Going into NXT Takeover 31, the anticipation for a mystery returning champion was an exciting enough prospect – leading to Ember Moon’s NXT return – but what many weren’t expecting was a second, completely unannounced, return to take place at the pay-per view in the form of Toni Storm.
Following a successful defence of her NXT Women’s Championship over Candice LeRae, Io Shirai was confronted by former NXT UK Women’s Champion Toni Storm. Storm appeared on the titantron behind the ring and announced that she would be permanently moving to the US-version of the black-and-gold brand following Takeover.
Storm has been missing from WWE for the majority of the year, last appearing in-ring when she entered this year’s Women’s Royal Rumble at #20 – lasting till the final five before being eliminated by Shayna Baszler. Storm appeared a few times on NXT UK following this, but would not compete on-screen again before the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the brand to go on-hiatus.
10. 04. 20.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) October 5, 2020
The surprises didn’t end there though, as we then saw the familiar night vision-esque green of the mystery champion’s vignettes. The motorbike gear-clad figure drove to the Performance Center and entered the building, before making their way to the entrance ramp. They then took off their helmet to reveal their identity: Ember Moon, the former NXT Women’s Champion.
Moon stared down Shirai before the screen quickly faded to black. Similar to Storm, Moon has also been missing from WWE for a while – over a year in her case, losing to Lacey Evans in September 2019 before being sidelined with an Achilles injury.
Ember Moon and Toni Storm’s debuts weren’t the only highlights of NXT Takeover 31: Finn Balor successfully defended his NXT Championship in a brutal showdown with Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Kushida finally exacted his revenge on the Velveteen Dream.
Keep an eye right here at Inside The Ropes for all the news and fallout from NXT Takeover 31.