This week’s NXT was the last episode before we see a collide between two incredible performers for the NXT Women’s Title at TakeOver 31. The event will take place this Sunday on Oct. 4. Before Candice LeRae tries to capture her first gold in the company, she teamed up with her husband on this week’s show.
It was LeRae and Johnny Gargano as they were the challengers facing the champions Io Shirai and North American Champion, Damian Priest. LeRae & Gargano have made claims that they want to be the first couple to hold titles on the black and gold brand. Gargano has a title match against Priest as well at TakeOver.
Before we get into that mixed tag match, let’s talk about the other TWO women’s matches we saw this week. There is a lot of things to unpack!
The first was the advertised one between Shotzi Blackheart and Dakota Kai.
Kai wanted some revenge after Blackheart eliminated her from the Number One Contender Battle Royal last week. The match starts with the two trading a couple of near falls. They would then trade submission holds as Kai attempts to go for the Fujiwara Armbar. Blackheart would block it.
Kai has her enforcer Raquel Gonzalez at ringside. Gonzalez would get on the apron to distract Blackheart as she was thinking about executing an inverted cannonball. Kai regains the control of the match from the distraction.
Later on in the match, Blackheart goes for a modified Sliced Bread No. 2 on the ring apron and takes a nasty bump as the two fall to the floor. Gonzalez would interfere once again as Blackheart attempted to gain momentum after the fall. She trips up Blackheart but couldn’t celebrate too long as Rhea Ripley came rushing to ringside. She rams Gonzalez into the side of the ring before several referees push her to the back.
Ripley and Gonzalez have had some issues with each other lately and they both eliminated each other simultaneously during the Battle Royal last week. Back to the ring, Kai goes for a running kick in the corner, but Blackheart avoids it. Blackheart then went for the pin and stacked up Kai to get the three count. Blackheart comes out with a victory.
After the match, Gonzalez was livid. Could we maybe get Ripley vs. Gonzalez added to TakeOver? I wouldn’t complain. If not, we should.
Blackheart took to her Twitter after the match and showed how her move on the apron was supposed to happen. It is good to see that she appears to be okay.
Now on to the second match of the night which was Kayden Carter taking on Xia Li.
Last week we saw a tag team match with Carter and Kacy Catanzaro as they faced Xia Li and Jessi Kamea. The team of Li & Kamea was definitely makeshift but something new for the two. This week, Kamea was not present.
The match was a quick outing for the two, but Carter was able to pull out a win. The end of the match included them trading Sunset Flips. Carter’s move was a little harder to maneuver, but once she got Li over she was able to pin her for the win.
Li has been on a bit of a losing streak and her frustrations mounted. After the match, Carter went to help up her opponent but was met with a shove. After knocking down Carter, Li gave a stare at Catanzaro as she exited the ring.
Now on to the main event. The mixed tag match between Champions vs. Challengers. Shirai and Priest were quick to prove why they are the champions at the start of the match. However, we all know that LeRae & Gargano always have something sneaky up their sleeves.
A little bit of intergender action took place as well as Shirai did strike and hit a moonsault on Gargano after he helped move his wife out of the way.
As the end of the match approaches, LeRae delivers a low-blow to Priest just when he was about to hit Reckoning. The referee didn’t see it as he was tied up with Shirai who was trying to enter the ring. LeRae raced out of the ring after she delivered the blow as Shirai chased after her. Gargano hit the One Final Beat on Priest to get the win for the “First Couple.”
After the match, Shirai would have some words with Gargano until LeRae attacked her from behind with a backstabber.
Could this be the picture we see by the end of TakeOver 31?
Let’s get into the Winners & Losers of the week:
WINNER: Candice LeRae
Candice comes out of the main event looking strong to dethrone Io at TakeOver. I could honestly see Candice taking the title on Sunday for a few reasons. Io hasn’t had any solid feud with her reign, so it may be time to pass the title onto the next. Also with the WWE Draft coming up, Io could possibly show up on Raw or SmackDown. Preferably SmackDown as that roster needs some help.
WINNER: Shotzi Blackheart
She is finally picking up wins as she should. I definitely see Shotzi as a future NXT Women’s Champion. I can see her going up against either Shirai or Candice next.
LOSER: Xia Li
As of this week, Xia lands on the losing end. This is weird seeing as how much she was winning once upon a time. However, if her reaction to Kayden after the match is any indication, we may see a push for her soon.
What did you think of this week’s NXT? Who were your Winners & Losers?
Check back in with Diva Dirt for the results of the title match at TakeOver on Sunday.