Io Shirai Returns, NXT Team Makes TV Debut & Attacks Matt Riddle

Io Shirai Returns, NXT Team Makes TV Debut & Attacks Matt Riddle

Io Shirai made her return to the ring on tonight’s taped WWE NXT episode from the NXT Arena at Full Sail University.

Shirai defeated Aliyah to qualify for the upcoming Women’s Ladder Match that will crown a new #1 contender to NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley, for a future title match after Ripley’s WrestleMania 36 match with Charlotte Flair. The storyline for tonight was that someone attacked Xia Li backstage, preventing her from wrestling Aliyah. It was then announced that Shirai had been cleared to compete, and she was sent to the ring for her return.

Shirai joins Chelsea Green, Tegan Nox and Mia Yim as names confirmed for the six-woman Ladder Match that will air some time during the month of April.

Shirai had been out of action since suffering a leg injury while wrestling Toni Storm on the January 22 NXT TV episode. She was expected to be out of action for a minimum of two months.

Tonight’s NXT episode saw Saurav Gurjar and Rinku Singh make their official TV debut by attacking NXT Tag Team Champion Matt Riddle.

The beatdown came after Riddle won a singles match over Pete Dunne. After the double team, fan-favorite manager Malcolm Blivens came out and taunted Riddle on the mic, saying he thought this was the perfect time to introduce Riddle to the future of the NXT tag team division as his partner Pete Dunne was on the other side of the world.

Singh, a former MLB baseball player known for the Million Dollar Arm story, was signed by WWE in January 2018. He made his in-ring debut in late May 2018. Gurjar, who previously worked for TNA’s Ring Ka King project in India, was also signed by WWE in January 2018. He made his in-ring debut a few months later, teaming with Singh at a live event. The Indian Superstars have been teaming at live events ever since, and are now being managed by Blivens, the former Stokely Hathaway, who was signed by WWE in March 2019 after successful runs in ROH, EVOLVE and MLW. He debuted at a NXT live event in March 2019, and has managed Babatunde Aiyegbusi and Bronson Reed at times.

It looks like Gurjar and Singh will now be feuding with Riddle and Dunne for their NXT Tag Team Titles.


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