Shayna Baszler def. Ember Moon to become the new NXT Women’s Champion

Shayna Baszler def. Ember Moon to become the new NXT Women’s Champion

The sun finally set on Ember Moon’s hard-won reign as NXT Women’s Champion in New Orleans, leaving Shayna Baszler to hoist the prestigious title at the end of a grueling slugfest between two of NXT’s bitterest rivals.

Baszler’s trek to the title was, in many ways, as arduous as Moon’s, though marked by a ferocity that the vanquished champion had largely managed to abstain from. Moon seemed to have learned her lesson, however, when their latest match began; she took the fight to Baszler almost immediately and even tried to lock in some submissions on the noted grappler. When The Queen of Spades answered in kind — a Kirifuda Clutch left Ember out on her feet — Moon used Baszler’s own secret weapon against her, administering the same excruciating elbow stomp Baszler had punished her with in the past.

Baszler, however, would not be denied a second time. The Queen of Spades served as her own field medic, popping her shoulder joint back into place by charging the turnbuckle and setting out with the goal of Kirifuda Clutch or bust. Moon turned to her own ace in the hole — the Eclipse — twice, with wildly different results. The first attempt hit its mark, though it was outside the ring and therefore didn’t lead to a pinfall. The second one was thwarted in unprecedented fashion, as Baszler countered it into a Kirifuda Clutch that she modified by grabbing her own head to compensate for the injured arm.

Moon, to her credit, did not go quietly into the goodnight, fighting to the very last breath in her lungs. She even made it close enough to the rope to tag it with her toe (not enough to break the hold) and attempted a last-ditch defensive pin (only good enough for a one-count) before she finally succumbed to the hold and lost consciousness, leaving Baszler to celebrate with longtime friends Ronda Rousey and Jessamyn Duke at ringside. When Ember finally came to, she was watching Baszler walk up the ramp with title in hand, proclaiming her supremacy to the world. With the display that had preceded it, it was a difficult boast to dispute.

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