NXT Halloween Havoc 2022 saw the crowning of a new NXT North American Champion following the title being left vacated when Solo Sikoa moved to SmackDown. A five-man Ladder match crowned the seventeenth champion, as Wes Lee overcame Nathan Frazer, Von Wagner, Oro Mensah, and former two-time NA champion Carmelo Hayes.
The moment was an emotional one for the former Dezmond Xavier, marking his first singles championship reign in NXT after only holding the NXT Tag Team Championships previously. He was comforted backstage by Shawn Michaels, as footage posted to social media showed WWE‘s Senior Vice President, Talent Development Creative hugging Lee.
‘The Heartbreak Kid’ previously named Wes Lee as a current NXT star he’d love to wrestle if he were to return, stating as such when speaking with The Ringer’s David Shoemaker:
“I’m also a fan of Bron [Breakker], he’s got such tenacity and energy it would be hard to not wanna get in there [the ring] with him and see what you can do. But Carmelo [Hayes], I think Nathan Frazier’s fantastic, Wes Lee.”
Wes Lee Is The Fourteenth NXT North American Champion
Though his win began the seventeenth reign with the NXT North American Championship, Wes Lee’s victory of the title made him the fourteenth overall NXT Superstar to lift the gold, following Carmelo Hayes and Johnny Gargano being two-time and three-time champions, respectively.
Introduced in 2018, Adam Cole was crowned the first champion at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans in a six-man Ladder match that was awarded five stars by the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer. The Ladder match has since been a staple of the division, subsequently being used at NXT TakeOver: XXX and NXT Stand & Deliver 2022.
The list of other NXT North American Champions includes Ricochet, The Velveteen Dream, Roderick Strong, Keith Lee, Damian Priest, Leon Ruff, Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott, and Cameron Grimes. The Velveteen Dream holds the longest reign with the title at 231 days, recognised officially as 209 days.