Kairi Sane was the big winner in the NXT Year-End Awards tonight, taking home both Female Competitor of the Year and Overall Competitor of the Year. Several awards were announced on the pre-show of NXT TakeOver: Phoenix, with the balance announced on WWE.com.
Sane joins Bayley and Asuka as a winner of the Female Competitor of the Year. Bayley was the inaugural winner at the first NXT Year-End Awards, back in 2016. Asuka won the award in both of the following two years. Sane was nominated alongside Nikki Cross, Shayna Baszler, Ember Moon and Bianca Belair. She subsequently beat Male Competitor of the Year winner Tomasso Ciampa for Overall Competitor of the Year, joining previous winners Finn Bálor, Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka. Sane and Asuka are the only winners of both awards.
Kairi Sane has had an incredible year in NXT. She dethroned Shayna Baszler as NXT Women’s Champion at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 in August of last year. Sane held the title for 71 days before losing it back to Baszler at WWE’s first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view, Evolution. Her and Baszler’s title match at TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 was nominated for Match of the Year and their feud was nominated for Rivalry of the Year.
Beyond NXT, she competed in the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match, where she entered at number six and was eliminated by Dana Brooke. She was also one of a number of NXT competitors in the women’s battle royal at WrestleMania 34, where she was eliminated by Sasha Banks.
Sane’s close friend Io Shirai took home the Future Star of NXT Award. Both women were previously major stars in World Wonder Ring Stardom, sometimes as rivals and often as stablemates. Shirai is the second winner of the award after Cezar Bononi.
Check back in with Diva Dirt for more news out of NXT TakeOver: Phoenix.