The longest reigning Women’s Champion in the history of NXT faces her toughest test thus far: a first ever Last Woman Standing match against Nikki Cross…
The Velveteen Dream
(Winner via pinfall: The Velveteen Dream)
(Winner via pinfall: Hideo Itami)
Last Woman Standing Match for the NXT Women’s Championship
A gritty hour of television that centred itself around its headline match, Asuka versus Nikki Cross. Being that this was the first ever Last Woman Standing Match in NXT history, and the third night in a row that women were main eventing WWE television programming, the pressure was really on both women to put on a memorable match that lived up to the hype.
My gut feeling is that they did a good job. Actually, that’s not just a gut feeling, because I know it in my head too. There’s an intensity in this feud that is delicious to watch onscreen, no more so than in this championship match, and the women certainly delivered some spots that we simply haven’t seen from women in WWE. But the strengths of this match were also its weaknesses, as what were incredibly hard-hitting and enjoyable to watch spots, were nothing more than that. Psychology seemed not to matter too much, and despite seeing both women take hard falls onto stacks of chairs, it did not hinder either woman’s offence later in the fight, with Asuka in fact being able to suplex Cross over the top of a ladder, and through a table. There was no true selling of the injuries that were being dealt out. But it was a good match, don’t get me wrong.
The rest of the show was enjoyable too. The Hideo Itami injury angle, which threatened to slightly derail the entire show, ended up working tremendously in its favour, and when he returned to the ring to face Oney Lorcan again, both men really went for it. The match was short, but it was stiff, and Itami looked tough as hell. A heel turn seems imminent, but it appears to be a slow burner.
A good episode, made even better by the introduction of Mauro Ranallo to the commentary team. Ranallo is the best play-by-play commentator in the company, or was until his departure in April 2017, so it’s great to have him back. His voice will enhance both the matches and the talent performing in them, as it did for this particular episode of NXT.
Match of the Night
Asuka (C) vs. Nikki Cross