NXT Takeover 31 may be halfway over, but some would say the best is yet to come. Coming up next is a match for the NXT Women's Championship between Candice LeRea and champion Io Shirai.
Welcome to Bleeding Cool's live results and analysis for NXT Takeover 31, emanating from WWE's Capitol Wrestling Center at the newly revamped WWE Performance Center. You can scroll down to the bottom for links to our coverage of the other articles tonight.
After a video package that stands out from the usual ones because of great narration from LeRae, Candice LeRea makes her entrance.
NXT Takeover 31 Results Part 4 – Candice LeRea vs. Io Shirai – NXT Women's Championship Match
- The story here is that Io Shirai beat LeRae last year, but that was before LeRae turned megaheel and started advocating The Gargano Way. So really, it's a totally different match, and LeRea is, as usual, carrying a lot of resentments. I don't really know if Shirai is ready to drop the title just yet, but if any belt is gonna change hands tonight, my money would be on this one. So we'll see.
- In kayfabe, Shirai is the better wrestler (IRL, they're both great), so she has the advantage at first. But LeRae waits for the opportunity to fight a little dirty and takes control. But she becomes easily frustrated due to her heel arrogance, allowing for a Shirai comeback with her trademark high-flying offense.
- After that, we get the typical NXT late-game stuff that annoys wrestling purists, with both women exchanging huge moves and kicking out. Then they trade submissions, a crossface for a Gargano Escape.
- At that point, LeRae accidentally hits the ref. Shirai then hits him again, also by accident, sending him out of the ring. Johnny Gargano comes out in a ref shirt to take over.
- Gargano grabs the belt and brings it in the ring, but the ref is up by now. As he's kicking Gargano out, Gargano drops the belt for LeRae, who hits Shirai with it. But Shirai kicks out. Both LeRea and Gargano are livid.
- Shirai hits a Spanish Fly and a moonsault for the win.
Good match. I thought for sure we were getting the screwjob there, but NXT delivered a clean finish for Shirai instead. It's been a bad night for Garganos. Also, a bad night for anyone who likes to see belts change hands at PPVs. What does this mean for the NXT Takeover 31 main event? I guess we'll find out next! But first…
After the match, Toni Storm shows up on the Titantron. "As of right now, Toni Storm is back in NXT. And it goes without saying that I'll be turning this place upside down and inside out and I'll be showing the NXT Universe that indeed it always has been and always will be Toni Time."
Then we get one of those green-tinted videos for the returning NXT champion that WWE has been teasing for a few weeks. They arrive at the Performance Center on a motorcycle and enter the building. Then they come out on the stage with Shirai still in the ring. It's Ember Moon! Well, no one saw that coming… but thank freaking god, because this is so much better than Bo Dallas!
Thanks for reading Bleeding Cool's NXT Takeover 31 live results and analysis. Keep checking back as we'll be posting new articles all night.
This post is part of a multi-part series: NXT Takeover 31 Results and Analysis.
- NXT Takeover 31 Results – Gargano Comes Up Short Against Priest
- NXT Takeover 31 Results – KUSIDA vs. Velveteen Dream
- NXT Takeover 31 Results – Santos Escobar Overcomes Swerve's Challenge
- NXT Takeover 31 Results – Candice LeRae Loses the Gargano Way
- NXT Takeover 31 Results – Finn Balor Retains Against Kyle O'Reilly