For the first time in two-and-a-half years, Ember Moon appeared in NXT as she made a surprise return at TakeOver 31. Moon hasn't been completely absent since then as she was on the main roster for most of the time in between but spent the last year recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon.
However, instead of making her long-awaited return to SmackDown, Moon popped up in NXT where she first made her name. She is a former NXT Women's Champion and she discussed the various vignettes leading up to her return in an interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated.
"When learned I was headed to NXT, the whole motorcycle package was an idea I had after watching an action movie called Hardcore Henry," Moon said. "The NXT creative team is absolutely amazing, and they got this massive set for me. I wanted elements of The Masked Singer so we could have clues to keep people guessing. And they were like, 'Let's do it!' There is a video game I play, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, where there are these two dueling voices and you have to listen closely, and we did something similar for the surprise, which was absolutely amazing."
Due to the Achilles injury which kept her sidelined, Moon hasn't been on WWE TV in quite some time. She showed up after Io Shirai successfully defended her NXT Women's Title against Candice LeRae and Moon discussed the nervous energy she felt before her appearance.
"I was nervous and I wasn't certain how I would be received," said Moon. "I didn't even know Toni Storm was popping up on the monitor right before me. She's stunning in the ring, and I want to wrestle her, too.
"My nerves kept building as I was walking out to the stage. All I could think was, 'Crap, did I even shut the visor to the helmet?' If you look quickly, I grab my helmet and checked. Then I took off the helmet, and it was an outstanding, memorable moment. I think it may have broke the internet for a hot minute. It reminded me that NXT is the place where I'm meant to be. I couldn't ask for a better team to support me, and it was so amazing to be there on the first night of the Capitol Wrestling Center."
Even though fans aren't yet in attendance and TakeOver didn't take place inside WWE Thunderdome, many NXT talents were surrounding the ring and they exploded in jubilation once Moon took off her helmet to reveal herself. Moon and Shirai shared a smile and one could see those two meeting up in an NXT ring which is something that hasn't happened yet.
Moon discussed the landscape of the women's division in NXT as a whole and why she's so excited to be a part of the brand again.
"The NXT women's division is so diverse, and we know the standard that was set by the women who were there before us," Moon stated. "Now we'll see how the new Ember Moon fits into the mix. I'll be showing off myself in a new way for the first time, and I can't wait for people to say, 'Holy crap, I forgot how good Ember Moon is.'
"The landscape has drastically changed in NXT since I was last here. There are going to be a lot of new matchups. Wrestling needs to be fun right now, not just for me but for everyone, and I'm going to bring that in NXT."