*SPOILERS FOR 12/16/2020 EPISODE OF NXT*
In the December sixteenth edition of NXT, Pete Dunne and Kyle O'Reilly clashed in a #1 contendership match for Finn Balor's NXT Championship. The bout was a high action back and forth contest but ultimately saw O'Reilly coming out on top over the Bruiserweight. Balor and O'Reilly will meet for the title for the second time in NXT at New Year's Evil on January sixth.
The Undisputed Era member has had a transformative 2020, and his momentum doesn't seem to be ending in 2021. O'Reilly has been performing under the black and yellow brand of WWE since 2017. Although he has been a decorative tag team specialist, he only recently has been able to showcase his skill as a singles competitor. When Kyle won the gauntlet eliminator match back in September to face Balor at NXT Takeover 31, many were shocked not only because he had just come back from being out of action for months but because he was The UE's go-to tag partner. Holding the tag titles with every other member of the faction, Kyle was the stronghold for the Era in the tag division. The decision for him to break out as a singles star in the heavyweight division surprised many, myself included, but he has done nothing but impress since the gauntlet eliminator.
His first match for the NXT championship saw him lose to The Prince at Takeover 31, but it wasn't without controversy. During the match, Finn broke his jaw and hasn't competed since. To anyone who watched the match, it is no surprise that someone got injured during it due to the hard-hitting nature the two brought in the instant classic. The promos leading up to the match were also incredible. O'Reilly has been non-stop after his return delivering top-notch performances after another. This year's WarGames was also a great showing by O'Reilly as he picked up the pinfall for his team, continuing his ongoing push.
Once WarGames concluded, and Balor returned, I don't think anyone was surprised when O'Reilly confronted him this time. Adding Dunne to O'Reilly's path back to Balor was just a bonus and another classic in the NXT history books. The coming sequel of Balor VS O'Reilly at New Years Evil is most likely going to be another hard-hitting affair that becomes a classic that fans won't want to miss. However, it is hard to say if this match's outcome will differ from the last. O'Reilly's current push is undoubtedly leading him to an eventual title run but will that start January sixth I don't know. Will, he ever win the NXT championship, or is The North American title going to be the championship he has a run with? And what exactly does Kyle O'Reilly's current position mean for his fellow Undisputed compatriot and leader Adam Cole? All of this is unclear, but one thing is that is for sure is that the rise of Kyle O'Reilly in NXT has been exciting to watch, and I, for one, look forward to seeing where it goes.