Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. We’re well and truly on the Road to WrestleMania now, and waiting for Charlotte Flair to make her decision as to which championship she wants to challenge for. Happily, that’s not the only thing going on, we even got a much-needed return this week.
Liv Morgan def. Lana
Asuka def. Natalya
Liv Morgan vs Lana
This was the opening match, but not the opening segment) of the show. It was apparently triggered by social media exchanges between the two. Lana faked a wrist injury in the first five seconds and used it to take the early advantage. It was a short advantage and a short match. Liv Morgan won it with the same springboard flatliner she used last week.
The interesting bit happened after the match. Ruby Riott’s music hit while Morgan was celebrating and there were smiles all round until Riott got to the ring. They moved to embrace and Ruby Riott knocked Morgan on her ass and started kicking and punching her while Lana watched from the corner. Riott left after slamming Liv Morgan’s face into the mat, leaving Lana to deliver her finisher, just to add insult to injury.
Charlotte Flair said everyone wants to know whether she’s going to face Becky Lynch for the RAW Women’s Championship or Bayley for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. But the thing is she’s held both titles multiple times and beaten both women. The crowd started chanting ‘Rhea’ and Flair said yes, The Queen has love for NXT and NXT has love for their queen. She’s held all the gold, ten times, and The Queen still wants more.
The WWE Universe got what they wanted at that point, Rhea Ripley came out and strolled to the ring. She said Flair did win the Royal Rumble and now she gets to challenge for any title at WrestleMania. She’s already beaten Becky, and Bayley, but she’s never beaten her. In fact, Ripley holds a victory over her. So if Flair is going to challenge for ay title at WrestleMania… she held up the belt to finish that sentence while the crowd chanted ‘Yes’. Flair looked at the title and smiled, looked Ripley up and down, and left.
It was later announced that Flair would visit NXT on Wednesday to answer the challenge.
Asuka vs Natalya
This was the definition of most recent Natalya matches. Decently solid, a bit pedestrian, with a lot of submission attempts. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it, it just didn’t really go anywhere. It got a decent amount of time though. Long enough to be interrupted by an ad break. Natalya’s best chance came from a Sharpshooter. Asuka got to the ropes and crawled halfway out of the ring, but Natalya took the ref’s entire count to let go.
Kairi Sane was at ringside, but for once didn’t get involved until right at the end. She distracted Natalya long enough for Asuka to get on the Asuka Lock which finished the match. In retaliation for the Sharpshooter, Asuka also took her time letting go of the hold.
After the match, Asuka grabbed a mic and said she wants a rematch for the RAW Women’s Championship.
Becky Lynch didn’t keep her waiting for an answer. She came to the ring in sunglasses. With Asuka’s track record it would have been sensible to keep them on, but she didn’t. She said, so after ducking her for a whole year Asuka wants to fight her again. That’s interesting, because beating her at Royal Rumble damned near gave her superpowers. And if Asuka thinks Lynch wants to drink from that fountain again, damned right she does. But why would she put her precious title on the line so close to WrestleMania? Because the only thing more fun than beating Asuka’s ass once would be to do it again. It’s on.
Kairi Sane tried to attack Lynch from behind and Becky Lynch kicked her in the stomach then threw her out of the ring. She turned to Asuka and said, ‘See, superpowers. Eyes in the back of my head’, then left.
That match will happen next week.
Mercedes Martinez def. Kacy Catanzaro
Mercedes Martinez vs Kacy Catanzaro
From the intro/reminder videos they both got, there is every reason to be hopeful about both their NXT futures. Kacy Catanzaro might have to work her way through the pack, but it feels like WWE have big plans for Mercedes Martinez. I hope that’s not just wishful thinking.
Kacy Catanzaro’s usual strategy of keep moving and don’t get caught worked well for her early on. She even got a credible pin attempt, although it was only worth two. Then Martinez caught her and knocked her out of the air to the floor. After being slammed into the ringpost, the edge of the ring and the barricade a couple of times, Catanzaro succumbed to the fisherman buster suplex.
Rhea Ripley had a backstage interview where she was told Charlotte Flair was o her way to the arena. She said that Bianca Belair was her number one concern tonight, but it was nice of The Queen to show up.
Flair was shown arriving at NXT a little later.
It was Bianca Belair who started the segment. She’s annoyed that Rhea Ripley challenged Flair for WrestleMania when Belair has a title shot it Portland, so as far as she’s concerned Ripley won’t be champion by ‘Mania. She said she didn’t care about no queen, she wanted Ripley to come out and face her. She got Charlotte Flair instead.
I always love how happy main roster stars are to come back to NXT and Flair was no exception. After acknowledging the crowd’s ‘Welcome Home’, Flair told Belair she has a lot of respect for her. She’s an amazing athlete, but she’s not Charlotte Flair. Flair is tickled that Belair and Ripley are all fired up getting to talk about her, but Ripley overlooked Belair and now Belair has made it all about herself.
Rhea Ripley came to join them then. The body language in the ring was awesome. Charlotte Flair put her hand in Belair’s face to push her out of the conversation and Belair made it very clear how she felt about that in the background while Ripley asked Flair to say why she was there. Then Belair stepped back in between them with her back to Rhea Ripley to remind Flair, ‘You don’t even go here’. She didn’t even turn to face Ripley when she told her she was wrong if she thought she’d run through her at TakeOver Portland. Belair finished by telling Flair it would be the two of them at WrestleMania.
Charlotte Flair told her this was a conversation for champions so to, ‘Stand over there and fix your braid’. That got Ripley’s back up. She told Flair she didn’t go to her house and disrespect her, so don’t come to NXT and disrespect them. Her and Belair will tear each other apart in Portland but they have a saying in NXT, in case Flair has forgotten, ‘We Are NXT’.
A look passed between Ripley and Belair then Bianca Belair hit Flair from behind. They sat flair on their shoulders and dropped her on her face, then immediately restarted their own argument.
In TakeOver Portland news, Tegan Nox versus Dakota Kai has been added to the card, as a Street Fight.
Piper Niven def. Dani Luna
Piper Niven vs Dani Luna
This was the opening match and commentary talked about it as Niven’s first step on the journey back to challenging Kay Lee Ray again. None of them seemed to give Dani Luna a chance. Quite rightly too because Piper Niven finished it with a Michinoku Driver after a short but entertaining match.
Kay Lee Ray addressed the NXT UK crowd. She said, just in case anyone has any doubts, at TakeOver she proved she’s the absolute best and why, no matter how many people they throw at her, she’s never giving up the NXT UK Women’s Championship.
But she’s actually started to understand Toni Storm a bit better. She gets it now. Having the championship is intoxicating. The respect, the money, the power, the control, it’s all hers while poor old Toni Storm sits at home.
That bit turned out to be wrong because Toni Storm came out and told Ray to stop. Kay Lee Ray stole the victory and she knows it, and she knows the title should be hers. Kay Lee Ray said upset isn’t a good look for Storm, she’s obsessed. Being the champion is like an addiction and this is an intervention. Since she and Storm used to be good friends, she’s going to help her give it up. Storm will get her title rematch but if she doesn’t give up then Ray will make her. She’ll make Storm admit to all her fans and friends that she’s not good enough to beat her. She’s going to make her say ‘I Quit’. And when she beats her, Toni Storm will never get another title match while Kay Lee Ray is champion.
Carmella def. Naomi, Dana Brooke, and Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross had a conversation in the locker room early in the show, about the Fatal Four-way main event. Bliss said you don’t become the first woman to win both RAW and SmackDown championships without a little something twisted up your sleeve.
Alexa Bliss vs Naomi vs Dana Brooke vs Carmella – Fatal Four-way Number One Contender’s match
Bayley joined commentary for the match, which was the main event of the evening. She got involved early in the match after Naomi had launched herself over the top rope and taken out the other three. Bayley stood up and held the title high, Naomi got in her face then shoved her to the floor. They had a scrap and Bayley threw Naomi into the steps going into a break.
After the break, Naomi was still out of the match, but she was back soon after. Corey Graves said Bayley was screaming at the others to stop her as she started to get into her stride, leading to speculation that Bayley does not want Naomi as a challenger.
She was in luck if that’s the case. Naomi put in the outstanding performance of the highly entertaining match, but it was Carmella who finished it. Naomi threw Dana Brooke out of the ring and took down Alexa Bliss with a Rear View. That meant there was no one to break up the pin after Carmella hit her with two superkicks.
As soon as Carmella’s music started for her celebration, Bayley attacked her from behind and slammed her face into the mat.
That’s it for another week of WWE women’s division action. Join me next week for another round-up, and in the meantime follow @ArnFuriousCom to make sure you never miss a review. You can also follow me @manda_why.