What an explosive night for the women of NXT!
Heading into this week’s show we knew we were going to have two great matches. What we ended up having was three. Plus it was announced that NXT WarGames is back and it showcased the women in its promo.
Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell defeated Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
This was the match that was not announced and a surprise that we received three women’s matches this week. Indi Hartwell showed her brewing allegiance to Candice LeRae last week as she was revealed as the person in the Ghostface costume from Halloween Havoc.
Hartwell has been helping LeRae since the number one contender Battle Royal that took place in September. The storytelling of this has been clever as it wasn’t discovered how much Hartwell was helping her until a few weeks later. This was also Hartwell’s first match since then.
The match ended with LeRae pinning Carter after Catanzaro was isolated at ringside. Catanzaro tried to get in the ring to help her partner but Hartwell made sure that didn’t happen with a big boot on the outside. LeRae would then hit Wicked Stepsister to seal the match.
Prior to this match it was announced that Shotzi Blackheart and LeRae would be team captains for WarGames in a few weeks. Blackheart wants LeRae to bring an army because she will need it. The anger that Blackheart has from LeRae destroying her tank a couple of weeks ago is unparalleled. You can view the promo for the match below.
Our second match was a tag team between Ember Moon & Toni Storm vs. Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez. Since returning to NXT, Moon has been having a problem with Kai. This match was a good way to establish Moon and Storm’s returns back to a win column. They both recently lost their one-on-one matches, however, both lost by their opponents (Kai & Candice LeRae) cheating.
The result of the match is Storm with a roll-up causing the pin on Kai. Afterward, Hartwell and LeRae reappeared and attack the winning team from behind. They would eventually throw them back in the ring for Gonzalez and Kai to take care of them.
This seemed to be a type of peace offering to Gonzalez and Kai and mentioned on commentary that LeRae may want them to join her and Hartwell for WarGames.
In what appears to be one last effort for the NXT Women’s Championship, Rhea Ripley failed to grab the title for a second time. Io Shirai is still the champion after a grueling match that resulted in Ripley leaving with a bloody ear.
When these two get in the ring against each other it is always a treat and this time was no exception. I have been saying since this match was announced that the loser will most likely move on to RAW or SmackDown and I firmly believe that will happen. After the match, the two embraced which signified the ending of their battles for now and perhaps Ripley moving on.
With two more names to be revealed for Team SmackDown on Survivor Series, I can see Ripley taking one of those spots.
If I can have one gripe about Shirai’s title reign is that she hasn’t had a long feud with anyone. It has been just mini feuds with several women. The matches are always top-notch, the storyline tends to always be lacking. With Ripley though, they already had the history built in.
Lastly we have an update to the Xia Li storyline. For the second week in a row, Li was not shown, but Boa has done an excellent job at expanding this narrative. Last week, Li did not show up for her match she demanded to have against Raquel Gonzalez. After Gonzalez took her frustrations out on Boa, he would be approached by a mad who delivered him a letter of his own.
This week, William Regal went to Boa’s residence to find out where he has been. He has not been reporting to the performance center and neither has Li. Boa warned him that “she was coming” and made it clear he wasn’t talking about Li. Speculations are that whoever has been in charge of all the letters that Li has been receiving may be Karen Q returning.
Let’s get into this weeks Winners & Losers:
NXT consistently does a great job at utilizing their talent. They tend to use what they have and make it interesting but this week outshined with how the booking was. If RAW and SmackDown could be like this on a consistent basis then it would be way more enjoyable to watch.
WINNERS: Io Shirai & Rhea Ripley
These two always put on a great showing and this time was no different. I loved the comradery after the match as well which speaks highly of the entertainment these two have provided throughout the year. Of course, either woman moving on from NXT is worrisome for the obvious reasons. Ripley has done a lot in NXT and it feels like the right time to move on her.
WINNER: Shotzi Blackheart
Without even physically having to be there, she still creates such a buzz around her. It is clear that they are very high on what she can do and she is very marketable. A WarGames match is right up her alley and seeing as I personally didn’t think this event was going to happen this year, I was pleasantly surprised by the announcement. Blackheart’s storytelling is top-notch and I am glad they are doing so much with her.
She definitely has future champion written all over her. They seem to just be waiting for the right time.
WINNER: Xia Li
Much like Blackheart, Li didn’t have to even be on the show in order for me to be highly invested in her storyline. I am waiting for a big payoff out of all of this and it is something I look forward to each week.
LOSERS: Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
Looking over the entire show, Kacy and Kayden are the only two I can see fitting in on the loser list this week. I love their dynamic but they could be doing so much more, especially with the lack of tag team focus for the titles. After Survivor Series I feel as though the belts need to come off Nia and Shayna.
At least with The Kabuki Warriors or Bayley & Sasha, the titles were defended weekly and made to look valuable. Kacy and Kayden could be a perfect underdog team to show how much winning those titles would mean to them. Simply booking them in the jobber team position isn’t doing much for them at the moment.
What did you think of this week’s NXT? Are you excited about WarGames? Who were your Winners & Losers? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!!