Zoey Stark returns to NXT and becomes new #1 contender

Jul 19, 2022 - by Marc Middleton

Zoey Stark is the new #1 contender to WWE NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose.

Tonight’s 20-Woman Battle Royal main event saw Stark make her surprise return from being injured. She ended up winning the Battle Royal to earn a future title shot from Rose.

Stark was not advertised for the match ahead of time. The other participants were all advertised before the show began, and while Sarray was among the names announced earlier this week, she did not wrestle in the match. Sarray was not mentioned on the show, and has not wrestled since teaming with Andre Chase for a win over Grayson Waller and Tiffany Stratton on the May 10 NXT show.

Tonight’s Battle Royal main event featured Stark, Stratton, NXT Women’s Tag Team Champion Cora Jade, Yulisa Leon, Sloane Jacobs, Lash Legend, Tatum Paxley, Elektra Lopez, Arianna Grace, Valentina Feroz, Kiana James, Wendy Choo, Amari Miller, Fallon Henley, Indi Hartwell, Alba Fyre, Nikkita Lyons, Katana Chance, Kayden Carter, and Ivy Nile.

The match began with Jade being insulted by the other 19 participants, which led to her walking out. Nile attacked Jade at ringside, and chased her away to the back. The match came down to Stark, Stratton, James and Lyons in the ring. Stratton ended up eliminating James and then Lyons. Stark and Stratton then went at it until Stark knocked Stratton off the apron for the elimination. Stark began to celebrate her win until Jade rushed back into the ring out of nowhere, and got riled up as she waited for Stark to turn back around. Jade charged Stark but Stark launched her over the top rope with a big back-drop for the final elimination.

Before tonight, Stark had not wrestled since she and Io Shirai dropped the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles to former champions Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne at NXT Halloween Havoc on October 26 of last year, in a Triple Threat Ladder Match that also included Hartwell and Persia Pirotta. She was written out of the storylines the following week with a backstage attack. It was later announced that Stark suffered a torn ACL/meniscus. She underwent surgery in early November, and almost immediately went to work on her rehab and recovery. It was just reported in late June that Stark was expected to return relatively soon, and now she is back.

There’s no word yet on when Stark vs. Rose will take place, but we will keep you updated.

Below are related shots from tonight’s NXT main event:

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