I was immensely looking forward to this match and both, Asuka and Nikki Cross, didn’t disappoint. In a match of almost twenty minutes there was everything to see: great story, top spots and finally Mauro Ranallo back on commentary. Enjoy!
Episode: NXT #254
Recorded: 23 June 2017
Aired: 28 June 2017
Match duration: 18:48 minutes (plus two commercial breaks)
Stipulation: Last Woman Standing match
Both women started the match highly aggressively with slaps and kicks against each other until Nikki Cross gained a little momentum but slipped out of the ring. Asuka wanted to follow but got trapped outside the ring at the apron where Nikki Cross beat her up. She then went for first toys and got a few steel chairs placed up on a pile when we went for the first commercial break.
After the break, we saw Nikki Cross trying to throw Asuka onto the pile of chairs but Asuka was able to counter. Not for long though because Nikki Cross threw her into the steel steps instead. Damage was done but not enough for the ten-count. And as a welcome-back-gift it was now Asuka who threw Nikki Cross into another steel steps. The ten-count didn’t work here as well, so Asuka beat up Nikki Cross a little but then shoved her opponent back inside the ring.
Now it was time for the trash bin. Hidden under the ring, Asuka got it, carried it around the ring and finally made it back inside the ring. Nikki Cross got put into the trash bin and Asuka kicked it several times for a good comedic spot. And Asuka put an end to that sequence with a drop kick from the turnbuckle right to the trash bin and Nikki Cross’ body.
Asuka was very much up for more chairs out and now inside the ring. Nikki Cross interrupted her eventually with coming outside the ring as well but got kicked there and was kicked again every time she seemed to recover, until Asuka was finished with putting more chairs inside the ring. Then it was time to follow the very toys but Nikki Cross recovered in time for a little fist exchange and a DDT on the apron.
Nikki Cross made a nice pile from all the chairs inside the ring but as it is the case most of times in situations like those, she was the one being thrown into it shortly after by Asuka. But right when Asuka was about to take advantage, she was the one being thrown onto the chairs as well. Now, both women were down with the referee hard at work with counting. And we went for the second commercial break in this match.
After the break, Asuka was back standing with Nikki Cross laughing at her, basically begging for more punishment. And she got some in the form of kicks to her chest. During the break, possibly the referee had removed the chairs from the ring, so we now got a lovely fist fight in between the ropes without any distraction. But finally Nikki Cross was able to hit Asuka with a swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker. And in order to maybe get the ten-count three other SFN’s followed. But Asuka got up eventually before the referee finished counting.
Nikki Cross had been confident in thinking that this was her moment of victory, so she grabbed the Women’s Championship title belt. But Asuka got up and Nikki Cross was kicked again immediately after. She beat the following ten-count though and right then the audience was reminded about the pile of chairs still being placed outside the ring. After a little teasing and cou8ntering, it was Asuka who got powerbombed into it.
But Asuka beat the ten-count with Nikki Cross unable to believe it. Both women made their way up the ramp, teasing another hard hitting spot. And it came when Asuka pushed Nikki Cross from the ramp, only to follow her with a hip attack into her opponent.
The action now took place right at the commentary table when Asuka tried to kick Nikki Cross but her foot met a lamp standing there. Nikki Cross though took advantage with a spinning neckbreaker using the barricades. Asuka barely beat the ten-count again and finally gained some time with a back elbow kick. Nikki Cross came back introducing the ladder to Asuka’s mid section though.
While Nikki Cross was punishing Asuka she got an idea that involved a table. She placed Asuka there, positioned the ladder but Asuka eventually made it on top of the ladder together with Nikki Cross. The commentary team had been fled already at this point, so they watched silent and in horror when Nikki Cross was thrown over the ladder back first into the commentary table. Both women laid out now, the referee counted again. Nikki Cross didn’t survive but Asuka was back standing at nine, so she won the match and continued being the NXT Women’s Champion.
I liked how this match was treated on the last NXT episode in June 2017. It got a well deserved lengthy time; it got previously filmed scenes outside the ring; it even got the first (great!) promo by Alexander Wolfe in NXT. I always wanted a good, lengthy one-on-one match between Asuka and Nikki Cross. It took a while but now that it took place, it’s all I wanted and even more: it was entertaining, it had great spots and, of course, Mauro Ranallo back on commentary – this time for NXT and this is the best place for him in my opinion.
This very first Last Women Standing match in NXT was a well deserved first and great one as well. Very much a Match of the Year 2017 contender and definitely the best women’s match of 2017 so far.