Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Payback started the week and was surprisingly good considering it was the second PPV in two weeks. NXT switched days to give us Super Tuesday. It’s been a hell of a week for tag teams on the main roster brands.
The Riott Squad def. The IIconics
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax def. Sasha Banks & Bayley
The Riott Squad vs The IIconics – Kickoff Show match
This has been rumbling on, largely because Peyton Royce and Billie Kay never stop running their mouths. They did it on their way to the ring, claiming they would expose Morgan and Riott as a fake team and that the reunion would never last.
It looked like they might be right when Riott tagged herself in. Morgan looked annoyed and had to watch as Riott got double-teamed and isolated in the IIconics’ corner. Billie Kay tried to convince Liv Morgan that Riott had knocked her off the apron when it was actually Royce, and for a while, it looked like it had worked and Morgan would walk away. She changed her mind and made the tag. She also saved Riott from being pinned off a Déjà vu and dragged her back to their corner to tag in.
In the end, their teamwork paid off and it was a double-knees from Morgan into Riott kick on Billie Kay that secured them the win.
The Riott Squad appeared with the Kickoff Show panel after the match. Emotions were high and Morgan confessed she wasn’t sure for a minute whether Riott really had hit her. Riott reassured her it was all The IIconics trying to get between them, and they confirmed The Riott Squad is back properly.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax got into an argument backstage about whether Baszler should follow Jax’ lead or Jax should stay out of Baszler’s way. They agreed to cut the pre-match chit chat before they came to blows.
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax – WWE Women’s Championship match
I went into this hoping for a Baszler and Jax win. Partly because it would speed up the Sasha Banks and Bayley feud, and partly because it would be funny to watch them try not to kill each other.
Shayna Baszler immediately tagged herself into the match against Banks who narrowly avoided getting stamped on. Nia Jax got knocked off the apron by a combination of Banks holding her leg and Bayley throwing Baszler into her. She was down for a while and holding her knee. Meanwhile, Baszler was being double-teamed by Banks and Bayley. Jax was back in time to fling Banks into the ring as a method of breaking up Bayley’s pin attempt. She whipped Banks into the barricades and took her out before getting back in the ring. Banks returned to chop block Jax while the ref was trying to keep Baszler out of the ring.
Wherever they are in their personal relationship, Banks and Bayley’s teamwork is near flawless. Towards the end of the match Baszler and Jax finally decided to work together properly, believing they could win. Not long after that, it looked like Banks and Bayley stopped believing they could. They got desperate and it showed.
Shayna Baszler got Banks in a submission and Bayley in a Kirifuda Clutch at the same time. She used Banks’ arm to choke Bayley and, eventually, Bayley tapped out.
Jax and Baszler’s post-match interview didn’t really work. They do not mesh on a personal level at all and it’s going to be fun watching them try to keep it together.
Sasha Banks and Bayley looked distraught as they stood on the ramp and watched Jax and Baszler celebrate. From the looks Banks was shooting at Bayley’s back, it won’t be long now.
Mickie James def. Lana
The Riott Squad def. The IIconics
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler had a backstage interview with Sarah Schreiber. They still couldn’t agree on exactly how their strategy worked. Asuka danced into shot and Schreiber asked her if she’d heard anything about her next opponent. She hadn’t, but Baszler got up in Asuka’s face about interrupting. Asuka shoved her over, yelled at Jax, and left.
She was headed to the ring for an interview with Charly Caruso. Caruso asked if there was anyone Asuka felt was most deserving. Asuka listed some of the women she’s beaten, noting there had been a lot of them, and said it doesn’t matter who is ready for Asuka because Asuka is ready for anything.
She got Mickie James, who was brought back to WWE to face Asuka at a TakeOver. She wanted to pay Asuka the respect of telling her she was coming for the title.
Natalya and Lana, both in ring gear, arrived and took exception to Mickie James trying to insert herself in the title picture. They said a lot of other stuff too, which ended in Lana telling James she had to go through her to get to Natalya. Asuka said she was ready for all three of them. Mickie James got in Asuka’s face and Lana and Natalya jumped them.
Asuka and Mickie James cleaned house then went back to arguing.
Lana vs Mickie James
This started after a break, with Natalya at ringside and Asuka on commentary. Asuka made it clear she rates Mickie James, calling her a legend. But she’s the champion, the Empress. She didn’t get to pass comment on what she thought of Natalya and Lana because the match didn’t last long enough. Lana took a Mick-Kick to the face and got pinned. Natalya was distraught, and it looks like Micki James might be next for Asuka.
In their pre-match interview, The IIconics talked about their journey from high school to WWE and how they’ve taken every step together. They were confident about the match though, there was no way they’d let a team they consider doomed to self-destruct get between them.
The Riott Squad vs The IIconics – Winners get a Title Shot, Losers Must Disband
The match was good, but not very long and I question why they didn’t just have the stipulation match on the PPV rather than having them fight two night’s running. It was clear everyone was taking it seriously though. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce were especially intense, Kay more so than Royce.
It’s a shame to lose either of these teams because they produce some of the best teamwork but one had to go. The end came after Liv Morgan came in to deal with Peyton Royce trying to interfere, leaving Kay and Riott alone in the ring. They exchanged pin attempts and Ruby Riott got the win with a rollup.
There was disbelief and a temper tantrum from Royce and Kay, then they just sat in the middle of the ring and cried while they held each other.
Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir appeared on RAW Underground again. I still think it’s a fantastic fit for then. Jessamyn Duke was up first and she decimated Avery Taylor. Marina Shafir won her fight too, and she was wearing a skirt.
Peyton Royce and Billie Kay were watching from the crowd and had a chat with Shane McMahon. Royce threw Kay onto the platform where she was knocked out by a single kick in the head from Jessamyn Duke. Looking at the evil smile on Peyton Royce’s face at the sight of her unconscious best friend, the healing from the split has already begun.
The rumour surrounding the IIconics’ split is that WWE have big plans for Peyton Royce. That could be really bad news for Billie Kay. If she ends up being ‘the spare’ then her days in WWE could be numbered. It’s not great news for the women’s tag division. It’s barely a division as it is and The IIconics, as annoying as they could be, were one of the only true teams in it. With Bayley and Sasha Banks splitting soon too, and the current tag champs who can barely stand to be in the same room together, it’s all looking a bit ropey. With The Fiend storyline using Alexa Bliss, and the changes in her meaning her and Cross aren’t exactly on the same page right now either, I question who Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler will have to fight, apart from The Riott Squad who won their opportunity tonight.
RETRIBUTION showed up on RAW again. Zelina Vega was among those beaten up and Demi Burnett (from The Bachelor, apparently) was threatened but not actually attacked on screen. Her former protector, Angel Garza, abandoned her when he didn’t like the odds. The countdown has started on me losing interest. I want to know who they are and what they want, or even just what they want. The destruction with no clear agenda isn’t enough to sustain interest beyond a few weeks.
Candice LeRae def. Kacy Catanzaro
This week and next are special Super Tuesday weeks on NXT. Half of this week’s show was dedicated to a four-way ironman match for the NXT Championship (which still ended with no winner). As the show started with a huge six-man street fight, it didn’t leave much time for anything else. There was a token women’s division match, but it was more about furthering another storyline than the match itself.
Candice LeRae vs Kacy Catanzaro, with Kayden Carter
Tegan Nox talking about Candice LeRae, and responding to LeRae’s comments last week, aired before the match. Nox is still hoping they can work it out because LeRae is like her sister.
Carter and Catanzaro were all smiles and hugs before the bell and LeRae shook her head while watching them. The match itself was short and sweet. Catanzaro is fast and bouncy and resourceful, but it was no match for the strength and experience advantage of Candice LeRae. She had a few moments and even a credible pin attempt, but the finish came via LeRae’s brutal ‘legs wrapped and face stamped into the mat’ finisher.
LeRae grabbed a mic and said that hearing what Tegan had to say then coming out and seeing Kacy and Kayden’s friendship left her a little distracted, and maybe a bit jealous because it reminds of the friendship they used to have. She wants to talk things over and hash things out as much as Nox does, so she’s inviting her for dinner at her house.
Rhea Ripley had a message for Mercedes Martinez. She is sick and tired of her and the Robert Stone Brand sticking their noses into her business. She thought Martinez might have got the message when she powerbombed her onto the concrete, but apparently not. So now she’s going to have to rip her limb from limb and she wants to do it in a steel cage match.
Later, Martinez accepted the match. It happens next week on Super Tuesday II.
Media has started ahead of NXT UK’s return on September 17th. The BT Sport studio has been set up and it appears to be all systems go. To get ready for that, this week’s show was the first half of a kind of potted history of the brand and a reminder of where the various players were when the apocalypse began.
The women’s division will get their storytime next week. We’re also promised a big announcement about the future of the NXT UK brand next week, and Kay Lee Ray’s next challenger will be revealed.
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax def. Bayley & Sasha Banks
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (C) vs Sasha Banks & Bayley – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match
In their pre-match interview, Banks and Bayley were grumpy but appeared to be on the same page.
If Jax and Baszler could get on the same page for an extended period of time they’d be practically unstoppable. Jax tagged herself in on Baszler the second the bell rang and they were attacked by Banks and Bayley while they were still glaring at each other. They showed some teamwork of sorts going into the break though, when they stood side by side at ringside with an opponent each upside down and repeatedly swung them into the barricades.
Bayley took a lot of punishment in this match. She was isolated and beaten down by both Baszler and Jax before she managed to get to Sasha Banks. A Banks and Bayley double team saw Banks powerbomb Nia Jax off the apron, but Baszler was the legal competitor. Bayley was ready for her though and they took control of the match while she was all alone.
They had plenty of time and opportunity but, even with regular tags and continuous offence, they couldn’t keep Baszler down.
Baszler turned things in her favour by dodging Banks’ double knees against the post, causing Banks to crash into the post and hurt her knees. With a target to work on, Shayna Baszler stepped things up. She punched Bayley off the apron and almost got Banks into the submission, but Bayley got back up and countered with a Bayley to Belly.
Nia Jax arrived back in time to save Baszler from a Bank Statement. When Jax got back in she tried to climb the turnbuckle with Banks on her shoulders. Bayley stopped her but they couldn’t stop Jax’ crossbody from the second turnbuckle which pinned them both.
Medics tended to Sasha Banks in the ring after the match, with Bayley sitting a few feet away yelling at them to be careful.
After a break, the medics were still trying to help Banks. She pushed them all away for Bayley to help her instead. Bayley helped her get to the edge of the ring then kicked her in the face and threw her into the steps. That wasn’t enough, so Bayley smashed Banks’ face into the post, swung her injured knee against the steps and stamped on it, then put her back in the ring so she could stamp on her in a corner. Bayley even took some time to yell at Michael Cole while she was smacking Banks’ face into the mat.
It just went on and on. Banks fought back when Bayley tried to stamp a chair shut on her injured leg. Bayley knocked her out with a knee to the face. The finale was Bayley jumping onto the chair Banks’ neck was trapped in. Officials arrived after that and we went for another break. The beatdown lasted an entire part.
When we came back, Sasha Banks was being loaded into an ambulance, unconscious on a stretcher, wearing a neck brace.
Interesting. I think most people were expecting Banks to be the one who snapped, I know I did. Banks has been giving clear signals for weeks that she’d had enough of the way Bayley treats her sometimes. I guess Bayley picked up on that too and decided to get in first. Sasha Banks would have gone straight for Bayley’s title as well, but who knows how long that beating will write her off tv for.
There was an anonymous vignette this week. All we saw was a pair of lower legs in heels dragging a fur coat. No idea who it is. If I had to guess I’d say Carmella as she got an unexpected mention from Paul Heyman earlier in the show when he referred to Corey Graves as ‘Carmella’s latest boyfriend’.
Alexa Bliss, with more of her hair resembling The Fiend’s, approached Nikki Cross and asked for her forgiveness for smashing her mug. Cross said of course she forgives her, it’s just that… and Bliss cut her off with a hug. Ramblin Rabbit from the Firefly Fun House was in the background when Bliss walked away.
I’d just like to take a moment to pay tribute to Casey Michael, owner of Squared Circle Sirens, who died this week aged 26. His passion and exceptional journalism were an inspiration, and the outpouring of grief at his passing is testament to how many lives he touched. He will be greatly missed by the wrestling community.
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.