Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. This week opened with NXT TakeOver’s migration to a standalone Sunday show. But it’s been a big week across the board for WWE’s women’s divisions.
NXT TakeOver Portland
Dakota Kai def. Tegan Nox
Rhea Ripley def. Bianca Belair.
As is usual with TakeOvers, I covered the show for this very site. The match reports below are pasted from that review. The full review can be found here.
Tegan Nox vs Dakota Kai – Street Fight
This started on the stage when Dakota Kai attacked Tegan Nox during her entrance. They fought through the crowd to the ring, where the match proper started. It took mere seconds for Kai to start pulling toys from under the ring, including a cricket bat. Happily, Nox ducked the shot with that and the bat hit the ringpost and splintered, hurting Kai’s hands in the process.
Nox put a trashcan on Kai’s and sentoned into it, which may have been an error because it looked like it hurt. Kai broke a trashcan lid on Nox’ face. That’s the thing with putting best friends in a match like this. They’re not afraid to kick seven shades out of each other and make it look like it hurts. Occasionally some wrestling broke out, then they went back to hitting each other with things.
Kai taped Nox’ wrist to the ringpost to keep her still while she kicked her in the face, twice. The second one broke the tape. Nox retaliated with a laptop to Kai’s knee, then a big chain. Tegan Nox stamped Kai’s braced knee in a chair and delivered the Shiniest Wizard. She could have made the pin then but shouted that she wasn’t done yet and set up a table.
She laid Kai on the table and trapped her neck in a chair then climbed to the top. At that point, Raquel (formally Reina) Gonzalez appeared and attacked Tegan Nox. She rolled Kai off the table, then tried to put Nox through it from the top turnbuckle, except it didn’t break it just tipped over. Dakota Kai made the pin for a very disappointing end to a really good street fight.
After the match, Gonzalez helped Kai up and raised her hand. From the look on Dakota Kai’s face, it was not expected interference.
Rhea Ripley (C) vs Bianca Belair – NXT Women’s Championship match
Bianca Belair was wearing a robe with ‘Black History in the Making’ on the back. She always looks great and makes all her own gear.
Great match, and no lack of investment in this one. They’ve been going back and forth for weeks and they’re very well matched in the ring. Ripley took a hair whip shot before being dumped on her face, but got her knees up for Belair’s moonsault. Belair struggled free to avoid Riptide and managed to deliver a spear, but couldn’t capitalise. After pitching Ripley over the top rope, Belair somersaulted after her, but the landing didn’t do either of them any favours.
The ending looked a little odd and abrupt. Bianca Belair was on the second turnbuckle and Rhea Ripley managed to manoeuvre her into position for Riptide to get the win.
Charlotte Flair attacked Ripley from behind post-match, and accepted her WrestleMania challenge, using Natural Selection to add an exclamation point to the acceptance. To make Bianca Belair’s night even worse, Flair paused on her way out to shove her into the steps.
Kairi Sane def. Natalya
Charlotte Flair appeared to talk about accepting Rhea Ripley’s WrestleMania challenge. She showed the footage and a section of the crowd started chanting ‘NXT’. Flair asked if we wanted to know why they chant NXT and said she went to NXT Portland to see who was filling Rhea Ripley’s head with the idea she could come to Monday Night RAW and challenge The Queen. And she was impressed. Then she started to reminisce. She thought about her NXT class, training in a warehouse, the challenges and the growing pains. The Class that built the foundations of what is now a third brand called NXT. The entitlement is what bothers her. All the women like Rhea Ripley who didn’t fight and claw and fall down as many times as she did to earn the respect NXT has now. And Ripley has the audacity to step into her ring and hold up the title she put on the map. She thinks Rhea is very good, but pride comes before a fall and she’s going to humble her at WrestleMania. Everyone is the next big thing, until they’re not.
Becky Lynch came to the ring carrying a bag as well as the title. She said she came to America to seek fame and fortune and found she had no use for fame. But she figured out what to do with fortune. Then she dumped a load of money out of the bag into the ring and said ‘WWE, this is me paying my fine upfront for what I’m gonna do when I cross paths with Shayna Baszler next. Consider this a downpayment on violence.’ She offered every penny she has because bad things are going to happen when she finds her. Only animals go for the neck and they do it to weaken their prey. She invited Baszler to take a long hard look. Does she look like prey? She has run through a murder’s row of champions and former champions and she cut them all down because she felt she had to. She is coming for Baszler because she wants to.
Baszler appeared on the big screen and told Lynch how she thinks this is going to happen. She’s in the Elimination Chamber match and the winner of the match gets to face Lynch at WrestleMania. And, as an ex cage fighter, everything is laid out perfectly for her. So she’s going to chew through all the other competitors and win the match. She didn’t plan to bite Lynch last week, she just did it, but imagine the things she does have planned. She’s going to tear the living shit out of her, apparently.
Lynch smiled and thanked Baszler for letting her know about the Elimination Chamber. She told Baszler she’d be watching and rooting for her, then left.
Kairi Sane vs Natalya
On her way to the ring with Kairi Sane, Asuka made fun of the black eye she gave Natalya during their match a couple of weeks ago and told her she was going to beat her in the Elimination Chamber.
The match was decent. Kairi Sane didn’t give Natalya any credit or respect in the early going, and to be fair, Natalya didn’t give her too much trouble until she landed a discus lariat and knocked her down. Asuka got involved twice in quick succession. She got up on the apron to distract Natalya away from putting Sane in a Sharpshooter, then kicked her in the head when Sane knocked her off the apron. That was the end of the match, Natalya got counted out.
Charly Caruso spoke to Liv Morgan about Ruby Riott’s attack and the credit Riott took for Morgan’s career and personal development. Morgan said she was as excited as anyone to see one of her best friends return after battling back from injury. She was just as surprised as anyone else when Riott appeared and when she thought she’d come out to celebrate her victory with her it was one of the best moments in her career. Then Ruby betrayed her trust and threw her and Sarah Logan’s friendship aside like it meant nothing. Being betrayed by someone you wholeheartedly believed in is enough to break anyone. Not long ago it would have broken her, but she is not that puppy on a leash that Ruby Riott described. She’s found a home in her own skin with the power of looking to the future with an open eye. And in her future, she’s going to be eliminating Ruby Riott from the chamber match and moving on to a championship match at WrestleMania.
Chelsea Green def. Kayden Carter
Dakota Kai had a post-match interview from TakeOver, with Raquel Gonzalez by her side. Gonzalez was asked why she had interfered in Kai’s match. She said Tegan Nox has gotten every opportunity and pushed Dakota aside. She knows what that feels like because she’s sat at the PC and watched people get opportunities ahead of her. At WarGames Kai was overlooked again by her so-called friends and because she stood up for herself she’s an outcast. Not anymore.
Kai said at TakeOver Portland Gonzalez proved she has Kai’s back more than anyone ever has, so she’s got hers. And together they’re untouchable.
William Regal came over and informed Dakota Kai that she has another match against Tegan Nox, in two weeks. And to make sure there is no outside interference, it will be a steel cage match.
Rhea Ripley’s post-match TakeOver interview was aired, and she was not interested in talking. She’d just finished doing media after being attacked by Charlotte Flair and said the joke’s on Flair because she’s given her exactly what she wants. ‘So, at WrestleMania, even queens get nightmares.’
Chelsea Green vs Kayden Carter
These two met on Green’s debut as part of the Robert Stone Brand, and Chelsea Green handed Kayden Carter her first win. This is a do-over, the relaunch of the Robert Stone Brand and a chance for Green to right the wrong. Introducing her as ‘The face of the women’s division’ probably won’t endear her to anyone though.
Kayden Carter had other ideas and it took a slip from her before Green gained any kind of momentum.
Bianca Belair crashed the match part way through. She promised to let them finish, but she had something to say. She was not happy about Charlotte Flair putting her hands on her at TakeOver. Whether it’s on NXT or RAW, she’s going to whoop Flair’s ass.
Belair left them to it and Green tried to capitalise on the distraction. She failed and it took interference from Robert Stone, in the form of tripping Carter so she fell on her face, for Chelsea Green to get the pin.
Charlotte Flair vs Bianca Belair has since been announced for next week’s NXT.
Toni Storm and Kay Lee Ray had a promo video on the show ahead of their I Quit match. She described Ray as the worst person she’s ever met. Kay Lee Ray said Storm is one push away from being done and she was going to push her. Storm reflected on it being her final chance to reclaim the title and said that if Kay Lee Ray doesn’t think she’ll stop at nothing to get what she wants, then she never knew her at all. Ray remains confident Toni Storm can’t beat her.
Jinny addressed the NXT UK crowd from on top of the commentary desk. She said ever since she was a little girl every command she has given has been obeyed. So when her previous associate disobeyed her, that was the end of her career (Jazzy Gabert left WWE for obvious reasons if you look at what they did with her). Jinny doesn’t tolerate insolence, unprofessionalism, or disobedience. She made Gabert relevant. She gave her a platform and her fifteen minutes of fame, and she wasted it. Perhaps, in the future, she may give someone else that platform if they’re lucky enough to be associated with her, but for now, it’s all about Jinny, and no one will ever disrespect her again.
Naomi def. Carmella
Lacey Evans had a sit-down interview with Renee Young. Young called her out on her accusations that Bayley and Sasha Banks are bullies when it wasn’t long ago she was bullying people and calling everyone ‘nasties’. Evans tried to talk her way out of it by saying it’s a commonly used word in the south and can be a term of endearment, but the results were cringeworthy. She admitted she had been a bully, but seeing them torment her daughter woke her up to her own actions and she’s changing her behaviour. Evans also said winning the Elimination Chamber match was next on her agenda.
Trouble is, everything she said sounded forced and contrived. To the best of my knowledge, she draws on a lot of authentic stuff for her promos, but somehow makes them sound like bad characterisation.
Alexa Bliss had the Bella Twins as her guests on A Moment of Bliss to talk about their upcoming Hall of Fame induction. They’re both very pregnant. It was a sweet interview with Nikki and Brie talking about how grateful they are for the fans and the support, and mentioned that their babies are due a week and a half apart. They also praised Alexa Bliss for her talk show. It was all genuinely lovely. The interview finished with Daniel Bryan coming out for his match carrying Birdie.
Naomi vs Carmella – Number One Contender’s match
Bayley sat at ringside next to the commentary desk for the match but didn’t engage with commentary. It didn’t take too long for Bayley to get involved, distracting Naomi and allowing Carmella to take control. Ref Jess threw her out before she could do anything else, but the interference made it fairly clear Bayley would rather not ‘feel the glow’.
The match was the main event match of the show, although a Goldberg segment closed. It got time to build from a tentative start and get increasingly intense to the point of frustration, which made for a really good match. Naomi failed to tap to the Code of Silence. Carmella kicked out of the Rear View. But Naomi’s blockbuster followed with a split-legged moonsault proved too much and she got the pin.
Naomi offered her hand after the match and Carmella gave it a dejected high five kind of slap and left Naomi to take the applause.
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.