Hey guys! Welcome to this week’s review of NXT. As announced on last week’s episode, tonight’s main event featured Dakota Kai going one on one with Shayna Baszler for the NXT women’s championship. While the focus for the NXT women’s division was on this week’s title match, other members of the women’s roster were able to make a statement as well.
Prior to tonight’s big matchup, a video package aired that highlighted the feud between Dakota and Shayna. Footage of Shayna’s in-ring debut was shown, as were other run-ins the two ladies have had since January. Shayna reasserted her confidence by asking who would be able to take the title from her. Meanwhile, Dakota, albeit with hesitance, stated that the only thing left for her to do was to kick Shayna’s head in.
Later on in the evening, Cathy Kelley interviewed Lacey Evans. After congratulating Evans on her win over Kairi Sane from last week, Kelley looked to get comments from Evans regarding the rubber match that is set to take place next week between Evans and Sane. Evans stated that she does whatever it takes to win. Moreover, Evans claimed that she didn’t care that Kairi was the inaugural Mae Young Classic Winner because she had a women’s right with Kairi’s name on it.
In addition to this week’s championship bout being announced, viewers were also promised last week to receive an in-depth look at Bianca Belair this week. In the video package above, Bianca explained her family and athletic history. Bianca then discussed her time in NXT so far, saying that she has no problem letting other competitors within the division know that she is the best. Bianca concluded the segment by stating that it’s her time to shine.
To close out this week’s program, Dakota Kai got her chance not only at the NXT women’s championship but also for retribution against Shayna Baszler. Baszler would bully Kai during the start of the match before targeting Kai’s left leg. Despite the vicious assault launched by Baszler, Dakota would eventually fight back and earn a near fall against Baszler. But when Kai looked to hit her finishing move on Baszler, Baszler was able to counter the maneuver, lock in her signature choke hold, and retain her championship.
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Following the bout, Baszler once again locked Kai into a choke hold, which then brought out Nikki Cross. Cross challenged Baszler to fight her, but Shayna chose to walk away. Baszler’s refusal would not stop Cross. Rather, Cross ran up the ramp, took the NXT women’s championship off the shoulder of Baszler, and challenged Baszler to come get it. This provoked Baszler to come back into the ring. Once Baszler was in the ring, Cross challenged Baszler to an impromptu match for the NXT women’s title. Cross would take that challenge a step further by designating Kai as the referee. Kai and Baszler both stood in astonishment at the tactics of Cross. Despite this, Kai still raised the NXT women’s title as if an official match was taking place. When Baszler went to grab Kai, Nikki hit Baszler with her finishing move. Kai then counted to three, and Cross left the ring with the NXT women’s title. The show ended with Cross clutching the NXT women’s title as Baszler was left in the ring fuming.
Thoughts: The length of the video package for Bianca Belair made me very happy. That segment highlighted Bianca’s familial and athletic history. In a weird kind of way, the segment made me have some humane attraction as to why Bianca is the way she is. Yet the video package also further Bianca’s confidence and cocky persona nicely. It explained to viewers why she has so much drive. It was a perfect way to develop Bianca’s character.
Sometimes, it’s the small and maybe even lame victories that count. I am very glad to hear that Evans and Sane are going to have a rubber match next week. It’ll put a nice end to a nice side feud that we’ve gotten to see over the past two months between Lacey and Kairi. My prediction is that Kairi will win, thus setting her up to be a challenger for Shayna following TakeOver: Chicago. Regardless of the result, I hope Evans and Sane put on a good match to end their feud.
I really enjoyed the video package that aired for Kai and Baszler’s matchup. It helped add a little more importance to the main event. I also enjoyed the main event between Kai and Baszler. I didn’t enjoy it for the in-ring work. But I don’t think the match was supposed to be five stars. To me, the match was supposed to continue the story of Kai being intimidated by Baszler. And that story was told very well. Additionally, unlike the first match between these two, Kai was able to get in some offense and look somewhat strong against Baszler. Seeing Kai’s offense tonight makes even more hopeful that eventually, Kai will be the one to dethrone Baszler.
Stephanie gave the writers a heads up on the segment between Cross, Kai, and Baszler when the tapings first occurred. When I initially read how the segment played out, I was a little confused how to feel. Upon seeing the segment, I’m still unsure. I wouldn’t say it was bad. But I also don’t get what it was supposed to accomplish perse. I am guessing this will lead to Baszler becoming furious from now until TakeOver: Chicago. Hopefully though, in coming weeks, this segment’s purpose will become more clear.
It seems that Baszler and Cross will be the match up to be featured on TakeOver: Chicago. From a physical standpoint, Cross and Baszler seem like it will be hard hitting. I still don’t see Baszler losing the title this early on in her run. Which is unfortunate because Cross deserves a title run. But I hope if Cross and Baszler is the match that is featured on TakeOver: Chicago, those two women kill it.
Who do you guys think will win between Sane and Evans? Are you looking forward to Bianca to continue her success in the women’s division? What did you think of Nikki’s tactics? Let us know in the comments below!