Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. It was the week of the tag team champions this week. One or both of them fought on every show except NXT UK. And, as NXT UK had Meiko Satomura challenging Kay Lee Ray for the title, it was a fairly good week all round.
Nia Jax def. Naomi
Charlotte Flair def. Shayna Baszler
Naomi, with Lana, vs Nia Jax, with Shayna Baszler
In the lead to the ad break before the match, Nia Jax approached Naomi as she was dancing her way through the backstage area. She just stood in front of her and stared. Initially, Naomi looked down, then she raised her eyes to meet Jax’ and we went to the ads.
This was the start of a busy week for Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler as they’re defending the tag title on Wednesday against Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez. Naomi had no intention of giving Jax and easy pass though. Not being scared didn’t help her much. She got a few good shots in, then Jax destroyed her. It was all over in a couple of minutes, finishing with a Samoan drop and a slam that shook the mat.
For once, Jax and Baszler didn’t attack Lana in the aftermath.
Alexa Bliss interrupted Randy Orton’s interview via video link from the pentacle in the fun house. She was using a jack in the box to, ‘Bring him back’, but it wasn’t The Fiend, it was a demonic version of Orton who appeared on the screen promising he would soon come face to face with everything he’s ever done. Orton started choking again. No black goop this time though.
Before her match against Shayna Baszler, Charlotte Flair said the last few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster. She came back from injury to be Asuka’s partner. She didn’t want to be around the title picture because Asuka has busted her ass for months being an amazing champion. All she wanted was to be a good tag team partner and kick ass with someone she respects. Somewhere along the way she got tangled up with her dad and Lacey Evans, and last week she told her dad how she felt and he went home.
Now we’re six weeks away from WrestleMania, the biggest show of the year, and Asuka doesn’t have an opponent. Bianca Belair is facing Sasha Banks, so who is going to face Asuka. She thought about it and if we want to know her true colours, she wants to be that challenger. She wants the RAW Women’s Championship.
Asuka is at home injured after Shayna Baszler kicked a tooth out last week (they showed it flying out, looked more like false teeth or bridgework). No one knows Asuka better than she does and she’ll come back stronger, and when she comes does, Flair is going to challenge her.
Shayna Baszler came out with Nia Jax and said Flair thinking about herself isn’t exactly a shocker. She thinks Flair is fighting an uphill battle and she’s an army of one. She should have stayed tag partners with Asuka, but she’s the reason Asuka no longer has her teeth. Baszler and Jax are the most dominant force in WWE and this is not the Road to WrestleMania that Flair is accustomed to. She thinks Flair would benefit from some help.
Jax said it’s a shame Charlotte sent Ric Flair home. The whole locker room wishes she’d sent herself home because no one likes her. And what makes her think she gets the yellow brick road to WrestleMania. The power in the division has shifted and it’s going to be Shayna, or more likely her, who challenges Asuka. She commented on Flair’s ‘pretty smile’ and asked if she really wanted to have this match because Punky Brewster won’t be asking her for any more appearances once Baszler’s finished with her.
Flair said the locker room probably does want her to go home, but here she is. She doesn’t have to stand there and boast about how dominant she is or how great she is. People don’t call her the greatest of all time, they simply call her Charlotte Flair.
Predictably, Jax and Baszler beat her up before the match.
Charlotte Flair vs Shayna Baszler, with Nia Jax
Flair perked up enough during the break to get the match underway, but Baszler was firmly in control. Flair turned it around after dropping Baszler on her face and soon acquired a target in Baszler’s left leg.
Nia Jax got up on the apron to distract Flair from locking in the figure four, and Baszler tried unsuccessfully to roll her up when she punched Jax back down. Flair’s next figure four attempt resulted in Baszler kicking her out of the ring.
While the ref was checking on Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax rushed Flair at ringside. Flair sidestepped and gave her a shove and Jax crashed into the steps. That meant, when she avoided the Kirifuda Clutch and delivered Natural Selection to Baszler for the pin, there was no one to break it up.
Flair even managed to get out of the ring without a beatdown. She paused at the bottom of the ramp but Jax didn’t chase her.
Can we take a moment to appreciate the evolution of Shayna Baszler? Not only has she turned into a decent tag team partner, but she’s stepped up a couple of levels recently. Her mic work is better and she’s just all-round more polished.
Ember Moon def. Aliyah
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax def. Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez
There was a really stupid multi-part segment featuring Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell as part of The Way, getting Austin Theory therapy as a family after his ordeal with Dexter Lumis. It happened, but as it didn’t happen in the ring, that’s all I need to say about it.
Aliyah, with Jessi Kamea and Robert Stone, vs Ember Moon, with Shotzi Blackheart
It is the era of the women’s tag division on NXT, even in singles matches. Proper teammates have their partners’ backs in singles matches and, while they went about it differently, Blackheart and Kamea both had their partners’ backs. I think NXT is the right place for the women’s tag division to be made to feel important, which is good with a tag title match on the card later.
Anyway, the singles match was decent. Aliyah looked great, but she got too cocky with Ember Moon. Moon invited her to take her best shot, after Aliyah slapped her. That ended up with Aliyah on her back on the canvas.
Robert Stone got in Moon’s face on the outside, but Shotzi Blackheart behind her was enough to send him scurrying away. Aliyah launched herself off the apron, but Ember Moon caught her.
Aliyah had some half-decent chances, but Moon is too experienced and too resourceful for her and always had a comeback. When things looked bad for Aliyah, Jessi Kamea tried to cheat for her. Shotzi Blackheart took down Kamea and Stone with a dive to prevent further interference. Ember Moon pinned Aliyah with the Eclipse.
Toni Storm has another shot at Io Shirai next week. The hype package was predictably good. Shirai called Storm her biggest challenge. The match should be awesome.
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (C) vs Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez
Dakota Kai was out there slaying some demons as well as looking for the tag titles. Shayna Baszler put her through a lot before Baszler moved on, but that was a different Dakota Kai and she needed Baszler to know that. Early in the match, Baszler gave Kai a derisory little flick which fired Kai up.
I like that Baszler’s elbow stamp rarely lands these days because everyone is ready for it. Dakota Kai got her arm out of the way with ease.
Nia Jax worked hard on Kai’s knee, but it was swinging her up into the turnbuckle which looked most painful. Baszler punched Gonzalez off the apron when they were ready to finish Kai, but she was back in time to break up the pin and Kai managed to tag out soon after.
Raquel Gonzalez has other things to prove. Baszler and Jax were gone before her break into NXT and it’s hard to call yourself the most dominant if you’ve never beaten either of them. She threw Shayna Baszler round with ease and had a semi-serious pin attempt before Baszler tagged in Nia Jax. There was fear in Gonzalez’ eyes, but she was doing great until Baszler distracted her, then she got levelled by Jax. She turned it around for a double team pin attempt on Baszler, but it didn’t stick and Jax tipped her over the ropes and all the way to the barricades.
Kai was locked in the Kirifuda Clutch for longer than I think I’ve ever seen someone resist it. Gonzalez got back on the apron just in time and somehow Kai got close enough to tag her.
Gonzalez tried to kick Jax off the apron to stop her entering the ring, but also knocked out the ref. Once the ref was unconscious, it all got a bit chaotic. Nia Jax pulled Gonzalez out of the ring and Gonzalez bulldozed her right over the top of the announce desk.
Shayna Baszler got Kai back into the Kirifuda Clutch, but there was no one there to watch Kai pass out. Adam Pearce sent another ref down and he made the call. But Kai was not the legal competitor, Gonzalez was, and she was still under the announce desk with Nia Jax.
So, that’s got to be a rematch. TakeOver or WrestleMania, either will do fine.
Later in the show, William Regal said that, as a result of the finish, he’s going to make an announcement on next week’s show that will change the landscape of NXT. Hopefully, that means WrestleMania. They’ve got two nights to fill again this year.
Kacy Catanzaro has a partially torn LCL and Kayden Carter is pissed off. She doesn’t know when Catanzaro will be back. But Xia Li took her girl out and now she’s going to take her out and she doesn’t care what she’s got going on. Xia has pushed her buttons too many times and there’s no fear or hesitation on her part. Next week Li can come and get it.
That interview was immediately followed by a vignette for Xia Li’s transformation and how dangerous she is now.
I’m not sure about this odd habit WWE have of scrunching all the women’s division action together. It was really noticeable on this week’s NXT and it bugged me. Only the Kayden Carter interview was outside the women’s division chunk, and then only by a match. It’s not a problem in any way, NXT’s women’s division is treated the best by a long shot, just an observation.
Kay Lee Ray def. Meiko Satomura
Kay Lee Ray versus Meiko Satomura got the best hype package I think I’ve ever seen for NXT UK. Bayley, Sasha Banks, Rhea Ripley, Toni Storm, and Mercedes Martinez commented on Ray and Satomura. Bayley said she’s intimidated by Satomura and Sasha Banks said she had her eyes on the match. Satomura deserves every second of the hype and more, and it’s great to see that kind of hype, but it’s jarring in its uniqueness. Even the stats comparison got fully talked through.
Kay Lee Ray (C) vs Meiko Satomura – NXT UK Women’s Championship match
Kay Lee Ray entered the match with a 551-day title run. She asked for the best in the world, and WWE delivered. She wanted to be pushed to her limits and Satomura delivered.
It was brutal and skilled and altogether one of my favourite matches on NXT UK to date. The story is simple Satomura kicked Kay Lee Ray in the head when she went to the top. Ray got her knees up for Satomura’s frogsplash. Satomura kicked out of the Gory Bomb and evaded a senton. Kay Lee Ray blocked a scorpion kick but the second attempt at a Gory bomb got her flipped and almost pinned.
Somehow, Kay Lee Ray delivered a second Gory Bomb and Meiko Satomura didn’t kick out. Kay Lee Ray is still NXT UK Women’s Champion.
That’s a massive result for Ray. A successful title defence against Meiko Satomura is a resumé item.
After the match, Kay Lee Ray helped Meiko Satomura to her feet, bowed to her and they hugged. Ray gives respect to no one in the ring, usually, but some legends are bigger than character.
Bianca Belair def. Shayna Baszler
Carmella has dispensed with Reginald’s services. He found her in the corridor, bringing her a tray with champagne and a glass on it. She said she wanted to play a game called who’s the snake and told him she took a chance on a lowly sommelier and made him a star, But he betrayed her by becoming obsessed with Sasha Banks. He protested it was all for her. She fired him and tipped the tray out of his hand.
Shayna Baszler, with Nia Jax, vs Bianca Belair, with Sasha Banks and Reginald
It doesn’t look like Bianca Belair was expecting Sasha Banks to turn up, but they’re going to be tag partners for another shot at Baszler and Jax’ tag titles at Fastlane, so she came to support her. Reginald just trailed after her.
The match was great and I wish all the extraneous variables had been sent away, but there will be a time for that match to get what it deserves. As Corey Graves quite rightly pointed out, they are different competitors compared to their NXT battles.
Baszler got the upper hand with a kick to Belair’s arm that left her yelling in pain in the corner. And, as we know, the most dangerous thing is to give Baszler a target. Baszler wasn’t prepared for Belair’s resilience though, or her strength.
Reginald, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax got involved after Baszler countered Belair’s double chicken wing and tipped her out of the ring. She landed at Reginald’s feet and threw him at Jax. She got back into the ring and got kicked in the face, so she and Baszler had a lie down while the outside shenanigans unfolded. Jax shoved Reginald back towards Banks, then charged at him. He moved and she hit Banks instead.
That finished just in time for Bianca Belair to drag herself to her feet and counter the Kirifuda Clutch into a K.O.D. for the win.
After the match, Belair told Sasha Banks that Reginald was her fault and she needed to take care of it. When she’d gone, Reginald tried to pledge his loyalty to Banks. She slapped him and said she told him to stay out of her business.
He tried going to Banks’ desperation later and she shut the door in his face. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler saw the whole thing and Baszler mocked him and said he reeked of failure. Nia Jax called her off because he’s kind of cute.
Natalya and Tamina argued with Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville about why Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair. He agreed they’d been dominant but that’s the match that was made. Sonya Deville gave the impression she disagreed after Pearce had left.
Bayley ‘rehearsed’ a slightly different type of episode of Ding Dong. Hello! She was trying out a segment called Sweet Tweets because she says everyone loves her. She read the first two out, but the third was obviously mean, so she scrunched it up and walked out through the prop door.
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.