Io Shirai managed to defeat Candice LeRae at NXT TakeOver 31, but she couldn’t celebrate for long as the NXT women’s division saw the return of two former champions.

NXT Women's Championship Match

Io Shirai (c) vs Candice LeRae

They run the ropes before Io drops Candice repeatedly and sends her out of the ring before hitting an arm drag once Candice is back inside. Io lands on her feet when Candice goes for a monkey flip before Candice counters a powerbomb off of the apron. Io hits an asai moonsault and tosses Candice back inside for two before stomping her in the corner. Candice hits a back stabber for two and follows up with a rear chin lock before snapping Io's neck. Candice hits a neck breaker for two before mocking Io and beating her down and smashing her face into the top turnbuckle. Io comes back with forearms and a 619 into a springboard dropkick for two before Candice misses a springboard moonsault. Candice powerbombs Io off of the top for a near fall. Io hits a Shotei into a German suplex before Candice hits a snap German suplex into a back stabber and a springboard moonsault for a near fall. Io locks in a cross face that Candice counters into a pin attempt for two before locking in the Gargano Escape. Io gets to the bottom rope for the break before Candice inadvertently hits the referee and Io hits an air raid crash. Candice gets her knees up when Io goes for a moonsault which launches Io into the referee who falls out of the ring. Candice gets a near fall off of a fast count when Johnny Gargano comes out in a referee shirt and the referee recovers. The referee makes Johnny leave and Candice hits Io with the title belt for a very close near fall. Io then hits a Spanish fly off of the top into a moonsault for the pin and the win.

Winner: Io Shirai retains her NXT Women's Championship by defeating Candice LeRae via pinfall.

After the match, Toni Storm shows up on the big screen and congratulates Io before telling her that she's back and setting her sights on the title. We then get a video package for the mysterious motorcyclist with Io still in the ring before the person comes out into the stage. The motorcyclist then takes off her helmet and reveals herself to be Ember Moon as we go to commercial.

For Moon, this is her first time in NXT in over two years as she debuted on Monday Night Raw on the raw after WrestleMania 34. Her time on the main roster would see her appear in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match, receive a Smackdown Women's Championship match at SummerSlam 2019, and appear in Royal Rumbles. She has been on the shelf for over a year with an ankle injury and was omitted from the 2019 draft pool.

As for Toni Storm, the former NXT Women's Champion was a part of NXT during the build to last year's WWE Survivor Series and is now returning to the brand on a full-time basis.

On Twitter, Triple H tweeted his excitement for the future of the women's division on NXT.

Keep up with everything happening on NXT TakeOver 31 with Fightful's ongoing coverage. Also, check out the post-show podcast for a full recap of all the action.

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