Tonight's NXT featured a throwdown between Rhea Ripley and Dakota Kai, who last did battle at TakeOver WarGames, where Kai came out the victor as part of Team LeRae. This time Raquel Gonzalez was banned from ringside though, so it was just these two stars one on one, but from the outset Kai made a point to show she doesn't need anyone backing her up to be a threat. Despite an early barrage from Ripley, Kai went right to work knocking Ripley down and grounding her, and then slammed her into the post.
She then went to work on Ripley's legs and arms, systematically wearing Ripley down and keeping the hurt on that arm by slamming it into the corner and then wrenching it over the top rope.
The plan was working, and she kept up the attack with punches to the head and more wrenching of the arm, though she couldn't get a pin.
Kai kept hitting Ripley's arm, but at one point Ripley used that hurt arm to lift her up and slam her down, turning the tide of the match. Ripley kept the attack up on Kai with a huge dropkick and then after evading Kai's kick she hit her with another dropkick and lifted Kai and planted her face-first into the mat.
Kai would use her speed and evasion to get back into the match, but Ripley locked in a Cloverleaf submission in the middle of the ring, and Gonzalez stared at them from. the top of the ramp. Ripley kept pulling and Kai eventually made it to the ropes and was distracted by Gonzalez.
Ripley lifted Kai onto the top turnbuckle and then went to throw her down but Kai managed to fight her off. Kai then managed to flip Ripley with a backstabber into a pin but Ripley kicked out.
With one arm Ripley overpowered Kai after she couldn't lock in a submission and hit a riptide to finish Kai and get the win. Gonzalez just stared at Ripley, though she would eventually make her way to the ring and the two would battle it out, overpowering referees, producers, and security to get at each other.
Here's the official description for tonight's NXT.
Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan will go to war with Killian Dain & Drake Maverick as they face off for the NXT Tag Team Titles in a Street Fight! Elsewhere, get in the holiday spirit as Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae and company present "A Very Gargano Christmas." Additionally, NXT Champion Finn Bálor and his New Year's Evil challenger, Kyle O'Reilly, will take a special look back at their unforgettable clash from NXT TakeOver 31, and more. Don't miss NXT this Wednesday night at 8/7 C on USA Network!
Here's the rundown of the card:
Killian Dain and Drake Maverick vs Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch (Street Fight)
Finn Balor and Kyle O'Reilly relive their classic match
Rhea Ripley vs Dakota Kai
A Very Gargano Christmas
Bronson Reed Returns0comments
Isaiah Swerve Scott vs Jake Atlas
What did you think of the match and do you want a rematch? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things NXT with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!