If you don’t have the WWE Network, or you do and you’ve been living under a rock, you probably won’t know who The Undisputed Era are. If you don’t, what are you waiting for?
They are easily the biggest group in NXT history to this point because of the impact they’ve made in the time they’ve been together. Individually, Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, and Roderick Strong are all great, but together their chemistry and in-ring work is off the charts. For me, if they remained a group forever in WWE I don’t think it would hurt them at all. So let’s kick this series off, with the first year of The Undisputed Era.
The night is August 19th, 2017: NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly make their presence known for the first time in NXT’s tag team division, by attacking the Authors of Pain(Akam and Rezar) and Sanity(Eric Young, Killian Dain, and Alexander Wolfe). Later that night, after Drew McIntyre had won the NXT Championship from Bobby Roode, O’Reilly and Fish would appear again and distract McIntyre to setup the debut of Adam Cole, who would attack McIntyre and align himself with O’Reilly and Fish to form The Undisputed Era, and change NXT forever.
Going forward for a few months, The Undisputed Era would spend most of their time attacking the aforementioned teams and reeking havoc on the entire roster. They also spent time trying to recruit Roderick Strong into the group, while Strong was on a cold streak of matches and Cole was trying to help him.
This would lead to a short rivalry with Strong and the group’s biggest match to date at the time, the first ever War Games match in WWE/NXT history, against the two other trios of Sanity, and the Authors of Pain and Strong, at NXT Takeover: War Games in November. This match set the NXT world on fire, and started a string of great matches at Takeover events that included The Undisputed Era. They were off and running here with a huge win.
Following this, O’Reilly and Fish would win their very first tag team championship from Sanity on a taped episode of NXT television a few weeks later, and attack Sanity when they were getting a rematch. This resulted in the General Manager, William Regal, forcing O’Reilly and Fish to defend against Strong and Aleister Black.
Adam Cole would get involved, to set up his Extreme Rules match with Black at NXT Takeover: Philadelphia. O’Reilly and Fish would successfully defend the tag titles that night against The Authors of Pain. Cole and Black would have a hell of a match which would be won by Black, and included interference from Fish and O’Reilly, as well as all three members of Sanity.
Takeover: Philadelphia was one hell of a night for “The Era” and it would only get crazier from there. Regal would announce the third installment of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, the teams of Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong, and the Authors of Pain would make the finals, and they would both receive Tag team championship opportunities at NXT Takeover: New Orleans during Wrestlemania weekend, the winner would not only be the Dusty Classic winner, but the tag team champions as well. Bobby Fish would be injured and sidelined for six months on the way to this show so Adam Cole would fill in for him in this title defense.
That wouldn’t be the only match Adam Cole had that night though he would also compete in a Six-man Ladder Match for a new championship, the North American Championship. Other competitors involved in this ladder match were, Ricochet, Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan, EC3, and Killian Dain. This is regarded as one of the best ladder matches in the last few years and Adam Cole would make history, not only becoming the first North American Champion, he would successfully defend the tag team championships with O’Reilly and also claim the Dusty Classic trophy when Roderick Strong turned on his partner Pete Dunne and officially joined the Undisputed Era.
Coming off this huge night for “The Era”, Cole would defend the North American Championship a few times on NXT television and not have a scheduled match at the next Takeover. However, at said takeover event, NXT Takeover Chicago II, O’Reilly and Strong would successfully defend the Tag Team Championship against Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan in a stellar opener to the show.
After this, the Fish and Strong would enter a rivalry with Moustache Mountain(Tyler Bate and Trent Seven), this would lead to an amazing trilogy of championship matches between the two teams, Bate and Seven would win the championships at the second ever UK Championship Tournament event, then lose them back just two day’s later on a taped episode of NXT. The second bout between these teams is regarded as their best and it solidified the level of matches these teams could have together. The third installment would take place at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV, exactly one year after the Undisputed Era was formed.
As for Adam Cole, he would enter a feud with Ricochet. They would have one hell of a match at the same Takeover event, and Ricochet would win, and become the second North American Champion ever. Even in a loss, Adam Cole had one of his greatest singles performances to date in this match, and further proved how reliable Cole can be in any situation.
So that’s the first year of the Undisputed Era, it was one hell of a first year for a new group and it would only get better from there. Make sure to stay tuned for part 2, where I will go into the second year of the Undisputed Era.
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