Friday, December 8, 2023

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NXT: 10/24/18 – A Debut, A Demand and Hype

Hi everyone! Welcome to a loaded edition of the weekly recap for NXT. Last week, we saw an inconclusive end to the rematch between Nikki Cross and Bianca Belair. As the match was reaching its climax, Aleister Black made his return, demanding answers from Nikki Cross regarding who it was that attacked him back in August. Tonight, Cross made everyone aware that Aleister was on his way to seek retribution.

While she did not address the ending of last week’s main event, we did see Bianca Belair tonight momentarily. Additionally, we got packages that hyped both Lacey Evans as well as the NXT Women’s Championship match that is happening this Sunday at Evolution between Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler.

This week, we also saw the in-ring debut of a newcomer to the NXT women’s division: Mia Yim. Yim has participated in both Mae Young Classics, recently being eliminated from this year’s tournament last week by Toni Storm. After an impressive showing in this year’s Mae Young Classic, Mia looked to continue her momentum by going up against “The Cat’s Meow” Aliyah.

Before her match, we got a short package to highlight Mia’s in ring debut. Highlights of her matches from this year’s Mae Young Classic were shown as Yim made it known that she is here for blood.

Additionally, before Mia’s first match on NXT television, Nikki Cross was shown approaching the security guards who were awaiting the arrival of Aleister Black to Full Sull University. Cross went up to each man, saying repeatedly “He’s coming!”

After Nikki’s warning to the security guards, it was time for Yim to make her debut against Aliyah. Mia started off the match strong. However, Aliyah hung Mia up on the ropes, giving her control of the match. When the video begins, Aliyah could be seen grounding Mia with a choke hold. While Yim tried fighting Aliyah off, Aliyah bounced back with a lou thesz press, followed by a near fall. After Yim kicked out, Aliyah charged Mia in the corner with a running fist, followed by a few more strikes. Aliyah then nailed Mia with a northern lights suplex, earning another near fall.

Aliyah went back to applying a choke hold to Yim to maintain control. However, Mia was able to back Aliyah into the corner a few times, freeing herself. Mia then began to take control of the match for herself with a jumping kick to Aliyah’s face, followed up by another kick to Aliyah’s face. Mia would go on to connect with a clothesline and then a running dropkick, sending Aliyah into the corner. Yim then hit Aliyah with a facewash corner kick, as well as a launching sommersault. Mia then ended the match by hitting Aliyah with an Eat Defeat, securing a win in her TV debut.

Immediately following Yim’s victory, Bianca Belair was shown briefly talking to William Regal outside of his office. Bianca insisted that stars should be treated accordingly. Bianca then reminded Regal that she is undefeated, before demanding that she receive a title shot.

A little later on in the evening, a video package aired that highlighted the “Lady of NXT” Lacey Evans. Lacey mentioned her experience in the U.S. Navy, while also calling herself a force to be reckoned with. Evans ended the video package by stating that it is time that the women’s division be represented by a legitimate role model.

Speaking of video packages, we were also treated to a video package that hyped up the historic encounter at WWE Evolution between Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler. Baszler and Sane’s history since the finals of last year’s Mae Young Classic was highlighted. Additionally, each woman made their final comments before this Sunday’s PPV. Baszler noted how no other female had fear as their ally, while Sane remained confident that she would defeat Shayna for the third time.

Nikki Cross reemerged following Kassius Ohno‘s victory over Justin Xavier. Laughing at the top of the stage, Cross once again said: “he’s coming.” Nikki also repeated her sentiments from two weeks ago, telling Ohno that she knew what he did.

Cross would make one final appearance during the program’s final segment. As William Regal, Tomasso Ciampa, Lars Sullivan, and Velveteen Dream were in the ring, Nikki Cross appeared at ringside, once again saying “he’s coming!” This time around, her words came to fruition. Aleister Black took out the security guards and stormed to the ring to confront Regal before being superkicked by Johnny Gargano.

Thoughts: I thought the match between Mia and Aliyah was short but pretty solid. Both women were able to get a good amount of offense in. Which I was not expecting upon learning about tonight’s encounter. I figured that Yim would win since it was her debut. However, I was not expecting Aliyah to get as many moves in as she did. That in itself was a nice surprise.

Going forward, I am a little worried about each woman. Despite looking strong, Aliyah took another loss tonight. I don’t want to sound like a broken record when it comes to Aliyah, because I know I’ve made my case that she deserves more attention within the women’s division. I refuse to give up all hope altogether. But good lord, do I wish she was used better.

Similarly, I am worried about how much we will see Mia Yim on television going forward. The NXT women’s division is so stacked right now. And with only an hour of programming each week, it’s nearly impossible to feature every woman on the roster. A good case is thinking of Deonna Purrazzo. She debuted back in August but hasn’t appeared on television in over a month. Whether the same kind of thing happens to Mia Yim remains to be seen. But based on the number of women who are already on the roster, as well the fact that Chelsea Green and Io Shirai have yet to debut, I worry that Yim will get lost in the shuffle. Which would be a shame because she’s incredibly talented.

Bianca’s short confrontation with William Regal, as well as the video package that aired on Lacey Evans, makes me think that Kairi will be retaining at WWE Evolution. Both segments seemed to serve the purpose for Evans and Belair to make their own case that going forward, they should be considered for a future title match. While neither segment was long, both were effective enough and got the point across. The video package, in particular, was a nice way to give some attention to Lacey Evans, who in recent weeks hasn’t appeared on television.

Speaking of video packages, I’m a little torn on how to feel about tonight’s video package regarding Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane. If you’ve read either the Raw and/or Smackdown reduxes, you’ll know that the build-up this week alone for WWE Evolution has been kind of lacking. I completely agree with Josue and Alex when they discuss that this week, overall the build-up for the historic event has been poorly handled. Not to mention the build-up for the event since it was first announced in July has had its issues.

I think the video package was well done and highlighted Shayna and Kairi’s feud really well. However, we’ve seen a lot of video packages since the match was first announced. So in that regards, this week’s package sort of feels lost in the shuffle. Again, I’m not sure necessarily what alternative would have been better than the package. Maybe one last brawl or something along those lines. But a third video package in the span of four weeks seems a little lackluster on the part of the writers.

Regardless of this week, I have all the faith in the world that Shayna and Kairi will deliver this Sunday. All of their previous encounters since the Mae Young Classic have been pretty darn solid. So I can’t see Evolution being the exception. With such a grand platform, I truly hope both ladies represent the division well and have an outstanding match up.

Nikki was fun as usual to watch tonight. The one aspect of tonight that I’m still a little confused about was Nikki confronting Kassius Ohno. With Johnny Gargano attacking Aleister Black to close the show, I believe that he was the one who attacked Aleister. But I’m not sure how Kassius would fit into that scenario, or if Nikki is referring to another secret. Cross is apparently the only individual who knows. But at this time, it’s still a mystery to the general audience. I’m intrigued though to see where the interactions between Ohno and Cross lead to.

What did you guys think of Mia’s debut? Do you see Bianca or Lacey Evans becoming contenders for the championship following Evolution? Who do you think will win between Shayna and Kairi this Sunday? Let us know in the comments below! 

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