Sunday, December 3, 2023

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NXT: 08/01/18 – Standing up to the champ

Hey guys! Welcome to this week’s review of NXT. Tonight, we saw a one on one match between women’s champion Shayna Baszler and Candice LeRae.

About a month ago, Baszler addressed the NXT Universe and in the process insulted a majority of the women’s division, including Candice LeRae. A week later, Candice confronted Shayna regarding Shayna’s comments, leading to a pull-apart brawl. Although LeRae was not successful in the number one contender’s match two weeks ago, she promised Shayna last week that she would find time to deal with the champion.

That time came to a fruition this week as LeRae and Baszler squared off in one on one action.

After the bell rang, Baszler refused to take LeRae seriously. Shayna went as far as to hold the ropes open for Candice, advising her to get out of the ring. But Candice opted to dropkick Shayna out of the ring. While Baszler dodged a possible suicide dive, she was not able to avoid a baseball slide courtesy of LeRae. After throwing Shayna back into the ring, Candice hit Baszler with a springboard jaw drop. LeRae followed up with two arm drags and a dropkick for an early pinfall. Candice then attempted to scale the ropes, only for Shayna to pull LeRae off the turnbuckle, making Candice fall midsection first onto the top rope. Baszler then threw Candice into the steel steps shoulder first.

Baszler would continue to target LeRae’s arm by stomping on it and using a hammerlock to ground LeRae. However, Candice would not be deterred and used an enzuguri to regain momentum. LeRae would then pull out all of the stops, including her second rope downward spiral, a suicide dive and a top rope tornado DDT. But when Candice went for her signature second rope spinning neck breaker, Baszler reversed it into a chokehold, reminiscent of the encounter these two competitors had at the Mae Young Classic. This time though, LeRae was able to reach the ropes. LeRae even countered Baszler’s second attempt at a chokehold and hit Shayna with the Unprettier. However, when LeRae went for the Lionsault, Baszler got her knees up, hit Candice with the Penalty Kick, and locked in her signature choke hold for the win.

Post-match, Shayna reapplied her submission hold on LeRae. It wasn’t until a few referees and Kairi Sane ran down to the ring that Baszler stopped her assault. Kairi attempted to get at Shayna, but was restrained by officials. Then, when Kairi began to check on Candice, Baszler went in and quickly shoved Sane down. Sane was none too pleased, and once again tried to go after Shayna. Once again, however, Kairi was restrained by officials, as Baszler went up the ramp mocking Sane.

Thoughts: I will admit that it is a little weird that there was only one women’s segment tonight on NXT. Mostly because in the past couple weeks there’s always been at least a few segments that aired. That being said, I think tonight’s match between Candice and Shayna was solid.

There were a few moments of the match that were not executed smoothly. Mainly Candice’s second rope downward spiral and the top rope DDT. But overall the match was super enjoyable. It told a great story of LeRae refusing to give up, even though Shayna had injured her. The homage to their match last year at the Mae Young Classic was a nice little touch. A little repetitive, but at least this time Candice was able to get to the ropes. And the ending sequence was awesome. I truthfully thought once Baszler countered LeRae’s second rope neck breaker that the match was over. But they made the match last a little bit longer, and it was really fun to watch. For the most part, both Baszler and LeRae looked pretty solid to me in ring wise to me tonight. I think both women have improved over recent months and it showed with this evening’s match.

The post-match segment was also done well. I think it served as a nice way for Shayna to gain even more heat. Shoving Kairi over while she wasn’t looking with her foot only to walk away arrogantly made Shayna look cocky, which is great. Because she plays that character so well. Kairi has shown an aggressive side in the past, such as in her matches with Lacey Evans. But that look she had tonight was the most intense thing I’ve seen from Sane in NXT. At least that I can remember. The way she tried to fight off the referees that were holding her back only seemed to accentuate her frustration, which was great to watch.

While there was only one segment tonight, the match between Shayna and Candice was good. And the post-match segment was effective. It definitely helped me remember that sometimes, it’s quality over quantity. I’m usually one of those fans that feels frustrated if there’s only one women’s segment. Because my mind will sometimes think “wow only one segment, that’s hardly any time devoted to the women’s division.” But tonight is one other example that if done right, one segment is all that’s needed for the women’s division.

What did you guys think of the match between Baszler and LeRae? Did you enjoy the post-match segment? Are you looking forward to Kairi and Baszler’s upcoming encounter at Brooklyn? Let us know in the comments below!

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