Ember Moon Behind Mysterious Warning Videos, Returns At NXT TakeOver 31, Toni Storm Also Returns

The NXT Women's Championship bout at the NXT TakeOver 31 special event on Sunday night was quite the rollercoaster ride.

The match ultimately saw "The Genius of the Sky" Io Shirai retain her NXT Women's Championship over Candice LeRae despite seemingly every effort being made to ensure that exactly that would not happen, however it was the action surrounding the match that has everyone talking.

Not only did Johnny Gargano come out as a surprise special guest referee during the title showdown at the event, which streamed live via the WWE Network from the rebranded Capitol Wrestling Center venue inside the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, however many other "surprise guests" appeared during, and after the match on Sunday night.

The match saw an appearance by former NXT UK Women's Champion Toni Storm, as well as the culmination of the multiple "mysterious warning" night-vision cryptic vignettes leading up to tonight's show, as Ember Moon was revealed as the person behind them.

It looks like "The Genius of the Sky" Io Shirai already has a crowded line of contenders waiting to be the next to challenge her following her successful title defense over Candice LeRae at the NXT TakeOver 31 special event.

Featured below is a complete recap of the eventful NXT Women's Championship bout, which saw the aforementioned returns of Toni Storm and Ember Moon. The match recap comes courtesy of our exclusive NXT TakeOver 31 report here at Rajah.com.

NXT TAKEOVER 31: Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae (Women's Title)

Out first is Candice LeRae as her entrance theme sounds and LeRae heads down the ramp with her pixie wings on and wearing all black. LeRae enters the ring and begins to remove her coat as her competitor's music sounds and the strobe lights begin. Io Shirai appears at the top of the stage, leans her head back as she walks awkwardly down the ramp throwing her head back and forth, smiling as she circles the ring and rolls under the bottom rope.

The lights return and the bell chimes marking the start of this next match-up for TakeOver 31. Round Standing Switch getting around LeRae. Hip Toss and a Drop Kick by Shirai. LeRae quickly rolls to the outside as the referee begins the count. LeRae looks angered as she returns to the ring. Shirai shoves LeRae into the ropes.

Shirai heads in at LeRae in the corner, LeRae side steps. Monkey Flip by LeRae and Shirai lands on her feet, then heads in for a Kick, LeRae quickly heads to the outside. LeRae on the apron, Shirai slides through trying to take LeRae down with a Sunset Flip, LeRae jumps off the apron and lands on Shirai. Shirai with a Springboard onto LeRae.

Shirai rolls LeRae back into the ring. LeRae gets Stomped and Kicked across the ring by Shirai. Shirai with a Double Foot Stomp followed by both Knees into the shoulder of LeRae. Shirai goes for the cover, LeRae kicks out! LeRae snaps Shirai into the corner. LeRae hits a Backstabber in the corner on Shirai for a nearfall.

Commentary notes that Candice LeRae may have had a slow start due to Johnny Gargano's loss earlier in the evening to Damian Priest as it was the Gargano's goal to walk away from TakeOver 31 as the first married NXT Male and Female Champions. Headscissor TakeDown by Shirai, LeRae hits a Lariat and follows with a cover attempt on Shirai.

LeRae locks in an Armbar, Shirai struggles out and LeRae goes for a cover to no avail. The crowd begins to rally behind Shirai. LeRae lifts Shirai, hitting a Backbreaker and a hook of the leg for a nearfall. LeRae lifts Shirai again and slams her into the corner turnbuckle. LeRae waves and then heads charging in on Shirai.

LeRae talks smack to Shirai, Shirai slaps LeRae who knocks Shirai down to the mat. LeRae drags Shirai from corner to corner slamming her head into the turnbuckles. LeRae smiles.

LeRae connects with a Suplex for a nearfall on Shirai. LeRae hooks the leg again for another nearfall! LeRae looking angry, commentary notes she needs to stay focused on the task at hand. LeRae continues to dictate the pace as she keeps control of the match. LeRae charges in on Shirai who side step. LeRae tries to drop on Shirai who rolls out of the way. Shirai finally able to cause injury to LeRae and slow her down. Shirai with a Shoulder Shove, then another.

Shirai drops LeRae in the center of the ring, LeRae hangs on the ropes as Shirai hits a 619. Shirai off the middle of the top rope for a Missile Dropkick and the cover. LeRae kicks out. LeRae drops Shirai face first on the mat. Senton connects to the lower back of Shirai, Springboard by LeRae who is caught with a leg to the midsection by Shirai. Backbreaker by Shirai who heads up top!

LeRae back to her feet, grabs Shirai off the top for a Powerbomb! Double Knees counter by Shirai. LeRae rolls through for a two count cover on Shirai. Open Palm Thrust followed by a German Suplex. LeRae with a Snap German followed by a Back Stabber. LeRae goes for a cover, Shirai gets the shoulder up at the very last second.

Crossface in the center of the ring on LeRae. LeRae rolls through for a pin attempt, Shirai kicks out. LeRae with the Gargano Hold as Shirai struggles to reach out for the ropes. LeRae uses her weight to keep Shirai away from the bottom rope. Shirai continues to struggle, finally grabbing the bottom rope.

The referee counts one, two, three, Candice throws her arm back and hits the referee. Shirai hits a move on LeRae then climbs to the top rope unaware of what happened and Shirai lands awkwardly and accidentally hits the referee as well. The referee is out. LeRae with a kick to the face. LeRae hits the Wicked Stepsister. LeRae goes for the cover and there's no referee.

Johnny Gargano finishes pulling a referee shirt on and quickly counts, Shirai kicks out at two! Gargano is stunned and angry. Gargano rolls to the outside and grabs the belt saying, "Give it to me, it's hers!" The referee demands the belt. Gargano states he's the referee now. They argue "You get out of here, no you get out of here!" LeRae hits Shirai in the face with the championship belt. Shirai kicks out at two!

Gargano throwing a fit in disbelief on the outside. LeRae doing the same inside. LeRae heads up top. Shirai meets LeRae at the top for a Spanish Fly and a Moonsault. Shirai gets the three count pin and win!!

Winner and STILL NXT Women's Champion: Io Shirai

After the Match

We head into replays, we then return to the ring as Io Shirai stands tall when suddenly on the jumbotron, Tony Storm begins, "Io, Io, good to see you. I just wanted to congratulate you on the impressive victory. Oh, I also wanted to make sure that you and everyone else around here know that Tony Storm is BACK in NXT. And it goes without saying that we will turn the place upside down as it always has, and always will be, Tony Time."

She puts on her sunglasses and Shirai claps for her mockingly as we see a video begin with someone on a motorcycle pulling up to the arena and coming in with their helmet on. The person steps out on to the stage and removes the helmet exposing Ember Moon's return! We head to commercial!

Watch several video highlights above and below of the Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae match for the NXT Women's Championship from the NXT TakeOver 31 show on Sunday, October 4, 2020, as well as footage of the NXT returns of Ember Moon and Toni Storm.

For those who missed Sunday night's WWE NXT special event, check out detailed NXT TakeOver 31 Results From Capitol Wrestling Center In Orlando, FL. (10/4/2020).


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