Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. This week finished one year and started the next. There’s a reasonable amount going on, but this is always a bit of a limbo time in WWE. The Royal Rumble declarations have started already, the first rumblings of the build to the first PPV of 2021.
All WWE shows this week were dedicated to the memory of Jon Huber, known to WWE fans as Luke Harper and AEW and indie wrestling fans as Brodie Lee. His death on the 26th December rocked the entire wrestling community and our thoughts are with his family and friends. He will be sorely missed.
There were tributes from superstars throughout the shows, like Drew McIntyre opening RAW with, ‘It’s Monday, you know what that means’, and Xavier Woods’ BRODIE armband. If you haven’t seen them, search Brodie Lee on Twitter to see the tributes that have poured in from every corner of the wrestling industry.
Shayna Baszler def. Dana Brooke
Charlotte Flair def. Nia Jax (DQ)
Dana Brooke, with Mandy Rose, vs Shayna Baszler
Nia Jax didn’t accompany Shayna Baszler to the ring. During Baszler’s entrance, we saw a recap of her injuring Mandy Rose.
Dana Brooke has got the arm stomp scouted. She avoided it for the second match running but failed to get Baszler down to roll her up. This time, Baszler stepped out of the ring and hyper-extended Brooke’s elbow by smashing it against the edge of the apron.
A Shayna Baszler with a target limb is a very dangerous thing, but Brooke kept coming back. After Baszler caught Brooke’s baseball slide and put her in the Kirifuda Clutch at ringside, she left Brooke lying on the floor and went to take a count-out victory. Then she changed her mind and went to assault Rose, who was trying to rouse Brooke.
Baszler threw Rose into the apron and tried to do the elbow stomp, but Dana Brooke got up, got Baszler on her shoulder, and dropped her face-first onto the apron and rolled her back into the ring. Sadly, Brooke couldn’t make the pin stick, nor the next. She went to the top and leapt off, but Baszler wasn’t there. Baszler got her with a knee in the face and locked in the Kirifuda Clutch for the win.
Just to make her point, Shayna Baszler returned to the ring while Mandy Rose was comforting Brooke, and put her in a Kirifuda as well.
Before Charlotte Flair’s interview with Charly Caruso, we saw footage of Nia Jax attacking and injuring Flair six months ago. Caruso asked if she was ready to go one on one with perhaps the most feared woman in WWE. Flair said after six months injured courtesy of Jax, she walked into TLC and won the tag titles with her friend Asuka, so yes, she’s ready. Jax is to be feared and is a great competitor, but Charlotte Flair always bets on herself. Her New Year’s resolution is the same as every year, to climb to the top and stay there.
Asuka appeared at the end of the interview. She said, ‘Tonight, Nia is not ready for Charlotte Flair’. Flair was laughing with her as they walked away. There’s something lovely about their partnership. I know it will be short-lived, but it’s sweet.
Nia Jax also had an interview with Charly Caruso, accompanied by Shayna Baszler, not that she let Caruso get a question out. She said Charlotte Flair is right to be afraid of her and her fear warms her heart. Jax has some New Year’s resolutions as well. One, end Flair’s climb to the top before she makes it to the first rung. Two, get the tag titles back where they belong. And three, enter the royal rumble match, throw every person over the top rope, and got to WrestleMania and face the champion.
Shayna Baszler didn’t know about the third resolution. She came back to Caruso after Jax left and said she kind of likes that idea.
Charlotte Flair, with Asuka, vs Nia Jax, with Shayna Baszler
It was a good match, but the inevitable extras didn’t take long to start. Flair kicked Jax out of the ring and knocked her into the announce desk with a baseball slide. Baszler got too close when she was yelling as Flair and took a backfist from Asuka. Jax tried to charge Flair into the steps and Flair sidestepped. Jax turned things her way moments after they got back into the ring, sending the back of Flair’s head into the turnbuckle by kicking out of a figure four attempt.
Baszler got involved again, getting up on the apron twice when Jax looked in trouble. The first time Asuka came round and Baszler threw her over the announce desk. The second time Flair kicked her down. While she was down, Flair got Jax in a figure four, but Baszler was back up and in the ring to cause a disqualification by putting Flair in the Kirifuda before Jax could tap. Asuka got back in time to prevent the post-match beatdown.
The Fiend is gone, for now, burned alive at TLC by Randy Orton. Alexa Bliss is still loyal and waiting for him. She’s carrying the storyline now and she’s doing an amazing and very very creepy job. This week’s instalment came in two segments.
The first was set in Alexa’s Playground, set up in the ring. She pondered where ‘He’ might be. Maybe he’d turn up at Legends Night next week, or maybe he was waiting for Randy Orton to come to the playground (he was an announced guest). She invited Orton out and his music played, but Orton didn’t appear. She tried again with the same result.
Orton appeared in the empty Firefly Fun House, where he trashed the place and assaulted the puppets. He ripped Ramblin’ Rabbit’s head clean off, but he’s quite used to it. Bliss was so upset she challenged Orton to a match. Randy Orton assumed it was a trick and The Fiend would appear as well or instead.
The second part was the final segment of the show and it was much weirder than a match. Bliss brought a gift-wrapped box into the ring and took a can of fuel and a box of matches out of it. She presented them to Orton and challenged him to do to her what he did to ‘him’. She laid down in the ring, then got up and retrieved the fuel can, poured a puddle and a trail to Orton, then made the request and laid back in the puddle.
Bliss was desperate, pleading with Orton to finish it then accusing him of not having the guts. She called him, ‘Nothing but a little bitch’ shortly before she poured the fuel over her head and stood there in a massive puddle of it.
Randy Orton asked if she really thinks he won’t do it, that he’s not capable. He wants to do it but the fact she wants it to happen is confusing him so he doesn’t know what to do. When he said maybe he’d do it, the lights started to shut down. Only a single light came back. The light from the match held by Randy Orton. That’s how this week’s RAW ended.
Mercedes Martinez def. Valentina Feroz
It was the NXT Year End Awards this week. Sadly, the women’s division didn’t pick up the match of the year award, or future star, but it wasn’t all bad news.
Shotzi Blackheart won NXT Breakout Star of the Year. She gave a lovely speech about her dad being proud of her and how she was going to push forward in 2021.
Io Shirai won both NXT Female Superstar of the Year and NXT Overall Superstar of the Year. She was very happy and grateful in both her acceptance videos.
Indi Hartwell lost out on NXT Future Star of the Year to Austin Theory, but she pouted so Candice LeRae made him share his award with her.
Xia Li and Boa looked to have completed and passed whatever the torture training was about. They were dressed in white and were anointed with a smudge down the centre of their noses before following the master guy into a bright light. We still don’t know who the veiled face-painted person is, but Li and Boa will be back next week.
Mercedes Martinez vs Valentina Feroz
I’m annoyed they brought Martinez back in a pointless nothing squash. She returned by attacking the champion, at least give her a significant opponent for her first match. No one needs to be reminded what a badass Mercedes Martinez is. We know.
There was an in-depth look at the relationship between Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez, following it from best friends to bitterest enemies. Another great job on the video package. Best watched rather than described. Their match next week at New Year’s Evil will be Last Woman Standing.
It was another ‘Best of’ show this week for NXT UK. Jinny was among the superstars to wish everyone a Happy New Year. She reminded us not to set any resolutions because we won’t be able to keep them. Dani Luna said a happy new year was inevitable, which feels a bit like tempting fate after last year. Nina Samuels said it’s going to be the year of the Nina Samuels Show. Piper Niven just sent nice and very Scottish wishes. Xia Brookside also thinks it’s going to be her year.
The Riott Squad def. Tamina & Natalya
Carmella & Bayley def. Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair
The Riott Squad vs Tamina & Natalya
This was supposed to be Billie Kay finding a partner to face Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott. Instead, she roped in Natalya and Tamina and stayed out of harm’s way. She kept trying to coach Tamina and Natalya from ringside, but they kept telling her to shut up. Sadly, she did not listen. Instead, she moved around the ring and tried to switch allegiances. The Riott Squad didn’t want her either but she tried to align herself with them after Morgan pinned Tamina. The match, all two minutes of it, was ninety percent Riott Squad and was fine.
Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair vs Carmella, with Reginald, & Bayley
Another great, Bianca Belair is here, match. She took the first stint for her team and she was ready for whatever Carmella and Bayley wanted to throw at her.
That changed during an ad break. When we came back, Belair was in trouble at Bayley’s hand. Commentary informed us Carmella had caught Belair with a superkick to the elbow during the ads, which explained why they were working her left arm so much. Belair kept trying to make it back to Banks, but the one time she got close, Carmella punched Banks off the apron. Trash talked and a face shove woke something up in Belair, and it was just enough to get her to Sasha Banks.
Banks was very happy to get her hands on Carmella again. I suspect Carmella had strongly mixed feelings. Bayley had to break up a pin attempt, and the knee to the head she did it with knocked Banks silly. Belair came in and threw Bayley out, but when Belair tried to use her hair to pull Banks close enough to tag again, Bayley grabbed it. Belair used it to pull Bayley into the ringpost and suplexed her at ringside, hurting her own back in the process. Banks nearly got rolled up because she was watching, but she kicked out and a Carmella found herself in a Bank Statement. Reginald pulled her free, then did some acrobatic stuff to get out of Sasha Banks’ way.
She got to punch him in the face a few moments later, but that cost her the match. Carmella spiked her face into the mat and pinned her.
Sonya Deville is back in WWE and looking great. She’s been reinstated and it’s good to see her back. I’m glad she wasn’t away too long. The SmackDown women’s division desperately needs more going on in it.
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.