Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. SummerSlam weekend is this weekend with NXT TakeOver XXX on Saturday and SummerSlam on Sunday. That means every brand had something to build for and it turned out to be a busy week.
Natalya def. Mickie James
Asuka & Shayna Baszler def. The Golden Role Models
Peyton Royce def. Ruby Riott
Angelo Dawkins showed security camera footage of Zelina Vega tampering with a Street Profits cup, incriminating her in the poisoning of Montez Ford. Ford made his return helping Dawkins jump Angel Garza and Andrade.
Bianca Belair showed up during Montez Ford vs Andrade much later in the show. Zelina Vega got up on the apron to distract the ref and Belair came to deal with her. Vega threw herself off the apron but Belair caught her and slammed her into the floor.
Natalya, with Lana, vs Mickie James
Lana filmed the match on her phone for social media. Seth Rollins and Murphy came to the commentary desk to demand Samoa Joe tell them how he knew Rey Mysterio was going to be there. That took up around half of the match, including Mickie James getting counted out. James did kick Lana to the floor post-match and knock her phone out of her hand.
That was appalling mistreatment of two veterans of the women’s division. Absolute disrespect and there’s no excuse for it.
In their long and rambling chat in the ring, Bayley and Sasha Banks decided that Bayley will wrestle Asuka first at SummerSlam, although whether the higher-ups agree is unknown. They also revealed they will be defending the tag titles at Payback.
Shayna Baszler wiped the smiles off Sasha Banks’ face by reminding her that whoever wins the RAW Women’s Championship at SummerSlam, she’s next. Asuka told Baszler, ‘You have to fight with me before you fight against me’.
The Golden Role Models vs Shayna Baszler & Asuka
Baszler and Asuka would be a badass team, but it was a one-off. Sasha Banks had knocked Baszler off the apron and she was picking herself up by the barricade when Nia Jax punched a plexiglass panel onto her then stamped on her. Officials tried to move Jax away, she is suspended after all, but Baszler got past them and they brawled into the crowd.
Asuka, now alone, was doing ok for a while, but the two on one eventually got to be too much. Baszler arrived back just in time to kick Banks in the back and make her release the Bank Statement.
When Baszler got in she destroyed Sasha Banks for a while but got caught out by an unseen tag. To the horror of Banks and Bayley, she kicked out of the backstabber into Bayley to Belly combo. Banks saved Bayley from a Kirifuda Clutch then got sent to the outside by Asuka, who followed and put her in an Asuka Lock. Baszler locked the Kirifuda Clutch back on and Bayley tapped out.
The IIconics interrupted Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan talking to tell Riott that Peyton Royce would be taking Billie Kay’s place in their match. Royce called Morgan trash and Riott threatened to drop her where she stood.
As Morgan led Riott away Royce and Kay caught sight of Shayna Baszler standing a few feet away. Baszler wasn’t alone. Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir have arrived.
Ruby Riott vs Peyton Royce
This was short and ended messily. It was Ruby Riott’s match for the most part and her crossbody from the apron to the outside should have been the clincher. Billi Kay started yelling at her after she threw Payton Royce back into the ring. Liv Morgan got between them and Royce came up behind Riott and shoved her into Morgan, sending her sprawling on the floor. Royce rolled Riott back into the ring delivered Déjà vu and pinned her.
Baszler, Duke, and Shafir turned up on RAW Underground, which is a really clever way to use them. Marina Shafir won her fight by submission then got knocked down from behind by Nia Jax. Jax kicked Duke in the face and Shayna Baszler got up on the platform to face her. Shane McMahon was thrilled and called for the bell to start the fight, but Nia Jax left as soon as it rang.
Dakota Kai def. Jessi Kamea
Rhea Ripley & Shotzi Blackheart def. Aliyah & Mercedes Martinez
Dakota Kai vs Jessi Kamea
Sadly, for Jessi Kamea, this match wasn’t really about the match. It was fun while it lasted though. Kamea got a share of the offence and even a credible pin attempt, but it finished with a GTK as expected.
After the match, Kai grabbed a mic to send a message to Io Shirai. She denied being scared and said she’s focused on the future while Shirai is focused on her past. Io Shirai arrived when Kai was describing how many times she was going to kick her in the face.
They brawled and Kai looked to be running scared. But when they got to the backstage curtains, Raquel Gonzalez came through them and kicked Shirai in the face. She put Shirai over her shoulder and dumped her in the ring but Shirai stood up and smacked Kai in the face. Gonzalez crashed into her from behind then lifted her above her head to slam her into the mat.
That pissed me off. I wanted so much to see Dakota Kai versus Io Shirai one on one at TakeOver, and now that’s not going to be the case.
Tegan Nox talked about the things Candice LeRae said about her last week. She said it really troubled her because she and LeRae have been friends for years and means the world to her. She didn’t realise her friendship was so annoying to LeRae but she wants them to sit down with a couple of glasses of wine like old times and sort it out.
Aliyah & Mercedes Martinez, with Robert Stone, vs Rhea Ripley & Shotzi Blackheart
I know it’s not on the cards, but Rhea Ripley and Shotzi Blackheart as WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions is something I would be totally here for. I hope they retain a loose alliance at least, they seem to bounce off each other well and it’s always good to have friends.
Aliyah was in trouble early on, but a momentary distraction by Martinez allowed her enough space to make the tag. Then it was Blackheart’s turn to be in trouble. By the time she finally got to tag in Ripley, Rhea Ripley was fired up and ready to go. She planted Aliyah with a facebuster, but Martinez broke up the pin.
Blackheart kicked Martinez out of the ring but she came back to take Blackheart’s legs out from underneath her on the turnbuckle after Aliyah had taken a Riptide. The ref didn’t see that because Stone was distracting him.
Rhea Ripley scrapped with Martinez then powerbombed her over the barricade to the concrete, which looked sickening. By that time Shotzi Blackheart had recovered enough to give Aliyah her senton from the top and pinned her. Robert Stone was too busy trying to rouse Mercedes Martinez and get some help to notice.
This week was another Superstar Picks – Favourite Matches of all Time. There was a look at the women’s division featuring Kay Lee Ray, Dani Luna, Amale, Jinny, Isla Dawn, Candy Floss, Nina Samuels, Xia Brookside, Aoife Valkyrie, and Piper Niven, which makes it sound like they’re getting ready to return. Piper Niven introduced her match against Serena Deeb in the 2017 Mae Young Classic. Niven talked a bit about her time in the competition, her victories and her fears. It was an interesting intro. Niven won that match, of course. Funnily enough, you don’t get superstars recommending matches they lost.
Sasha Banks def. Naomi
Naomi def. Bayley
After talking about it for a week, WWE introduced WWE Thunderdome on SmackDown. Vince McMahon introduced it himself from the ring. It’s basically a wall of virtual fans. An arena wide Zoom meeting. They’re coming from the Amway Centre as well, so it’s much bigger and the graphics spread around the virtual boards. The fans are switched off for entrances and graphics. McMahon didn’t get to say much. He got interrupted by The Fiend, but Braun Strowman saved him from the mandible claw then RETRIBUTION turned up with even bigger numbers than last time. The Fiend left and Strowman got beaten up until the locker room showed up, including the women, which is definitive that there are women in RETRIBUTION. The locker room stuck around for the first match in case they came back.
Mandy Rose said she’s had a really rough week. She still needs to believe that there’s good in this world, so she needed to say something directly to Sonya Deville. Rose looked into camera and talked about their friendship and what they’ve been through together. She’s choosing to believe that person, her best friend, is there. She doesn’t know how Deville is feeling with their hair versus hair match a couple of days away, but the way she’s feeling is that they should put it all behind them.
Sasha Banks and Bayley had an in-ring interview with Corey Graves. He asked if they were splitting up and they said no. Bayley told him in no uncertain terms that Asuka wouldn’t be beating either of them at SummerSlam. There was some friction when Bayley called her saying she’d go first at SummerSlam ‘just a suggestion’. Banks asked if Bayley was volunteering her ‘again’ and Bayley tried to placate her without actually confirming she’d go first.
Naomi arrived before they could resolve it and said she had an idea. How about she face them both tonight. Bayley called it a death wish and asked how it would help them decide who went first. Corey graves suggested a beat the clock challenge. Naomi liked it and dropkicked both of them out of the ring.
Sasha Banks vs Naomi
They got started after a break. Fastest finisher goes second, but they had to beat Naomi first and she wasn’t going to make it easy. Naomi tapped out at 3.39 in a Bank Statement.
Bayley vs Naomi
Bayley jumped Naomi before the bell and had to be backed off so the ref could check Naomi out. Banks looked nervous as the clock started to count down because Bayley had Naomi in trouble. She needn’t have worried. Naomi landed a Rear View and pinned Bayley with 1.45 still left on the clock.
I predict that Bayley will NOT be happy about how much Sasha Banks laughed when she sees it back.
Asuka arrived while Banks was consoling Bayley in the ring. She said at SummerSlam she will be the empress of every title because no one is ready for Asuka. Sasha Banks ran up the ramp to meet her and got knocked out with one kick. Bayley took a lot more than one kick before she escaped. Bayley ran straight past her fallen friend in her anxiety to be anywhere Asuka wasn’t. She did go back to her though.
Kayla Braxton tried to interview Sonya Deville, but Deville said anything she had to say she wanted to say to the whole world. Dana Brooke tried to talk to Deville after Braxton, to say how sorry she was for what she’s been through this week (Deville’s house was broken into by a stalker). Deville told her it was nothing she couldn’t handle and slapped her for being disrespectful.
On the stage, she said she’d heard what Mandy Rose had to say and she wasn’t surprised she was second-guessing her own challenge. What she doesn’t know is what Rose wants. But since Rose was unbothered about the haircut and everyone knows she doesn’t care if she’s bald, how about they up the stakes. Now it’s No Disqualification and Loser Leaves WWE.
Nikki Cross said there is something different about Alexa Bliss post-Fiend. She looks and talks like her but she’s not right. The Alexa she knows is warm and caring and funny and the person she spoke to on Tuesday is not Alexa Bliss. It scares her because she has a feeling something terrible is about to happen.
NXT TakeOver XXX
Io Shirai def. Dakota Kai
As usual, I reviewed TakeOver for this very site. Also, as usual, the following match review is copy/pasted from the main TakeOver review which can be found here.
Io Shirai (C) vs Dakota Kai, with Raquel Gonzalez, – NXT Women’s Championship match
I’m still sulking about the presence of Raquel Gonzalez at ringside. I was genuinely looking forward to seeing Kai vs Shirai one on one.
Shirai had a weird landing on something innocuous early on and it seemed to rock her for a minute. But that came seconds before Gonzalez caused the first distraction and Shirai was sent into the ringpost as Kai took control of the match. Shirai was guarding her left elbow after that and Dakota Kai took full advantage throughout, including a couple of near submissions with an armbar.
Shirai eventually got back into it and tried to prove she only needed one arm to beat Kai, but she struggled to put her away. The arm was a definite factor, slightly slower or more considered movements, a less secure cover. And after spending too long in Kai’s second armbar it was clearly hurting her.
Kai would have got the pin from a GTK if she hadn’t been close enough to the ropes for Shirai to get a foot over them. A misplaced kick from Kai took the ref out, so he missed the perfectly legal pin from Shirai’s moonsault. Gonzalez came in and put Shirai down then dragged Kai and the ref into position, but Shirai kicked out.
Io Shirai took down Gonzalez and Kai with a moonsault to the outside then rolled Kai back into the ring. Happily, the ref had got his senses back by the time Shirai’s next moonsault got her the win.
Raquel Gonzalez started beating Shirai down after the match and Rhea Ripley came to make the save. There was a staredown then Gonzalez and Kai left. Ripley stood staring in the background as Shirai celebrated.
Candice LeRae got involved in the ladder match at TakeOver, trying to help her husband to victory. She didn’t succeed, Damian Priest won, and she ended up accidentally helping Bronson Reed flatten Johnny Gargano when he dove off a ladder onto him with her on his back.
WWE released Bayley and Sasha Take Over Brooklyn as part of the WWE Untold series this week. It was exceptional. Give it a watch if you’ve got Network.
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.