NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler vs. Io Shirai
After being pushed past her breaking point by NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai will have her chance to hit The Queen of Spades where it hurts the most when she challenges for Baszler’s title at TakeOver: XXV.
Baszler and her Horsewomen cohorts, Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir, have targeted Shirai for months, going to great lengths to inflict pain and misery. They forced Shirai to watch helplessly as Baszler ruthlessly beat down her best friend, Kairi Sane. The Horsewomen also ambushed The Genius of the Sky backstage, wrecking her in a three-on-one attack. Through it all, Baszler has worn a confident sneer on her face and crowed about having no worthy competition.
Although The Submission Magician has been nothing short of dominant in NXT — ranking only behind Asuka for total days as champion — she isn’t invincible. In February, Shirai became the third woman in NXT history to pin Baszler’s shoulders to the mat, a feat that is surely a point of contention for the dangerously proud Baszler. More recently, Shirai used a Kendo stick to clear the Horsewomen from the ring and halt their attack on Candice LeRae. The act not only gave Baszler a glimpse into Shirai’s intensity, but also earned the Shirai the trust of LeRae, who has vowed to watch the challenger's back in Bridgeport.
With the NXT Women’s Title on the line and plenty of animosity in play, Baszler vs. Shirai has the makings of a barnburner, but who will leave as the champion?