New Number One Contender For Rhea Ripley's NXT Women's Championship Crowned

In a Battle Royal last night...

On last night's episode of NXT, 18 women faced off in a Battle Royal to determine the number one contender for Rhea Ripley's NXT Women's Championship.

Before the match even began, those in attendance were in shock as Kacy Catanzaro made her return to a WWE ring. She had not competed on TV since the June 13 episode of NXT. However, her return was somewhat overshadowed when Shayna Baszler's music played and the former champion appeared on the ramp to confirm she would be entering the match.

This completed the field and Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, Catalina, Deonna Purrazzo, Indi Hartwell, Io Shirai, Jessi Kamea, Kacy Catanzaro, Kayden Carter, Mercedes Martinez, Mia Yim, MJ Jenkins, Santana Garrett, Shayna Baszler, Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox, Vanessa Borne and Xia Li fought for the right to be the number one contender.

After 10 minutes of action, the field was whittled down to six superstars as only Mercedes Martinez, Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai, Tegan Nox, Bianca Belair and Shotzi Blackheart remained.

While the other competitors lay prone in the ring, Martinez and Baszler went face to face and threw punches at one another. After grappling on the ropes, Martinez tried to eliminate The Queen Of Spades, but Baszler was able to counter and dumped The Latina Sensation to the floor.

Tegan Nox was the next Superstar to be eliminated as after she scaled the top rope, Dakota Kai ran down to the ring and pulled her former best friend to the outside.

Later, Baszler locked Io Shirai in the Kirifuda Clutch on the apron, but Shotzi Blackheart, who everyone thought had been eliminated, charged into the ring and tossed the former NXT Women's champion over the top rope and out of the match. While Blackheart gloated, Bianca Belair seized her opportunity and threw her to the floor, ending her night early.

This left Io and Belair as the final two competitors. After both Superstars fought back and forth, The EST Of NXT hoisted Shirai onto her shoulders and delivered an almighty K.O.D, sending The Genius Of The Sky flying to the outside, and ending the match.

With that, Bianca Belair was crowned the number one contender for the NXT Women's Championship. She will face either Rhea Ripley or Toni Storm at NXT TakeOver: Portland on February 16.

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Cultaholic's resident newshound.