For weeks now the bad blood has been brewing between Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir, Io Shirai, and Dakota Kai. The four women clashed at NXT TakeOver: WarGames II when Shafir and Duke came to the ring to help Shayna Baszler in her title match with Kairi Sane, only to be confronted by Kai and Shirai. Since then, the two teams have traded barbs back and forth, leading to this match and the NXT TV debuts of Duke and Shafir.
As the match gets underway, Duke and Kai start things off, and it’s the story of Duke trying to use her clear size advantage and long limbs to keep Kai at a distance. It’s a sound strategy, but Kai is very experienced in the ring, taking it to Duke early on. Kai’s all over her until Duke distracts the referee, allowing Shafir to hit Kai with a kick to the back of the head. With Kai grounded, Shafir tags in and works on keeping her grounded with a number of submissions.
Two of the Four Horsewomen show why they’re good friends and an even better team, as they keep Kai in their corner and beat her down, showing an exceptional understanding of tag team wrestling considering how new they are to NXT. Despite that, Kai manages to eventually get to her corner and tag in the high-flying Io Shirai. She runs roughshod over Shafir, hitting her with a springboard dropkick and massive powerslam before following it up with a moonsault. It’s that top rope assault that gets the win, as Kai kicks Duke in the jaw, giving Shirai room to pin Shirai for the 1-2-3.
It’s a loss in their TV debut for Duke and Shafir, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of when up against a team like Kai and Shirai, who have years of experience between them. Shafir and Duke worked together well, isolating Kai early on, and showed they’re just getting started in the ring. Once they’re rolling, they’ll be a force in the women’s division alongside NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler.