After nearly four years as a member of the WWE NXT roster, Indi Hartwell finally claimed the NXT Women’s Championship at Stand & Deliver last month. It was a historic win for the young star but her reign was destined to be short-lived. Last week, Hartwell was officially drafted to the WWE Raw brand, and with the move away from NXT, came her decision to relinquish the title.
Following her decision to relinquish the title, an announcement was made that eight women will compete in a tournament to crown a new champion. WWE has now released the official brackets for the tournament, which will likely begin tonight and will definitely culminate at WWE Battleground on May 28.
The field is a display of the strong women’s division in NXT at the moment and creates opportunities for a variety of interesting match-ups.
On the left side of the brackets, we have both members of the former Toxic Attraction stable, Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin. Traditionally, I would view their opponents, Tiffany Stratton and Roxanne Perez, respectfully, as major threats but in this situation, it feels like they’ll be looking at the lights to set up a blood feud battle in the semi-finals. If it does come down to Dolin and Jayne in the semis, I would expect Dolin to pick up the win to get some revenge over Jayne, who turned her back on her not long ago.
Over on the right side of the brackets, the name that pops out the most to me is Cora Jade. The former WWE NXT Women’s Tag Team Champion had a memorable feud last year with her former championship partner, Roxanne Perez, that culminated with a Weapons Wild match at WWE Halloween Havoc. Following that, Jade disappeared from TV to reportedly deal with an unspecified injury and only recently returned to action.
WWE obviously sees a lot of potential in Jade, and now that she is competing again, I expect them to get back to putting the rocket on her. While I am a fan of Henly, James, and Valkyria, none of them pop off the page yet, and don’t seem ready for the main event picture. Jade appears to be the likely favorite to advance to the finals, and if my prediction for the left side of the bracket is correct, it would mean a showdown with Dolin at WWE Battleground for the gold.
If it does come down to those two women, I would put my money on Jade to win, especially since she just picked up a singles win over Dolin a few weeks ago. While Dolin is definitely on the rise, she, along with the rest of the female NXT babyfaces, would be better served chasing a top heel like Jade. Of course, anything can happen, I’m just speaking from the gut.
Stay with Haus of Wrestling for all the latest on the WWE NXT Women’s Championship tournament.