NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler def. Io Shirai
Io Shirai refused to let the intimidating tactics of NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler make her another victim in a growing trail of destruction. Despite being on the receiving end of a decisive Kirifuda Clutch that forced her to tap, Shirai left Bridgeport with the last laugh and a lasting impression.
The tumultuous matchup saw Baszler unload her ruthless game plan to near perfection, but Shirai refused to back down. Taking on a more aggressive approach than she did during any of her previous battles under the black-and-gold banner, The Genius of the Sky sought to fight fire with fire. Despite enduring tremendous punishment, including Baszler’s attempt at tenderizing her left arm, Shirai continued to swing away. Launching aerial attacks at the champion, from a springboard dropkick to an Asai Moonsault outside of the ring, The Genius of the Sky took her game to an unprecedented level of physicality.
When Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir emerged to put a stop to Shirai’s attack, a Kendo stick-swinging Candice LeRae came clubbing away and put a destructive halt to their plan, brutalizing each of them with the unforgiving weapon. Back in the ring, the distraction played to Baszler’s advantage. After avoiding a moonsault and rollup attempt by Shirai, Baszler locked in an excruciating Kirifuda Clutch. Shirai did everything she could to escape the deadly hold, from attempting to thrash her way out of it to coming inches away from grabbing the bottom rope, but she had no choice but to tap when she was seemingly seconds from passing out.
Instead of returning to the locker room, Shirai cut Baszler's celebration short by attacking the champion with the Kendo stick LeRae left lying around and a moonsault. And because that wasn’t enough, considering all the beatdowns she endured from Baszler and her henchwomen en route to TakeOver: XXV, Shirai strapped herself with a steel chair and dove into the sky to flatten The Queen of Spades with another sternum-crushing moonsault.
While Baszler won the battle, this war appears to be far from over.