Match Point: NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai vs. Tegan Nox (7/15/20)

Io Shirai vs. Tegan Nox

Match Point is an on-going series at Last Word on Pro Wrestling, where we look at intriguing matchups in indie wrestling and beyond. They may be dream matches, first-time matchups, or hotly anticipated rematches. In this edition of Match Point, we will take a deep dive into the upcoming NXT Women’s Championship match, which will see “The Joshi Judas” Io Shirai defend the title against “Lady Kane” herself, Tegan Nox.

Among the most popular WWE Superstars is NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai. She has been one of WWE’s most talented stars since her signing in 2018. However, it wasn’t until last year when she truly exploded in popularity. Following Shirai’s turn to the dark side in June of 2019, she went on an absolute tear. No longer was she the happy-go-lucky star from Japan with a colorful mask in her possession. From Candice LeRae to Mia Yim and beyond, no one was safe from “The Joshi Judas” of NXT. Despite being a villain on TV, viewers took to her, which only made her that much more popular.

Months after months of hard work ultimately paid off for “The Genius of the Sky” at NXT TakeOver: In Your House. She competed in the triple threat main event against Rhea Ripley and NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. Shirai took no prisoners in her greatest opportunity yet. Fearless and crafty, Shirai was able to come out on top, winning her first NXT Women’s Championship in the process. It might have been a long way to the top, but Shirai was ready to rock as the new face of the NXT women’s scene.

Shirai wasn’t the only NXT Superstar to face her fair share of trials and tribulations. Enter Tegan Nox, whose career in WWE initially seemed snakebit. In late 2017, WWE aired the inaugural Mae Young Classic. It was reported that Nox was scheduled to participate in the tournament; an ACL tear put an end to those plans. Despite this, she trained for a comeback. This led her to the second Mae Young Classic in 2018, which she ended up participating in. However, this would end in heartbreak. Nox made it to the quarterfinals, where she suffered another catastrophic knee injury. It was determined that she tore her ACL, MCL, among other parts of the knee. Nox would later confirm that, had the aforementioned injury not taken place, she would have advanced to the finals.

Following a lengthy period of rehabilitation, Nox made her way back to WWE programming in the fall of 2019. As the months went on, the Wales native became a more prominent fixture in NXT. She went on to form a tag team with Dakota Kai, who was her close friend at the time. They would go on to have a singles feud after their fallout at NXT TakeOver: WarGames. She also enjoyed a brief partnership with Shotzi Blackheart, challenging for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship against Sasha Banks and Bayley. However, it was the top prize in the black and gold brand’s women’s scene – the NXT Women’s Championship – that “The Girl with the Shiniest Wizard” longed for.

Much like with Shirai, it took considerable effort for Nox to reach this point. On night one of NXT The Great American Bash, she was able to defeat LeRae, Kai, and Yim to become the new number one contender. The one known as “Lady Kane” reached the highest point in her WWE career. Given the various setbacks she had experienced, this couldn’t have felt any more gratifying. Finally, in this comeback story, she will have her chance to compete for the NXT Women’s Championship.

Needless to say, becoming the new NXT Women’s Champion won’t be a simple endeavor. This isn’t to take away from the talent and heart of Tegan Nox, as both have been on display for months on end. With that said, Io Shirai has wrestled and defeated many of the best, not just in NXT but the company in general. The same night that Nox became number one contender, Shirai bested Banks in the main event. The WWE resume of “The Joshi Judas” speaks for itself. As detailed in this Match Point, their careers share parallels. Nonetheless, Shirai and Nox will share different goals heading into this highly-anticipated singles match.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. WWE fan? You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network.

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