Hi everyone! Welcome to this week’s review of NXT. Tonight, Kairi Sane returned to in-ring competition against Vanessa Borne. The last time Kairi wrestled on NXT television, she quickly defeated Trish Adora before being confronted by Shayna Baszler. That night, Shayna promised Kairi that she would invoke her rematch clause soon enough. This evening, in addition to the bout between Sane and Borne, the next chapter in the feud between the Queen of Spades and the Pirate Princess was officially announced.

Before that announcement, however, we saw Nikki Cross discuss the situation regarding Aleister Black with William Regal. Additionally, we saw a confrontation take place between Candice LeRae and the First Lady of NXT Lacey Evans.

Earlier today, Johnny Gargano was interviewed regarding his match next week. Once his interview was over, Candice LeRae was overheard catching up with Johnny. Before the two got far, Lacey Evans appeared. Evans expressed that it was a shame how Candice insists on separating her professional and personal life from Gargano’s. Lacey then stated a real wife would fight beside and defend her husband no matter what. This touched a nerve with Candice, who attempted to go after Lacey. LeRae was restrained by Johnny as Evans walked off.

Later on in the evening, William Regal was asked whether or not he figured out who attacked Aleister Black. As William was answering the question, banging noises could be heard in Regal’s office. The noises were being made by none other than Nikki Cross. When asked why she was in the general manager’s office, Nikki said that she needed a rematch with Bianca Belair. Regal told Cross he would take the request into consideration. Before leaving, Nikki grabbed William’s arm, and repeatedly said: “I know.” While she may have been alluding to knowing who attacked Aleister, Regal stated that no one ever knows what Nikki is referring to.

Later on in the program, Kairi Sane went head to head with Vanessa Borne. Borne started off the matchup by disrespecting Kairi’s pirate attire. While Borne’s antics irritated Sane, Vanessa was able to gain early control in the matchup with a twisting suplex. Yet Kairi would bounce back with an elevated DDT. Once Sane hit that maneuver, she maintained control for the rest of the matchup. Kairi hit Borne with an interceptor spear, a running elbow, and her InSane Elbow Drop. This sequence was enough to earn Sane a quick victory.

Once Kairi had defeated Vanessa, Shayna Baszler decided to make her presence known. Baszler told Kairi to celebrate while she could because soon enough Sane wouldn’t be able to hold the NXT Women’s Championship. Baszler admitted that she was defeated at Brooklyn, and that hurt her. Despite that, Shayna said she wouldn’t take her anger out on Kairi now, because she was officially invoking her rematch clause. Baszler then stated that she would drown Kairi, drop an anchor on her reign, and take back the NXT Women’s Championship.

Kairi gladly accepted Shayna’s challenge. Kairi then informed Shayna that she would get her rematch at WWE Evolution. Shayna acknowledged the announcement with a smile on her face. Before Shayna could leave, Sane informed Baszler that she would beat her again. That statement by Kairi left Shayna irate, as Baszler headed back to the locker room area while staring the champion down.

Thoughts: The segment between LeRae and Evans didn’t do a whole lot for me. I think part of that is because we saw these two square off a few months back. I also had a hard time believing Candice needed to be held back. I don’t think she came across nearly as mad as she was supposed to. I did enjoy the last time Lacey and Candice wrestled each other. So if this segment leads to another match between the two, I am all for that.

The one thing I am interested in seeing is if the alliance between Aliyah and Lacey Evans resurfaces. There was no mention of the partnership between the two in the short segment that aired tonight. But, I still think there could be a really interesting story that could progress where Lacey uses Aliyah to help advance her career. Whether or not that type of program comes to fruition remains to be seen. But after seeing Aliyah consistently within the past month, I hope a partnership can develop between Lacey and Aliyah so that we continue to see Aliyah on NXT TV.

There’s an interesting dynamic between Nikki and William Regal. It seems like they’re hinting at the idea that if Nikki Cross tells Regal who attacked Aleister Black, Regal will give Cross a rematch with Bianca Belair. Granted I feel like a rematch between Cross and Belair was a given. But it’s nice to see a rematch between the two competitors set up in a different way. Rather than automatically granting Nikki a rematch, it seems more of a situation where Regal is saying “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Which is kind of fun to see. As long we get the second match between Cross and Bianca I’m all for it.

The match between Vanessa and Kairi was relatively short. Kairi did great as usual. And I think Vanessa did a good job for the amount of time that was given to the match. The DDT spot, in particular, stood out to me because I believe Vanessa sold that well. Vanessa seems to have had the same spot within the NXT Women’s division for months where she constantly loses. Similar to Aliyah, I hope that the story changes a bit for Borne going forward. If the writers were able to create a type of story where they acknowledge Vanessa’s consistent losing, I think that would give something for Vanessa to sink her teeth in and play around within the upcoming months.

The post-match segment between Baszler and Sane was similar to the segment from three weeks ago. Except for this time, there was no brawling. And unlike last time, we now know for sure when the next encounter between Kairi and Shayna will be taking place. While it would have been more intriguing to possibly see a multi-women match take place for the NXT women’s championship at Evolution, I have a lot of confidence that these two will deliver and put on a great match. If TakeOver: Brooklyn IV is any indication of what these women can do, then I think they’ll shine at Evolution.

Additionally, to my knowledge, I believe this is the first time the NXT women’s championship will be defended on the main roster pay per view. If I am wrong then somebody please correct me. But I think it’s really cool on a historic event, Kairi and Shayna are able to have a little claim to making history for themselves and for the NXT women’s division.

Before ending this review, I want to weigh in on a little bit on Evolution. I was one of the fans that grew up seeing the then Divas division receive little or no time on TV and PPV’s. Whether it was short matches, no matches at all or lack of storylines, I was probably like every other fan on this site who felt frustrated at the lack of attention that was being given to the women. Especially since throughout the years of say 2007-2013, there were always women on the roster who could put on great matches. Competitors like Gail Kim, Katie Lea, Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Melina, etc. And seeing what the women in SHIMMER and the Knockouts division were doing, it made me even more frustrated. Because it seemed like every other promotion outside of WWE, with the exception of ROH from late 2011 – 2012, was giving time and attention to women’s wrestling.

Now, this year alone, we had the first ever women’s Royal Rumble, the first ever women’s Elimination Chamber, three matches on the main Wrestlemania card (none of which got cut at the last minute like the match at Wrestlemania 29 which was so frustrating), a Money in the Bank match, and now an all women’s PPV. Just because there have been improvements made doesn’t mean everything is perfect in the women’s division. There’s still a lot of work to be done to develop the women’s division as a whole. But being able to sit back and see that there has been considerable progress made in the last decade makes me incredibly thankful and grateful.

Do you guys think that Candice and Lacey will have a match in the future? How do you see the situation between William and Nikki playing out? Are you looking forward to Kairi and Shayna’s rematch at WWE Evolution? Let us know in the comments below!