This week’s episode NXT opened with Candice LeRae and Io Shirai joining forces again post-TakeOver: XXV to take on a couple of Horsewomen, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. However, the match ended with something a little more chaotic than just standard tag team wrestling fare.
Candice LeRae & Io Shirai vs. Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir went to a No Contest
As Mauro Ranallo says on commentary, “It is ‘The Genius of the Sky’ joining forces with ‘Tenacious C’.” Joining forces to “renew hostilities” with Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. Only, they probably didn’t expect for Jessamyn and Marina to be accompanied to the ring by the NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler. Actually, Shayna makes her presence even more felt by staying at the top of the ramp during this entrance and match, away from the action but still, very much a threat looming over Candice and Io’s potential road to victory.
Candice and Jessamyn start things off in the ring, with Jessamyn swinging for and missing a kick immediately that allows her opponent to get a quick roll-up. Only a two-count. Then Candice hits her with a basement dropkick, and Jessamyn rushes to tag in Marina… who gets a dropkick to the back from Candice and also has to deal with her quick flurry of offense to start this match off. Candice soon hits a blockbuster, followed by a jackknife cover, but that only makes for another two-count. After that, Marina exits the ring to regroup, and Jessamyn joins her on the outside.
As does Candice, with a baseball slide to Jessamyn—as Marina is quick to move out of the way). Marina then takes this as an opportunity to approach Candice and toss her back into the ring… only to end up eating a kick from Candice. Candice then throws Marina back in the ring, but it’s her decision to go up to the second rope—and a distraction from Jessamyn—that allows the momentum to shift, as Marina capitalizes on the distraction with a thrust kick to Candice’s midsection.
All as Shayna watches on, stone-faced, not betraying any plan she may or may not have during this match.
After the kick, Marina brings Candice to the Horsewomen corner and tags in Jessamyn, who grounds and pounds their opponent. That involves a couple of kicks to Candice’s back, before tagging Marina back in. Marina chooses to go after Candice’s right arm before returning to working on her back, but Candice begins to fight out. As a result, Marina makes sure she can’t tag in her partner by kicking Io off the apron and down to the outside, then kicking Candice back into the Horsewomen corner, tagging Jessamyn back in.
Jessamyn then stomps a mudhole in Candice in the corner, before hitting her with Muay Thai knees and attempting a cover. Only two. At this point, Io is back on the apron, and the NXT Universe is ready for her to get in that ring and clean house. But Candice just can’t reach for the tag. Being thrown back into her opponents’ corner, Candice finds an opening when she is able to kick a charging Jessamyn in the face and knock Marina off the apron. But to get to her corner, she has to make her way through Jessamyn, and she can’t quite do that. Until she forces Jessamyn to run right into a recovering Marina (and knock her to the outside) and Jessamyn then misses an attempt to get Io to the outside as well. Jessamyn tries to stop Candice again from making her way to Io, but this time, she gets an enzuigiri for her troubles. Then, finally, Candice tags in Io!
Io is on Jesamyn, with a head of steam and the energy of a completely fresh competitor. After hitting a 6-1-9 on Jessamyn, Io’s attempt to follow-up is thwarted by Marina, who grabs her from the outside. But Io kicks her away before hitting a springboard shotgun dropkick on Jessamyn. Then… Well, this was where Shayna watching from the ramp comes in. Io looks over at the champ, before setting Jessamyn’s left arm up for Shayna’s patented Reality Check stomp. Shayna yells from the ramp for Io not to do it—not to “dare” to do it—but guess what? She does it. This is where Shayna finally shows some emotion. And, um, it’s not a happy one. Even if Io wants to taunt her. (She did say she wasn’t finished with Shayna.)
Following up by hitting Jessamyn in the corner with the running double knees, it looks like it’s all over as Io gets to the top rope for the moonsault. But Shayna pulls Jessamyn out of the ring and to safety… so Io hits Shayna with the moonsault to the outside, before stomping her and just going to work on the champ. A finally-recovered Candice then hits the suicide dive to the outside and onto Jessamyn and Marina. It’s pandemonium! Io throws Shayna into the steel steps, and the referee rings the bell, as all five women brawl on the outside.
Candice has to deal with both Jessamyn and Marina fighting back, but she actually seems to get the advantage, right right before NXT officials come to break them up. (Chants of “LET THEM FIGHT” rain down from the NXT Universe.) Io, on the other hand, has a lot of rage fueling her against Shayna, throwing her into the crowd and getting in a lot of licks on the NXT Women’s Champion. But Shayna is eventually able to bide her time before fighting back when there’s an opening.
Later in the show, it was announced that, two weeks from now, Shayna Baszler and Io Shirai will face off for the NXT Women’s Championship… in a Steel Cage match. Let’s see if even the steel cage can contain these two.
You can watch this week’s NXT on the WWE Network.