The NXT women's division has been arguably the best part of NXT since its inception. From the early days of Paige and Emma, through the success of the Four Horsewomen to the incredible run of Asuka, the development brand has consistently delivered top-notch wrestling from the females. This was especially evident in the recent Mae Young Classic tournament. Showcasing 32 women from around the world, the tournament was a big success for many and put a lot of women firmly on the map.
One woman who benefited was the eventual winner, Kairi Sane. A lot was made of the Japanese superstar when she signed with WWE. Formerly Kairi Hojo, she had a very successful career in Stardom before moving to Connecticut. Thrust into the Mae Young Classic as an early favorite she didn't disappoint, having arguably the best matches with her showings against Tessa Blanchard, Bianca Belair, and Toni Storm. Winning the tournament earned her a title shot at the upcoming Takeover: WarGames, where she will face off against Peyton Royce, Nikki Cross, and Ember Moon for the title.
The favorite heading into the event, here are just some of the reasons Kairi Sane needs to become NXT Women's Champion at WarGames.
Carrying on where Asuka left off
The most obvious one is that Kairi seems to be a ready-made replacement for Asuka. Both Japanese, with similar hard-hitting strong styles, it seems almost common sense that Sane could pick up the reigns from Asuka.
The run of the Empress of Tomorrow was a massive success for the women's division and while it was the right time for her to move up to the main roster, it still left a big gap in NXT.
Kairi is a little smaller than Asuka but equally hard-hitting, something she showed in the final of the Mae Young Classic when she defeated former UFC fighter Shayna Baszler. Her Pirate Princess gimmick may be cheesy at times but in the ring, she is as hard-hitting and fearful as her predecessor and she certainly has the tools needed to become Women's Champion.
She's better being chased than doing the chasing
One reason rarely mentioned is that Japanese wrestlers generally fare better as champions than they do chasing the title. Just look at the reins of both Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka compared to that of, say, Hideo Itami. Booked as the feared strong style champion, it stresses the strong points of their in-ring ability and hides the fact they may struggle with the language.
When you're being chased as opposed to doing the chasing you are not expected to be cutting long promos about why you deserve to be the champion; you are showing why in the ring.
Japanese wrestlers have a certain aura about them right now, especially when presented on top. If you look at where Nakamura and Asuka are now on the main roster without titles and where they were in NXT with titles, it's fairly obvious that the strong style Japanese killers are much better on top of the mountain, knocking off the challengers as they come.
Kairi's English isn't the best so it would make sense to keep her away from the mic and to let her do her business in the ring, The best way to do that is as the dominant champion, letting the challenger do the talking.
Best of the four
While a case can be made for each of the competitors hoping to come away from Houston with the title, I don't think many would disagree that Sane is the best of the four. With the best elbow drop in the business and a hard-hitting and smooth in-ring style, she is the best and most sensible to walk out of WarGames as the new NXT Women's Champion.
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