Highlights are shown of Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon winning the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship.NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon are being interviewed by McKenzie Mitchell. They’re excited to be champions. Robert Stone walks up with Aliyah and Jessi Kamea. They challenge the champions. Blackheart and Moon accept before telling Stone that his suit sucks.
Ember Moon is in the ring with a mic. She thanks everyone for the pop and says she’s surprised they let her talk tonight because it’s been a while. Moon says she’s been in isolation for 14 long, hard months. She’s back now and she sees a lot of things have changed in NXT. Moon took her bike and rode on the long road, for miles and miles and miles, and she found clarity. She found who the real Ember Moon is. She found a thing called Ember’s Law, as corny as it sounds, she says. Ember’s Law says no one can walk over her or tell her what to do, because she’s going to do what she wants to do, because she’s Ember Moon, damn it. She says one thing that is absolutely the same is: mama wants some gold, baby. The music interrupts and out comes NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai.
Moon stares Shirai down as she marches to the ring. Fans chant for Shirai as she takes the mic. Before Shirai can speak, the music interrupts and out comes Rhea Ripley to the stage. Ripley loves Moon’s new attitude and says yeah she does deserve a title shot. Raquel Gonzalez suddenly attacks with Dakota Kai and they drop Ripley on the stage. They continue but Moon runs up and makes the save. Referees and NXT General Manager William Regal rush out to break it up. Regal announces tonight’s main event – Moon and Ripley vs. Kai and Gonzalez. There appears to be a bit of tension between Moon and Ripley.
Ember Moon & Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez
Moon and Kai start off and go back & forth with aggressive offense. Kai kicks Moon and tags in Gonzalez. She charges but Moon counters. Moon avoids a powerbomb and dropkicks Gonzalez in the face. Moon beats Gonzalez down in the middle of the ring but then gets splashed in the corner. Kai tags in and takes Moon down for a 2 count. More back and forth now. Moon with a big dive to take Kai down on the floor. Ripley appears and levels Gonzalez for a pop. Ripley tags in and goes at it with Kai now. Ripley levels Kai with a big boot. Ripley tries to pull Kai back in the ring but Gonzalez charges and kicks her out of the ring with a big boot. We go to a picture-in-picture commercial break.
Back from the break and Gonzalez has Ripley all tied up. She finally fights out with an arm drag. Ripley and Gonzalez trade shots now. Gonzalez ends up dropping Ripley with a big clothesline for a 2 count. Kai comes in and keeps Ripley down for another pin attempt. Kai grounds Ripley and yells at her. Ripley takes Kai down but Kai comes right back with a guillotine attempt as Ripley tries to get free and make a tag.
Ripley finally slams Kai on her face. Moon gets the tag and unloads with a dropkick on Kai. Gonzalez comes but Moon fights her off as well. Moon unloads on both opponents now as the crowd pops. Moon with a big Uranage on Gonzalez. Moon catches Kai with double knees to the face for another close 2 count. Moon sends Kai into the corner but Gonzalez pulls her out of the way when Moon charges in. Kai drops Moon in the corner now. Gonzalez tags in and scoops Moon on her shoulder so Kai can deliver a pump kick to the head. Gonzalez then turns that into a powerslam but Moon kicks out at 2.
More back and forth now. Moon drops her with a big kick to the face. Ripley runs in and tangles with Kai, slamming her face-first into the mat but Kai still kicks out at 2. Gonzalez gets involved once again but she gets sent out. Kai and Ripley tangle. Kai drives Ripley down for another close pin attempt. Ripley with a big kick to Kai, then a right hand to Gonzalez on the apron. Moon tags in and drops Kai with a discus clothesline. Gonzalez breaks the pin up just in time. Gonzalez tries to slam Moon but Ripley assists and helps Moon turn it into a big DDT. Ripley knocks Gonzalez to the floor. Kai kicks Ripley to the floor.
Moon catches Kai with a big powerbomb but it was botched some. Moon goes to the top but Gonzalez decks her to stop the Eclipse. Ripley decks Gonzalez and tries to slam her to the floor from her shoulders, but Kai assists from the ring and Ripley stumbles back over the announce table with Gonzalez on her shoulders. Ripley and Gonzalez are both down on the other side of the announce table. This allows Moon to hit the Eclipse on Kai in the ring, covering for the pin to win.
Winners: Ember Moon & Rhea Ripley
After the match, Moon stands tall as her music hits. Ripley joins her and their arms are raised as we go to replays. Ripley and Holland have a bit of friendly tension but they raise each other’s arms as the crowd cheers them on. NXT goes off the air.
Over one year removed from her last appearance on WWE TV, Ember Moon returned to WWE NXT at TakeOver 31 on Sunday night and immediately made her presence felt by interrupting NXT Women’s champion, Io Shirai.
Moon suffered a ruptured Achilles in the fall of 2019 and had a long road to recovery due to the current conditions. However, she’s finally back and better than before as a member of the NXT roster for the first time in two and a half years.
The former NXT Women’s champion was a big part of the women’s division on the black-and-gold brand from August 2016 through April 2018 when she was called up to the Raw roster. In that time, she had many memorable matches with the likes of Asuka and Shayna Baszler but failed to make as much of an impact on Raw and SmackDown in the years that followed.
Being back at TakeOver 31 was nothing short of a thrilling experience for Moon, especially after going to great lengths to keep it a secret in the weeks leading up to the event.
“I’m still buzzing, man. I’m just super excited and I haven’t stopped smiling,” Moon told Daily DDT in an exclusive interview conducted over the phone on Tuesday. “I would say it’s like the class reunion, but you don’t know anyone there. You’re all excited like, ‘I can’t wait to tell everyone what I did,’ but then you’re like, ‘Oh wait, I don’t know none of y’all. Am I in the wrong year?’ I’m so happy, I’m so excited.” (Aliyah is one of her best friends, surprised when she came back)
Of everyone in NXT, Aliyah was who Moon was most excited to be reunited with backstage on Sunday night. The two came up in WWE’s developmental ranks together and formed a bond in the few years Moon spent there.
That said, not even Aliyah was aware that Moon was back in NXT until she popped up after the NXT Women’s Championship bout between Io Shirai and Candice LeRae. In fact, the decision for her to return to NXT was only made official a few weeks ago, right before the vignettes promoting her comeback started to air on NXT TV.
“I found out I was going back to NXT maybe a couple of weeks ago,” she revealed. “I threw out the feelers in January. It was one of those things where I was like, ‘I don’t know if they want me back, I don’t know how I fit in, I just don’t know.’ I talked to Hunter and asked, ‘How would you feel about me coming back to NXT?’”
During her time away from the squared circle, Moon made multiple appearances on WWE Backstage on FS1 as an analyst. For the role, she was required to consume more wrestling than she ever had before, including watching for potential prospects on WWE’s radar.
It was while she was doing her WWE homework that she fell in love with NXT all over again. She hadn’t been there in years but felt she would be a better fit there than anywhere else in the company once she returned.
“I was like, ‘Man, I’m really digging this NXT vibe right now,’” Moon said. “Raw and SmackDown are doing great, but I’m sitting here thinking, ‘I don’t know if I fit in there anymore.’ I didn’t know if Ember Moon still belonged on Raw and SmackDown. I was looking at NXT and all my friends from the indies were there killing it. Not that any of the other girls weren’t, I’m just saying that when you’ve traveled the road for a hot dog and a handshake, you have a different friendship and admiration for those people than you do with coworkers.”Continue reading Ember Moon talks WWE NXT return: ‘I didn’t know if I still belonged on Raw or SmackDown’