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WWE NXT Io Shirai Heel 2


Tiffany’s NXT Takes: The State of the NXT Women Pre-TakeOver

Is the WWE NXT Women’s Division poised to steal the show at Takeover Toronto? Tiffany takes a look at that possibility.

Is the WWE NXT Women’s Division poised to steal the show at Takeover Toronto? Tiffany takes a look at that possibility.

As NXT prepares to TakeOver Toronto again, most eyes are on the epic finale of the Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano or on the storyline of Undisputed Era being part of the big three men’s title matches: Gargano defending the NXT Championship, O’Reilly and Fish facing the Street Profits, and Roderick Strong facing Velveteen Dream and Pete Dunne for the North American Championship. However, the two Women’s Division Matches: Shayna Baszler vs Mia Yim for the NXT Women’s Championship and the Grudge Match between Candice LeRae and Io Shirai are quietly poising themselves to steal the show, so let’s take a look at those.

Shayna Baszler vs Mia Yim

Let me say upfront that I have no trouble saying that Shayna Baszler is a badass, because she is. The woman has had a hell of a career in MMA and in NXT. However, I have to say that the way WWE has been booking her has done a disservice to her and her career by making her seem unable, or unwilling to lose without help from Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. Having her arrogantly say she doesn’t care if she’s respected or not, as long as everyone fears her doesn’t help. Plus, to be honest, I’m tired of her as champion. She’s put on good matches, but her being champion for so long over talent like Kairi Sane and Io Shirai has made the division a little stale.

I’m a huge Mia Yim fan, if that hasn’t been obvious and I was thrilled to death when her breakout performance in last year’s Mae Young Classic and I’ve been impressed with her skill in other promotions I’ve watched her in. However, if you’ve been following my takes on NXT, you know I’ve been very frustrated over how Yim has been booked in NXT because it didn’t seem to capitalize on her fabulous performance in the Mae Young. However, having her have to fight to get a title shot and taking the fight to Baszler’s friends has really established her badass creds, but I wish they’d really done that from the start.

I really can’t say who I think will win, Baszler has been unstoppable and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had her retain just to re-establish her status as a legit badass in her own right. However, the Women’s Division needs a shot in the arm and having Yim go over would definitely do that. I hope that’s what will happen, but I’m not holding my breath.

Candice LeRae vs Io Shirai

This is the match I’m the most excited about. Io Shirai’s transformation from a happy babyface to a dark heel was really cool to see. It’s definitely felt like she was another one WWE was sleeping on, using her as Kairi Sane’s backup but not doing a lot with her in her own right. Even her feud with Baszler was an offshoot of Baszler’s feud with Sane to cover Sane’s departure to the main roster, so having her decide that having friends was the problem makes sense. Plus, her new gear is really cool.

Candice LeRae is someone who has definitely been slept on for too long by everyone. She was one of the biggest signings for NXT, but no one seemed to know what to do with her other than keep her as Johnny Gargano’s perpetually worried wife. Her alliance with Shirai against the Four Minus One Horsewomen was something I was really excited about, but I wasn’t terribly disappointed when it ended the way it did because I saw it as a chance for both women to show what WWE’s been sleeping on for too long. Candice LeRae has wrestled some of the baddest people in the business, men and women, so for her to get a chance to really show what she’s capable of is very exciting for me.

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I really don’t care who wins this match, to be honest. I’m a fan of both women and have high hopes that they will steal the show and make statements for both of them to be more prominent in the division than they have been lately.


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