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Top 10 WWE NXT Matches

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Nicholas Miller
Since its inception, WWE’s development brand has been home to some of the best wrestling on the planet. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today, we’re counting down the top 10 WWE NXT matches.

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Top 10 WWE NXT Matches

Since its inception, WWE’s development brand has been home to some of the best wrestling on the planet. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today, we’re counting down the top 10 WWE NXT matches.

#10: Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn

“NXT Arrival” (2014)

NXT’s first WWE Network Special featured a number of memorable matches, but it was the opening match of the night that stole the show. Cesaro had already been on the main roster for several years, but the decision was made to have him feud with WWE newcomer Sami Zayn part time following a fantastic match on NXT the previous year. After an intense 22 minutes, underdog Zayn would come up short again, but this thrilling opening bout helped set the bar for what NXT was truly capable of, and showed fans that it was more than just a development territory.

#9: Sanity vs. Undisputed Era vs. Authors Of Pain & Roderick Strong

Takeover: War Games” (2017)

2017 was an incredible year for the black-and-yellow brand. One of the highlights was this modern take on a classic hardcore stipulation featuring both phenomenal action and memorable storytelling. A perfect storm of tension brewing between several factions on the NXT roster led to this caged dual-ring melee with all manner of weapons locked inside. The match went well over the half an hour mark and contained highlight reel moments from everyone involved, proving it was a calculated and worthwhile risk bringing War Games back for modern audiences. Undisputed Era would walk out as winners, further enforcing their dominance since their debut just a few months before.

#8: The Revival vs. #DIY

“Takeover: Toronto” (2016)

It’s been heartbreaking to see the way The Revival has been handled on the main roster, because having seen what they did in NXT, it’s clear the team are capable of much more. This 2016 barn-burner featured some of the most exciting tag action of the year, with the teams facing off in a 2-out-of-3 falls match for the NXT Tag Team Championship. The match showed off the perfect chemistry of both teams, with a tense pace and dramatic finish. After Revival scored the first fall, #DIY was forced to come from behind and eventually take the win.

#7: Velveteen Dream vs. Adam Cole vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Killian Dain vs. Ricochet vs. EC3

“NXT Takeover: New Orleans” (2018)

Pacing is incredibly important in multi-person matches, especially lengthier ones, and this 6-man ladder match to determine NXT’s first North American Champion had pitch perfect pacing. The match allowed standout moments for each man, including the WWE debut of independent fan favorite Ricochet. After 30 minutes of high-octane excitement, just when it looked like Ricochet would pull out the win, Adam Cole knocked him off the ladder and secured the Championship, giving the match a heartbreaking but clever finish. NXT has been on fire in 2018, and somehow, this wasn’t even the best match of the year. More on those later.

#6: Sami Zayn vs. Neville

“Takeover: R Evolution” (2014)

Arguably the best rivalry of early NXT was between these two men. After several shots at the title in which Neville unfairly defeated Zayn, Sami was given one final chance to defeat Neville and win, and promised that if he lost, he would leave NXT. The perfectly-booked build-up culminated in this incredible match between two friends with fantastic chemistry. Finally, the underdog from the underground was able to beat Neville, winning the NXT title, ready to celebrate with his best friend Kevin Owens, who just debuted that very same night! In an absolutely shocking moment, Owens turned on Zayn, and the former friends became bitter enemies.

#5: Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

“NXT TakeOver: Dallas” (2016)

The final Sami Zayn match on our list. Boy, that guy sure was something, huh? This match was the highly-anticipated NXT debut of New Japan megastar Shinsuke Nakamura. The match was exactly what fans had hoped for, with the two men matching move-for-move in a technical masterclass. The excitement in the crowd of seeing Nakamura in a WWE ring for the first time is electric, and it truly adds to the match, which isn’t always the case with NXT crowds. Just as the match was Nakamura’s introduction to NXT, it also served as Zayn’s goodbye, as he had already debuted on the main roster.

#4: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks

“Takeover: Respect” (2015)

Two key figures of the WWE’s “Women’s Revolution” faced off in this excellent 30-minute Iron Man match for the NXT Women’s Championship. The match holds the distinction of being the first women’s Iron Man match, and the first women’s match to main event a WWE PPV. Bayley had previously beat Banks for the title at NXT: Brooklyn, and this rematch concluded the pair’s feud for the time being. Throughout the fight, the women looked evenly matched, trading pins before Bayley was able to counter a Banks Statement into an armbar, forcing Sasha to tap just seconds before the match’s finish and retaining her NXT championship as Sasha headed up to the main roster.

#3: Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade 'Cien' Almas

“Takeover: Philadelphia” (2018)

Almas and Gargano met the night before the Royal Rumble and put on one of the most well-received matches in NXT’s brief history. The timing and chemistry present in this match are a wonder to see, and keep the pace rocketing forward despite clocking in at over 30 minutes. Gargano plays the underdog perfectly here, with Almas as the vicious champ doing whatever it takes to retain. In an exhilarating and unexpected finish, Almas pins Gargano with a massive DDT. To add insult to injury, after losing, Gargano is savagely attacked by his returning former best friend, Tommaso Ciampa. More on that soon.

#2: Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne

“Takeover: Chicago” (2017)

Talk about winning over a crowd. After winning the company inaugural U.K. Tournament and becoming the first U.K. Champion, Tyler Bate was tasked with defending his title against the tournament’s runner-up, the Bruiserweight Pete Dunne, in front of a notoriously tough Chicago crowd as a pair of relative unknowns. Not only did the match win over that night’s crowd, but it launched both men into the conversation as two of the best wrestlers in the world. Dunne would win the hard-fought contest with his finisher, the Bitter End, and thus began his lengthy U.K. Championship reign.

#1: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa

“Takeover: Chicago II” (2018)

Gargano and Ciampa’s friendship-turned-war is one of the best stories the WWE has told in years, and their brutal street fight rematch, despite being incredibly recent, has raised the bar for NXT. The match feels like a precise work of art, with meaningful action and genuine character moments. Not only that, but the level of in-ring work is some of the best that the WWE has seen in years. Featuring multiple huge moments, this match encapsulates that special Big Fight Feel. The feud between these two feels like something really extraordinary, and we can’t wait to see where it’s headed next.


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