NXT's Candice LeRae Wins Battle Royal and Will Face Io Shirai at TakeOver

Tonight's NXT kicked off with the big Battle Royal to determine the No. 1 Contender to Io Shirai's NXT Women's Championship, though things got started before the match even started. That's because Candice LeRae attacked Tegan Nox backstage by taking a pipe and then a set of steel stairs to her knee. Once the match actually started Rhea Ripley got rid of two competitors as did Raquel Gonzalez pretty early, and Nox was nowhere to be seen. Once the match was over though it was Candice LeRae who stood tall as the no. 1 contender.

Back to the match at hand, Ripley and Gonzalez continued to clear the ring, including one incredibly impressive one-armed elimination by Gonzalez. Ripley would remove yet another competitor, and at that point, it was Gonzalez's turn to clear someone else off the board.

The ring was looking pretty clear at this point, and Gonzalez almost had Shotzi Blackheart eliminated but she survived. Aliyah almost eliminated Kacy Catanzaro but she managed to keep her feet from hitting the ground and pulled off an amazing acrobatic move to get back in the ring.

Aliyah tried to take Ripley down but she failed, and Ripley then sent her crashing down into Robert Stone. Xia Lee was next to go, followed by Kayden Carter, but then it was time for Ripley and Gonzalez to collide, and that they did. When they finally locked up though they would send each other out of the ring, removing the two biggest threats.

That left Dakota Kai, Hartwell, Blackheart, Catanzaro, and LeRae in the ring, and Catanzaro would eliminate Hartwell. LeRae and Kai would team-up against Catanzaro, sending her out of the ring.

They would then turn to Blackheart, but she would manage to evade them and send Kai out of the ring. It was down to Blackheart and LeRae, and LeRae would get Blackheart over the ropes but she managed to avoid hitting the ground. They ended up on the top turnbuckle, but both managed to stay alive.

Blackheart ran LeRae's face into the turnbuckle but LeRae stayed alive on the steps and was able to throw Blackheart to the ground, sealing the win and the chance to take on Shirai at TakeOver.

You can find the official description for tonight's NXT below.

It's the NXT Takeoff to TakeOver! Tonight's NXT comes to you with major implications for next month's black-and-gold brand showcase, as an opportunity to challenge Finn Bálor for the NXT Championship will be on the line in the first-ever Gauntlet Eliminator Match, while a No. 1 Contender for Io Shirai's NXT Women's Title will be determined in an 11-woman Battle Royal. Elsewhere, Tommaso Ciampa will square off with Jake Atlas. Catch it all tonight at 8/7 C on USA Network!

Here's the lineup:

First Ever Gauntlet Eliminator Match

NXT Women's Championship No. 1 Contender Battle Royal


Jake Atlas vs Tommaso Ciampa

What did you think of the match? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things NXT with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!