Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. I want to do a happy intro, but it’s an uncertain time to be a WWE fan right now. Multiple rounds of releases. Rumours of big changes to NXT and an uncertain future for NXT UK. And a lot of the in-ring action feeling repetitive and stale. It’s tough to maintain the enthusiasm when everything feels temporary. With SummerSlam and NXT TakeOver 36 next weekend, that’s not ideal. But, for now at least, the show must go on.
Alexa Bliss def. Doudrop
Nikki A.S.H. def. Rhea Ripley (DQ)
Alexa Bliss, with Lilly, vs Doudrop, with Eva Marie
Alexa Bliss sat Lilly on the top turnbuckle of her corner. Eva Marie tried to get away with sitting on a corner as well, but the ref was having none of it and shooed her out. The crowd took the opportunity for a loud ‘We want Wyatt’ chant, which is a little unfair but they did stop once the match started.
Bliss went after Eva Marie when she had Doudrop laid out in the ring. She got as far as grabbing her wrist before Doudrop got to her and threw her into the barricade.
Lilly was instrumental in the result. Doudrop called her a ‘Stupid, dirty, doll’ and turned back to find Bliss smiling. She looked at Lilly again and she winked at her, with a little chiming noise. That distraction was enough for Bliss to roll Doudrop up and pin her.
Eva Marie didn’t believe Doudrop after the match. She yelled at her a lot and actually slapped her upside the head. I’m still clinging to the hope that it won’t be long before Piper Niven turns her into an Eva Marie shaped smear on the canvas.
Rhea Ripley told Sarah Schreiber Nikki A.S.H. held her own in the No Hold Barred match and she’s been handling herself fairly well as the champ. It takes a lot of heart and guts to be almost a superhero. But almost isn’t good enough to stay the champ. As a former champion, she understands the balance between light and dark required to hold onto the title. But she’s never seen a dark side from A.S.H. and she’s not sure if it’s there. All A.S.H.’s self-belief won’t protect her from the nightmare Ripley will unleash on her tonight and at SummerSlam, where she’s walking out as champ.
Nikki A.S.H.’s told Schreiber that being almost a superhero means she has to be prepared for things not always going her way. But if you believe in yourself enough you can achieve your dreams, like she did with the RAW Women’s Championship. Her dream might turn into a nightmare tonight but she’ll be ok because she has her spirit and drive as a nightlight. She knew Rhea and Charlotte would be dangerous when she became champ, but last week she didn’t almost beat Charlotte, she did beat her. This week’s she’s almost positive she can beat Rhea. And at SummerSlam, she knows the odds are stacked against her but she’ll do whatever it takes to stay champion.
The stilted nature of these promos, which I think is a style choice, is starting to grate terribly.
Nikki A.S.H. vs Rhea Ripley
No stipulations for this one. Nikki’s arm was heavily strapped and she had a lot of bandages around her middle on the outside of her costume. It seemed inadvisable to give Ripley such an obvious target, and sure enough, Ripley worked it like Nikki had painted a bullseye on her middle.
Ripley doesn’t have the disdain for Nikki that Flair does, but the grudging respect doesn’t extend to taking her seriously as a threat. That looked fair enough for the first part of the match because it was all Ripley and Nikki looked out bar the counting as we hit the break.
A.S.H.’s drive and spirit showed through after the break and a DDT gave her a breather. She almost got a pin by shifting her weight to counter the Riptide, which shook Ripley up. She avoided a superplex and punched Ripley to the canvas, but before she could launch the crossbody Charlotte Flair knocked her off the top turnbuckle.
Flair suplexed A.S.H. and gave Ripley Natural Selection, then posed with the title.
Backstage, Flair told Sarah Schreiber that, when she saw Ripley and A.S.H. tearing each other apart, she created a strategic opportunity to rub salt in the wounds. She doesn’t need to be pinned to lose the triple-threat at SummerSlam and she’s not taking any chances. If Ripley and A.S.H. were on her level, they would have anticipated her attack. She went on a rant about losing last week but still being the most decorated blah blah blah.
Dakota Kai def. Sarray
Gigi Dolan def. Amari Miller
Sarray vs Dakota Kai
The advertised match was Sarray vs Ember Moon, but Moon was not cleared to compete so Kai stepped in. She took a moment before the match to say she hoped Raquel Gonzalez was watching as she was about to defeat the undefeated Sarray on her way to becoming the next NXT Women’s Champion.
With a little build in another few weeks or months, this could make for an incredible feud. Even with no build, it was a good match. Sarray is a joy to watch, and it’s actually great to see Dakota Kai out on her own again.
There was an agenda this time though. Raquel Gonzalez was shown arriving at the Performance Center just after Kai had taken one of Sarray’s vicious kicks against the ropes and answered it by kicking Sarray in the head. Kai finished the match with another of her signature kicks. She was setting up for some post-match afters when Gonzalez entered the CWC like she’d been fired from a gun and she had to run for her life.
Gonzalez grabbed a mic and said all Kai had to do if she wanted a title shot, was ask. At TakeOver, she’ll get her opportunity, but Gonzalez is going to tear her apart.
There was a whole three-part segment with Indi Hartwell and Dexter Lumis going on their first date and Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae spying on them. Happily, as there was no in-ring element, I don’t need to cover it. It’s all on WWE’s YouTube channel if you want to see it.
Tian Sha made an appearance this week, except it was just Boa and Mei Ying. Not sure where Xia Li was. The fact she wasn’t mentioned is a worry in the current climate.
Gigi Dolan is coming for all the top names in the NXT women’s division and she’s not coming alone. She didn’t specify who the others were, but she and Jacy Jayne were talking to Mandy Rose, so she didn’t really need to.
Gigi Dolan, with Jacy Jayne, vs Amari Miller
Short and sweet. It’s nice to see the newer wrestlers getting matches on the show, but a little more reason to care would be nice. Dolan’s finisher looks brutally effective.
Mandy Rose tweeted her congrats after the match and said it seemed like her advice was paying off.
Amale def. Nina Samuels
Isla Dawn lurked around in the background of Dani Luna and Mark Andrews’ interview about Flash Morgan Webster’s loss. She didn’t speak, but she was trying to grab some of Dani Luna’s hair.
Jinny has a No Disqualification match with Aoife Valkyrie. She was quite pleased with Sid Scala when he told her, until he added that Joseph Connors will be locked in a cage at ringside to stop him interfering. Jinny throws a world-class tantrum, so there was a lot of screaming before she stormed out.
Nina Samuels vs Amale
Amale has some serious aggression going on. Nina Samuels was looking for some revenge for Samuels beating her for the title shot, but she never truly looked like getting it even when she was in control. She had her moments mid-match, but it was Amale’s for the taking and she finished it with a Heartbreaker. Not bad. Not great, but not bad.
Next week we’ve got an NXT Women’s Championship match. Meiko Satomura versus Stevie Turner. There was a hype package for it, which is impressive considering they’ve spoken once on camera. Turner wants to prove she is the future. Satomura wants to teach her something about respect.
With SummerSlam little over a week away (it’s on Saturday next week with TakeOver 36 on Sunday), Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks had the contract signing for their title match. That was the only appearance from SmackDown’s women’s division. Natalya’s injury means any tag title stuff is on hiatus, and they have literally nothing going on outside the title pictures.
Belair was shown practising her penmanship on a huge whiteboard held by Big E before the signing. She was also in a Head and Shoulders ad.
Sonya Deville officiated the contract signing. She did a great job of hyping the match before she brought out the competitors, challenger first. I’ve got to take a moment to admire Sonya Deville’s suits. She always looks great.
Belair asked Banks if she was ready or if she was going to run away again. Or did she want her to turn her back so she could backstab her again? They started to argue and Deville told them it wasn’t happening.
Sasha Banks said she was going to need some witnesses before she signed it – apparently, Sonya Deville and an arena full of people weren’t enough – and brought out Zelina Vega and Carmella. She taunted Belair with ‘Didn’t see that coming, did ya, rookie?’ and told her she’s always two steps ahead of her.
She signed. Belair signed and threw the folder at Banks’ face to give herself a second to deal with the other two. Vega took an elbow. Carmella had to duck a flying chair. Carmella and Vega managed to pull her away from Banks, but they paid for it. Banks got in with a backstabber then stepped back to let her minions to the beatdown. Once they’d beaten on Belair a bit, Banks laid her on the table and held her braid to increase the force of the knee to the face. She finished up by slamming Belair’s head into the table a few times, posing over her with the title, then slapping on a Bank Statement using Belair’s braid.
That’s it for another week of WWE women’s division action. 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.