The last show before TakeOver: Stand & Deliver hit on all levels and did not disappoint.
The women’s roster continues to be well represented throughout the show. If only RAW and SmackDown could do this very same thing. Hopefully, a few women will move to those rosters after WrestleMania. The amount of talent they have coming through the door needs to be evened out some.
Let’s jump right into it with one woman who could possibly be bound to head on over to another brand shortly and that is NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai.
Shirai will be taking on Raquel Gonzalez in the main event of Night 1 at Stand & Deliver. The placement of this match alone shows the sheer importance that it exemplifies.
Everything about this was done perfectly. Gonzalez had a match against Zoey Stark to exert her dominance, Shirai attacking her throughout the show, the brawl at the end that had to be separated by the locker room – YES! This is how you hype up a big match for a pay-per-view style match.
I fully expect for Raquel to take this win and then feud with perhaps Dakota Kai. Breaking up tag teams isn’t always the smartest idea, especially with a new title in the mix, but with all the women waiting in the wings to debut I’d say NXT is that exception to the rule. What would really be impressive is if Kai can pull off the turn which would essentially make Gonzalez the baby face.
Now let’s get to the match results. There were three matches which is exactly the bare minimum that RAW and SmackDown should be doing but I digress. First, we get a set up to announce a match for the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles at Stand & Deliver. GiGi Dolin alongside a debuting Zayda Ramier face The Way (Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell). For more on Ramier’s debut, you can click here.
The Way defeated GiGi Dolin & Zayda Ramier
Hartwell picked up the win for her team after LeRae delivered the Wicked StepSister. She jumped over the top rope with an elbow drop on Ramier to get the pin. This set up LeRae demanded to get a title she feels is hers and called out the NXT Women’s Tag Team Champs. The champions Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon (they are gonna need an official team name) made their way out to agree to the challenge.
The match did what it was meant to do. I will say that I wish that Dolin was being used better by this point. She is a pretty well known name from the indies and other than Taya Valkyrie perhaps one of the biggest signings in the last class.
The next match was Zoey Stark vs. Raquel Gonzalez which was mentioned earlier.
Raquel Gonzalez defeated Zoey Stark
Another match that made sense and did what its intent was. It made Gonzalez look strong heading into her big title main event match next week. While on the other hand giving her Stark, who although keeps winding up on the losing end, is a force in the ring. Gonzalez picked up the win after the one-armed power bomb. Shirai then attacked her after the match but Gonzalez continued to fight her off as she did throughout the night.
Xia Li defeated Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
A match that was supposed to include the in-ring debut of Mei Ying ended up being a two-on-one handicap match. One would think that would give the advantage to Kacy and Kayden but not quite.
Carter would leave the match to go confront Ying. This would seal her fate as Ying grabbed her neck and after applying her hold to a pressure point would blow smoke in the face of Carter. Li would then pick up the victory after a spin kick took down Catanzaro.
Taya Valkyrie’s arrival in NXT also has a date and that is April 13. You can view the teaser below with an adorable furry friend. :)
Let’s get into the Winners & Losers of the week:
WINNER: Raquel Gonzalez
I have never been overly fond of the “monster” type gimmick. Whether it be for the women or the men. It just seems to be overdone and boring. Of course there are some exceptions such as Chyna and Beth Phoneix – Raquel fits this mold. She is captivating and let’s just say her throwing Shirai through that wall was the cherry on top of the sundae. The brawl at the end of the night? Perfect.
WINNER: Io Shirai
Much like Gonzalez, Shirai is playing everything perfectly. She keeps fighting although she is the smaller of the two competitors. She can still be the champion and see a hill to climb. Her picking Raquel also added a nice element to the future match. As I said earlier I feel that Shriai will lose the title next week and hopefully be put on the main roster.
I know the fear of how the main roster is booked. I get it and I fully agree. However, it is never going to get better if there aren’t change made. Shirai is a big enough name to where I don’t see her floundering. Put her against Bayley as her first battle would be my wish.
LOSER: Gigi Dolin
I know it is still early to really complain about her placement but is it really? She has only had two matches since her signing and that was in January. She should be in a different position than she is now. I see that many people feel she should be getting what Zoey Stark is and not because Zoey is any less talented.
With live shows being gone for over a year now they have no excuse to utilize every woman they have. This will be WWE’s challenge as a whole. They can’t just hide the new signees on the road anymore and they need to not hide them in catering either.
What did you think of this week’s NXT? Who were your Winners & Losers? Leave your thoughts below!