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Welcome once again to the NXT TRACKER, where I pick an NXT talent, assess their progression to this point and make bold, sure-to-look-hilarious-in-retrospect predictions about their future prospects. Today I’m going to look at one of the most natural superstars to pass through NXT – Bianca Belair.
Belair – born Bianca Crawford – hasn’t been in the ring as long as many of her contemporaries, but has been an accomplished athlete for years; she ran hurdles in college and later competed in CrossFit (I didn’t know there was such a thing as competitive CrossFit until Bianca’s hype video on NXT a month ago, but I digress). Deciding to become a wrestler was something of a snap decision that has turned out well for Belair so far.
Signature Wins in NXT
Like many “undefeated” wrestlers, Belair (originally Bianca Blair in NXT) lost a lot of matches at house shows before debuting; her one televised loss was in the original Mae Young Classic to eventual winner Kairi Sane and apparently doesn’t count – I expect this history to be brought up once Belair is in a position to challenge for the championship, however. The build for Belair has been steady, and NXT hasn’t cut her momentum by rushing things or putting her in a position to lose matches. Lacey Evans became an early casualty of Belair on the August 24th, 2017 taping of NXT, and later beat Aliyah, Dakota Kai and Deonna Purrazzo on TV in between house show jobs to NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon. Belair is now in the thick of her first bona fide ongoing feud with Nikki Cross, and after two inconclusive finishes it’s hard to say whether WWE wants either competitor to lose.
Belair’s charisma has been on point since day one, and in the ring she showed a lot of natural talent as well, and continues to get better with each outing as she moves her way up the card. The difficulty with a character like Belair, as with many in NXT, is that she’s so valued and respected for her work that she gets cheered by a large portion of the audience regardless of the fact that she’s working heel. This is, of course, the best kind of problem to have, and if WWE decides to turn her, it shouldn’t take a lot of effort. I continue to enjoy the reaction whenever she whips her opponent with long hair extension.
Belair’s booking has been pitch perfect, as not many important matches have been blazed through with no build, and she’s already a legitimate threat despite very few high-profile wins. She’s done herself a lot of favors on the mic, as her “Un-de-feat-ed” riff seems to work, and she does a great job of sounding frazzled when her opponents frustrate her. It was a little suspect when Belair was left out of the hunt for the #1 contendership recently, but this was explained away through timing – Belair was said to have lost out on the match because of her honeymoon. I look forward very much to the episodes from the last taping, where Kairi Sane’s next challenger after Shayna Baszler could be named, or at least teased.
I think it would take very real effort to screw up someone like Bianca Belair. A worker can have all the superstar looks in the world but have a hard time regardless due to not having a fraction of the natural ability possessed by Belair. Vince has a certain look in mind for women’s champions that has caused a lot of frustration again in recent years, but as power continues to transition in the future, Belair will more than likely be in a great environment to succeed.
This is probably the surest I’ve ever been that the talent I’m covering will, in the future, hold the highest title available to them on the main roster. I could see a slow burn there as we’ve seen in NXT, but I would also welcome a first-appearance championship win to really put her over big and allow her cockiness to shine. While it might make sense for Belair to be the next NXT Women’s Champion, I could also see her fast-tracked north while Sane battles the likes of Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai and Mia Yim instead. Wherever she lands, I’m eager to see the big matches that transpire.
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