Keith Lee vs. Karrion Kross TakeOver XXX

Intro

The creative heads of NXT have booked themselves into a bit of a corner with the upcoming TakeOver XXX main event, atleast the way I’m looking at it. We have Keith Lee defending the NXT Championship against Karrion Kross this weekend. And by all means, it seems like the biggest match they could be doing. That part is not a problem at all. I also have no trouble believing the two of them could put on an awesome monster battle. But there is one very clear cut issue, from my point of view.

Neither of these men should be losing right now.

On one hand, you have Keith Lee, the recently coronated big star of the brand. After months of pursuing the NXT Championship, he finally won it in dramatic fashion, becoming a double champion in what may honestly have been the biggest match in NXT’s short history. He defeated maybe the best NXT Champion ever in Adam Cole to earn the prize, putting an end to the record breaking 396 day reign. On the surface, it seems silly to have him do all this only to have him drop the title less than two months later.

Indeed, Kross is really Lee’s first major opponent and his first actual feud since winning the title. It started immediately with his coronation and, in fact, was teased even before Lee took the prize in the first place.

And in Karrion Kross, we have a brand new monster. He’s the freshest face on NXT, having just had his first match for the black and gold brand at TakeOver: In Your House back in June. This too was only a couple of months ago. He had maybe the most impressive and shocking TakeOver debut I’ve ever seen. I’m saying stuff like that a lot in this article and it’s giving it a hyperbolic vibe, but I do think it’s apt in every case. I mean the guy went up against Tommaso Ciampa, a bonafide NXT legend, and demolished him for six straight minutes before making him pass out in a storyline upset. I actually expected him to get that win but the way it was done still stunned me, it was just so dominant. Ciampa of all people could barely even hurt him. They’ve built him so well in a short time, it would seem like a waste to beat this level of monster so early. 

This might imply a non-finish. But that seems like a pretty bad idea in it’s own way.

In the old days, this would very much be the kind of match that would have to end in a double DQ or double count out, something to that effect. But fans generally turned on the idea of this decades ago, when the Attitude Era abused these kinds of finishes and burned the audience out on them. The disdain for a non-finish has never truly died down, it gets eye rolls to this day.

In a closed set it’s less of an issue, but it’s still a pretty lame way to end a TakeOver event and they have to know their audience wouldn’t be happy with it. 

Plus, WWE is now introducing their own virtual audience concept. At the time of this writing I’m not sure if this will be in play at TakeOver but if it is, you certainly don’t need to be showing them a finish like that for your first foray into it.

So that begs the question… what do you do here? What’s the right call?

If we’re being honest, it just seems way too early to be doing this match. I might’ve saved it for the Fall, at the very least. 

But, if you’re looking at it from the WWE’s perspective, either man winning could work. And at the risk of sounding negative, I’m going to be looking at it more from the perspective of beating either man rather than either of them winning, because after all that’s the conundrum we’re dealing with here.

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