To the surprise of many—including Ronda Rousey herself—SummerSlam weekend didn’t get off to a good start for the Four Horsewomen.
Kairi Sane def. Shayna Baszler (c), for the NXT Women’s Championship
One night before Rousey competed in the biggest singles match of her WWE career so far—challenging Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship at SummerSlam—Shayna Baszler defended the NXT Women’s Championship against Kairi Sane at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV. Rousey sat in the front row for this title defense, alongside both their fellow Four Horsewomen Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, cheering the reigning champion on. Rousey also let the challenger know—before Baszler and Sane even locked up—where her allegiance stood:
What a difference a year makes. In the finals of inaugural Mae Young Classic, Sane defeated Baszler to win the tournament; but on Baszler’s road to NXT championship gold, she proved she could beat Sane just as well, officially putting them at one win a piece against each other.
But real pirate or not, Sane was out to prove to Baszler that she did, in fact, have the “killer instinct” the Baszler was so adamant she lacked. To prove that the Sane of today could still beat the Baszler of today. The early goings-on the match featured some grappling, with “The Pirate Princess” actually attempting to submit “The Submission Magician” almost immediately. But Baszler’s strategy of going after Sane’s right leg—making it more difficult for Sane to go to the top rope to hit the InSane Elbow or to properly execute her Anchor submission—proved more effective, especially as she attempted to do permanent damage to her opponent. Unfortunately for Baszler, her own viciousness awakened the beast inside of the princess.
As Sane’s ring awareness saved her from falling victim to Baszler’s Kirifuda Clutch at one point, it was arguably Baszler’s cockiness that eventually allowed her to get pinned for a three count while applying the hold on Sane at the end of the match. In fact, Baszler would probably agree:
Whether you believe “The Queen of Spades” was beaten by Kairi Sane or not, for now, there is a new queen of NXT.
You can go back and watch Baszler vs. Sane III (and the rest of NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV) on the WWE Network.