It can be argued that in 2021, no star in NXT has received a bigger push to the main event as Kyle O'Reilly. Used as part of the faction Undesputed Era for the entirety of his time in NXT, O'Reilly had never quite been given the chance to step out of the team he shared with Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish, and Adam Cole. But when Cole, the faction's leader, shockingly turned on O'Reilly and viciously assaulted him this past February, it gave birth to a rivalry between the two former best friends that dominated the main event scene in NXT until Cole's departure to AEW in August. And now, like Cole before him, O'Reilly's contract with WWE is nearing its end and everyone is wondering what will happen?
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com first reported that Kyle O'Reilly's WWE contract is set to expire next month and at this time, there is no new contract in place. While he is currently internally listed as the number two babyface for NXT (behind NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa), it is easy to see why they could let O'Reilly go for a couple of reasons.
It's no secret that WWE has been shedding talent across all of its brands all year (including two of Kyle O'Reilly's former stablemates, Adam Cole and Bobby Fish) and that combined with Vince McMahon's plan to focus more on new younger and larger athletes with the NXT brand, you can see where maybe a smaller veteran like O'Reilly might be allowed to walk away.
It is also possible WWE has already decided on this route to take, as while Kyle O'Reilly spent most of the year as one of the NXT brand's top babyface main event stars, ever since the rebranding to NXT 2.0, O'Reilly has instead been used in a team as a mentor figure to one of the brand's newest stars, Von Wagner.
So if his contract expires and he's allowed to walk, what would be next for Kyle O'Reilly? While the obvious (and most likely) scenario would see him join Adam Cole and Bobby Fish in AEW, it is also possible that he could head back to Japan for another run in NJPW. He could leverage his recent singles success and make very good money there. But then he could also make good money in AEW, where he would likely be featured in a promenent role like many other former WWE/NXT stars have.
Now could all of this talk be for nothing and we'll see Kyle O'Reilly re-sign with WWE tomorrow? Of course, and it's not even unlikely that he would. But hey, it's fun to think about the possibilities and I'm sure O'Reilly himself is joining us in considering all of them at the moment as his future appears undecided.