NXT’s TakeOver: XXX is one week from this coming Saturday and perhaps the most important match of Dakota Kai‘s career will take place. She will take on Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Title. Although there was no progression between the two directly on this week’s show, both Shirai and Kai did have vignettes air.
Kai’s video has her saying that she is in Shirai’s head. She feels that the champion has been put up on this pedestal that she is unbeatable, but Kai has a way to beat her. She vows that your captain will become the new NXT Women’s Champion and she has done this all on her own and does not need anyone else’s help.
Shirai’s video had her explain the no one knew who Kai was until she turned her back on Tegan Nox. When she thinks of Kai, all she thinks of is the cute girl who was scared of Shayna Baszler. All Kai has done with her attacks on Shirai has pissed her off and the champ feels that her upcoming opponent is no match for her.
As for the matches this week, we had the normal amount of two. The first was a distraught Mia Yim taking on Indi Hartwell. Yim wasn’t in her right frame of mind as she rushed back from accompanying Keith Lee at the hospital. Lee was a victim of an attack by Karrion Kross witha ball of fire coming out of the contract signing.
Yim was able to put her concern in the back of her mind and lock it away in order to muster out a win. She locked in a unique submission hold that caused Hartwell to tap out.
The second match was a tag team bout between the team of Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter vs. The Robert Stone Brand (Mercedes Martinez & Aliyah). Before the match gets underway, Robert Stone tried to recruit Catanzaro. He says that she should be with his brand and shouldn’t be hanging out with the likes of Carter. Catanzaro didn’t take kindly to this and goes to slap him, but stomps on his foot to cause him to roll out of the ring and have the match start.
Catanzaro & Carter look for the quick win at the beginning as they isolated Aliyah in their corner. Martinez ends up tagging herself in and her and Aliyah work extremely well together as a team and hit a move together on Carter. Martinez tries to get but Catanzaro breaks it up.
In the end, the Robert Stone Brand would win after Martinez hits Catanzaro with a Fisherman’s carry into the Air Raid Crash to get the pin. Aliyah would celebrate but Martinez but not for long. It didn’t take long thereafter for Rhea Ripley‘s music to hit.
Martinez was the sole reason why Ripley did not get the chance at Shirai for TakeOver XXX as she cost her the number one contender match last week against Dakota Kai.
Ripley comes out on the ramp and makes her way directly for Martinez as Stone and Aliyah get out of the ring. Ripley would go at Martinez in the corner before Aliyah gets back in to help her. Martinez does push off Aliyah showing she can do it on her own. The two do end up however double teaming Ripley with stomps in the corner.
Shotzi Blackheart then rushed into the ring to save Ripley and even the odds as the Robert Stone brand retreats.
Lastly, we saw Candice LeRae and her husband Johnny Gargano back in their home and doing a promo as they have done in the past. LeRae is reading a fairytale about their kingdom to her dog as she then warps into talk about how Tegan Nox had put her nose in her business and that she needs to mind her own.
Let’s get into the Winners & Losers of the week:
WINNERS: The Robert Stone Brand
I have been such a skeptic about the Robert Stone Brand. This is for two reasons:
1. It always has come off as more of a comedy relief then anything else.
2. To take it seriously, the losses during a build up of a stable (with Chelsea Green early on and Aliyah more recently) shouldn’t have been happening.
However, now I am enjoying it and can’t wait to see what the future holds. I was thoroughly impressed with the team dynamic in the ring between Martinez and Aliyah. The tag match was really fun. I like how Martinez still stays in character also and shoves aside Aliyah. This shows that Martinez is just there for business and nothing else.
I am looking forward to seeing Ripley vs. Martinez also.
LOSER: Indi Hartwell
This would have been the perfect time for Indi to pick up another win and she didn’t. With Mia Yim being preoccupied concerned about Keith Lee, they could have had Indi pick this win up. She is impressive in the ring, but she is being used as only a jobber at this point. It is either her or Santana Garrett I guess.
Some final thoughts:
I really wish they would have had Dakota and Io actually there instead of just playing promos. The promos were good, but with TakeOver so close, I rather have seen more develop. I can only assume that Io is going to retain.
Speaking of TakeOver, they need to get a second women’s match on the card. Perhaps The Robert Stone Brand vs. Ripley and Blackheart?
Personally I wish they would have Bayley and Sasha Banks defend the tag titles at this event. Seeing as they are defending their singles titles at SummerSlam, this would make sense. They could have built this up a little over the past two weeks and had a team from NXT face them. I would love to see the tag titles float around NXT for a while.
What did you think of this week’s NXT? Who were your Winners & Losers? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.