Io Shirai Beats Storm, Martinez; Retains NXT Women's Title at TakeOver

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2021

Credit: WWE.com

Io Shirai beat both Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez in a Triple Threat match at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day on Sunday to retain the NXT Women's Championship.

Storm tried to put Martinez away with a flying headbutt from the top rope. As she was covering Martinez, though, Shirai came off the top with a moonsault to damage both Martinez and Storm before getting the pinfall on Martinez.


The #EvilGeniusOfTheSky's historic reign isn't done yet. @shirai_io defeats @RealMMartinez & #ToniStorm at #NXTTakeOver: Vengeance Day! #AndStill https://t.co/GcTsMwHz1g

In general, the champion lived up to her reputation as one of the preeminent aerial threats in NXT.


.@RealMMartinez's (Tree of) Woe, is @shirai_io gain. #NXTTakeOver https://t.co/OC9nWcSQLd


Is @shirai_io afraid of heights? What do you think. #NXTTakeOver @RealMMartinez https://t.co/weOUaHpF1j

Since retaining the NXT Women's title over Rhea Ripley in November and then competing in WarGames in December, Shirai has seemingly been public enemy No. 1 in NXT with multiple women attempting to take the title from her.

Storm was the first to truly step up and announce her intention to become NXT Women's champion, which led to a brawl between her and Shirai backstage.

Shortly thereafter, Martinez made a surprise return to NXT and brutally attacked The Joshi Judas, which was her way of throwing her hat into the ring, as well.

With Storm and Martinez sharing a common goal, they formed a bond of sorts and entered into the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic as a team. With a first-round matchup against Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter, Storm and Martinez were heavy favorites to advance.

Shirai threw things out of whack, however, by interfering in the match, which allowed Catanzaro and Martinez to pull off the upset.

On a subsequent episode of NXT, Shirai found herself in a brawl with Storm and Martinez, but things took an unexpected turn when Storm and Martinez got physical with each other, proving they weren't 100 percent on the same page.

That scuffle meant all three women entered TakeOver having issues with each other, although there was still some expectation that Storm and Martinez would work together at times to take out Shirai.

Because of that potential dynamic, Shirai's title reign was very much in jeopardy despite the fact that she was largely dominant in her 250 days as champion entering the pay-per-view.

Shirai was ultimately able to overcome the numbers game and retain the NXT Women's Championship, meaning she may now be on a collision course with Raquel Gonzalez.


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