Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. We kicked off the week with the biggest party of the summer, and three women’s division matches on the card. There’s no rest for the WWE Universe though. Payback is on Sunday.
Bayley def. Asuka
Mandy Rose def. Sonya Deville
Asuka def. Sasha Banks
Shayna Baszler turned up on the Kickoff show and reiterated that she is next in line for the RAW Women’s Championship. Charly Caruso asked how she felt about the fact Nia Jax made it clear she’s next. Baszler said Jax is obsessed with her not the title and it’s obviously stopping her going to sleep. When Jax’ suspension is lifted she’ll be happy to help fix that.
Renee Young made a final appearance as part of the Kickoff show panel. It was her last act as part of WWE and she will be sorely missed. She has risen to every challenge and excelled in a variety of roles in her time with the company. I wish her every success for the future. She’s super-talented so I’m sure she’ll be incredible at whatever she does next.
Bayley (C) vs Asuka – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
Unsurprisingly, this opened the show, with Asuka having the opportunity at two titles. Sasha Banks accompanied Bayley to the ring. Bayley did not have all of her usual swagger, there was clear apprehension.
This was Asuka’s match to win. She has a proven track record of beating Bayley, historically and recently. Even when Bayley was in full control, it didn’t really look like Asuka was in danger of losing. When she kicked out of the Bayley to Belly, Bayley was rocked.
Banks, of course, had a vested interest in the match because she would be facing Asuka later, and she was thrilled when Asuka took some damage to her leg late in the match. There was no way Asuka was going into the second match at full strength because this one was full-on and brutal in places.
Sasha Banks took a kick to the face for being too mouthy while Asuka was trying to submit Bayley and another for swiping at Asuka’s legs. Bayley dodged Asuka’s hip attack so it knocked Sasha Banks off the apron, but that allowed Bayley to roll Asuka up and pin her.
After the match, Banks was on Asuka immediately, and Bayley joined in to give her a beatdown.
Kayla Braxton tried to interview Bayley and Sasha Banks a little later. Bayley refused to acknowledge it was only through Sasha Banks’ help that she retained. She said she would normally be offended, but not tonight because she’s celebrating. Braxton asked Banks if she expected Bayley to return the favour. She didn’t really answer. She said that if Bayley could beat Asuka then she could too. Bayley agreed with her. Banks made comments about them taking out Kairi Sane and about how great she is, and Bayley swept the ring/set they were stood in declaring it was going to be a clean sweep.
Sonya Deville vs Mandy Rose – No Disqualification – Loser Leaves WWE
This one needed a proper crowd. Even the recent type of crowd would have been better for the atmosphere. They did their best and put on a decent no DQ match, but something like a Loser Leaves WWE, deserves a human real-time reaction.
Mandy Rose tried decapitating Deville with chairs slid across the table Deville had just rolled off while she was getting on the apron. Rose had so much trouble setting the table up, and no one went through it. The chairs looked lethal though.
Rose got the pin with a knee to the face. Deville rolled out of the ring and broke down by the announce desk before walking off backstage in a state. It all felt a bit mundane. I don’t know what it needed to make it special and career-ending, but it needed something it didn’t have.
Otis ran down to the ring, did the Caterpillar, then put Mandy Rose on his shoulder. She tried to do a Caterpillar of her own, but it wasn’t a complete success.
I would be sad if I thought Deville was gone from WWE for good, but I think she’ll be back sooner rather than later. She’s had a rough time recently, so hopefully, she’ll be able to take time for herself and come back stronger.
Sasha Banks (C) vs Asuka – RAW Women’s Championship match
Asuka tried to go hard and finish fast, which was a sensible strategy considering what she’d already been through. It didn’t work out.
Sasha Banks powerbombed Asuka off the apron to the floor and Asuka’s head bounced. They showed it three or four times and it looked equally sickening each time. I’m not sure how Asuka still knew where she was, or who she was. It’s normally Sasha Banks who takes ‘Is she dead’ bumps in these matches.
Bayley did a good line in pep talks but avoided the hip attack that might have saved her friend. Asuka knocked Bayley down with an elbow instead and rolled through the Bank Statement to get Banks in an Asuka Lock. Bayley was still down and couldn’t help her. She struggled and screamed for Bayley (like Bayley made Kairi Sane scream for Asuka), and a couple of times it looked like she might even get out of it, but Asuka wouldn’t let go and Sasha Banks tapped out.
After the match Banks looked angry with Bayley as well as upset about losing her title. Bayley appeared guilty and anxious. Things are not ok between the two of them and they have a WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship defence next week at Payback.
Shayna Baszler def. Bayley – DQ
Bianca Belair & The Riott Squad def. Zelina Vega & The IIconics
Asuka def. Sasha Banks
Nia Jax has apologised and had her suspension lifted. Shayna Baszler stopped to antagonise her and tell her everyone was waiting for the next thing she does or says something that gets her kicked out. Jax offered her help with Baszler’s match against Bayley then they descended into insults about appearance which is always disappointing.
Bayley, with Sasha Banks, vs Shayna Baszler
On the way to the ring Sasha Banks was giving Bayley looks that would indicate she has not forgiven her for not saving her title. The slow burn breakdown of their relationship has been very well done, but it’s got to come to a head soon. Shayna Baszler came to the ring alone, no sign of Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir this week, but Nia Jax came out after her and watched the match from the ramp.
Despite the pouting, Banks showed up for Bayley when she needed her to, moving half into the ring when Baszler was on the verge of tapping Bayley out and causing her to break the hold. Bayley hit Baszler from behind and took the advantage.
The end came when Bayley threw Baszler out of the ring. Nia Jax attacked her on the outside and Bayley was disqualified.
Baszler and Jax started brawling with Banks and Bayley catcalling on the sidelines. Then something changed. Nia Jax turned her focus on them. Baszler stood by her side, and together they got out of the ring and advanced a few paces towards them.
Backstage, after a break to watch Aleister Black kick Kevin Owens in the head, Charly Caruso interviewed Banks and Baszler. Bayley said they were just trying to avoid their drama because Banks couldn’t risk getting injured before her championship lumberjack rematch. Banks said she shouldn’t be in this position to begin with but she’s going to win back her RAW Women’s Championship. Bayley added that they would deal with Jax and Baszler when Sasha was Two Belts Banks again, and they left.
Nia Jax and Baszler agreed that together they could win the tag titles so they’d work together. Baszler set out the condition Jax leave her alone once they’re done. Jax said only if Baszler follows her lead, and jabbed her finger into her shoulder. Baszler slapped her, so I guess it was a no. They’re going to be an interesting team.
Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott were joined by Bianca Belair on the way to the ring for their six-woman tag.
Bianca Belair & The Riott Squad vs Zelina Vega & The IIconics
Let’s be honest, this match came about because they needed a slightly different combination of the same six women to fill a slot on the show. Interestingly, Morgan and Riott and now being announced as The Riott Squad again.
The match was decent enough for a space filler. Great teamwork from The IIconics but Zelina Vega’s cheating backfired on her. While Ruby Riott was taking some punishment, Vega tried to knock Morgan and Belair off the apron. It worked with Morgan, but it just fired Bianca Belair up moments before Riott made it to her for a tag. Royce and Kay saved her from the first pin but Riott and Morgan kicked them out of the ring and there was no one to save her from the K.O.D.
Natalya and Lana, dressed in white lace for no obvious reason, did a fake induction to the WWE Hall of Fame for Mickie James. They insisted they were retiring her and said they were going to show a highlight reel, which was, of course, blank. Happily, at that point, Mickie James arrived, shoved Natalya over, and kicked Lana in the face.
Asuka (C) vs Sasha Banks – RAW Women’s Championship Lumberjack match
Why a lumberjack match? Why not. Any rematch was a rough choice for Asuka when she had two hard title matches the previous night. Bayley was among the lumberjacks and had to protect Banks from them within the first minute or so. She was having a staredown with Shayna Baszler going into a break, but nothing came of it. She also punched Asuka in the stomach while Banks held her still.
Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott came in useful for Asuka. They took a dive off the apron from Banks which gave Asuka time to get back on the apron and knee her in the face. Asuka went after Bayley, who threw Natalya, Lana, Peyton Royce, and Billie Kay at her. By the time Asuka had pushed them all out of the way, Banks was behind her shoving her into the ringpost.
The frogsplash which followed gave Sasha Banks her best chance of the night. When Asuka kicked out, Banks demanded Bayley get her a chair. Shayna Baszler grabbed Bayley and prevented her from delivering it then kicked Bayley to the floor. For the second time in two days, Sasha Banks tapped out to an Asuka Lock.
RETRIBUTION invaded the main event of RAW. There are definitely women among their number and it must be nearly time for them to be unmasked.
Shotzi Blackheart def. Mia Yim
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez def. Rhea Ripley & Io Shirai
Candice LeRae responded to Tegan Nox talking about their friendship. She talked about how they met and all the things they’ve done together. But she feels like Nox doesn’t get her anymore and hasn’t been there for her. As far as she’s concerned, Tegan can still be on her path, but if she doesn’t want to do things the Gargano way then she needs to stay out of her way.
Mia Yim vs Shotzi Blackheart
Shotzi Blackheart was not Mia Yim’s intended opponent. She was supposed to face Mercedes Martinez, but Robert Stone came out and informed her he would not be allowing Martinez to compete after Ripley’s powerbomb over the barricades in her match last week. Blackheart came out while he was still talking and parked her tank on him. The match had begun by the time it was lifted off him and he was helped away.
Yim and Blackheart are friends, or friendly, and it was a sportsmanlike competition. After they caught each other’s legs at the same time they negotiated putting them down at the same times and fist-bumped. It was all smiles, then Yim punched her in the throat and they got back into it.
Commentary spent a lot of the match talking about how much Yim needed the win so, of course, she didn’t get it. She was well on her way, but Shotzi Blackheart managed to sidestep a dropkick and follow a senton with a senton from the top for the win.
Dakota Kai said Rhea Ripley should have minded her own business at TakeOver, but the tag match is going to be easy because they’re a team and Ripley and Shirai aren’t. Kai is going to prove she deserves to be NXT Women’s Champion. Gonzalez is going to show Ripley that she messed up by getting in her face.
Rhea Ripley said it’s no secret she wants what Io Shirai has and she didn’t come to the ring to save Io. She was sending Kai and Gonzalez a message that Shirai’s hers now. She’s not going to let it get in the way of the match though and she said that if Gonzalez wants her to get out of her face, she should make her.
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs Rhea Ripley & Io Shirai
This was the main event of the evening. Rhea Ripley wanted Raquel Gonzalez and she got her almost straight away. She got annoyed when Io Shirai tagged herself in but apart from that, they worked relatively harmoniously together. She got back in quite quickly and it took a double team effort to slow her down. Shirai was down on the floor at the time and by the time she was back on the apron Ripley was in trouble. She was more than ready when she got the tag though, and Gonzalez had to stop Kai being pinned. She also helped knock Ripley out of the ring and put Shirai down long enough to drag Kai to their corner and tag herself in. It was well-orchestrated, but after all of it, Shirai kicked out.
A series of unfortunate events cost Ripley and Shirai the match. The ref missed Shirai’s tag when she was really struggling, thanks to Dakota Kai distracting him. Mercedes Martinez appeared from nowhere and pulled Ripley off the apron, smacking her head on the steps on the way down. Ripley dragged herself up in time to shove Shirai out of the path of Dakota Kai’s kick and tagged herself in, but she was clearly dazed and was almost immediately pinned by Raquel Gonzalez.
Toni Storm picked her match against Io Shirai in the Mae Young Classic Final at Evolution in this week’s Superstar Picks episode.
It was also announced that NXT UK is returning properly in September, from the BT Sport studio.
SmackDown didn’t have a women’s division match this week, just two storyline progressing segments.
Bayley and Sasha Banks stopped to be mean to Big E, Otis, and Tucker on their way to the ring.
Bayley said they’re in the midst of one of the most difficult weeks of their careers. They both had to defend their titles at SummerSlam (Banks unsuccessfully of course) and in two days they face Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax for the tag titles. But lucky for them, they’re the greatest tag team champions in history.
Somewhat unwisely, Bayley made a joke about Banks losing the RAW title belts then apologised and backtracked when she saw Banks face. She didn’t backtrack very well. She said it was all her fault but said it was because she saw how much Banks wanted to be like her. But she managed to say she should never have let her challenge Asuka because as her best friend she should have known her history and how she could never successfully defend the RAW Women’s Championship. Banks looked increasingly pissed off as Bayley reassured her that they’re in it together, stronger together, and they’ll get through it. The tag titles represent their friendship, apparently. On Sunday they can’t lose. She babbles like a woman who knows she’s on borrowed time.
Banks said she’s right, they can’t lose. She knows Bayley is worried, but she shouldn’t be because as long as Bayley has her back, they can get through anything. She may not be Two Belts Banks anymore but she knows exactly who she is and what she stands for, and lucky for Bayley, she is still her best friend. She’s going to do everything in her power to make sure they keep…
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler appeared on the big screen. Baszler said Banks has had a bad week and it’s going to get so much worse. They made it clear that Bayley and Banks are the only people they hate more than each other. They had an issue with the fact Banks and Bayley are talking about everything apart from winning.
Banks said winning is just what they do. She had one bad week but that’s not going to hold her back. She is Sasha Banks and she knows what she wants when she wants and how she wants. On Sunday she will get her vengeance – with a pointed look at Bayley – and she will walk out with her tag team championship.
Bayley was still trying to be demonstrative with Banks, clinking titles and trying to make her interact, but Banks was not remotely interested.
Something is still wrong with Alexa Bliss. She interrupted Tamina asking Nikki Cross how Bliss was doing. She was overly bright and just a little off and wearing her hair in pigtails. Cross was holding a mug Bliss bought her and Bliss commented how long she’d had it. Cross noticed a dreadlocked bit of one of Bliss’ pigtails and asked about it. When Bliss said she was considering doing half her hair like that, Cross said it reminded her of The Fiend. Bliss spaced for a couple of seconds then told Cross not to be ridiculous. She went off on a rant about thinking Cross would be more supportive because that’s what friend’s do, and they’re supposed to be best friends. Then she ripped the mug from Cross’ hands said, ‘So much for friendship’, smashed it, and stormed off.
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.