With Elimination Chamber still being two weeks away, there’s a sense that the main roster is busy, but with not a lot actually happening. NXT 2.0 are on their go-home week for Vengeance Day, but Kay Lee Ray couldn’t wait that long for her title shot, so she’s taking it this week.
Bianca Belair def. Nikki A.S.H.
Doudrop def. Liv Morgan
The women’s Elimination Chamber Mach has been announced. It will decide the number one contender for Becky Lynch’s title and will feature, Rhea Ripley, Nikki A.S.H., Doudrop, Liv Morgan, Bianca Belair, and one other to be named.
We got another couple of visits to Alexa Bliss’ therapy sessions. In the first one, Bliss was cuddling the replica Lilly doll and the therapist made her give it back. She cried.
The second one was the following week. The therapist praised her for not getting angry after handing fake Lilly back, and asked how her week was. Bliss described some examples of being able to control her temper, and an incident in a supermarket when she didn’t. A woman cut in front of her in line and she threw her down an aisle. Worryingly, for the therapist, the description Bliss gave of the woman she attacked, was a description of Lilly.
Bianca Belair vs Nikki A.S.H.
I really like that Nikki A.S.H. has added a lot of her old chaotic moveset into the V2 of the Almost Superhero. She injured Bianca Belair’s knee fairly early in the match, but while it caused Belair to hop about and clutch at it between moves, it didn’t stop her doing anything.
Nikki looked on form, right up until she got her head kicked into the ringpost. The K.O.D. finished the match, with Belair still favouring the knee even with Nikki on her shoulders.
Lita appeared to talk about her first single’s match in a decade, her title match against Becky Lynch at Elimination Chamber. She started to feel like she was home after being in the Royal Rumble, but Becky Lynch wasn’t in it and she’s wanted to share a ring with her for a long time.
Becky Lynch came out at that point and said how incredible it was to hear Lita say such nice things about her. Lita was her teenage idol and she wanted to explain why she said no to the match. Growing up she idolised Lita and when she finally got to the WWE it was Lita who believed in her. Without Lita, there would be no Becky Lynch. But now there’s a Becky Lynch, there can be no Lita.
She got angry and asked if Lita knows how hurtful it is to have someone you look up to more than anyone try to take everything away from you. The title is the most important thing in her life and WrestleMania season is the most important time. She’s dropped friends and lost the support of the people. No problem. And she will get rid of Lita too. No problem. Lita may have helped bring her up, but she will have no problem putting her down.
Lita said she knows she’s the underdog. She’s always been the underdog. She was just a punk rock dumpster diving kid trying to live her dreams, but the WWE Universe helped make her four-time champion and they’ve still got her back. And while there’s a WWE Universe, there’ll be a Lita. It’s her first title match in fifteen years and she’s ok with her odds. Lynch needs to work out how she’ll feel when Lita walks out five-time champion.
Becky Lynch said she’d leave Lita with the people because that’s all she’ll ever have. Lita was ready for the attack, but Lynch still left her laying the first time. She should have left it at that, because when she went back for seconds, Lita pulled out a Twist of Fate and a moonsault. Lynch finished the segment curled against the barricade clutching her ribs.
Liv Morgan vs Doudrop
Morgan has been driving herself insane over her near-miss loss to Becky Lynch. But she’s bounced back and now she’s focused on winning Elimination Chamber and going to the main event of WrestleMania.
Doudrop has realised she’s been too nice and that doesn’t work in WWE, so she decided to get nasty. Now everyone is disrespecting her because they’re scared. They know she can crush them all.
She crushed Liv Morgan going into a break. A crossbody left Morgan gasping for breath on the mat. By the time we came back, she was still very much in trouble. She managed to kick out of a pin attempt and found a second wind, and eventually managed to get Doudrop down. There was no attempt at capitalising though, she regrouped and kipped up when Doudrop got up.
Double knees to the face put Doudrop on the mat, but she kicked out. Morgan kicked out after being planted face-first on the canvas, but there was nothing she could do after the Doudrop’s second rope splash landed.
Tiffany Stratton def. Wendy Choo
Sarray def. Dakota Kai
Mandy Rose def Kay Lee Ray
Yulisa Leon and Valentina Feroz interrupted Cora Jade’s interview to talk about how much they had to prove in the Dusty Cup. When Raquel Gonzalez joined them it devolved into an argument in Spanish. I’ve no idea what was said, but after Leon and Feroz had left, Gonzalez said she’s the only one allowed to call Jade that.
Amari Miller and Wendy Choo went on a shopping spree with Tiffany Stratton’s credit card, after Wendy Choo stole it last week, before it was cancelled.
Tiffany Stratton vs Wendy Choo
This was presumably supposed to be Tiffany Stratton’s revenge. Wendy Choo has the crowd behind her. Unsurprising because she’s very endearing. I worry for Tiffany Stratton already. She’s got the look and the athleticism, but Daddy’s Little Rich Girl isn’t a gimmick with longevity. A wrestler who screams about breaking a nail in the middle of a match is going to get very boring very fast.
She won this one though.
Dakota Kai was sifting through Wendy Choo’s illicit purchases backstage. She told her they wouldn’t help her win, then left.
Zoey Stark finally convinced Io Shirai to find a partner for the Dusty Cup. Shirai said she knew who to ask, but wouldn’t tell Stark who it was. They did agree it had to be someone as crazy as Shirai though.
Sarray vs Dakota Kai
Commentary talked about Sarray’s pre-magical-schoolgirl run as being disappointing. Hard agree, but that’s what’s going to happen when you bring in someone that good and don’t use them properly. You have to reinvent them and try again. Dakota Kai’s unhinged transformation is complete but feels very aimless.
Sarray needed the win to help establish this new character stuff. She got it, after a decent little match, with her dropkick and suplex combo.
Persia Pirotta isn’t happy with Duke Hudson having wished Hartwell luck next week and not her. She was asking her about it when Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne turned up to stir things up. They had a picture of Hartwell and Hudson, apparently on a date. It quickly turned into a brawl.
Nikkita Lyons is getting some fairly hefty character build. This week was the second part of her life story vignette. She’s marked as Coming Soon.
Backstage, Wendy Choo mocked an obviously battered Dakota Kai with, ‘Not as easy as it looks, is it?’.
Mandy Rose (C) vs Kay Lee Ray – NXT Women’s Championship Match
Kay Lee Ray’s pre-match promo was her smashing things and talking about making Mandy Rose suffer. That seems like a fairly apt intro for her.
Mandy Rose found herself in the middle of part two of the Toxic Attraction vs Hartwell and Pirotta brawl on her way to the ring. She was ordered by officials to get to the ring, but she had to make the walk alone. McKenzie Mitchel reported during the match that all four had been escorted from the building, leaving Rose alone for the duration.
Much as I wanted to see Kay Lee Ray win here, Mandy Rose really needed to win this one to give her a touch of credibility as champion. Looking pretty absolutely shouldn’t be a qualification to hold the title and she needs to prove she can do it on her own. She’s half the wrestler Kay Lee Ray is.
Sadly, that’s not what happened. The match was ok. Dolin and Jayne found their way back in and interfered to help Rose win, proving she can’t do it on her own. They got hold of Ray’s bat, but Io Shirai turned up and took them all out singlehandedly before they could use it. Kay Lee Ray was up in time to give Rose a KLR Bomb to save Shirai when they came back.
Io Shirai and Kay Lee Ray as a team in the Dusty Cup will be very hard to beat.
Amale def. Nina Samuels
Amale vs Nina Samuels
Amale demanded this match after Nina Samuels repeatedly disrespected her. The Nina Samuels character is so old and tired. It’s inherently uninteresting, just an annoying person with no social skills who thinks she’s better than everyone else. There’s no depth or growth in it.
In the ring, she’s vicious at times. Pulling the ring apron so Amale fell off and smashed her face into the apron gave her a clear advantage for a while, but she failed to capitalise. Amale got the win after firing herself up and delivering a Hope Breaker.
Blair Davenport is injured after her match against Meiko Satomura, but we don’t yet know how badly.
Lash Legend def. Erica Yan
Lash Legend vs Erica Yan
Once again I’m in a position where I don’t know how to review a match without sounding mean. How’s this – Lash Legend has a great look and a huge amount of potential, but she’s not remotely close to tv ready and putting her on tv at this point in her development is probably going to be detrimental to the way she’s perceived if/when she gets good.
The match was as good as it could be with the above taken into consideration. Yan is better than that, I think, but you can only play the hand you’re dealt. Lash Legend won by tapping Yan out in a truly awkward submission (version of an Argentine backbreaker according to Nigel McGuinness).
That turned out to be the final episode of 205 Live. As of next week, it will be replaced by NXT LVL UP.
Natalya def. Aliyah
Charlotte Flair def. Naomi
Sonya Deville opened SmackDown, arm still in a sling, to say she’d had Ronda Rousey fined and suspended for attacking her last week. Adam Pearce came to the stage to read an email from Vince McMahon saying he was really not happy about Deville taking matters into her own hands recently. He denied the petition to fine and suspend Rousey. In addition, if Deville touches Naomi tonight or interferes with her title match against Charlotte Flair, her job will be in serious jeopardy.
Naomi arrived to rub salt in the wounds and told her Mr McMahon’s email said Deville couldn’t touch her, but it didn’t say she couldn’t touch Deville. Then she slapped her and left.
Natalya vs Aliyah – Pinfall or Submission
Natalya demanded this match be no disqualification and finished with a submission or pin so she can stop losing to Aliyah. So far, she’s lost by disqualification, count out, and a record-breaking fast pin.
Decent enough match for a bog-standard three minutes on tv. Aliyah is better in the ring than most people give her credit for, but Natalya is a veteran.
Aliyah managed to get to the ropes in the Sharpshooter, but there are no rope breaks in a no-disqualification match. As soon as she realised the ropes wouldn’t help her, she tapped.
When Natalya piled in for a post-match beating, Xia Li ran down and delivered one to her. She kept punching and kicking until Natalya escaped the ring then checked on Aliyah.
Charlotte Flair (C) vs Naomi – SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
The main event of the evening started with twenty-five minutes of the show remaining, which was a very hopeful sign. Naomi is overlooked so often, but she has been around a long time and she has worked her ass off to be as great as she is. She’s a fantastic opponent for Flair, around the same height, probably a little stronger and a fraction more athletic, which forces Flair to pull out the high gears.
Really fun and high energy match with a ton of near falls on both sides. The crowd chanted for Naomi as Flair kicked out time and time again. But every time she built some momentum, Flair halted it and took back control.
Naomi got her knees up for Flair’s moonsault and felled her with the Rear View, but Flair kicked out at two and seven eighths and the frustration was obvious. Flair got her knees up for Naomi’s moonsault but failed to pin her, and the near falls kept coming. Naomi cried when Flair kicked out of a perfect split-legged moonsault.
It had seemed unlikely that the title would switch on a random SmackDown with the WrestleMania match set, but for a few moments, it seemed possible. Sadly, Flair caught Naomi with a chop block as she went for another Rear View
Natural Selection finished the job, clean in the middle of the ring. No one has come that close to beating Charlotte Flair, that many times in one match, for a very long time.
Sonya Deville got into the ring after the match to mock Naomi, so Naomi got up and laid into her. Flair came back and put Naomi down with a big boot, so Deville could stamp on her. Ronda Rousey ran down to play protector, punched Flair until she fell out of the ring, then turned on Deville. She’d caught Sonya Deville using her supposedly injured arm, but out of respect for her protests decided to put the armbar on the other one. Charlotte Flair pulled her from the ring before it could happen.
A question to end this week’s column. Carmella and Queen Zelina are the current WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, but who are their next challengers? Every other tag team has been either separated or released. There aren’t even any loose alliances that might turn into something on the horizon. The RAW and SmackDown rosters on the women’s side are tiny. It would be a huge backwards step for WWE to let the tag titles die. So where do they go from here?