It was a big weekend for at least two of the Four Horsewomen in Phoenix. At NXT TakeOver: Phoenix on Saturday, NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler successfully defended her title against the previously undefeated Bianca Belair, choking out the young Superstar after a hard-fought battle. Then, the next night, Ronda Rousey slugged it out with Sasha Banks. It may have been her toughest bout to date, but she retained the RAW Women’s Championship anyways, and now looks ahead to Becky Lynch at WrestleMania.
The question entering this week’s NXT then was this: Could Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke continue the dominance of the Four Horsewomen across all WWE platforms, and could they bounce back from a tough loss a few weeks ago? It’s a light load this week with everyone recovering from a nasty, brutal TakeOver, so let’s get to the breakdown of the very few happenings from this week’s NXT.
Shafir and Duke get right to work trying to keep the Four Horsewomen hot streak alive, kicking off this week’s show by squaring off against the team of Io Shirai and former NXT Women’s Champion Kairi Sane. Sane and Shirai are coming off a recent tag team win, so it’s a tall task for Shafir and Duke. Of course, the two women also have some history with Sane, playing a big role in her match with Shayna Baszler at WWE Evolution late last year. In other words, each side has a lot to prove in this match.
Shirai comes hot out of the gate, knocking Shafir around to the point that she tags Duke in, who quickly mocks Kairi Sane for being significantly shorter than her. Duke immediately uses that size advantage, getting Sane on the mat and simply pummelling her endlessly. Duke runs into trouble though when Shirai tags in and they double team her with a few strikes and then a double dropkick.
Duke works her way back though, using her long legs to knock Shirai down on the apron. Shafir tags in and shows a lot of grappling prowess, using her MMA background to execute a few different takedowns. Duke and Shafir, as Mauro Ranallo says, are still in the “embryonic” stage of their careers, but they’ve got great chemistry. Their tandem offense looks good, as they keep Shirai in their corner, trade tags quickly, and ground their opponent with a number of submissions.
Shirai takes quite the beating for a while, but she eventually evades an attack from Shafir and tags in Sane. She runs roughshod over Shafir, and then she and Shirai pull off a killer looking pop-up elbow drop. While Shirai takes out Duke on the outside with an impressive suicide dive, Sane heads to the top rope and hits the InSane Elbow on Shafir. That gets the win, and for
After hearing about Halftime Heat, the match scheduled for halftime of the Super Bowl that pits Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, and Adam Cole against Ricochet, Velveteen Dream, and Aleister Black, we’re off to the second and final match of the week. It’s another tag team bout, and it’s one where some bad blood has been brewing for awhile. The Forgotten Sons jumped the Street Profits a few weeks ago after the Profits won a match, promising that NXT wouldn’t be forgetting them any time soon. Now, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins get their chance at revenge.
Both teams are trying to make an early mark on the tag team division this year. The Forgotten Sons in particular think they’ve been overlooked, hence the whole “Forgotten” thing. Street Profits take control early though, sending the Sons to the outside and then laying them out with some tandem offense, but Steve Cutler fights back. He lays out Ford with a knee strike and some chops before tagging in Wesley Blake, who’s all over Ford with submissions and stomps. Ford is a high-flyer, so keeping him grounded is key.
The Sons look more impressive than their past outings would suggest. They lay a beating on Ford, but when Blake goes for a big top rope splash, Ford moves out of the way and finds his opportunity for a tag. Dawkins tags in and sets about throwing the Sons around. It’s all fists and dropkicks from the big man. Then, as Ford does the most insane over the top rope jump I’ve ever seen, Dawkins hits Blake with a spear and the Street Profits get real close to a victory.
But the third member of the Forgotten Sons, Jaxson Ryker, makes his presence known, and that changes the tone of the match. Ford can’t recover from the attack by Ryker, and that means Dawkins is all alone against the three men. Blake hits him with a suicide dive and throws him in the ring for a tandem finisher, and after more than a few losses, The Forgotten Sons finally have a win. Something tells me Ford and Dawkins won’t be too happy about the way the match ends, so there’s a good chance we’re not done watching these teams scrap.
That’s it for this week’s condensed show! Come back next week for all the fallout from NXT TakeOver: Phoenix.
You can watch this week’s NXT on the WWE Network.