Candice LeRae is the gift that keeps giving on NXT

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 12: Mae Young Classic contestant Candice LaRae appears on the red carpet of the WWE Mae Young Classic on September 12, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for WWE)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 12: Mae Young Classic contestant Candice LaRae appears on the red carpet of the WWE Mae Young Classic on September 12, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for WWE) /

When it comes to NXT, the Women’s Division has long been a source of pride for the black and gold brand as well as something that sets it apart.

It is stacked with incredibly talented performers who get a lot of time to ply their craft. There are regularly two or three Women’s Division matches per episode. A big part of the current roster is Candice LeRae, yet another indie star who has gone on to find success in NXT.

While she’s always entertaining and skilled in the ring, LeRae has found another gear since turning heel alongside her husband. She has proven herself to be a driving force in the NXT Women’s Division, and one that fans love to hate.

Candice LeRae becomes a seasoned veteran

A lot of casual fans have no idea how long Candice LeRae has been in the business. She actually debuted in 2002. By the time she signed with WWE in 2017, she had already been in the business for 15 years. This makes her a seasoned veteran by anyone’s standards.

During that time, she worked with promotions like Shimmer, NWA, CZW, ROH, and Impact. But Candice was best known for her time in Pro Wrestling Guerilla where she was a mainstay of the roster for a decade.

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LeRae spent a lot of her time in PWG working in intergender matches against the likes of Eddie Kingston, Roderick Strong, Cesaro, Adam Cole, Tommaso Ciampa, Chuck Taylor, John Morrison, and even her future husband, Johnny Gargano. It was impossible to deny her talent.

Candice LeRae built a name for herself as a talented wrestler who delivered big every time she was in the ring throughout those years. That reputation led her to WWE and the NXT roster where her legend has grown.

Candice LeRae and NXT

LeRae’s first major impact in NXT was as part of the inaugural Mae Young Classic tournament in 2017. She would defeat Renee Michelle and Nichole Savoy before being eliminated by Shayna Baszler. After that, WWE signed her to an NXT contract in 2018.

Over the next year, Candice LeRae worked to find her footing on a promotion with a deep and talented Women’s Division. Most of her storylines centered around Johnny Gargano, though she did still manage to sneak some excellent matches in there.

A big moment for LeRae was participating in the 2019 Women’s Royal Rumble match, which is a favorite of many wrestlers. She would go on to then be part of the 2019 Women’s Battle Royale on the WrestleMania 35 Pre-Show.

While Candice LeRae didn’t struggle as such, she did have problems finding her niche. But she had been working as a face the entire time, and a change was needed. In April 2020, she followed her husband and turned heel.

Candice LeRae leads The Way

Gargano and LeRae’s heel turn was unexpected but it worked for them. It played a part in Gargano becoming the North American champion as well as LeRae becoming one-half of the current NXT Women’s Tag Team champions alongside Indi Hartwell. Austin Theory is also part of the group.

The Way has become a highlight of NXT each and every week, due in no small part to the ongoing antics of Candice LeRae. Her non-stop attempts to manipulate Indi’s love life as well as her reactions to the shenanigans of her teammates make the whole thing work.

She sometimes has the bearing of the haggard den mother of the group, the only one who takes what they’re doing seriously and takes the brunt of the punishment. LeRae can sell an angle with a simple look, and does it will brilliance every week.

On top of that, LeRae’s in-ring work continues to get better and better. She is low key one of the most talented wrestlers on the roster, regardless of the division. Candice LeRae is a versatile wrestler who can go from a solo street fight to tag team championship without missing a beat.

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Seeing Candice LeRae with a championship around her waist seems right. But it’s worth mentioning that she has yet to hold singles gold in the company. Given how well LeRae is doing these days, it might be time to put her on top of the Women’s Division.