Io Shirai Beats Rhea Ripley, Charlotte Flair; Wins NXT Women's Title at TakeOver

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2020

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Io Shirai defeated Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley in a Triple Threat match at NXT TakeOver: In Your House on Sunday to win the NXT Women's Championship for the first time in her career.

Flair had Ripley in the Figure Four Leg Lock and was bridging up to increase the pressure on Ripley's legs. However, that provided Shirai an opportunity to capitalize.

Shirai delivered a moonsault to Ripley, and Flair was unable to release her hold fast enough to break up the pinfall.

The road to Sunday's match began when Flair won the Royal Rumble and was then challenged to a WrestleMania match by Ripley, who was the NXT Women's champion at the time. Flair beat Ripley for the title in a hard-fought bout, and The Queen was once again part of the NXT roster.

Just prior to Flair winning the NXT Women's title for the second time in her career, Shirai won a ladder match to become the No. 1 contender for the championship. That led to a title match between them on a recent edition of NXT TV.

With Shirai giving her all she could handle, Flair hit her with a kendo stick and intentionally got herself disqualified. Flair attacked Shirai after the bell sounded, but Ripley ran down to make the save and prevent Shirai from absorbing further damage.

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That was Ripley's first television appearance since losing to Flair at WrestleMania, and it was clear that she and The Queen still had some bad blood. While Ripley was trying to do the right thing, Shirai took exception to it, and a match between Ripley and Shirai was booked for NXT.

The back-and-forth affair was interrupted by Flair, who attacked both women and left them laying to close the show. With all three Superstars desperately wanting to prove they were the class of the NXT Women's division, a Triple Threat title match between them was booked for TakeOver: In Your House.

While the In Your House card was stacked from top to bottom, there was perhaps more excitement surrounding the Triple Threat than any other match on the card. Flair, Ripley and Shirai are clearly three of the best female wrestlers in the world, and they all wanted to shine under the spotlight on Sunday.

There have been some memorable women's matches throughout the history of NXT, and based on the star power involved in Sunday's match, it had the potential to exceed any of them.

Flair is already the most accomplished female Superstar in WWE history, and she entered TakeOver: In Your House with the goal of maintaining her dominance over the NXT Women's division.

On the other side of the coin, Ripley had revenge on her mind and the desire to reclaim the NXT Women's Championship, while Shirai wanted to become NXT Women's champion for the first time.

Shirai prevailed and finally became the face of the NXT women's division, which may set the stage for a singles feud between Io and Rhea with Charlotte moving back to Raw on a full-time basis.

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