Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. We kick off this week with night two of the WrestleMania that was too big for just one night, which turned out to be the start of a pretty busy week for WWE’s women.
WrestleMania – Night Two
Liv Morgan def. Natalya
Charlotte Flair def. Rhea Ripley
Bayley def. Lacey Evans, Sasha Banks, Naomi, and Tamina
Natalya vs Liv Morgan – Kickoff Show
The lack of fans and the Performance Center setting means there is even less difference between the Kickoff Show and the main show matches than usual. Liv Morgan needs to start raising her stock as a singles competitor, and that is essentially Natalya’s function now. It was a decent enough match, not overly long, and Morgan picked up the win after exchanging roll-ups.
Rhea Ripley (C) vs Charlotte Flair – NXT Women’s Championship match
I was really disappointed they opened night two with this. And I wasn’t a fan of Ripley’s blue and white WrestleMania gear, but social media seemed to get whatever (presumably anime) reference I missed and liked it. After the first night matches, my expectations were lowered. This match exceeded them although I can’t help wondering what it could have been in front of eighty thousand enthusiastic fans with all the glitz and glamour of a proper WrestleMania. It was still one of the best matches of the show.
Flair worked Ripley’s left leg throughout the match, causing enough damage that the ref threatened to stop the match. Ripley fought back, but slamming Flair face-first into the mat only gave her the opportunity to roll around on the canvas screaming and holding her knee. Flair got back up and went straight back to the leg.
Ripley had a decent chance of a submission with her standing cloverleaf, but Flair got to the ropes. Flair tried and failed to tap Ripley out with a Boston crab. The pin attempts were numerous but not overdone, and not overwhelmingly in favour of one or the other. Ripley tried to superplex Flair from the top turnbuckle but got thrown to the mat on her face. Flair tried to follow up with a moonsault but Ripley got her legs up. Rhea Ripley kicked out from a spear.
In the end, Charlotte Flair locked on the figure four and Ripley was unable to make her break the hold or stop her bridging into the Figure Eight. Rhea Ripley tapped out and Charlotte Flair is the new NXT Women’s Champion.
Bayley and Sasha Banks had a backstage interview ahead of the Five-way Elimination Match. Bayley used the time to talk about how unfair it was to have to defend her title that way. She got cross about being asked how it would be to have to face Sasha Banks as part of the match but insisted they were a united front. After Bayley left, Kayla Braxton pointed out that Sasha Banks has never been SmackDown Women’s Champion and asked how much she wanted the title. Banks just said everyone would have to wait and see.
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville started their feud at WrestleMania. On last week’s SmackDown Rose found out Sonya Deville and Dolph Ziggler had conspired to make Otis stand her up by changing the time of their date, and she’d been manipulated into dating Ziggler. It is still not completely clear what Deville got from the arrangement, but she clearly didn’t want to see Rose and Otis together. She walked away from them when she found out and a backstage segment revealed she hadn’t been in touch since. Towards the end of Otis and Ziggler’s match, Mandy Rose did a run-in. She slapped Deville and punched her a few times, and low-blowed Dolph Ziggler to give Otis the win, then she left in Otis’s arms.
At the end of Street Profits vs Angel Garza & Austin Theory, which Street Profits won to retain the RAW tag titles, Theory and Garza attacked Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins and held Ford while Vega kicked him in the face. Bianca Belair ran down to rescue her husband and left Vega laid out in the ring after a beatdown ending in a K.O.D.. The segment finished with Belair on Ford and Dawkins’ shoulders.
Bayley (C) vs Sasha Banks vs Lacey Evans vs Tamina vs Naomi – SmackDown Women’s Championship Five-way Elimination Match
Bayley looked extremely nervous as she made her way to the ring, but there was an arrogant smile when she held the title up. Tamina was the immediate target for all four of the other competitors. Bayley and Sasha Banks were working together, and there was a loose alliance of convenience between. Lacey Evans and Naomi which lasted until they were alone in the ring together.
There was a brief reunion of Team BAD, which lasted one fistbump and a yelled ‘Unity’ before Tamina superkicked Banks, Naomi countered her attempt to plant her though and caught Tamina with a stunner. Tamina was the first elimination, when everyone piled on top of her after also she took a moonsault from Lacey Evans, a 619 from Sasha Banks, an elbow drop from the top from Bayley, a frogsplash from Banks, and top rope moonsaults from Evans and Naomi. They did a good job of making her look almost unstoppable.
Naomi was eliminated next, courtesy of a Bank Statement, then it was Banks and Bayley against a clearly struggling Lacey Evans. Banks had Evans in the corner, holding her there for a knee to the head from Bayley. Evans moved, so Banks took the knee instead and fell to the outside apparently unconscious.
When she came back, while Bayley was trying beating on Evans, she accused Bayley of doing it deliberately. They argued until they were interrupted by Evans. Bayley tried to protect Banks by pushing her out of the way, then shoved Evans as she went for the Woman’s Right. The push sent her back towards Banks and Sasha Banks took a Woman’s Right and was pinned. Thus, we were deprived of Banks versus Bayley for now, but perhaps set it up for later.
Down to one on one, and Lacey Evans looked like she was getting the upper hand until Bayley drover her shoulder-first into the post. It didn’t get Bayley the win so she tried tying Evans’ right arm to the turnbuckle to disadvantage her, but Evans still kicked her away. When she got free, she took charge again.
Bayley kicked out of Evans’ moonsault from the top. Before she could regroup and get the Woman’s Right ready, Sasha Banks reappeared and gave her a backstabber. Bayley got the pin then Banks put the title belt around her waist and raised her arm. They had an exchange then Banks left the ring to the champ. This is far from over. There was a look on Banks’ face before she put the belt around Bayley’s waist.
Asuka def. Liv Morgan
Bianca Belair & Street Profits def. Zelina Vega, Angel Garza, & Austin Theory
Nia Jax def. Deonna Purrazzo
Asuka vs Liv Morgan
This was one of the rare episodes of RAW which kicked off with a match instead of a lot of talking. Liv Morgan is still in the process of building her singles character. She had the ill-advised and odd stuff with Lana, and the brief but explosive interactions with her former Riott Squad teammates, now it’s time to establish herself. She was fresh off her win over Natalya and looking to add an even bigger name to her list.
Realistically, it would have been a huge upset if that had happened, but she gave it a good shot. Asuka dominated the majority of the match but Morgan had a few spirited comebacks and a couple of credible-looking opportunities, she even tried to use Becky Lynch’s flip out of a submission into a cover to try to get out of the Asuka Lock. It worked to make Asuka let go, but the respite was temporary and she tapped out the next time the hold was applied.
Becky Lynch has had the RAW Women’s Championship an entire year. She revealed that in her post-match interview with Charly Caruso after WrestleMania, which we saw on RAW (she was a day short at the time). Talking about the match, Lynch complimented Shayna Baszler’s skillset, saying it may be unmatched in WWE. She never underestimated Baszler, but she thinks Baszler underestimated her. It was skill against heart, and she had the heart. Caruso asked what was next and Lynch basically offered Baszler a rematch.
Shayna Baszler got a short promo in response. She repeated, ‘The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat’, then said Lynch got the thrill of victory and will feel the agony of Baszler’s defeat.
Street Profits had a WrestleMania rematch against Angel Garza & Austin Theory. Bianca Belair didn’t accompany them to the ring, but she turned up after Zelina Vega caused the disqualification by grabbing Montez Ford’s leg, then had Angel Garza hold him still and kicked him in the face, an exact repeat of her behaviour twenty-four hours before.
Belair dropped Vega, Dawkins and Ford cleared Garza and Theory from the ring, and she grabbed a mic. She told Vega ‘I go here now. Bianca Belair, the EST of NXT is the EST of WWE’, then she challenged Vega to a match, which started after a break.
Bianca Belair vs Zelina Vega
I really enjoyed what there was of this. Zelina Vega is a great manager, but she should be in the ring more often. She’s fast and sneaky and extremely athletic. Bianca Belair is also all those things, and considerably bigger and stronger. Vega and Belair had some good chemistry, so she was a good choice for a debut opponent. Montez Ford was the sweetest and most vocal cheerleader on the outside.
The match was thrown out when Ford and Austin Theory ended up brawling in the ring after Theory interfered. Ford wasn’t prepared to let his wife’s debut end like that and proposed a six-person mixed tag. One ad break later, that’s what we got.
Street Profits & Bianca Belair vs Angel Garza, Austin Theory, & Zelina Vega
Montez Ford took the majority of the punishment in the match but things came to a head after Bianca Belair tagged in. Belair kicked Theory in the head with a handstand against the ropes then tried to pin Vega. Garza put his hands on Belair to drag her off the pin and Ford scrambled across the ring to get to him. Theory was waiting for Ford and superkicked him in the face, only to get levelled by Dawkins. Angelo Dawson chased Angel Garza backstage. Bianca Belair got the decisive victory she was denied in her one on one match, pinning Zelina Vega with the K.O.D.
Considering the current circumstances, it wasn’t a bad debut for Bianca Belair. She came in with purpose and personality and got a win under her belt straight away. She’s been ready for a new challenge for a while, she spent too long being the nearly woman in NXT, always there or thereabouts, but never quite hitting the top spot. It’s a shame because she embodies the spirit and message of NXT, inventing herself from the ground up and going from green as green can be, to potential top superstar material. Hopefully, her career will take off now she’s on RAW.
Nia Jax vs Deonna Purrazzo
Nia Jax’ return was one of the RAW after WrestleMania surprises. She’s been out for a year for double knee surgery. Always good to see Deonna Purrazzo, but the next step has got to be her picking up a handful of wins. Nia Jax’ first match back was not going to be her time though. It wasn’t a long thing and Purrazzo didn’t get much of a chance to put up a fight before Jax finished her with a Samoan Drop and an entirely superfluous DDT.
In her post WrestleMania match interview, shown after a recap of the match, Charlotte Flair said it’s not the title that makes the woman, it’s the woman who makes the title. She’s been RAW and SmackDown Women’s Champion, she retired the Diva’s Championship, and now she’s two-time NXT Women’s Champion. Rhea Ripley was all right, but she did what every other woman in the company does, bow down to The Queen.
Io Shirai def. Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Mia Yim, Tegan Nox, and Chelsea Green
Io Shirai vs Mia Yim vs Dakota Kai vs Chelsea Green vs Tegan Nox vs Candice LeRae – NXT Women’s Championship Number One Contender’s Ladder Match
Robert Stone accompanied his client, Chelsea Green, to the ring. Dakota Kai was accompanied by Raquel Gonzalez.
They immediately split into pairs to fight, based on prior history, Kai and Nox, Shirai and LeRae, and Yim and Green by default. They mixed it up pretty quickly, but Shirai and LeRae went back to each other a few times through the match, as did Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai.
Gonzalez played entirely too big a part in the match, considering she wasn’t supposed to be in it. She tried to pass Dakota Kai a ladder early on, but LeRae and Yim dropkicked the ladder and knocked Gonzalez down, then everyone apart from Io Shirai beat up Kai. When Io Shirai reached the top of the ladder, Gonzalez tipped it over and sent Shirai crashing down onto the rest of the competitors, except for Chelsea Green who was already down having taken a chair shot to her leg from Mia Yim. Gonzalez also tried climbing the ladder with Kai on her back, but she was stopped by Mia Yim.
That led to Yim powerbombing Gonzalez through a table, with a little help from Tegan Nox who was immediately kicked off the turnbuckle through a ladder on the outside, by Dakota Kai. Shirai took out Kai, then she and LeRae put each other down.
Robert Stone also interfered. He helped Green set up a table and he protected her from Gonzalez, but his biggest contribution came later in the match when everyone was down. He pushed Green into the ring but when it turned out her leg was too badly hurt to climb, he climbed the other side and pulled her up. Io Shirai and Candice LeRae pushed the ladder over. Stone landed relatively harmlessly in the corner, but Green tangled in the ropes which looked nasty.
It was almost over then. Shirai and LeRae fought on top of the ladder until Shirai raked LeRae’s eyes and pushed her off, through another ladder. Finally, Shirai grabbed the briefcase and the number one contender’s spot.
NXT replayed Charlotte Flair’s post-match interview, after another lengthy recap of the match. This time, we got to see Rhea Ripley’s response. Ripley looked emotional and beaten up and all she said was ‘She was a lot better than I expected’.
NXT UK ran a best of the story so far kind of show. The women’s division did not feature in this episode, but apparently it’s the first of however many they need to do to get through the period when they can’t tape. However long that may be. I’m sure the women’s division will show up on at least one of them.
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross def. The Kabuki Warriors
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (C) vs The Kabuki Warriors – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match
There are always a couple of WrestleMania rematches in the week after. It’s questionable whether this one should have been on RAW, as that’s where the challengers are based and it’s the titles which travel between brands, but Asuka had a singles match on RAW and there was already a lot going in.
Asuka and Kairi Sane were taking no prisoners, they were there to take their titles back. The match was fast and brutal, in and out of the ring. Going into an ad break, Asuka wiped out Bliss with a hip attack and got on the commentary desk to shout into a headset. Cross joined her, Bliss pulled Asuka down, and Cross landed a crossbody.
It was a fairly long match and all the better for it. Alexa Bliss had to Save Cross from an Asuka lock. Asuka had to save Sane after a DDT. Bliss delivered Twisted Bliss to the outside to take down both her opponents. It was Nikki Cross who retained the titles for her team, delivering a swinging neckbreaker to Kairi Sane after Bliss had rocked her with a punch in the face.
Backstage, later in the show, Bliss and Cross were approached by Dana Brooke and Carmella. They said they didn’t have a WrestleMania moment and wanted to challenge for the titles to make up for it. Bliss didn’t seem keen and told them they were jumping the line, then pulled Cross away for a private chat. Nikki Cross excitedly accepted the challenge when they were done and I think Bliss banned her from talking as they left.
Sasha Banks and Bayley came to the ring to chat. Bayley wanted to gloat about her win and about Paige not managing to ruin her WrestleMania or their friendship. Sasha Banks agreed, but didn’t get the chance to say much before Tamina came to interrupt them.
Bayley started kissing up to her immediately and carried on until Tamina told her to shut up. She wants a shot at the title, based on the fact it took all four of the other women in the match to eliminate her.
Banks made a great show of getting Bayley to hold her back while she informed Tamina there is a pecking order and she can’t just step up to the champ and make demands.
Bayley said Tamina can have the match is she can beat Sasha Banks. Banks was clearly not in on the decision, and very unhappy about it. Tamina left after telling Banks her bestie just screwed her, and left Banks and Bayley having a heated discussion in the ring.
That’s it for another week of WWE women’s division action. Join me next week for the whatever there is to round-up, and in the meantime follow @ArnFuriousCom to make sure you never miss a review. You can also follow me @manda_why. Please stay safe.