Io Shirai def. Candice LeRae, Chelsea Green, Mia Yim, Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai in an NXT Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Ladder Match
As seen at Night 1 of WrestleMania 36, Ladder matches simply aren't the same inside of an empty building. That said, this was a great match with all six ladies putting in an excellent effort. Raul Mendoza and Robert Stone attempted to interfere at various points but were thwarted. I love the callbacks to what Kai did to LeRae, Nox and Yim as well as the feud from last year between LeRae and Shirai. I'm curious if Shirai was always the plan to win and if that was decided upon before Charlotte Flair captured the NXT Women's Championship on Sunday. Don't get me wrong, Flair vs. Shirai should be amazing and I'm looking forward to it, but the heel vs. heel dynamic will be strange.
Indus Sher def. Ever-Rise
Ever-Rise recently appeared on Main Event in a match against The O.C., but it's been a while since they last appeared on NXT TV. They're a talented team, but they were here to play the enhancement role for the debuting Indus Sher. They remind a lot of AOP when they showed up with Paul Ellering four years ago as they're dominant in the ring and have potential. This should have been more one-sided in their favor, but that didn't bother me much. Malcom Bivens is an odd fit for them, but hopefully his above-average mic skills will bring them success.
Johnny Gargano def. Tommaso Ciampa
I thought Gargano and Ciampa would be fighting in a warehouse somewhere when this was announced two weeks ago, not a random building near/at the Performance Center. That said, I enjoyed this and thought they made good use of the stipulation. .. Gargano revealing LeRae handed him a cup and that he was wearing it when she kicked him in the nuts was one of the best payoffs in recent wrestling history. Not just to their storyline, but also to the trope that wrestlers never wear cups (I'm looking at you, Brock Lesnar). In all seriousness, I can understand why viewers would want a clean finish to their feud as opposed to what they did, but at least it cemented LeRae as a heel along with her husband. In case you missed it, Killer Kross and Scarlett Bordeaux could be seen sitting in a car together as Gargano and LeRae drove off.
Interestingly enough, the only thing advertised for next week was the beginning of the Interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship Tournament, though I believe WWE is planning on taping the next few weeks of TV this weekend through next Thursday. Because this was a two-match show, the rest of the first hour was filled with highlights of Flair vs. Rhea Ripley from WrestleMania, Finn Balor vs. Alexander Wolfe from NXT UK, a promo from Balor addressing WALTER, and the Indus Sher squash. I thought both bouts delivered and were TakeOver-worthy. Of course, it would have been better with a crowd there to appreciate all the action, but as I've been saying a lot lately, they made the most of a bad situation and produced a fun show.
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