Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. We started this week’s action with NXT TakeOver Vengeance Day, then the main roster spent the rest of the week building to Elimination Chamber. Except, there’s not much to build. The one announced women’s division match went out of the window on RAW, and a second wasn’t added until after SmackDown. At the time of writing, there is no women’s Elimination Chamber match on the card.
NXT TakeOver Vengeance Day
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez def. Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic winners 2021
Io Shirai def. Mercedes Martinez and Toni Storm
As usual for NXT TakeOver, I reviewed it for this site and these reviews are copy/pasted from that. You can find the full Vengeance Day review here.
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Final
TakeOver got underway with the making of history.
Moon and Blackheart had Dakota Kai isolated, but nearly let her get to Gonzalez while they were arguing with the ref because he didn’t see one of their tags. Moon knocked Gonzalez off the apron just in time, but when Gonzalez eventually got in, she made her pay. She also dragged Blackheart into the ring and suplexed her for the fun of it.
Gonzalez swung Blackheart into the chainlink and plexiglass over the barricade so hard it left Blackheart in a crumpled heap on the floor when Ember Moon could really have used her help. Moon managed to move out of the way twice to get Gonzalez and Kai to take each other out, and would have had Gonzalez pinned with an Eclipse if Kai hadn’t managed to keep the ref’s attention off them. It was too late by the time he turned around. She had another couple of attempts after a helpful dropkick from Blackheart, but it still wasn’t enough.
There were a few crazy dangerous-looking manoeuvres – Moon’s dive from the top turnbuckle to the outside to take Kai off Blackheart’s shoulders spring to mind – and slightly too many near falls, but it was pretty great regardless. The TakeOver setup is different, the ramp is at the same height as the ring, but with no give in it, and it because an extension of the ring at the end. Raquel Gonzalez took Moon out of the match by throwing her over the ropes onto it then shoving her off it, sending her flying over to the barricade.
Blackheart had one more go at Gonzalez, smashing her face into the mat when she got back into the ring then tipping Kai onto her when she rolled out. Gonzalez pushed her off the turnbuckle, then threw Kai onto her, and finally powerslammed her into the canvas. She and Dakota Kai took no chances pinning Shotzi Blackheart. They both laid on her, just to make sure.
William Regal joined them for the confetti shower and pyro with the cup.
Io Shirai (C) vs Toni Storm vs Mercedes Martinez – NXT Women’s Championship Triple-threat
Mercedes Martinez didn’t wait for the bell, she attacked Shirai during the ring announcements.
Shirai missed with a moonsault to the outside early on and was thrown over the barricade by Mercedes Martinez. We got Martinez trying to submit Shirai while Shirai tried to submit Storm, which happily came to nothing. Toni Storm landed high from a German suplex off the turnbuckle by Martinez, but Martinez left herself hung up and took a double stomp from Shirai.
Toni Storm managed to trash the announce desk while clearing it, Wade Barrett blamed MSK hitting it earlier. Io Shirai climbed the tower nearest the announce desk to a little below steel cage height and threw herself onto her opponents. She landed across their heads and shoulders, with Storm taking the worst of it, which looked like a rough landing for all three. She took a trip into the steps after that, courtesy of Martinez, which gave her the opportunity to try to finish Toni Storm off. That didn’t work and she ended up in trouble herself. Storm delivered Storm Zero but Martinez kicked out.
Io Shirai arrived back in the match in the nick of time, with a moonsault off the top turnbuckle onto Storm to break up her pin on Martinez. Storm rolled away and Io Shirai pinned Mercedes Martinez. Io Shirai is still NXT Women’s Champion.
Charlotte Flair & Asuka vs Lacey Evans & Peyton Royce – No Contest
Shayna Baszler def. Lana
Charlotte Flair & Asuka vs Peyton Royce & Lacey Evans, with Ric Flair
Lacey Evans had a lot to say on her way to the ring in order to wind Charlotte Flair up as much as possible. She also got a few digs in at Asuka about taking the championship from her on Sunday.
When Royce tried to tag Evans in, because Charlotte threw her into the corner and demanded it, Evans whispered something in her ear then spent the rest of the match hiding behind the ringpost. Royce soldiered on alone, despite being double-teamed and beaten down, and she actually did pretty well in places.
Inevitably, she got into trouble, as one will do in what has effectively become a handicap match. After she’d been tossed out of the ring and bounced off the announce desk, she tagged Evans in when Evans wasn’t looking. That’s when things took a turn.
Instead of getting in the ring, Lacey Evans backed up the ramp and grabbed a mic. She said Charlotte couldn’t put her hands on her because she’s pregnant. Ric Flair immediately claimed to be the father and the look on Charlotte Flair’s face was shared around the world.
So, here’s the deal. Lacey Evans is pregnant. She and her husband are expecting their second child, so congratulations to them. As of Saturday night, no new opponent had been announced for Asuka. The preview on WWE.com was still advertising Asuka versus Evans, which clearly can’t happen. There’s no women’s chamber match on the preview, so I would hope one will be announced in place of the title match. By Sunday, the match had just been removed.
As far as the storyline goes, things are probably going to get very cringeworthy over the next few weeks, but that’s Evans out of the ring probably until Royal Rumble next year at the earliest. If she comes back, and she’s smart about it, she’ll take a couple of extra months in the Performance Center and come back with a whole new character.
Lana and Naomi had an interview with Charly Caruso to talk about How it felt to beat Nia Jax last week. Of course they showed Nia Jax yelling ‘My hole’ before the interview, but Jax seems to be leaning into it, which is good because the whole/hole puns are everywhere. Lana said Nia and Shayna walk around trying to be the best of all time but she’s just trying to be her best. Every week she tries to reach her potential and if she wins it’s the cherry on top. And she has Naomi, who is always checking in on her and motivating her.
Naomi said Lana deserved the win for everything Jax put her through, and a ‘whole’ lot more. They were going to try to keep it going with Lana facing Baszler.
Lana, with Naomi, vs Shayna Baszler, with Nia Jax
Shayna Baszler spent much of the brief match proving how bendy Lana is, whether Lana liked it or not. One thing Lana has plenty of is resilience, and she needed it. She caught a break mid-match, tripping Baszler face-first into the turnbuckle. That didn’t get her anywhere because Baszler caught her bulldog attempt. She created another opportunity, punching Baszler to the mat from the turnbuckle and landing a crossbody, but Baszler kicked out. They exchanged kicks and Baszler’s floored Lana.
Nia Jax used the lull in activity to attack Naomi on the outside. She threw her into the apron and barricade, but Naomi wriggled off her shoulder and shoved her into the post then kicked her into it. Baszler grabbed Naomi’s head while she was gloating and almost got pinned with a rollup.
She made Lana pay for that with a knee strike. Lana kicked out of that, but the Kirifuda Clutch followed and she tapped out.
Alexa Bliss isn’t done with Randy Orton, but maybe that’s Orton’s fault for mentioning the Fiend in his promo. She cut him off before the O of RKO, sat in the derelict Firefly Fun House, doing a ritual inside a pentacle with ashes and candles. She said, ‘In fire, he was destroyed, but in the future, he will be reborn’. The candles blew out and she started laughing and clapping, so I guess The Fiend will be re-joining us soon.
Orton took part in a gauntlet match at the end of the show. He was counted out when Alexa Bliss’ face filled all the ThunderDome screens and her laugh filled the arena. Very creepy.
Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart def. Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell
Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell vs Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart
Johnny Gargano joined commentary for the match and monopolised the conversation completely. He brought Missing posters for Austin Theory, who hasn’t been seen since Dexter Lumis kidnapped him at TakeOver.
So, while Gargano was talking about LeRae and Hartwell getting screwed out of the Dusty Cup, they were largely getting their asses handed to them in the ring. Candice LeRae pulled Blackheart from her position stretching Hartwell over the ropes, which allowed Hartwell to kick Moon in the face to turn the match in their favour. It took the majority of the match for Blackheart and Moon to get back into it, but it looked like LeRae and Hartwell’s match when LeRae abandoned her.
A white van was shown arriving at the arena during the match and Johnny Gargano went off to investigate, just in case. He came back with Austin Theory, tied up with a bag over his head and only wearing a t-shirt and boxers. LeRae ran off up the ramp to greet him, leaving Indi Hartwell alone to get rolled up and pinned by Ember Moon.
Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter vs Aliyah & Jessi Kamea, with Robert Stone
Catanzaro and Carter are in a different class to Aliyah and Kamea. The only time the lost control was when Boa appeared on the stage and distracted Carter. We got to see a bit more from Kamea, which is good but we need to see some character development as well. Aliyah took the pin off a double team after a short match.
Xia Li and Boa approached the ring post-match. Catanzaro told Carter to let her deal with it because Carter was too angry. She approached Xia Li and tried to explain they were trying to help and it didn’t have to be this way. Li grabbed Catanzaro by the wrist and marked her with two black lines across the back of her hand. She said, ‘Next week I will purge you’, then left.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax crashed the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic celebration. I don’t know how I didn’t realise before now both teams were sharing a trophy, but I didn’t. Anyway, Raquel Gonzalez wasn’t in NXT when either Jax or Baszler were, so Dakota Kai made the introductions. She said Nia is big and Shayna ran away after Rhea beat her ass. Raquel pointed out she beat Rhea Ripley in a Last Woman Standing match. MSK and Beth Phoenix were still in the ring, so they moved into the corner and got popcorn from somewhere. Baszler reminded Kai she broke her arm and Kai told her she’s not the same person anymore and if Baszler wants to find out first-hand, she’ll happily kick her head off.
MSK had already told Beth Phoenix that they were taking their title shot on March 3rd, and Jax and Baszler confirmed they would be coming back to NXT on March 3rd to humiliate Kai and Gonzalez on their home turf.
Zoey Stark vs Valentina Feroz
This was Zoey Stark’s NXT single’s debut and it was short and decisive. We’ve seen Valentina Feroz before, but she’s been firmly in ‘enhancement talent’ territory and this match was the same. She got enough offence in to stop people like me bitching about squash matches, but Stark pun her into a nifty knee to the face and pinned her.
Dani Luna def. Aleah James
Aleah James vs Dani Luna
After Dani Luna had a getting to know you package last week, commentary’s narrative built on it, focusing on her power. It was a little ‘hammering it home’, but it is at least something to start giving her some character definition.
Not a long match, and a touch one-sided. Aleah James had her moments, but it was Luna’s match and she won it with a sit-out powerbomb.
Jinny said she’s heard Piper Niven is looking for her, but if she has a problem with her, she knows where to find her. Joseph Connors said he’s been where Niven is, blaming everyone else for her problems, but it’s time to look at herself. He thinks Jinny will tear Niven apart piece by piece. Jinny thinks she’ll put her back in her place.
Kay Lee Ray will defend the title against Meiko Satomura in two weeks.
Tamina & Natalya def. The Riott Squad
Sasha Banks, Bianca Belair, & Reginald def. Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, & Bayley
The Riott Squad vs Tamina & Natalya
This match was unannounced and started coming out of an ad break with no televised entrances. Way to make the women’s division look important.
Neither Ruby Riott nor Liv Morgan fared terribly well against Tamina in the early going. Morgan got punched out of the air and looked out of it, which is when Natalya wanted in. Natalya was aggressive, but was quickly outmanoeuvred by Morgan and Riott.
Billie Kay arrived, wearing a Tamina shirt and caused chaos, but her interference wasn’t decisive. Tamina slamming Riott into the mat and pinning her would have happened with or without her. Kay tried to celebrate with Tamina and Natalya. Natalya shoved her into a superkick from Tamina, so I guess that’s a no as well.
Sasha Banks started the Daytona 500. She enjoyed herself, said she hadn’t felt much energy in forever.
Bayley hosted another episode of Ding Dong, Hello! with special guests Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. She knocked a plant over on her way through the door set up in the ring. Jax and Baszler tried to go through the door at the same time and got stuck.
She thanked them for coming. Jax said she’s just glad Bayley isn’t mad at them for taking the titles off her. Bayley said she was glad because she finally got rid of Sasha Banks and found the real her.
Jax and Baszler went on a character assassination of the women’s division. Reginald, Carmella’s sommelier, came out to defend Sasha Banks. He called Banks the greatest champion in the world and told Jax that if Banks chose to team with her new sidekick Bianca Belair, Jax and Baszler would be ex-champions.
Sasha Banks joined them, like Reginald, she refused to use the door. She told Reginald that he doesn’t speak for her, ever. And told Jax and Baszler that she’s Boss whether they like it or not and Belair will choose to face her at Mania because the women’s division revolves around her.
Bianca Belair was next. She wanted Reginald to know she’s no one’s sidekick. She wanted Banks to know winning the Rumble means she’s the star of the division and no one revolves around her, they get beat by her. She started to say something about WrestleMania but Reginald interrupted to say they should be fighting each other they should be fighting Jax, Baszler, and Bayley. He offered himself up as a teammate for them and Jax called for a ref. He’s up to something.
Sasha Banks, Bianca Belair, & Reginald vs Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, & Bayley
Reginald wanted into the match after a minute or so, but Belair and Jax wouldn’t let him. Them ushering him out of the ring allowed Jax to attack Banks from behind and led to her being isolated for a while.
Bayley, wrestling in street gear and socks, took Bianca Belair off the apron when Banks got close to a tag, so Reginald got beaten up by Nia Jax. No need for excitement. Reginald got no offence, so WWE aren’t breaking their intergender policy. Jax did end up in trouble when she missed a leg drop, but neither Reginald nor Jax had anyone to tag because his partners were busy beating up Baszler on the outside, with Bayley already down somewhere.
Banks and Belair got back into the ring after Jax had caught Reginald and was holding him. They double dropkicked her over and he got the pin.
As Banks and Belair left, Belair was saying maybe… To Mania? To the tag titles? Or both?
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships was later added to the Elimination Chamber card.
Later, Reginald apologised to Carmella for taking so long with her wine but tried to avoid telling her what he’d been doing, making an excuse about perfect temperatures and letting the wine breathe. She’d seen him, of course. She told him she’s not mad because she knows he’s going to do the right thing, but stopped short of laying out consequences if he doesn’t, opting for ‘Let’s just hope it doesn’t get to that’. She spat the wine into his face and sent him away to get another glass.
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.