Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. SummerSlam and TakeOver XXX are getting closer and the build is in full swing. This week the matches to decide Sasha Banks and Bayley’s challengers for the RAW and SmackDown Women’s Championships at SummerSlam took place. We already know Dakota Kai will challenge Io Shirai at TakeOver.
Bianca Belair vs Zelina Vega
Peyton Royce def. Liv Morgan
Asuka def. Bayley
Bianca Belair and Zelina Vega’s issues restarted last week (restarted because Belair’s first RAW appearance was stopping Vega attacking Montez Ford) after Ford was poisoned before his match last week and Belair blamed Vega. They were set for a match this week but it started a little early when Vega caused a distraction in Angelo Dawkins’ match against Andrade. Belair ran down and dragged her off the apron then threw her into the ring after Dawkins won the match. Zelina Vega scrambled back out of the ring, but the match took place after a break.
Bianca Belair vs Zelina Vega
I like Zelina Vega as a manager, but I wish she got more ring time sometimes because she’s fun to watch. So is Bianca Belair and I thoroughly enjoyed the match. Belair is one of the strongest women on the roster an extremely athletic. Vega is quick and crafty and resourceful, and not above cheating when it suits her. Cheating nearly served her very well when she smacked Belair in the eye behind the refs back, but she was unable to capitalise. It gave her the start of a good run of momentum, but that was halted when Belair caught her coming off the top turnbuckle and dropped her from over her head.
That wasn’t the finish though. That came after a Vega had dodged Belair’s charge into the corner and climbed the turnbuckle to beat on her while protesting her innocence. Belair powerbombed her off it, dropped her face-first on the corner, then scooped her up for the K.O.D. and pinned her.
After the match Belair said she doesn’t need evidence that Vega was responsible for poisoning Ford, she just knows. Dawkins confirmed he’ll be back for SummerSlam.
Mickie James’ return was advertised but it turned out to be a backstage interview where she said she was back to lead the locker room and go after gold, then was immediately interrupted by Natalya and Lana. They were wearing matching garish outfits and talking about social media. Natalya reminded James she is the ‘most winningest’ woman in WWE (solely because she’s been there such a long time). I have no idea what’s going on there, but it’s not good.
Liv Morgan, with Ruby Riott, vs Peyton Royce, with Billie Kay
Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott came out to their separate music and there’s definitely some tension there still. The IIconics talked their way down to the ring as usual. It was a short match. At the finish, Billie Kay got up on the apron to attack Morgan and Riott got up to stop her. The ref only saw Ruby Riott, and so did Liv Morgan. Peyton Royce hit Morgan from behind off the distraction and Morgan blamed Riott for the loss.
Bayley vs Asuka
Asuka was fighting for her chance to face Sasha Banks at SummerSlam, so Bayley’s objective was to protect her best friend from that match. Bayley and Asuka are both at the top of their game. The heel turn revitalised Bayley and Asuka is just one of the very best. As a pairing, it works. The intermittently dimming lights were annoying, but didn’t diminish what was an objectively good match.
It was also Asuka’s match. Not that it was one-sided, far from it, but Asuka just wanted it more. Bayley had a credible shot at a submission, but it was created by a distraction from Sasha Banks. It gave Bayley a limb to work though and Sasha Banks managed to get a shot in on the leg as well, while Bayley distracted the ref.
They exchanged submissions for a while, with Sasha Banks looking increasingly worried on the outside. Asuka kicked out of Bayley’s elbow drop but Bayley started to build momentum towards a finish. She might even have got it if she hadn’t mocked Kairi Sane after delivering a sunset bomb into the corner. Seconds later Bayley was tapping out in an Asuka lock.
Shayna Baszler turned up on Shane McMahon’s RAW Underground this week. RAW Underground, for those who haven’t seen it, is the new Fight Club style gimmick Shane has introduced. I’m not sure what to make of it yet, but Baszler’s appearance was interesting. She stepped up to Dabba-Kato but didn’t get to take him on, although he looked up for it. McMahon called for someone to fight her and when no one volunteered Baszler went into the crowd and picked a woman herself. Two other women came to her aid, so Baszler took them down too. They all got back up and made it three on one, so Baszler put them all down again.
Mia Yim def. Indi Hartwell
Aliyah & Mercedes Martinez def. Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
Dakota Kai and Io Shirai had video promo packages to build for their NXT Women’s Championship match at NXT TakeOver XXX. Kai thinks she’s in Shirai’s head and she knows how to beat her. She also thinks she got where she is entirely on her own and doesn’t need friends, acquaintances or insurance policies to win the title.
Io Shirai said she got Dakota Kai’s message when Kai kicked her in the head. Kai acts like a big star but no one even knew who she was until she betrayed Tegan Nox. She uses people then gets rid of them when she’s done. All Shirai sees is the cute girl who was terrified of Shayna Baszler. After TakeOver Kai will be terrified of her too. Kai is no match for her, and she isn’t in her head, she just pissed her off.
Mia Yim vs Indi Hartwell
Mia Yim was distracted and on edge for this match as her partner, Keith Lee, has been taken to hospital to be treated for burns sustained in a fireball which emerged from the contract Scarlett gave back to him after Killer Kross signed it. Before the match, she said there was no permanent damage, but she’d rushed back from the hospital to be there and was still clearly rattled.
Indi Hartwell tried to take advantage of Yim being a fraction off her game. It almost worked out for her a couple of times. Her best chance was with a sidewalk slam, although she also had Yim in an ineffective sleeper for a long time. She made the mistake of getting Mia Yim’s head back in the game with some trash talk, and that was the beginning of the end. Less than a minute later she was tapping while Yim tried to bend her shoulder in entirely the wrong direction.
Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter vs Aliyah & Mercedes Martinez
Robert Stone tried to recruit Kacy Catanzaro before the match, telling her to ‘Lose the loser’. She responded by faking out slapping his face and stamping on his foot. Then she took Martinez down with a hurricanrana to get the match underway.
Catanzaro had a half-decent chance at pinning Mercedes Martinez towards the end of the match, but Aliyah made the save. Kayden Carter kicked her out of the ring, then got kicked out of the ring by Martinez which meant she was too far away to save Catanzaro from the air raid crash Martinez pinned her with.
While Mercedes Martinez was still trying to fend off Aliyah’s overenthusiastic celebration attempts, Rhea Ripley turned up. Martinez waited for her and they got into it. Aliyah helped Martinez out and got pushed away, but she was allowed to help stamp on Ripley in the corner. Shotzi Blackheart ran down and cleared them from the ring.
There was an At Home with the Garganos this week, complete with the visual effects when things took a dark turn. Candice LeRae was reading a story to their exceedingly cute dog and Johnny Gargano was up a ladder changing a lightbulb. Dressed up in the convoluted fairytale was LeRae saying Tegan Nox needs to mind her own business and Gargano saying he’s going to qualify for and win the ladder match at TakeOver.
This week’s selection from NXT UK were all matches which were never shown on tv. Xia Brookside versus Nina Samuels was one of the featured matches, which Brookside won. Aoife Valkyrie and Amale had promo videos.
Asuka won the Triple Brand Battle Royal
RETRIBUTION disrupted the first match of the show, between Big E and Morrison. There are definitely women in the group. Can’t wait to find out who they are.
Bayley said RETRIBUTION wants to hear what the Golden Role Models have to say, in a bid to stop them booing her and Sasha Banks. Banks bitched a bit about having to face Asuka. Bayley complained about Stephanie McMahon. Then they declared themselves the ring announcers for the Triple Brand Battle Royal. They did introduce the first four participants, but they got little digs in at them as well. Asuka was participant number five and she started brawling with Banks and Bayley the second she got to the ring. The rest of the participants just ran down, and the match started after the break.
Triple Brand Battle Royal for a SmackDown Women’s Championship match at SummerSlam, featuring – Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Tegan Nox, Shotzi Blackheart, Lacey Evans, Asuka, Liv Morgan, Bianca Belair Naomi, Ruby Riott, Nikki Cross, Tamina, Shayna Baszler, Dana Brooke
Ruby Riott went out first, pushing Liv Morgan out of the way and letting herself be eliminated instead. Morgan followed shortly after, but not until Billie Kay and Peyton Royce had gone. The four of them had a little scrap before they left.
Nikki Cross was eliminated by Tamina. Bianca Belair eliminated Tamina. Lacey Evans eliminated Naomi then was quickly kicked out by Shotzi Blackheart. Shayna Baszler had Blackheart over the ropes in a Kirifuda Clutch but Lacy Evans dragged Blackheart down before she passed out. Bianca Belair was taken out by Tegan Nox.
Nox, Asuka, and Shayna Baszler were the final three. Except they weren’t, which became apparent when Dana Brooke dragged Nox to the outside and out of the match while Baszler was trying to eliminate her. Brooke didn’t last long when she stopped hiding. She briefly experienced a Kirifuda Clutch from Baszler then got hip attacked out off the apron by Asuka.
It came down to Asuka and Baszler. Asuka took some time out to deal with Bayley and Banks trying to interfere, which would have cost her the match except she landed on them instead of the floor. She ended up kind of in a Kirifuda Clutch over the ropes but managed to tip Baszler over the top to the floor.
Asuka will now face Bayley for the SmackDown Women’s Championship and Sasha Banks for the RAW Women’s Championship at SummerSlam.
Bayley was freaking out backstage and Sasha Banks was trying to calm her down by reassuring her she can still beat her at SummerSlam. Bayley said her title wasn’t on the line when she lost on Monday so at SummerSlam she’ll have something important to fight for. Sasha Banks looked really hurt because Bayley was fighting to stop Asuka facing Banks at SummerSlam on Monday. No idea if Bayley noticed she’d upset her because Asuka attacked them at that moment and threw them into packing crates.
Mandy Rose said some of what Sonya Deville says about her is the way some people perceive her. She’s been hearing she’s just a pretty face her whole life and it hurts. Deville of all people should know how hard she works and has worked. She won a Bikini World Championship, but she was working three jobs to put herself through college when she won that title. Does that sound like she’s had everything handed to her? But Deville has reminded her she’s more than just a pretty face.
Sonya Deville thinks she doesn’t care how she looks, she’s not that superficial, so Rose is challenging her to a hair versus hair match at SummerSlam.
Later in the show, Sonya Deville said she was a little surprised by Mandy Rose’s challenge. She asked Rose to consider that maybe the reason people say those things about her is because they’re true. At SummerSlam, she’ll prove they’re true. She accepts the challenge.
Nikki Cross greeted a timid and frightened-looking Alexa Bliss backstage. She apologised profusely for pushing her a couple of weeks ago, and Bliss forgave her. Bliss wouldn’t talk about what went on with The Fiend and declined when Cross wanted to get her somewhere safe. She said she needed to get some answers from Braun.
Bliss had a sit-down interview later where she was asked about her relationship with Braun Strowman. They showed footage of their friendship through the Mixed Match Challenge, where they were partners and she talked about how close they were saying they became best friends. She didn’t rule out the possibility of a romantic relationship.
She didn’t know if that’s why The Fiend chose her. Being around The Fiend was scary, but compelling. Once you’ve been around him you can feel his presence and it’s like a moth to a flame. She was asked about Braun Strowman saying he doesn’t give a damn about her during his response to The Fiend last week. Instead of answering she just turned her head away looking upset.
Alexa Bliss went to get her answers from Strowman when he called The Fiend out. He wouldn’t look at her. She told him this is not the Braun she knows (she’s right, he’s gone full monster since the swamp) and she doesn’t believe her doesn’t care about her. He said they haven’t been friends, she used him and he doesn’t give a damn about her. Then he told her everyone who comes in contact with The Fiend changes, including her and told her to leave the ring.
She said if he wouldn’t listen she’d have to slap some sense into him. She slapped him a few time and he lifted her over his head and kept her there for ages while the warning signs of incoming Fiend played. He dropped her as the lights went out. When they came back on in red, Bliss was on the canvas, The Fiend was in the ring, and Strowman was laughing maniacally from the big screen.
RETRIBUTION trashed the locker room during the Big E and Morrison’s second attempt after most of the superstars came down to ringside when the lights started going off again. One of the symbols they’re spray painting is the WWE logo with a line through it.
Next week, WWE will not be at the Performance Center and there will be some fans involved. Not sure how that will look, but we’ll see next week, I guess. Has everyone just forgotten about the pandemic now?
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.