Hi guys! Welcome to this week’s review of NXT. Before jumping into the write-up, I want to give a quick shout out to my fellow writer Josue. I was away from the internet and out of town this weekend, and he stepped in and covered TakeOver for me. Per usual, Josue was a lifesaver and helped out a lot. For that, I can’t say thank you enough to that man. That being said, let’s jump into this week’s show!

During an interview segment one week ago, Dakota Kai issued a challenge to Bianca Belair, which Belair accepted immediately. As a result of that interaction, the two women collided in one on one action during tonight’s episode. While Kai has stated her intention to earn another title match against Baszler, Belair made it clear a few weeks ago that she plans on proving to everyone why she is the greatest athlete and competitor in the NXT women’s division. Both women had the opportunity to further their intentions with tonight’s contest, which led to a spirited matchup between the two up and coming superstars.

The match started off with Kai implementing some of her quick offense against Belair. However, following an alley-oop into the turnbuckle, Belair would take control of the match. Similar to past showings, Belair showed off her power and athleticism to dominate Kai. This included Belair holding Kai in the air for three slingshots while in a suplex position. Kai would regain some offensive ground by using her infamous kicks. But Kai’s hard-hitting style was not enough to put Belair away. Belair was able to hit Kai with a definitive forearm and her torture rack facebuster finisher to earn a victory and more momentum for her career.

Tonight’s post TakeOver: Chicago II program also featured a recap of this past Saturday’s women’s championship match between Shayna Baszler and Nikki Cross. Following the recap, Cathy Kelley’s post-match interview with Baszler was shown. Baszler, with Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir at her side, stated that in order to beat chaos, you suck the air out of it and put it to sleep. Shayna ended the interview by saying “And still,” before walking away with two of her fellow horsewomen.

Thoughts: I enjoyed the in-ring action this week. We’ve gotten the opportunity to see Belair compete in matches over the past couple of months. But this is the first time in a while we’ve seen Bianca in a competitive matchup. Kai’s quick-hitting style gelled well with Bianca’s strength and athleticism. Both women were very impressive in this match, and they were able to put on an entertaining match.

Out of the two women, I think it was better for Bianca to win the match. While Dakota had her first chance at the NXT women’s title a few weeks ago, Bianca has yet to receive that same opportunity. At this point, Belair is proving that she can not only beat “local talent,” but that she can also get the best of established stars within the division such as Aliyah and Kai. Tonight’s victory was an important step in inching Belair closer to a possible matchup with Baszler.

To me, Belair, Kai, Kairi Sane and Lacey Evans are a great core group for the women’s division. I have been slacking on giving Evans proper credit for her recent progression in the ring. But as evidenced with her recent matches against Kairi, Evans has been working hard and it has shown. The double jump moonsault she pulled out in her last match had me, as some of our readers say, stanning for her a bit. While I’m hoping that Aliyah, Candice LeRae and Vanessa Borne get themselves into the mix sooner rather than later, those first four girls mentioned have definitely been standing out in the last couple of weeks.

At this point, I’m kind of indifferent as to whether or not Cross and Baszler should have one more match. I think those two put on a good match this past Saturday. I know that one of the reasons it was reported that Nikki Cross wasn’t joining the rest of her Sanity stablemates on the main roster was because Baszler had a lack of challengers in NXT. And based on last night’s events, it seems like Cross may not get involved with the blue brand for the foreseeable future. Because of that, it’d be nice if Cross was able to get one more TakeOver match with Baszler. If the writers can do a good job of building a second match between the two, I’m all for seeing a rematch. Time will tell though. In the meantime, it seems that no clear challenger is next in line for a shot at the women’s title.

What did you guys think of this past Saturday’s match? Did you enjoy Belair and Dakota’s encounter tonight? Who do you think will be the next challenger for Baszler? Let us know in the comments below!