Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. We’re on the Road to WrestleMania, with one more stop on the way. Elimination Chamber is on February 21st, which doesn’t leave much time for building matches for it. Before that, on February 14th, we’ve got NXT TakeOver Vengeance Day to look forward to.
Lacey Evans def. Charlotte Flair (DQ)
Lana def. Nia Jax
Naomi def. Shayna Baszler
Ric Flair accompanied Lacey Evans to the ring for her confrontation with Charlotte Flair.
He explained why he’s there and has attached himself to Lacey Evans. It’s because he doesn’t take orders from any woman (misogynistic old fart) and especially not his daughter, and he’s not staying home. He’s sick of hearing about how great she is instead of how great he is. Charlotte is the queen and a thirteen-time champion and she doesn’t need him. But Evans has all the physical qualifications, looks and drive to be a star. All she needs is a little motivation, knowledge, and wisdom. Charlotte might be the greatest female wrestler of all time but he’s training Evans and Ric put Asuka on notice, they’re coming for the RAW Women’s Championship.
Evans said all the nasties who think they know what’s going on have no idea. While she thinks Ric Flair is quite cute, she respects him and gives him the respect he deserves, unlike his daughter. She would never speak to her daddy the way Charlotte speaks to Ric. Charlotte’s a fool for turning away the greatest sports entertainer of all time. Evans just doesn’t see how she’s the bad guy in all this.
Charlotte Flair had heard enough by then. Ric would have pulled the ropes apart for her if Evans hadn’t pulled him back. She said if Evans really wanted to learn she’d take herself to Orlando and work her ass off in the Performance Center (I mean, she’s not wrong) but instead she wants to use her dad and her and even wear her robe to enhance her career.
Evans tried to speak but Charlotte had some things to say to her dad. She asked if he needed her to come down to the ring and validate him. She’s never said he wasn’t proud of her or that she didn’t want his help. For the last seven years, she’s been trying to protect the Flair legacy, to add on to it. He’s surrounded by yes people but she’s there to tell him how he really looks. She doesn’t care who he manages, just don’t bring her down with him.
Evans said Charlotte has it all wrong, all she wants to do is learn from him. Why have they got to be enemies? She knows she’d be a much better partner than Asuka, who she referred to as a ‘nasty feral animal’.
Charlotte told her in no uncertain terms that she has a tag partner. She’s been trying to prove to everyone she can do it on her own, and she definitely doesn’t need Charlotte 2.0. She said she hopes Ric gets Evans all the way to the title. Evans revealed that Ric had sorted it with WWE officials that if she beats Charlotte in a match then she becomes Asuka’s number one contender (How? Why?). Charlotte offered her the match there and then. Evans looked unsure and backed around Ric while he was saying no, then blindsided Charlotte.
Charlotte stumbled out of the ring and Evans threw her into the steps before accepting the match.
Charlotte Flair vs Lacey Evans
Flair started the match with an injury to her left shoulder as a result of the impact with the stairs, which bothered her throughout.
It was a nasty-tempered match with some truly ugly bits… not all of them intentionally ugly. Flair did a ‘truth hurts’ with the Performance Center jibe. Lacey Evans isn’t the first person to be brought up too soon. It doesn’t feel like that long ago (although it was admittedly a good few years now) that I was talking about Charlotte being clunky and having work to do. She did the work. So far, Evans hasn’t grown into the role. She’s improved, but not enough and it’s frustrating seeing her being favoured over others.
Evans wound Charlotte up with some strutting. Charlotte did some back before launching herself over the top rope. She managed to stop on the apron when Evans dragged Ric in front of her (commentary said Ric put himself between them, but he didn’t). Evans dragged her messily off the apron, and we went for the ads.
Charlotte got her feet up for Evans’ moonsault and Ric got increasingly irate as his daughter took control. Unfortunately, she distracted herself by arguing with him and asking if he wanted to wrestle, and Evans ambushed her.
When Ric encouraged Lacey Evans to put Charlotte in a figure four, it was the final straw. Charlotte kicked her away and speared her then went to her dad and said ‘You want to humiliate me? Do it on your own time. Watch this’. Evans was in the corner. Charlotte snapped and just kept punching her. The ref disqualified her when she put her hands on him to make him back off then went straight back to beating on her. Ric had to make her stop and she got in his face for a minute as well.
Because Charlotte Flair was disqualified, Lacey Evans technically won and gets her match with Asuka. That’s the Elimination Chamber RAW Women’s Championship match. To prevent (or at least delay) another long rant, I have no further comment on that match at this time.
Bianca Belair had an interview with Charly Caruso. As the Royal Rumble winner, she gets to move about until she’s made her choice. She hasn’t decided yet and it sounds like she’s in no rush. This is her time and the smart challenger never reveals her cards right away. It might be Sasha Banks. And Asuka isn’t just the Empress of Tomorrow, she’s the empress of all day every day. At this point it could even be Lacey Evans, she’s a legitimate threat with Ric Flair in her corner, but you’d be a fool to underestimate Asuka. So if she wants to be the EST of WrestleMania she’s going to have to beat the best.
Asuka joined them and enthusiastically congratulated her but told her that doesn’t mean she’s ready for Asuka. Belair said she’s definitely for Asuka, but you know who’s not? Lacey Evans. They jumped up and down together and said Lacey Evans is not ready for Asuka. Belair said if Asuka handles her business at Elimination Chamber, then she might be seeing more of her at RAW.
Nia Jax vs Lana – Tables Match
Yep. Lana and Nia Jax had a tables match this week because this is the storyline that will never EVER end. Naomi accompanied Lana to the ring and Shayna Baszler was with Jax, but they stayed on opposite sides of the ring.
It didn’t last long and was mostly Lana getting her ass kicked, including having her face swung into a turnbuckle. Lana attempted to use a head scissors to drag Jax over the ropes and through a table. He succeeded in getting her onto the apron. Kicks didn’t work to taker her down, so she tried to prise Jax’ hands off the rope, but a headbutt put her on the mat.
Jax stood on her face and screamed that this was what Lana wanted. She went for a leg drop on the apron, but Lana moved and Jax hurt her tailbone on the landing. She staggered around at ringside complaining her butt hurt (although she was rather more specific, leading to the phrase “my hole” trending for an entire day), and Lana shoved her through a table propped up against the barricade.
Baszler attacked Lana while she was celebrating, but her partner has her back. Naomi’s first kick made contact but her second barely brushed Baszler’s head. Baszler dropped and rolled out of the ring anyway, before she could line up a third go.
Now Lana has won a tables match against Jax and knocked her out of the Rumble, I was hoping we’d be done with it, but instead, there’s a new twist.
Naomi vs Shayna Baszler
This happened after a break. Nia Jax had been helped to the back during the ads for medical attention. Lana was at ringside, crying as Baszler tortured her friend.
Baszler took out Naomi’s left arm early on, although it took her two attempts, and Naomi spent most of the rest of the match proving she didn’t need it. She managed to roll to the ropes in the Kirifuda Clutch, but instead of staying on her Baszler got out of the ring and went for Lana, throwing her into the barricades after telling her to mind her own business and know her place. As Baszler got back into the ring, Naomi caught her in a small package and pinned her.
Xia Li def. Cora Jade
Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell
Mercedes Martinez has been working for Sunday’s match for twenty years. This is the real her and she’s taking the NXT title. As far as she’s concerned, Toni Storm is a little girl who’s not ready for the title, and Io Shirai hasn’t got enough to stop her.
Xia Li vs Cora Jade
In addition to Tian Sha in her ornate chair near the stage and Boa accompanying her looking like a secret service agent, Xia Li now does a short swordsmanship display as part of her entrance. It’s elaborate considering she’s only having squash matches at the moment.
Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro came to ringside before this one got underway. They were trying to tell Li they were worried about her, but she didn’t seem to be interested. Cora Jade attacked Li from behind, which was the only offensive move she landed in the sub-one-minute match. Li finished it with a kick to Jade’s head.
Carter and Catanzaro were still trying to talk to Li. Carter stormed up to Tian Sha and demanded to know what she’d done to change Li so much. The terrified Li threw Carter off the stage and apologised repeatedly. Boa tried to mediate and Tian Sha grabbed him by the throat. She only let go after Xia Li returned to ringside and kicked Kacy Catanzaro in the head as well.
Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell vs Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Semi-final
Before this match started, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell were in the ring for a segment with The Way. When Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon arrived in Moon’s tank, LeRae was kicking and fighting while Hartwell held her off the floor to stop her attacking Kushida.
The match started during the break, which bothers me an irrational amount. The match was great though. A combination of high stakes and history in two teams with tag title potential. I enjoyed not knowing who was going to win right up until someone did. I thought it was over after Shotzi Blackheart took the Wicked Stepsister and top rope elbow drop combo, but Ember Moon made the save just in time.
It was Indi Hartwell’s inexperience which ended the match when it did. She was in trouble and LeRae stepped in to help her. LeRae took a kick to the head from Blackheart which lined her up for an Eclipse, which in turn laid her in the perfect position for Blackheart’s senton from the top. Hartwell laid on top of her mentor to protect her. That was noble and all, but Hartwell was the legal competitor, so Blackheart just landed the senton on both of them and pinned her.
Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez came out to trash-talk from either side of the cup. William Regal arrived and delivered the news that the winners of the tournament will get a tag title shot… which I honestly thought was a given.
In her promo video, Toni Storm told Mercedes Martinez it was rude to insert herself into someone else’s business and talked about how she beat Io Shirai for the Mae Young Classic and beats her every time they share a ring. She says people don’t talk about that, but they will on Sunday when she walks out with the NXT Women’s Championship. It’s Toni time.
Io Shirai’s promo video answered both her competitors. She said it has been three years since the Mae Young Classic and she’s a different person now. She’s a champion now and Toni Storm is just another challenger. Mercedes Martinez says she’s been on a twenty-year journey for this title, but that journey will never end. She’s not scared of a three-way match. She beat Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley to win the title. She’s looking forward to it and she’s going to successfully defend her title.
Meiko Satomura def. Isla Dawn
Piper Niven def. Amale
Meiko Satomura vs Isla Dawn
Meiko Satomura opened the show for her debut match on NXT UK. Hopefully, it will be a short stint for her, unless NXT UK sort themselves out, because Satomura is too good for a women’s division as neglected and mistreated as NXT UK’s has been. Isla Dawn didn’t even get an entrance. Kay Lee Ray was shown watching the woman who will take her title.
It wasn’t a straight squash, which is something, but there was an unnecessary ‘don’t try this at home’ ad in the middle. It was good to see some aggression from Dawn, but there was only one way it was going to end, Scorpio Rising.
There was a stare-down between Kay Lee Ray and Meiko Satomura after the match. Satomura invited her to the ring, but Ray settled for holding the title up from a distance. Kay Lee Ray asked to face the best in the world. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.
Backstage, a little later, Satomura sent a message to Ray that she’s ready for her.
Dani Luna got a video package with some information about her powerlifting background and her philosophy on life. She talked about the power of walking into a room and knowing you’re the strongest person there, and about trying to be a better version of herself every day. She won’t stop until she reaches the top of the tower.
Aoife Valkyrie’s promo video was a lot more cryptic, but she’s ready to step up and take her chances.
Nina Samuels is granting Xia Brookside a rematch, after she cheated to beat her last week. There’s a stipulation though. Whoever loses becomes the other’s personal assistant for a whole month. She’s determined to make Brookside carry her bags.
Piper Niven vs Amale
A very unexpected second women’s division match. I can’t remember the last time that happened. Joseph Connors appeared partway through and distracted Niven, which handed Amale her best section of the match. She took a headbutt after failing to suplex Niven and that was the beginning of the end. A cannonball into the corner and a Piper Driver finished the job. Niven had her eyes on Connors throughout the pin and demanded to know where Jinny was. Connors just smiled at her.
Three promos and two matches on one episode of NXT UK gives me hope. Maybe the arrival of Meiko Satomura will be the catalyst to make the division feel important.
Bayley def. Liv Morgan
Sonya Deville seems to be settling into her new role backstage. Adam Pearce came to her to brainstorm a problem filling the men’s Elimination Chamber match and she’d already fixed it. She wasn’t taking any crap from Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode later in the show either.
Reginald brought Sasha Banks a drink on a tray while she was talking to Rey Mysterio. She was suspicious about his motivations, but all he did was apologise and confirm he meant it when he said he thought Banks would beat Bianca Belair. She took the drink and he looked back at her as he walked away. Carmella might want to double-check where his loyalties lie.
Seth Rollins had the entire locker room out for his return, including the women’s division. It started quite sweetly, with him talking about how his brand new baby daughter has changed his life in ways he couldn’t have imagined. It went off the rails quickly when he started talking about being the leader that SmackDown needs. Everyone walked off and left him on his own. It would appear that no one wants to accept his vision. Cesaro stuck around, which gave him a moment of hope, but Rollins attacked him when he left.
Bayley vs Liv Morgan, with Ruby Riott
Natalya and Tamina were sown watching the match, which was almost all Liv Morgan until she tried to collect Bayley from ringside by flying off the steps. Bayley sidestepped and Morgan crashed head-first into the barricades.
Bayley chose to torture Morgan, wrapping her arm around the ropes, right in front of Ruby Riott. Morgan fought back and came within half a count of pinning Bayley. That’s when Billie Kay arrived at ringside and tried to apologise to Riott. Riott grabbed the pile of resumés off Kay and threw them. Some of them went in the ring and while the ref was getting rid of them Bayley raked Morgan’s eyes and planted her face into the mat for the win.
Sasha Banks came to the ring for a chat. She wanted to talk about Bianca Belair, and she was pretty nice about her. But Belair decided she’d rather Banks talked to her and came out after Banks said she was the only choice for Belair.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler popped over from RAW because they’re jealous of the attention Bianca Belair is getting when they won back the tag titles They said they were the most dominant, so Banks played the footage of Baszler being beaten by Naomi and Nia Jax screaming about her hole before Lana put her through a table.
Jax objected to Banks and Belair’s laughter, and Baszler’s always up for a scrap, so it got violent then. Jax was once again left clutching her ass after Banks and Belair worked together to take her feet out from under her on the apron, and Baszler taking a double team that had her rolling out of the ring.
I could live with Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair teaming for a while at some point. Maybe a quick tag title run down the line. Not yet though. Belair needs some time to shine alone first.
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.