Shotzi’s Army: Io Shirai Rounds Out Team Blackheart

Team Blackheart
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Last week on NXT Candice LeRae’s  TakeOver War Games team assembled with a vengeance. No one was safe in her quest to prove herself, and her team, a force to be reckoned with, as they attacked Rhea Ripley, Ember Moon, and Io Shirai to prove themselves. However, it is Team Blackheart that enters War Games with the advantage after Shotzi’s victory in a ladder match with Raquel Gonzalez on the December 2 episode. Shotzi’s team also boasts an impressive fourth member, as reigning WWE NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai was added to the Blackheart squad and helped her captain score the win.

With their teams looking on, Gonzalez and Blackheart each took the ring, Shotzi without her trademark tank due to LeRae. Gonzalez started her campaign of domination against Shotzi’s lithe, limber frame, bending, twisting, lifting ant throwing the energetic Blackheart. While lacking the mass and height to physically equal Gonzalez, Shotzi is never lacking in moxie. She turned to quicksilver wiliness as an offense to evade Gonzalez or unbalance her when she could. When that failed, Shotzi resiliently clung for dear life to Gonzalez’s back, legs around her waist, arms around her neck, trying to bring one fourth of Team Le Rae into submission. Shotzi brought one of the ladders into play, directing it at Gonzalez, and the two athletes ended up in a tug of war for it that did not end in Shotzi’s favor, with her splayed in the ring.

Indi Hartwell saw an advantage, and used one of the ladders to lower herself and the rest of Team LeRae (Toni Storm and captain Candice) from the viewing platform and into the action. It was clear that they intended to interfere in Gonzalez’s favor, and secure a victory while Shotzi was down.

However, Team Blackheart was having none of it. Ember Moon and Rhea Ripley also scrambled down to ringside, and the two War Games teams skirmished outside the ring. When it seemed that Team LeRae was set to dominate as they had done the previous week, Io Shirai entered the fray.

Last week, Shirai was surprise attacked and rendered unconscious by Team LeRae and presented like the spoils of war as they confronted Ripley. This week she was ready for vindication. She acrobatically overwhelmed Gonzalez, and then proved why she is called the Genius of the Sky by mounting the turnbuckle and taking flight, into a dive bomb that wiped out both teams. Teams LeRae and Blackheart lay supine from Shirai’s impact, Shotzi recovered, fighting the pain as she willed herself up the rope, to retrieve the briefcase. She retrieved it, and secured the victory. Team Blackheart is heading to War Games with a fresh win.

They can also boast of the reigning  NXT Women’s Champion added to their roster, joining her longstanding rival, the towering Rhea Ripley, a reinvigorated Ember Moon, and Shotzi Blackheart, who has heart, grit, and a quest to make Candice LeRae pay. With a secret weapon like Shirai now revealed, Team Blackheart looks primed to take the day at War Games.

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. Be sure to catch all of the NXT action via the WWE Network. Looking to talk wrestling, pro football, or any number of sports? Head on over to the LWOS Boards to engage in conversation with fellow fans!