NXT: 06/13/18 – All eyes on Chicago

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Hey everyone! Welcome to this week’s review of NXT. Tonight’s program was the last episode of NXT before Saturday’s TakeOver: Chicago II event. This evening, we received one last video package to highlight the upcoming bout between Nikki Cross and Shayna Baszler. On top of that, Bianca Belair and Dakota Kai made their presences felt on tonight’s show. While Belair impressed in her bout against Aliyah, Kai laid down a challenge for next week’s program.

The in-ring action for the women’s division this week saw Bianca Belair go up against Aliyah. Aliyah, supporting a new look, would taunt Belair. Yet Belair would have none of it, using a forearm to immediately knock Aliyah down. Belair went on to dominate the majority of the match. Despite Aliyah’s attempt to use a choke hold to slow Belair down, Belair bounced back and ended the match emphatically with a sit out facebuster maneuver.

Following the match between Belair and Aliyah, a video package aired that highlighted the feud and upcoming match between Shayna Baszler and Nikki Cross. Baszler stated that mind games and mental preparation help her dominate the women’s division. To counter that claim, Cross, who was shown throwing Queen of Spades cards into a fire, said that mind games wouldn’t work against her. Furthermore, Cross stated that chaos would help her win the NXT women’s championship.

After the recap of Baszler and Cross’ feud, Cathy Kelley interviewed Dakota Kai. Kai expressed gratitude that she was able to stand up to Baszler, as well as hope for another chance to win the title. Bianca Belair would then surface, asking Kelley why she was interviewing Kai instead of her. Belair insulted Kai for her consistent intimidated attitude as well as losing to Shayna. Moreover, Belair said that Kai was now at the “back of the line.” Kai responded to Belair by telling her that mind games would no longer work on her. Kai then issued a challenge to Belair for next week. Belair ended the segment by saying that she liked the idea of that challenge, but Kai won’t.

Towards the end of the show, the match between Belair and Kai was officially announced for next week’s program.

Thoughts: Belair continued to impress me tonight. She did a good job in the matchup and showed off her athleticism. Aliyah also did a great job taking Belair’s offense. Similar to the match between Candice LeRae and Belair, Aliyah did a great job of selling Belair’s offense.

In regards to Aliyah, I liked the new look that she had tonight. I was so hopeful that when Aliyah appeared in the vignette a few weeks back as one of Shayna’s potential challenges that she would be featured more on the program. However, this is the first time we’ve seen her since then. Aliyah does well for herself in the ring, but she sadly does not get used as often as the other ladies. Hopefully, in the coming months that can change because I think Aliyah can put on a solid match if need be.

I enjoyed the segment between Belair and Kai, and how that segment set up a match for next week’s show. I have always enjoyed long-term storytelling in wrestling. And by having Kai talk about wanting to get her hands on Baszler again, the story between those two continues. Which makes me hopeful that in the end, Kai will top Baszler for the title. In the meantime, I am really looking forward to Kai and Belair’s matchup. While we’ve seen Belair compete numerous times over the past couple months, the majority of her matches have been one-sided. I think this will be a great opportunity to see a different side of Belair as she competes in a competitive match up with an established star of the division such as Dakota. I have high hopes for the match because I can easily see Dakota and Belair killing it next week.

Speaking of killing it, I also hope that Baszler and Cross have a great match come Saturday. The build-up for the match on this week’s show was a little weak. But to be honest, I’m not sure how I would have liked for the writers to hype the match aside from airing a package. I’d love to read what you guys think may have been a better option for promoting the match. Regardless of tonight’s build up, I think Baszler and Cross are capable of putting on a physical match in Chicago.

Did you enjoy Belair and Aliyah’s match tonight? Are you guys looking forward to seeing Belair take on Kai next week? Who do you think will win at TakeOver this Saturday? Let us know in the comments below!