Dakota Kai has been someone I’ve had my eye on since last summer. She was one of the standouts of the Mae Young Classic and has recently been thrust into the spotlight of the NXT women’s division. With Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, and Ember Moon all called up to the main roster, the next class of talent is going to need to create their own legacy from scratch. Nikki Cross is the longest tenured name left among the current crop but she will likely be joining Sanity on Smackdown before the summer is over. Drawing many comparisons to Bayley, Dakota has a chance to be the next bright face of the division. Admittedly, she has experienced a pretty fast rise so if you have 15 minutes to spare, I recommend watching the documentary on her journey if you’d like to get more familiar.
Dakota Kai currently finds herself in a unique position. Every week she continues to be tormented by locker room bully and current NXT Women’s Champion, Shayna Baszler. This is unique because it’s not often we see one wrestler afraid of another, especially not someone of Shayna’s stature. When a story is going in that direction, the domineering figure is usually someone more physically imposing like Nia Jax, Kharma, or Braun Strowman. This all started when Shayna injured Dakota’s arm on an episode of NXT a few months back. Dakota has since recovered but was left traumatized from the incident. Her ring work has not been affected but she always shudders or grows cold at the mention or sight of Shayna Baszler. Shayna has complete control over her.
Let’s Book It
My first step in the booking process was going to be to put Dakota Kai in a championship match on an NXT taping in the near future. Amazingly enough, that match was just announced on Wednesday’s episode and will be taking place next week. I should mention that I have no knowledge of what’s to come in future NXT episodes. Spoilers aren’t for me. I actively try to blind myself from any news that emerges from tapings. In this match, I would have Dakota Kai lose after a rigorous effort. If possible, I would prefer it end with a referee’s stoppage after Shayna re-injures Dakota’s arm. Let a week or two pass then have Shayna return to announce that she will be instituting a weekly open challenge.
I decided to do this for a couple reasons. NXT has never had a weekly “open challenge” segment issued by one of the champions. Also, the two more notable weekly segments were created by John Cena and Seth Rollins – both babyfaces. I know there are still people that were not initially sold on Baszler as champion so weekly matches can showcase her worth while accumulating maximum heat. Since we are so close to NXT TakeOver: Chicago, her first challenger should also be her opponent for the pay-per-view. The match could end in DQ or a no-contest leaving the rematch for the big show. I was initially going to have this be Candice LeRae but she is likely going to be ringside for Johnny Gargano’s match again. Then I thought Kairi Sane but she just lost on Wednesday. That’s why it needs to be Nikki Cross. She has never had a 1-on-1 TakeOver match and this would be a perfect send-off before moving up to the main roster. With that being said, it means Nikki would have to lose.
In July, Shayna would properly bring back her weekly open challenge. Dakota is still injured and Nikki is gone. Shayna is reigning supreme over NXT. The month of July is where she would run through the division. At the end of July or beginning of August, Nixon Newell would challenge Shayna Baszler. You probably aren’t familiar with Nixon. She’s a Welsh wrestler with major potential. Last summer she was forced to withdraw from the Mae Young Classic due to injury. If you want to get acclimated, I bet she can win you over with her inter-gender matches against Mark Andrews and Pete Dunne. She also has an interview on WWE’s website to read. I know I said I stay away from spoilers but I do know she has recently recovered and has since made her debut at Full Sail. However, she may now be going by her real name, Steffanie Newell. If you follow Dakota Kai through social media, you know that her and Newell are best friends. For this reason, toward the end of their match Shayna would try to injure Newell just as she did to Dakota. Before the deed is done, Dakota runs down the ramp and returns from injury to save her best friend. Dakota Kai has finally faced her fear and now you have your women’s title match for TakeOver: Brooklyn.
Brooklyn is where I would eventually have Dakota dethrone Shayna to win the championship just as Bayley did to Sasha three years prior. After Brooklyn, the story is pretty open ended. Dakota could go in any direction as the new face of the division. Kairi and Candice could finally get a proper feud and Bianca Belair would have had a whole summer’s worth of momentum behind her at that point. If the timing is right, maybe even a heel Steffanie Newell could emerge to challenge her best friend.