Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Clash of Champions is on Sunday and it’s the one PPV of the year where all titles must be defended. We know that Bayley will defend the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Nikki Cross. And we know that The Riott Squad are challenging Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. But going into RAW, we still don’t know who will face Asuka for the RAW Women’s Championship.
Zelina Vega def. Mickie James
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax def. Natalya & Lana
Asuka def. Peyton Royce (DQ)
Mia Yim is in RETRIBUTION and so is Mercedes Martinez. Yim took the mic when RETRIBUTION took over the opening segment to this week’s RAW. They’ve apparently been given contracts, although I’m not sure how many of them that applies to because we started with five and ended up with a ring full beating the hell out of The Hurt Business. The three main guys, with weird names (Slapjack, T-Bar, and Mace), had a match against The Hurt Business in the main event, which ended in similar chaos.
It would appear that the weird made-up names are going to stick, and they’re all getting them. Mia Yim’s will be Reckoning. Mercedes Martinez will be known as Retaliation.
I’m pleased they moved Mia Yim across with Keith Lee, but I would have liked to see more of her in NXT. Let’s face it, those names are ridiculous and the RETRIBUTION gimmick is already convoluted and strange. They are there to destroy the company, but signed contracts with the company they’re trying to destroy to make it easier to destroy them. The contract money is apparently also paying for the extra members when they need them. Done properly, it’s a gimmick that could work, but done like this I’m not sure. It’s not looking great.
After her appearance, Mia Yim tweeted, ‘For you, Casey’ in tribute to the late Casey Michael.
Billie Kay interrupted Asuka’s interview and appeared to be angling for a match against Asuka. Peyton Royce interrupted the interrupt and managed to secure the match for herself. Asuka asked them if they were still friends and Billie Kay assured Royce she still had her back, but Peyton Royce’s comment was, ‘Things do change’. I’m getting more and more fearful for Billie Kay. There’s a draft coming up and it might be best if she was split from Royce and given a chance to reinvent herself.
Mickie James vs Zelina Vega – Winner faces Asuka at Clash of Champions
Somehow, the botched finish to Asuka versus Mickie James last week combined with the challenge by Zelina Vega to Asuka after the match to give us this match. It says an awful lot about the RAW women’s division without Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, that a woman who has only had a couple of recent matches (and only because Bianca Belair gave her no choice), and with no standing in the division, is fighting for a title shot.
And not just fighting for the shot, but getting it. It wasn’t the most technically flawless and smooth of matches. Vega’s lack of recent ring work was obvious more than once, but she did have the majority of the control in the match. She sent Mickie James into the ropes to avoid the Mick-DDT and delivered a backstabber for the win.
I like Zelina Vega and think she’s generally pretty good, but something about that result feels off. Vega hasn’t even been fighting in the division, she was managing up to last week. Will it be a good match? Probably, Asuka is in it, but it feels throwaway. They’re putting the match on the Kickoff Show, it’s not even on the main PPV. By rights, that should mean Asuka beats her in seconds, which is just a waste. And the mistreatment of Mickie James is horrendous.
Bianca Belair got a video promo, which was just her following some guy around the gym and beating him at everything. I wish they’d given her that RAW Women’s Championship match. I wish they’d put her on tv every week. She is, without doubt, a future multiple-time champion and I want them to get on with letting her shine. They’re wasting one of the very best they’ve got.
Natalya & Lana vs Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax
The Riott Squad joined commentary for the match. They talked about their upcoming title match for the entire minute and a half the match lasted. Natalya and Lana did great against Nia Jax for the first twenty seconds or so. Then it was all downhill until Lana tapped out in the Kirifuda Clutch.
Jax and Baszler shoved at Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott after the match and Baszler cleared the announce desk but Riott pulled Morgan off Jax’ shoulders and they stepped away before anything could happen. Lana took the Samoan drop through the desk instead.
Mandy Rose is getting ‘Coming Soon’ ads now. I’m interested to see if she’s going to be doing something different when she arrives. The whole Golden Goddess thing is tired and lacks depth.
Asuka vs Peyton Royce, with Billie Kay
I’m massively annoyed by Asuka being put on the Kickoff Show. Can you imagine the WWE or Universal Championships being defended on the Kickoff Show? Whoever is coming up with the storylines for RAW at the moment couldn’t give a single shit about the women’s division and it shows.
Anyway, Peyton Royce was in no way ready for Asuka. She got a couple of pin attempts, but the match didn’t get a finish. Zelina Vega attacked Asuka while she was trying to get Royce in the Asuka Lock, causing the disqualification and handing her the win.
After a kick to the back and a flurry of punches, Vega slapped Asuka. That was a mistake, which Vega realised after a couple of strikes and she escaped before another could land.
The whole thing was around three minutes, and I have no idea why they had Billie Kay accompany Royce to the ring.
Candice LeRae won the Battle Royal
The women opened the show this week, but during her entrance to the match, Candice LeRae was shown attacking Tegan Nox backstage a few minutes before, leaving Nox holding her knee and screaming in pain.
Number One Contender’s Battle Royal
They changed the Battle Royal between announcing it and it happening, possibly to cover the removal of Tegan Nox. Instead of just the announced competitors, they threw in a bunch of newbies, only some of whom have appeared on NXT before. I saw Catalina and Marina Shafir but there were a few I didn’t recognise. They were only given first names in the name check, if they got a name check at all, as Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez competed to see who could get the highest number over the top rope.
It was four eliminations for Rhea Ripley and five for Raquel Gonzalez when we got down to the announced participants.
Kacy Catanzaro got kicked out but landed on her back without her feet touching the floor. She hooked her feet on the bottom rope and pulled herself back in going into a break, but was clinging to the barricades when we came back with Indi Harwell trying to stop her getting back in. Raquel Gonzalez eliminated Kayden Carter while she was trying to help Catanzaro back across, so Carter carried her friend back to the ring on her shoulders before she left.
It would appear the Aliyah and Xia Li were eliminated during the ad break because they just vanished and I never heard them mentioned.
Ripley and Gonzalez eliminated each other and tried to scrap their way out of the arena with officials keeping them apart. Kacey Catanzaro eliminated Indi Hartwell and was eliminated by Dakota Kai with some cooperation from LeRae. Kai was taken out by Shotzi Blackheart.
Down to Candice LeRae and Shotzi Blackheart and it was close. They both went over the top rope to the apron, then ended up on the steps. Blackheart tried to push LeRae off the steps with her foot but LeRae got her feet up and flipped Blackheart to the floor.
Candice LeRae will face Io Shirai at TakeOver on October 4th. Johnny Gargano joined her for her celebrations.
Io Shirai had a backstage interview later in the show with Sarah Schreiber, who took over interview duties for this week. She said she’s never liked Candice LeRae and never will, then got interrupted by LeRae and Gargano. LeRae accused her of hiding away instead of congratulating her because she’s scared and they both got up in Shirai’s face. At that point, Damian Priest, who Gargano had just sneak attacked, arrived and punched Johnny Gargano in the face. Officials moved to separate them and keep LeRae and Shirai from doing more than yelling at each other.
Next week, Dakota Kai faces Shotzi Blackheart to try to get some revenge for Blackheart eliminating her from the match.
Kay Lee Ray def. Piper Niven
Ahead of the title match, both women were shown preparing. Kay Lee Ray was pacing the corridor alone, and Piper Niven was being given a pep talk by Dani Luna and Xia Brookside.
Kay Lee Ray (C) vs Piper Niven – NXT UK Women’s Championship match
Piper Niven and Kay Lee Ray have done this everywhere they’ve gone for years, so there was no way for it to be anything other than good. It was also the main event of the evening. A lot of NXT UK matches have been suffering from the lack of crowd, but this one held its own nicely.
They were brutal with each other. Just after the ad break, Ray could potentially have got a count-out victory on Niven, but broke the count and smashed Niven’s head against the steps. She lined her up against the steps for a knee, but Niven moved and Kay Lee Ray crashed hard into them. She was screaming and clutching her right knee and seemed to be having trouble standing. The ref backed Piper Niven off and called for medics, while Ray screamed at them. Piper Niven collapsed in tears in the corner.
Niven approached Ray as she was being helped out of the arena and said they could do it another day because she didn’t want to win the title like this. Ray slapped her and told her she was never getting her title. Niven slapped her back and threw her into the ring. The ref let it continue while Niven pounded on her then immediately put a submission on the injured knee. Kay Lee Ray got to the ropes, but Niven took the whole five count to let go.
Ray managed to deliver a superkick and get to the top for a Swanton Bomb, but Piper Niven kicked out. Ray kicked out of a senton, but her knee gave out trying to do a superkick. Niven dragged her out of the corner to lock the submission back on and Ray tried so hard to resist she pulled the corner pad off. The ref threw it out instead of putting it back, while Ray kicked her way out of the hold. She couldn’t get Niven up for the Gory Bomb, but got her leg on the ropes after taking a Michinoku Driver.
Kay Lee Ray got her knees up for Piper Niven’s splash but ended up in more pain than Niven. She wouldn’t let the ref stop it, and got out of the way of Niven’s cannonball, which sent Niven crashing into the exposed turnbuckle. While she was writhing in pain, Kay Lee Ray pinned her.
Jinny was watching Kay Lee Ray celebrating from where the crowd would be.
Lacey Evans def. Alexa Bliss (DQ)
The final show before Clash of Champions. Bayley came out for a chat, holding aloft the chair she used to attack Sasha Banks. She didn’t bother to go to the ring, just sat on the chair on the stage. She said she doesn’t have any more time to waste on Sasha Banks because she’s got work to do and a title match to prepare for.
Addressing Nikki Cross saying Sasha Banks not being in Bayley’s corner meant she had a chance this time. Bayley suggested Cross should think more about what she was going to do to her if she did that to her best friend. She’s going to start by slapping the smile of Cross’ face, then she can only imagine what’s going to happen next. She got up and looked at the chair then the camera and said, ‘Right, Sasha’, then walked off.
The mystery glamourous woman got another vignette. She wrote ‘untouchable’ on the mirror in lipstick and took a picture with a polaroid camera. We still can’t see her face. I still think it’s Carmella.
Alexa Bliss vs Lacey Evans
Before the match, Alexa Bliss said Lacey Evans is kind of a lady. She’s the kind who sends food back in a restaurant and asks to speak to the manager. The kind who gives women a bad name.
The match came about as a result of Bliss giving Evans a Sister Abigail after Evans said The Fiend’s name last week. Evans had control for the majority of the match, which was very un-Bliss-like. When Bliss started to get back into it The Fiend’s laugh echoed around the arena and Bliss looked terrified, which is the moment they chose to go for a break.
When we got back, Bliss was lying on the mat and Evans had control again, which was apparently the case through the break as well. Evans kicked Bliss out of the ring, with a huge kick to the face, but Bliss kicked out of the cover when she got back in the ring and that was the start of her comeback. Or it should have been. Bliss was still not quite right and she paused rather than putting Evans away.
While she was lying in the corner, the lights went red and The Fiend’s arrival noise played. That sent Bliss into a frenzy and she got herself disqualified for stomping on Evans and refusing to stop. After the match was over, Bliss delivered another Sister Abigail to Evans at ringside then got back into the ring. The lights went red. The Fiend appeared on the big screen to say, ‘Let me in,’ and Bliss laughed along with him with a wild look on her face.
Bliss crossed Roman Reigns on the ramp. She stopped once she’d passed him and stared at him like she wanted to rip his throat out.
That’s it for another week of WWE women’s division action. Enjoy Join me next week and in the meantime follow @ArnFuriousCom to make sure you never miss a review. You can also follow me @manda_why. Please stay safe.