Winning the NXT Championship at TakeOver: XXX should have been an unblemished high-point in the career of Karrion Kross.
The former IMPACT Wrestling star only signed with WWE in February 2020 and by August he was already holding the richest prize in NXT. However, it was a moment that was more than a little bittersweet. During his triumph over Keith Lee, Kross separated his shoulder which meant he had to relinquish the gold just a handful of days after winning it.
Reflecting on the match with Lucha Libre Online, Karrion Kross revealed his first thoughts as he won the title. The current NXT Champion explained how he hoped no one had noticed that he was injured, before describing trying to “shove back in” a bone that was sticking out of his neck.
“I was hoping that my shoulder didn’t look as bad as it felt and I was hoping that they didn’t notice. But little did I know at the time, I’ve got like a bone sticking out of my neck. So I tried to shove it back in. Wouldn’t go back in and before the show is even over, everyone from production that meet me halfway on the stage and they were like: ‘Are you okay? And I was like: ‘Man, they know’. Because at the time, I didn’t know how bad it looked. I know it was bad.
It was a wide array, a mix of emotions. I was nervous that they were going to pull the title from me. I was disappointed and very angry that it happened. But I also felt very happy that I was able to demonstrate that I was for real. Because there are a lot of people in any industry that will try to sell you constantly 24/7 on how tough they are, what they’re going to do or what they’re capable of. And you never really get to see what they’re what they’re made of in the heat of things. I was able to demonstrate that. That’s my silver lining and that whole entire experience. I was able to demonstrate something that you can teach people to do”.
After giving up his newly won title, Kross immediately set his sights on getting back in the ring. This meant embarking on a “vicious” rehab program which would see him return to action in just three months.
Reflecting on his journey back from the injured list, Kross said that it was a day-by-day process.
“It was a day-by-day process if I’m being honest with you. For anyone who’s ever dealt with certain challenges like that in life, whether it’s physically, mentally or spiritually, you just have to take things day by day. You’re going to have to battle doubt and you’re going to have to battle phobias and different subconscious things that might not even occur to you initially when you’re thinking or hearing about something going through something like this. But every day I woke and just said: ‘I am going to optimize this day. I’m not going to worry about yesterday. I’m not going to worry about tomorrow. Today is the day and I’m going to be present. I’m going to make the most of this day’. I did that every single day and that’s what worked for me”.
After returning to action, Kross set about regaining the title that he never lost, which was now held by Finn Balor. Karrion Kross defeated Balor at NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver to become a two-time champion.
The champion later defended his title against Balor on the May 25th episode of NXT.
Following the shocking return of Adam Cole, on the most recent episode of the black and gold brand, Kross will now defend his championship in a Fatal-Five-Way Match at NXT TakeOver: In Your House.
Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne, Kyle O’Reilly and Cole will now all challenge for the gold in what is sure to be a chaotic bout.
The event is set to take place Sunday June 13th.
So far four matches have been announced for the show.
- LA Knight vs Cameron Grimes
- Xia Li vs Mercedes Martinez
- Raquel Gonzalez (c) vs Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s Championship
- Karrion Kross (c) vs Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano vs Kyle O’Reilly vs Pete Dunne for the NXT Championship