There’s no denying Undisputed ERA had the best 2019 in NXT. Adam Cole became NXT World Champion for the first time, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’ Reilly regained the NXT Tag Team titles from the Street Profits, and Roderick Strong defeated Velveteen Dream for the NXT North American Champion. They are the first faction in NXT to hold every title at the same time, and they did it all last year. It’s hard to see the dominance of Undisputed ERA coming to an end in 2020, but how does such a successful unit keep going strong?
Undisputed ERA has been around for three years, and their stock has been on the rise ever since. Adding Roderick Strong to the mix in April 2018 made them even stronger, and by the end of the year, the faction’s leader made a promise that by the end of 2019, all four of them would hold championship gold. It wasn’t an easy 2019, and at times it seemed as though it all might take a downhill turn. Friction between Cole and Strong almost split the group up, but after taking out Johnny Gargano at NXT Takeover: XXV, Adam Cole earned his first NXT World Championship, setting the plan in motion for Undisputed ERA to take control of NXT.
Cole is less than three months away from becoming the longest reigning NXT World Champion, and it’s unlikely anyone is going to stop him. Tommaso Ciampa has made his intentions known, wanting to reclaim “Goldie” from Adam Cole, but with the pack mentality of Undisputed ERA, it’s going to take a miracle for the former champ to reclaim his gold. Roderick Strong is set to take on Keith Lee in an NXT North American Championship title defence on NXT next week, but will it be a fair fight? Probably not. They almost broke Lee’s ankle after a brutal assault, showcasing how dangerous they can be.
It’s hard to see the faction lose the gold early into 2020, so how can Undisputed ERA go from strength to strength? How can they shock the system even more than they already have? There aren’t many men on the NXT roster that fit the archetype of Undisputed ERA, so it’s unlikely that they’ll add to their ranks in that way, but one idea that could most definitely work is bringing in a female. One woman in particular that both fits the style and confidence of the team is already wearing gold around her waist, and that’s NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley.
Picture this: at NXT Takeover: Portland, Bianca Belair is seconds away from claiming a victory over RIpley after a long-fought battle. Then, the music hits and Undisputed ERA descend on the squared circle and surround Belair. Whilst distracted, Ripley gets to her feet and drops the Riptide, retaining the title, then celebrates with the Undisputed ERA. She would not only bolster the ranks of Undisputed ERA, but she’d help to continue their dominance throughout 2020. It would give them an interesting dynamic and help mix things up.
Whilst a push to the main roster might happen this year is a huge possibility, NXT wouldn’t be the same without them. They got a taste of the red and blue brands last year, showing their talents on the main stage, including Adam Cole defeating Daniel Bryan and the entire team beating Heavy Machinery and New Day. Spending at least another year within NXT seems like a better option, and keeping them fresh would help with the inclusion of an equally impressive female. Rhea Ripley is cocky, but has the career to back up her attitude, becoming the only woman in NXT history to hold both the NXT UK and NXT Women’s Championship.
Rhea Ripley is going from strength to strength in NXT, beating Shayna Baslzer – the best female to ever step foot in an NXT ring since the Four Horsewomen – and cementing herself as one of the best in the business. Joining Undisputed ERA might be a strange move, but WWE is known for mixing things up, regardless of where a Superstar’s loyalty might lie, or how they’re perceived by the fans. RIpley was on the ‘good’ side at NXT Takeover: War Games when Team Ripley defeated Team Baszler, and although Dakota Kai turned heel, that doesn’t mean Ripley couldn’t.
Daniel Bryan did it towards the end of 2018 and it shocked everyone. He didn’t need an entourage, yet Eric Rowan became his bodyguard/partner in crime Remember Stone Cold’s heel turn that resulted in him working with his nemesis Vince McMahon? It happens. Rhea Ripley doesn’t care who she upsets, backing up her attitude in the ring every time. The fans love her, and the fans love Undisputed ERA, even though they are classed as heels. Whilst every member of the faction can prove that they’re capable of winning on their own, uniting as one would make Undisputed ERA indestructible, even if it’s only for one more year.
Rhea Ripley is notoriously a lone wolf, but it hasn’t stopped the likes of Bryan, Stone Cold, and even The Rock when he became part of The Corporation. She doesn’t need to be in a faction, but neither does Adam Cole. He’s an incredible competitor on his own, however, uniting with Undisputed ERA has given him a wealth of support, and they’ve almost always come out on top. Unrest within the team might come back, giving Undisputed ERA a complete restructure. Ripley’s inclusion might end up pushing out the former Red Dragons and even welcoming in another female. The possibilities are endless. The name of Undisputed ERA holds a lot of weight, and changing members who’re equally as strong wouldn’t necessarily change that. As mentioned earlier, Dakota Kai is rather disliked at the moment, and a heel turn for Mercedes Martinez may fit.
Time will tell what’s in store for Undisputed ERA, but if 2019 is anything to go by, it doesn’t look like their time at the top will be coming to an end anytime soon. With all four holding gold, the addition of Rhea RIpley would be awesome. Shocking the system is what they do best, and bringing in a female as good as Ripley might be a great move, regardless of what the fans want.