Tonight, during NXT TakeOver XXV, Shayna Baszler won her match against Io Shirai to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
Io Shirai and Shayna Baszler have met before in a title match, during tours they both had in Stardom, but this match featured something special.
Since NXT TakeOver: New York, Baszler and her MMA buddies, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, have cause chaos and disorder within the NXT women’s division. During weekly television, the three Horsewomen of MMA have taken it upon themselves to destroy any woman left standing after almost every women’s match.
Prior to Kairi Sane’s move to main roster, Io Shirai frequently came to Sane’s rescue against Baszler and company, and it didn’t change when Sane left. Shirai even wielded a kendo stick against the three when she had had enough. It seemed like the Genius of the Sky had decided to toughen up in preparation for her title shot.
Those who were concerned about the odds of three to one were silenced when Candice LeRae told Shirai she had her back, come NXT TakeOver XXV.
The match during TakeOver XXV was exactly what the fans had anticipated. Shirai spent most of her time in the air, and Baszler covered the ground. Both competitors came in hot: Baszler was her usual brutal self, and Shirai recovered quickly with a hot offense of her own.
Baszler kept Shirai grounded for most of the first half of the match, applying pressure to an injured arm. Shirai’s injury kept her from getting the proper grip to do the moves that require more strength.
Shirai did manage to get Baszler into a crossface submission hold, but Baszler easily got out of the hold. Soon after, Shirai took to the top turnbuckle to perform a beautiful moonsault right on top of Baszler.
The two opponents matched each other move-to-move, showcasing all of their history and experience with each other. Towards the end of the match, Shafir and Duke made an appearance, looking as though they intended to interfere, but Candice LeRae stood by her word, and took a kendo stick to the two before they could cause any damage.
Shirai was able to shrug off two Kirifuda Clutches, but the third one was too strong, and Shirai tapped out, letting Baszler continue her reign.
The feud doesn’t end at NXT TakeOver XXV, though. Shirai snaps on a celebrating Baszler, and punishes the Queen of Spades with a kendo stick, and a flip off the turnbuckle with a folding chair. Enough is enough for the Genius of the Sky, and even LeRae seemed hesitant to help the newly crazed Shirai.
It’s clear that the dynamic of the NXT Women’s Division is about to change.
Do you think the right woman won the title? Who should be next on Baszler’s radar?