Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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NXT: 05/02/18 – Evans and Belair stand tall

Hi guys! Welcome to this week’s NXT review. On last week’s episode, we heard from numerous members of the NXT women’s division, all of whom made their claim as to why they should be the one to challenge Shayna Baszler. On this week’s episode, some of those women got the opportunity to prove themselves.

In the first match of tonight’s program, Kairi Sane went one on one with independent talent Shazza McKenzie. In a relatively short match, Kairi was able to dominate Shazza and put her away with the Insane elbow drop.

Following Kairi’s victory, Lacey Evans came out to the ring. Lacey stated that a true woman with class is willing to admit when she’s wrong. Lacey went on to say that ever since the Mae Young Classic, Kairi has proven that she belongs in NXT. Lacey wished to solidify her congratulations and apology with a handshake, but Kairi refused. In response, Evans punched Kairi out and left her lying in the middle of the ring.

Following a recap of Tomasso Ciampa‘s assault on Johnny Gargano last week, Cathy Kelley interviewed Candice LeRae. Candice discussed how this year has been an up and down one for her and Gargano. She mentioned Johnny’s opportunity to battle for the NXT championship, only to be attacked by Ciampa. After trying to make sense of Ciampa’s actions, Candice walked off the set with tears in her eyes, saying she had to get ready for her upcoming match.

Before Candice and Belair’s match, an interview that took place with Dakota Kai earlier in the day aired. Dakota was asked about the landscape of the NXT women’s division. Kai mentioned that with Ember Moon making her mark on Raw and the IIconics doing well on Smackdown, there was more room for her to shine within the NXT women’s division. A reporter then asked Dakota about Shayna Baszler. While stating that she did not want to talk about Shayna, Vanessa Borne walked up. Borne mocked Kai for being a coward, stating that had she been in Dakota’s place, she would have slapped Shayna. Borne then stated that she wasn’t afraid of Kai, Baszler or anyone. Kai dismissed Borne, saying that while she may have issues with Baszler, she was definitely not afraid of Borne.

Following the confrontation between Kai and Borne, Candice LeRae and Bianca Belair went one on one. Throughout the match, it was evident that Gargano’s injury was weighing heavily on LeRae’s mind. LeRae did her best to combat Belair. However, Belair implemented impressive offensive, including a deadlift gorilla press slam. In the end, Belair was able to put Candice away with her patented Alley Oop maneuver.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this week’s episode of NXT. The fact that there were three women’s segments was great. I don’t read the spoilers, so the only thing I was expecting was to see Candice and Bianca. And I was pleasantly surprised.

In terms of Kairi and Shazza’s match, there’s not too much to say because it was so short. I’m unfamiliar with Shazza’s work, so I am a little bummed that I didn’t get to see too much from her. But Kairi looked good with this win. I also liked Evan’s promo following the match. I’m all for storyline continuity, and I like that they didn’t necessarily just drop the program between Evans and Kairi. Hopefully, it can be extended a little bit longer.

The confrontation between Borne and Kai was nice as well. I appreciate that they were willing to continue Dakota’s story with Shayna without Shayna even being around. And to me, Borne did a good job during the interview. I think it’s very likely that we’ll see a match between these two soon, which I am all for.

The match between Candice and Bianca was good. There were one or two moments in the match where Candice’s pacing looked a little slow. But other than that I thought the match was solid. Bianca’s strength left me shook. I had no clue she was that strong. I know I’m repeating myself, but I think that girl is going to be a huge, huge star in due time.

As we get closer to TakeOver: Chicago, it will be interesting to see who steps up to challenge Shayna for the NXT women’s title. As highlighted last week, there are a number of challengers who are possible contenders. I believe Nikki Cross will be Shayna’s first opponent. But that remains to be seen. In the meantime, I was very pleased with this week’s show.

What did you think of Evans’ attack on Sane? Are you looking forward to a possible match between Kai and Borne? Were you impressed with Bianca’s show of strength? Let us know in the comments below!

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