NXT: 09/12/18 – Pent Up Frustration

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Hi guys! Welcome to this week’s review of NXT. Last week, we saw the televised return of Kairi Sane, who proudly showed off her new “treasure,” the NXT Women’s Championship. With the return of Sane also came the return of the former champion Shayna Baszler. Baszler informed Kairi that soon enough, she would win her title back. On tonight’s episode, Shayna got the opportunity to show the NXT Universe and Kairi specifically how ready she is for their eventual rematch.

In addition to Baszler’s return to action, Bianca Belair and Nikki Cross squared off with one another. Two weeks ago, Cross was being questioned by William Regal regarding what she knew about who attacked Aleister Black. As the questioning was taking place, however, Belair interrupted to ask Regal when she would get her chance at the NXT Women’s Championship. Cross would interrupt Belair numerous times as she tried to talk to Regal, leading to Bianca leaving in frustration. The brewing tensions from a few weeks ago transitioned to the ring tonight as the two competitors faced off with one another.

We also saw a confrontation between four members of the women’s division, as well as a brief appearance from the champ herself Kairi Sane.

Baszler’s opposition this week came in the form of Violet Payne. Unfortunately for Violet, she was not able to land a single offensive maneuver on the former champion. Baszler took Violet down to the mat with a leg sweep and pounded on her. After kicking Payne, Shayna began to work on Violet’s left arm. Baszler even stomped on Payne’s arm just like she had done to Dakota Kai back in January. Shayna then locked in her signature choke hold to earn the decisive victory.

Following the match, Shayna began to head back to the locker room. However, she opted to return to the ring. Baszler locked Violet in her submission move two more times, despite referees trying to prevent Shayna’s aggression. Baszler tossed Payne to ringside before actually going back to the locker room to end the segment.

Later on in the evening, a confrontation aired that featured Dakota Kai, Aliyah, Lacey Evans and Deonna Purrazzo. As fans were being interviewed, an argument between Aliyah and Dakota Kai could be heard in the background. Not too long after the argument commenced, Lacey Evans appeared. Evans accused Kai of having a big mouth and being classless. Shortly after Evans’ appearance, Purrazzo came into the picture, asking if there was a problem. Purrazzo then stated if there was a problem, they could settle it right now. Evans, however, scoffed at the idea, saying that Aliyah and herself had their heels on, meaning Kai and Purrazzo would have to wait another day.

Following the airing of the altercation, it was announced that for next week’s program, Aliyah and Lacey Evans will do battle with Dakota Kai and Deonna Purrazzo.

After the announcement of next week’s contest, Kairi Sane was shown in William Regal’s office, finishing up her story regarding the attack on Aleister Black. Kairi quickly left the room as Kassius Ohno entered, venting his frustrations with Regal regarding his spot on the NXT roster.

The main event of this week’s show saw Nikki Cross go head to head with Bianca Belair. Cross started off the match with mind games, attempting to get into Belair’s head. Nikki then went for a waist lock before shoving Bianca into the ropes. Bianca would respond with a shoulder block and then floating over Nikki. Nikki was not phased though. After ducking a leap frog from Belair, Cross nailed Bianca with a monkey flip and a headscissors takeover. Nikki then applied a sleeper hold on Belair, which Bianca countered into a backbreaker.

Belair would use corner shoulder tackles as well as a bear hug to maintain control of the match. Nikki attempted to sunset flip her way out of Bianca’s bearhug. Belair shrugged off the attempt though and threw Nikki into the corner. Cross would get her elbow up to block Belair, and then attempt to hit a crossbody on Belair. But Bianca caught Nikki and was able to lift Nikki into the air for a gorilla press slam. Belair then attempted to hit a splash but did not connect onto Nikki. This allowed Cross the opportunity to mount a comeback.

As Nikki looked to close out the match with a crossbody, Bianca rolled out of the ring. Not to be deterred, Cross swept the leg of Belair, locked in between the apron and the edge of the ring, and clubbed away on Bianca’s chest. The women would continue to brawl on the outside, leading to Nikki locking in another sleeper onto Bianca. This time, however, Bianca fell backward on the steel ramp. This move stopped both women from entering the 10 count, leading to a double count-out and an inconclusive match.

The action did not cease once the match was over, however. Nikki and Bianca continued to brawl at ringside and near the announce table. Belair tossed Cross over the announce table. Yet Nikki would come back and dive off of the announce table onto Belair and nearby referees. The episode ended with Cross laughing at the mayhem she caused.

Thoughts: I always feel like a hooligan when independent talents appear on NXT and I’m not familiar with their work. I have unfortunately not seen anything of Violet Payne before tonight. That being said, I don’t think there was a whole lot to see from her tonight. The match between her and Baszler mostly served as a way for Shayna to showcase her anger at no longer being the NXT Women’s Champion.

The segment was alright for me. It came across well, but I wasn’t necessarily captivated by it. But again I don’t think that’s what the segment was going for. I think the match was simply just a way for Shayna to take out her aggression on an innocent victim. I did appreciate how Shayna came back to the ring, because I thought she was going to the back the first time she left the ring. It was a nice little touch.

Similar to Shayna and Violet’s match, I don’t believe the segment between Deonna, Dakota, Lacey and Aliyah was meant to be anything too memorable. Rather, it was just a way to set up next week’s tag team contest. I feel like someone a couple months noted in the comments that Lacey and Aliyah were teaming up on the house shows. I didn’t really think anything of it because it showed up on television. Yet with next week’s match, maybe that partnership will come to fruition on our television screens.

I definitely think Aliyah could benefit huge from a partnership with Lacey Evans. My only wish is that if Lacey and Aliyah become on screen partners, they develop a gimmick that sets them apart from past duos we’ve seen. I feel like a common characteristic we’ve seen from past duos like Sasha Banks and Summer Rae, Emma and Dana Brooke and the Iiconics is the mean girl gimmick. While I enjoyed watching all of the above mentioned duos, I don’t see Aliyah and Lacey benefiting from a gimmick like that. I would hope that if Aliyah and Lacey form a bond, they have something that sets them apart from other tag teams we’ve seen in the past.

There was unfortunately no media I could find of Kairi’s appearance tonight. That being said, it was a brief appearance. But it was still a nice way to feature the women’s champion. Plus I’m sure going forward, Kairi will have a much bigger presence on television as the champion.

By far my favorite segment of the night was the match between Nikki and Bianca. I will admit that when I first saw the two would be competing with one another, I was worried whether or not their styles would click. But to me, the in ring action that we saw tonight was incredibly solid. Bianca’s strength and Nikki’s usual brawling methods put on an enjoyable match while it lasted.

Just as enjoyable was the post match brawl. In addition to thinking that the match may not be the cleanest, I thought Bianca would win so that she could pick up momentum. But based on the post match segment, it appears that Cross and Belair will be continuing their program a bit longer. Which I think will be an absolute treat to watch. From my memory, which may very well be off, I don’t remember ever seeing Bianca get too physical in a match. At least as physical as she was tonight. We’ve seen Nikki be a brawler numerous times in her time in NXT though. So I feel like if the writers go down the path of having Bianca and Nikki square off in stipulation matches, it’ll be a huge treat for us to watch.

What did you guys think of Shayna’s aggression versus Violet? Did you enjoy Bianca and Nikki’s match? Are you looking forward to next week’s contest? Let us know in the comments below!