftermath, which ended with Gargano holding the championship and celebrating once again with NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa.

As always, news should be taken with a grain of salt. However, the word I received from within NXT gave me enough to go on.

Here is what happened:

  • As was reported, Velveteen Dream used his Worlds Collide title shot to challenge Johnny Gargano for the North American Championship, and won–that win is expected to stand
  • The aftermath saw Gargano finish the segment with the championship, revisiting the familiar pose with Tommaso Ciampa that ended the Takeover: Phoenix broadcast–this is done to cause some confusion due to the prevalence of spoilers
  • One interesting note to make is that didn’t spoil the results, something the company almost always does with pretaped title changes–the reason for this simple: Halftime Heat
  • This all revolves around Halftime Heat, which runs against the Maroon 5 halftime show today during the Super Bowl
  • It’s expected that Gargano will be the North American Champion at Halftime Heat, since the title change hasn’t aired yet, but the title will move in the coming weeks on NXT

As is often the case, the most logical scenario is what happened. The company didn’t spoil the results because if Halftime Heat draws new fans to the next two NXT broadcasts, it would be confusing to the new fan if Dream was the North American Champion during Halftime Heat, but Gargano held the championship during what could be potentially be the first NXT broadcast they watch. Gargano is also holding the championship in all of the promo materials WWE has used for Halftime Heat.

Halftime Heat is a HUGE deal for NXT, as WWE is trusting a coveted timeframe (Super Bowl Sunday) with the brand that is dedicated to the future. Many in NXT (including Triple H) don’t see it as developmental, but as a viable brand for the company (touring results have been good, so it makes sense). Despite the minimal risk (the match is expected to take place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando and the broadcast is on the WWE Network and their social media platform partners), this is a major opportunity for all six men involved.

A key to this storyline is Johnny Gargano still being focused on the NXT Championship. If you remember, this all started when Tommaso Ciampa placed the bug into Gargano’s ear about going after the North American Championship, averting his focus away from “Goldie,” Ciampa’s NXT Championship. We could see a 4-way for Ciampa’s championship at Takeover during WrestleMania weekend, with Ciampa defending against Gargano, Aleister Black and either Ricochet or Adam Cole (with the other challenging Velveteen Dream for the North American Championship). The long-term story is still Gargano-Ciampa, and Gargano winning the NXT Championship without pinning Ciampa would do a ton to advance that story–one of the longest running storylines in the entire WWE today.

Think about it–Tommaso Ciampa turned on Johnny Gargano the same night that Pete Dunne won the WWE UK Championship from Tyler Bate, and that title reign is constantly touted for it’s length.

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AEW Coverage

Mitchell’s AEW Continental Classic Update! (11/27/23)

What a start to the tournament!



Did your picks win points?

The AEW Continental Classic is underway, with almost everyone competing. Check in here if you haven’t seen the winners and losers of week 1!

Here are your Gold League standings!

  • Jon Moxley: 1-0, 3 points
  • Swerve Strickland: 1-0, 3 points
  • Jay White: 1-0, 3 points
  • Rush: 0-1, 0 points
  • Mark Briscoe: 0-1, 0 points.
  • Jay Lethal: 0-1, 0 points


Here are your Blue League standings!

  • Brody King: 1-0, 3 points
  • Claudio Castagnoli: 1-0, 3 points
  • Daniel Garcia: 0-1, 0 points
  • Eddie Kingston: 0-1, 0 points
  • Bryan Danielson: Yet to Compete
  • Andrade El Idolo: Yet to Compete


My Thoughts:

Nothing too crazy, nothing too wild, this tournament only just got started. The only disappointing point is that they could not get Bryan “cleared to compete” Saturday night. Not sure how much of that is shoot given the bad eye, but this was kinda the problem of wanting him in the tournament over tons of other choices. Bryan wants to face Okada for WrestleKingdom 18, how is Bryan supposed to do that at his best if he’s also gonna be in a round robin, doing five top level matches in about as many weeks? And it takes away from Andrade being able to do something. Also a little surprised we didn’t even hear from Andrade on Saturday.

Now as we heard on Saturday, round two’s matches are set. Gold League will see Mark Briscoe VS Rush, White VS Swerve, and of course, Moxley VS Lethal. Nice variety there, a couple 0-1 guys facing off, as well as two 1-0 guys, and then 1-0 VS 0-1. No offense to Lethal, but he feels like an 0-2 going up against Moxley. Hard to call the other ones but that’s the fun of it. Meanwhile, Blue League sees Brody VS Claudio in a showdown to be 2-0, then Bryan and Andrade finally jump in, Bryan against Eddie and Andrade against Garcia. Sadly, feels like Eddie and Garcia are going 0-2, no way Tony Khan is booking Bryan and Andrade to lose their first shots.

In fact, that could be half the reason they did wait on those two, that’s almost too good for just a first round opener. But I still would’ve done it, same as NJPW does stuff like that for round robins, which this is all modeled after anyway.

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AEW Coverage

AEW announces Continental Classic entrants

The C2 is set!



Tony Khan Reveals the Blue and Gold “Leagues!”

Originally livestreamed, Tony Khan and Tony Schiavone officially announced the twelve total entrants and divided them into the two round robin blocks known as the “Blue League” and “Gold League.” If you don’t feel like sifting through the almost 30 minute video, the groups are:

Blue League

  • Bryan Danielson
  • Andrade El Idolo
  • Brody King
  • Claudio Castagnoli
  • Daniel Garcia
  • Eddie Kingston

Gold League

  • Jon Moxley
  • Swerve Strickland
  • Rush
  • Mark Briscoe
  • Jay Lethal
  • Jay White


Tony Khan also explains the rules for the Continental Classic:

  • Every match has a 20 minute time limit
  • The winner of each match earns 3 points, losers earn 0, 1 point for a draw
  • EVERYONE ELSE is banned from ringside for true 1v1 action


Eddie Kingston also joined the selection special as his “life’s work” is on the line in this tournament, both the ROH World Championship and NJPW Strong Openweight Championship on the line as part of the modern day North American Triple Crown Eddie, Tony Khan, AEW, ROH and NJPW are looking to create together. Gold League competes tonight on Dynamite while Blue League will have their start this Saturday on Collision. Look for more articles like this one to keep up with the Continental Classic standings over the next six weeks of tournament action!

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