Favourite Five

Who Should Face Shayna Baszler Next?

With Shayna Baszler seemingly unstoppable as NXT Women’s Champion, Shalene Hixon looks at who could face her next.

Two weeks ago, NXT Women’s Champion, Shayna Baszler, took on a game Mia Yim.

While The HBIC took her to the limit, Baszler still proved to be too much to handle and once again retained her title.

The Queen of Spades has proven to be one of the most dominant women NXT has ever seen, decimating whoever gets in her way. Her combined title reigns rank second in NXT history at 427+ days and are coming close to breaking Asuka’s record of 510 days.

Now the question is: who should face her next? Unless they continue the rivalry between her and Yim, there aren’t many other women who could step up to the champ. Regardless, here are five potential challengers for Baszler and the NXT Women’s Championship.

5. Dakota Kai

First up, we look at the captain of Team Kick. Kai has been out of action since December with a torn ACL, but she has some prior history with the champion.

In April and May 2018, Kai challenged Baszler for the title but was unsuccessful both times. Then she would again cross paths with the champ at NXT TakeOver: WarGames that November, helping Io Shirai and Kairi Sane even the odds against Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir. All six women would continue to feud in the following weeks, up until Kai’s injury.

Who knows what would have happened if Kai hadn’t have gotten injured; she possibly could have challenged Baszler once again for the title or continued to feud with Duke and Shafir.

Either way, she may be returning to the ring in the very near future and could easily say she has some unfinished business with the champ.

4. Tegan Nox

Speaking of Kai, let’s talk about her Team Kick co-captain.

Nox has also been out of action with a knee injury but recently returned to NXT at a live event last month. Since then, she has continued to compete at NXT Florida house shows and has even been a part of NXT’s recent road trips.

She is one of the few women on the roster who has not competed against Baszler. If she’s going to be a big star for the brand, a showdown between the two seems almost inevitable. It remains to be seen how soon Nox will appear on NXT TV, but hopefully, it won’t be too long.

The Girl with the Shiniest Wizard might also be looking for some retribution on behalf of her best friend, Kai, who of course has been victimized at the hands of The Queen of Spades. I think it would be entertaining to see Nox and Baszler go at it, but we’ll just have to wait and see what direction they want to take both women in.

3. Candice LeRae

Up next is a woman who hasn’t really been a major player in the NXT women’s division until recently.

LeRae impressed many in her match against Io Shirai in Toronto, even if it was a losing effort. But up until then, however, she really hadn’t had a meaningful rivalry in quite some time. Her career in NXT so far has definitely been up and down, but maybe her showing several weeks ago might help her gain some much-needed momentum.

If she were to consistently rack up wins on NXT TV in the coming weeks, why wouldn’t she be awarded a title opportunity? While she’s had run-ins with Baszler, Duke, and Shafir, it’s never really gone further than that. The two have some previous history, with Baszler defeating LeRae in the quarterfinals of the inaugural Mae Young Classic.

Candice Wrestling showed in Toronto that she should be taken seriously, so maybe that’ll translate into a future showdown with the champion.

2. Toni Storm

Then we move on to the current NXT UK Women’s Champion.

While she’s currently feuding with Kay Lee Ray, what would happen if she were to lose her title at NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff? Granted, she could possibly challenge Ray to a rematch, but maybe she should spend some time away from NXT UK.

As Pete Dunne has shown recently, superstars can go from one brand to the other. Storm has never really been in NXT before, but her coming over for a little while could inject some new life into the black-and-yellow brand’s women’s division.

Her and Baszler have faced each other only once before at the 2018 United Kingdom Championship Tournament, where the latter picked up the win. Another match between the two would be very entertaining to see, especially since both have been the faces of their respective divisions for quite some time now.

If this faceoff ever became a reality, we’d all be in for quite a treat

1. Rhea Ripley

Finally, we come to a pick that might be a little out of left field.

Ripley has been one of the most dominant members of the NXT UK women’s division. She is currently locked in a rivalry with Piper Niven. But once that’s over, why can’t she come pay NXT another visit?

A feud with Baszler would be a rather interesting dynamic; how would the champion deal with a challenger who is just as cocky and confident as she is? While this choice might not be as likely as some of the others on this list, it’s one that I would look forward to seeing the most. A heel vs. heel match isn’t done very often, but if done right, can be just as entertaining as a typical face vs. heel bout.

The Nightmare vs. The Queen of Spades could be one of the more unique rivalries the NXT women’s division has seen, so let’s see if they think outside the box and make this happen.

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