Tonight's NXT TakeOver XXX featured the long-awaited matchup between Dakota Kai and Io Shirai for the NXT Women's Championship, and Kai came out looking to make a statement. Shirai got off to a good start, but soon it was all Kai, as the star used pretty much every bit of the ring to inflict pain on Shirai. Kai focused on Shirai's arm as well, and kept Shirai grounded throughout the match. By the end of the night, it was Shirai as the NXT Women's Champion.
Kai's strategy was to keep the focus on Shirai's left elbow and keep her from using all those patented aerial moves, and that worked for the better part of half the match. Shirai is too good not to mount a comeback though, and that she did with fury, complete with a one-armed 619.
That was not enough for the pin though, and Shirai was feeling the pain on that arm. Kai would try to german suplex Shirai to the outside of the ring with all her might, but Shirai turned it around and planted her feet right into Kai's chest.
Kai stood face to face with Shirai and Shirai looked to mount a comeback, but Kai planted a kick right to her face. She would miss on the next lick though, but Kai would recover by throwing her into the corner. Shirai would evade her next kick and use this opportunity to charge into Kai three different times, laying Kai out on the mat.
She tried to go up top, but Kai hit her and kept her from continuing. Kai's arm was feeling some pain too and ended up caught in the ropes, which Shirai capitalized on and knocked her down, but that still wasn't enough for the pin.
At one point Kai had the win locked in but Shirai avoided defeat by putting her leg on the bottom rope. This ended up in a segment that had Kai missing Shirai and knocking the referee out cold, and Shirai, unfortunately, didn't realize it, so her pin of Kai wasn't seen.
Shirai was pissed about this and went over to wake him up, but Raquel Gonzelx slammed Shirai to the ground and then woke up the ref after planting Kai over Shirai. It was all set for a glorious victory but Shirai still kicked out.
Kai then set up Shirai but Shirai locked in a crossface submission in the middle of the ring. Kai managed to get out of it, but Shirai kicked her right in the face, leaving her reeling. Shirai then went up top and wiped out both Gonzaelz and Kai. She then tossed Kai in, went back up top, and then moonsaluted to finally get the win.
Gonzalez then went to punish Shirai but Rhea Ripley ran in to face her, and it seems we'll be getting a match between these two soon.
You can find the official description for tonight's TakeOver below.
NXT Champion Keith Lee will face his most dangerous challenge yet against Karrion Kross at NXT TakeOver XXX. Plus, Adam Cole and Pat McAfee finally take their heated rivalry to the ring, Io Shirai defends the NXT Women's Title against Dakota Kai, five Superstars battle for the North American Championship in a Ladder Match, and more. Catch it all tonight at 7 ET/4 PT on the award-winning WWE Network!
Here's the full lineup:
Finn Balor vs Timothy Thatcher
Adam Cole vs Pat McAfee
Breezango vs Danny Burch vs Oney Lorcan vs Legado del Fantasma - NXT Tag Team Championship
NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai vs Dakota Kai
NXT North American Championship Ladder Match0comments
NXT Champion Keith Lee vs Karrion Kross with Scarlett
What's been your fave match of the night so far? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things NXT TakeOver with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!