There is a change to one of tonight’s advertised matches. The women’s fatal four-way is now a triple-threat due to an injury to Bianca Belair. Candice LeRae versus Nikki Cross versus Kairi Sane still sounds pretty good to me though. There’s another women’s division match on this week’s show as well, Dakota Kai faces Lacey Evans after their confrontation during Kai’s interview last week. The final item on the preview is Kassius Ohno’s return to an NXT ring against an unspecified opponent – please, no more squash matches.
Lacey Evans def Dakota Kai
Kassius Ohno vs Rick Ramirez
Kairi Sane def Candice LeRae and Nikki Cross
Tonight’s show was dedicated to the memory of Masa Saito.
Dakota Kai vs Lacey Evans
The first of the two women’s division matches opened the show proper. I can’t remember the last time there were two women’s division matches on an episode of NXT.
Lacey Evans started the match by mocking Dakota Kai’s kicks. Kai responded by trying to pin her and had a good first portion of the match.
Lacey Evans turned the tables when she dodged Kai’s kick in the corner and Dakota Kai got hung up on the turnbuckle. Evans tied Kai in the tree of woe, with her own bootlaces.
Evans’ turned nasty once she was in control, inflicting some vicious blows on Kai before going for submission attempts. Except, Evans’ submission attempts seemed more about inflicting pain than making Dakota Kai quit, that and just proving her dominance. She certainly had Kai down for a long time, but there’s no quit in Dakota Kai.
Kai eventually fought back, after Evans missed with a moonsault, but her first barrage of kicks wasn’t enough to keep Evans down. She kept trying, with Evans ducking or countering most things, then Lacey Evans caught her with the Woman’s Right and pinned her.
After the match, Lacey Evans went back and grabbed Dakota Kai by the hair and trash-talked at her before leaving the ring.
Interview with Ricochet about Undisputed ERA. He said it’s no secret he doesn’t like Strong and O’Reilly, but at least they’re fighting champions, unlike Adam Cole who has barely defended the title since the day he got it. A couple of months ago Ricochet was moments away from winning the North American Championship until Cole found a way to steal it. And a few weeks ago Cole stole another victory when Undisputed ERA got involved. He’s been hiding behind the title and they both know it. Ricochet won’t stop until he gets Cole one on one, and when he does we’re looking at the new North American Championship.
Housekeeping segment – Just confirmation that Bianca Belair is not medically cleared for the women’s number one contender’s match, and a reminder that Aleister Black and Tommaso Ciampa meet next week for the NXT Championship.
Street Profits promo, featuring basketball, working out, and talking about dealing with TM61 (they’re The Mighty now, guys).
Kona Reeves interrupted EC3 being EC3 to give him backhanded compliments about his clothes and watch being nice, but not the finest. Reeves still looks like an extra from a Miami Vice reboot. EC3 challenged him to a fight. Reeves waited until EC3 had walked away before saying, ‘if you want to fight I’ll fight you, but we could have been the finest of friends’.
Promo package for the NXT Championship match next week. They’re always very well done, this was no exception. It’s really nice to see it getting the same hype on an NXT episode that it would get for a TakeOver.
Kassius Ohno vs Rick Ramirez
Squash match, less than a minute. Ohno elbowed him and knocked him out after the briefest of exchanges. Pointless.
Self-congratulatory promo from Undisputed ERA which turned into Adam Cole mocking Ricochet. Cole said the fact is he’s NXT North American Champion and Ricochet isn’t. He’s also a fighting champion. And if you anger the Undisputed ERA you’re going to regret it. He suggests Ricochet backs off before he gets hurt.
Up next was a really nice in-depth look at War Raiders, talking about their origins and their fighting style, with lots of indie clips. A little late for an introduction, but a nice catch up for anyone unfamiliar with their work before NXT.
Yet another promo next, Velveteen Dream this time. He talked about his big matches so far and hinted at something big in the works for TakeOver Brooklyn.
Nikki Cross vs Candice LeRae vs Kairi Sane – Triple-threat, Number one contender’s match
Shayna Baszler joined commentary for the match. Nikki Cross reacted to her entrance by grinning and waving, LeRae and Sane looked less thrilled.
The crowd were loudly behind all three women, as well they should be, this match was a lot of fun to watch. Complete chaos for large portions of it, but a lot of fun to watch. In fact, it was so good that commentary actually talked about it more than they talked to Baszler, a very nice touch.
Nikki Cross was the workhorse of this match, she was involved in the vast majority of the action. Not that the other two took it easy, there wasn’t a single dull moment in the whole match.
Cross delivered an inverted DDT to LeRae on the ramp. Then, as she turned back to the ring, she caught an elbow from Kairi Sane off the apron and they were all three laid out at ringside for a while.
Of course, there was a tower of doom spot. Candice LeRae got underneath Cross while she and Sane were fighting on the turnbuckle, and down they went.
Honestly, I can’t do this match justice with a highlights and highspots type review, there were just too many to pick from. I’d highly recommend checking it out if you can.
Nikki Cross not only broke up Candice LeRae’s pin attempt on Sane by dragging LeRae off by the hair, she then delivered a swinging neckbreaker on the outside with LeRae’s feel up on the apron.
Kairi Sane hit an InSane Elbow to the back of LeRae’s head while LeRae was trying to pin Nikki Cross. Cross rolled away and Kairi Sane pinned Candice LeRae.
Kairi Sane meets Shayna Baszler at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn.
Only three matches tonight, and one of them didn’t count, so it was very much ladies’ night. Or ladies and promo’s night anyway. There were a lot of promos, which hopefully equates to a lot of storylines being built. We shall see.
I could have a rant about squash matches for established performers, but what’s the point – which incidentally is the same question I would ask about the squash matches.
The main event is a much more pleasant subject to finish on. What a match. All three deserve to be champions on at least one brand. I’m a huge fan of all of them, I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone who’s read this column before. They were all brilliant tonight, but Nikki Cross was completely stand out amazing.
So, the future of the women’s division is bright, and we’ve got an NXT Championship match next week. NXT is good right now.