Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. The final PPV of the year and the decade, TLC, kicked us off this week with just one women’s division match on the card, but it did main event.
The Kabuki Warriors def. Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair
The Kabuki Warriors (C) vs Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship – Tables, Ladder, and Chairs match
This quite rightly main evented the PPV. For me, it was among the best matches of the night, despite injury issues, although online opinion seemed very much divided. Ladder match rules, so the titles were suspended above the ring. Lynch and Flair didn’t interact while they waited for their opponents. Commentary cast aspersions about their ability to work as a cohesive team, but we’ve seen them put their issues to the side before when it benefits them both.
Of course, all four competitors were legal all the time. The announce desks came into play in the first five minutes when Lynch and Flair stood on one each and threw Sane to each other.
Charlotte Flair took a chair to the face. Asuka took a chair leg and a ladder to the face. Kairi Sane hit herself in the face with a chair when she tried to throw it into the ring and it bounced off the ropes. She disappeared under the ring at that point and when Lynch and Flair dragged her out she sprayed them with a fire extinguisher. Asuka was swinging a chain around. Sane kept throwing chairs into the ropes instead of the ring. Flair was imprisoned in a chair with a kendo stick. Becky Lynch was tied to a ladder. Chaos.
The Kabuki Warriors almost retained while Lynch was tied to the ladder, but Flair arrived with a kendo stick at the last possible moment. Flair went round to untie Becky Lynch, but Asuka and a chair got to her before she got the knots undone and laid her out. Lynch finally managed to free herself.
Lynch put Asuka through a table. Sane tried and failed to put Lynch and Flair through a table then got put through one by Charlotte Flair.
There was a lot of online discussion about whether a monitor hit Sane during the match and if she worked some of it with a concussion. I’ve watched it a few times and it doesn’t look like it hit her but it’s possible. I think it was probably the chair that rebounded off the ropes and hit her in the face. That table spot didn’t look right and there were times she didn’t look at all with it. Becky Lynch checked on her a lot as well, so something definitely caught her. Accidents happen and hopefully she’s ok.
Asuka tried to climb the ladder with Kairi Sane standing guard, but Lynch and Flair appeared with chairs so that came to nothing. Charlotte Flair got powerbombed through a table on the outside from the second turnbuckle, which ended her match.
Becky Lynch had her fingertips on the title when Asuka grabbed the rope that was still attached to the ladder and pulled it over. Lynch hit the ropes on her way down, so Asuka dragged her out of the ring and climbed the ladder to claim the belts and the victory.
Immediately after Asuka grabbed the belts the camera cut to some of the men’s locker room brawling into view, a fight which started between Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin and had apparently been rumbling on through the entire main event. Sadly, it felt like a really disrespectful end to the match and the PPV.
After the PPV, Becky Lynch tweeted a message to Sane that she was a warrior.
It was disappointing not to see a defence of the SmackDown Women’s Championship. The PPV finished earlier than advertised (possibly due to the Kairi Sane injury) and the card was pretty thin in places. There was easily room for Bayley to have a match, even if she’d done an open challenge like The Viking Raiders did.
Asuka def. Deonna Purrazzo
Liv Morgan had a vignette in preparation for her return. She talked about reflecting on who she was and always having allowed her friends to tell her how to look and who to be. All she ever wanted was to be comfortable in her own skin, but now she has to destroy herself to allow the real her to emerge. It was fine from a promo perspective, but I’m not entirely sure why she had to be naked and getting into a bath. It’s ‘to be continued’ so maybe we’ll find out next week.
Asuka, with Kairi Sane, vs Deonna Purrazzo
This match was a lovely surprise. Kairi Sane accompanying Asuka was very reassuring after TLC, although she took no part in the match. And Deonna Purrazzo on RAW is awesome. She’s listed as an NXT superstar and she got an intro video and full entrance. She also got big hype from Samoa Joe who is incredible on commentary.
Deonna Purrazzo made her presence felt before the match even started, by kicking Asuka out of the ring. The match got going after a break. It was good. Not hugely long, but Purrazzo got a submission attempt and a pin attempt in on Asuka and managed to struggle out of one of Asuka’s submissions. After being worn down by a flurry of kicks Deonna Purrazzo succumbed to the Asuka Lock.
Becky Lynch had a sit-down interview with Charly Caruso. Caruso asked how Lynch was dealing with the loss to The Kabuki Warriors. Lynch said that for the last few months she hasn’t been herself. She was taken out of singles competition and put into tag team matches and at first she thought the powers that be were trying to bury her. Then she realised it’s much worse than that, they were trying to protect her. She’s the golden goose now and they don’t want that to end. They’re trying to protect her against Asuka because they don’t think she can win. And maybe, after last night, they’re right. But she didn’t come this far to be shielded and protected. The RAW Women’s Championship says she is the best. But she, as champion, says that Asuka is the best in the world right now.
To camera, directed at Asuka, Lynch said she usually tells her opponents they need her, but she needs Asuka. Until now Asuka’s had her number, and she needs that to change. Not for the company or the title, but because she needs to prove something to herself.
Io Shirai def. Santana Garrett
Rhea Ripley def. Shayna Baszler
Io Shirai vs Santana Garrett
It was nice to see Santana Garrett being used, but let’s not pretend she was there as anything other than cannon fodder for Io Shirai. It was entertaining while it lasted, and I vastly prefer them utilising established talent over the local competitor squash. Garrett even got a pin attempt.
Mauro Ranallo said, during Shirai’s entrance, that seven of her matches were nominated for match of the year in the NXT Year End Awards, and I’m not remotely surprised. Shirai is one of the most beautiful performers to watch in all of wrestling. She finished this one with a moonsault.
Dakota Kai apparently had eight staples in her head after Mia Yim put her through the tables post-match last week. Kai wanted to remind us that she won the match. She beat Yim and she’ll beat everyone in the locker room until she’s NXT Women’s Champion.
Shayna Baszler (C) vs Rhea Ripley – NXT Women’s Championship match
You know how sometimes when you’re really hyped for a match it lets you down a bit when it happens? This one didn’t. I’ve been hyped for this since Ripley made her intentions clear. I honestly try not to be too biased, but I desperately wanted Rhea Ripley to win. She’s had an incredible year and this would top it off perfectly.
Throughout the show, we got reminders of the match. Ripley was shown arriving and warming up, and Baszler was shown warming up as well.
It was clear from the off that Ripley had the champ rattled. She caught Baszler’s foot when Baszler tried to stomp on her arm and had her backing off from a punch. It was Ripley who had the best of the momentum in the early going.
Baszler came to the ring alone, but it was inevitable that Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir would insert themselves in the match. Happily, their intrusion was relatively brief and not completely catastrophic. Ripley took them out with a somersault off the apron, but it left her open to a knee and an arm stomp on the steps from Baszler. Duke and Shafir got caught dragging Ripley’s arm into the post a little later (during an ad break) and were sent to the back by the ref. Ripley received medical attention and insisted she could continue, but Baszler was firmly in control for a while.
When she got back into it, Ripley dropkicked Baszler into the ref and there was no one to count the pin from the Riptide. Shayna Baszler brought a chair into the ring and DDT’d Ripley on it. The ref was up just in time for Ripley to kick out.
Rhea Ripley was in the Kirifuda Clutch for a very long time. She appeared to be passing out but for some reason grabbed the ref’s shirt when she pulled herself back from the brink of defeat.
It was quick after that. They climbed the turnbuckle and Ripley delivered a headbutt followed up with an avalanche Riptide for the win.
The final shots of the night featured our new NXT Women’s Champion being carried on shoulders through a ring full of fans and superstars over to a corner so she could hold her title aloft.
Jinny def. Amale
We got a nice long build package for the NXT UK Women’s Championship triple threat match at TakeOver Blackpool. It played on the history between the women and their prior friendships. The match should be great. Maybe TakeOver Blackpool will be the show to make me really invest in this brand. I hope so.
Jinny, with Jazzy Gabert, vs Amale
A lot of commentary’s focus was on the possible tensions between Jinny and Gabert. With their feud clearly coming up soon, it pays for Jinny to start looking a bit more capable of fighting her own battles, which she is. And that’s what Amale’s NXT UK debut match amounted to. Jinny didn’t have it all her own way and Amale didn’t go down quietly, but Jinny’s Makeover finisher got the job done.
After the match, Jinny ordered Jazzy Gabert to take Amale with a clothesline, which she did. Jinny’s second request was met with some hesitation, and the third time Gabert refused and walked out.
There were no original matches on Main Event this week. It was a round-up show because the live crowd already had to sit through the live show and the recording of next week’s RAW.
Carmella def. Sonya Deville
Bayley def. Dana Brooke
Sasha Banks vs Lacey Evans – Double Count Out
Carmella vs Sonya Deville
Sadly, this was a two-minute match so there’s a limit to how much I can write about it. Sonya Deville started strong then found herself tapping to the Code of Silence. New Day’s entrance cut into Carmella’s celebration, so she had a dance with them on the stage.
Dana Brooke was shown backstage a while before the match, talking to Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. Lacey Evans brought her daughter over and introduced them.
Bayley vs Dana Brooke
This match was set up by Dana Brooke challenging Bayley to a rematch on Twitter. Sasha Banks accompanied Bayley to the ring. She shouted all through the match, but didn’t get involved.
It was a good showing from Dana Brooke. She almost pinned the champion, but she was too close to the ropes and Bayley grabbed them. After that she only got one more pin attempt before Bayley smashed her face into the mat and pinned her.
After the match Banks and Bayley stood over Brooke, yelling at her.
Evans asked Banks where she was going and said Banks said she’s the Legit Boss, but from where Evans stands, she looks like a legit bully with a big mouth and no backbone. She was raised never to let a bully win, so she challenged Banks to get int the ring and let Evans make her a legit loser.
Sasha Banks vs Lacey Evans
The match was sanctioned during the break. Dana Brooke and Bayley stayed ringside. Sasha Banks refused to take Evans seriously, trash-talking and posturing and generally taking her time. When Evans took control, Bayley got involved as a distraction while they were on the outside, which handed Banks back control of the match. She chose to beat Evans up in front of her husband and daughter.
The beatdown caused a double count-out and carried on beyond it. When she stopped to talk some trash to Evans little girl, Lacey Evans got up and jumped on her. It took Bayley, Dana Brooke, and some officials to drag her off.
That’s it for another week of WWE women’s division action. Have a fabulous Christmas if you celebrate it and a fabulous week if you don’t. Join me next week for another instalment, and in the meantime follow @ArnFuriousCom to make sure you never miss a review. You can also follow me @manda_why.