NXT TakeOver: XXV: Ranking each match
NXT TakeOver: XXV opened with a promise from the commentary team that the yellow brand was the "true alternative." We know where that shot was directed. But as usual, TakeOver delivered for the most part. Unfortunately, there was one glaring exception that has been the normal exception for some time now, and it has consistently dragged down each and every TakeOver it's been a part of, preventing it from getting perhaps a perfect grade.
Let's take a look back at the five matches on the card and rank them from worst to first.
#5 NXT Women's Championship: Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Io Shirai
Another TakeOver, another Shayna Baszler match that's the worst on the card. Typical. Io Shirai managed to make a better show of it than anyone since Kairi Sane at TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 last summer.
Nevertheless, it was disappointing. It was ultimately the same Shayna Baszler match like all the other Shayna Baszler matches have been. Same moves. Same attempt at interference from the two geeks that NXT is trying to portray as intimidating, same stupid choke finish. It's been basically the exact same match for about a year now
The real story came after the match, when Io Shirai, seemingly channeling Becky Lynch, attacked Shayna Baszler with a kendo stick and moonsaulted her with a chair. The crowd went nuts, chanting "you deserve it."
We'll see what happens afterward, but as I predicted, it was yet again time for the title to change hands, only for it not to, because of Shayna Baszler's bizarre, nonsensical booking.
Something has to give. This can't continue. It's not only dragging down the women's division; it's dragging down the entirety of NXT. If Triple H is hoping that Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke will be ready anytime soon, he's deluded.