Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. After the main roster got the special event timetable underway with Day 1, NXT 2.0 have New Year’s Evil this week. Meanwhile, on RAW and SmackDown, it’s full steam ahead to Royal Rumble.
Dana Brooke & Reggie def. Tamina & Akira Tozawa
Queen Zelina & Carmella def. Rhea Ripley & Nikki A.S.H.
Dana Brooke & Reggie vs Tamina & Akira Tozawa – 24/7 Championship Mixed-Tag Team Match
This was a weird match concept that got weirder in the execution. If Brooke was pinned during the match she would lose her title, but it was mixed-tag not intergender, so only Tamina could pin her.
In the end it was irrelevant because they never made it into the ring. Akira Tozawa accidentally kicked Tamina in the head when he was aiming for Reggie. She punched him in the face and Reggie pinned him.
The whole thing was under two minutes and seemed utterly pointless.
Becky Lynch took to the ring for a good gloat. New Year’s Resolutions were the first topic of conversation. Everyone in the locker room resolved to become RAW Women’s Champion, but she resolved to stay the champ and they can beat her. Reflecting on her last year, she believes she’s become a work of art because she makes people feel and reveals the truth that’s what good art does. She took a moment to insult the crowd’s chances of keeping their resolutions on the way to saying none of the women in the locker room would either. Take Liv Morgan, she broke her promise on day one.
Liv Morgan arrived at that point. No one is harder on her than she is but she knows, and she knows Lynch knows, just how close she came to winning the title. The only thing she ever promised herself was that she’d always give her all and leave everything in the ring, and that’s what she did at Day 1.
Lynch called that sweet and said Liv might win the title, but not until she retires because that’s the only way she’s losing it.
Bianca Belair came out to join them. She’s sick of listening to Lynch every week acting like she’s untouchable, and she doesn’t trust her. She stepped aside to allow other people a chance to catch up while she dealt with Doudrop, but now she’s right back in line for Big Time Becks.
Lynch suggested they form a support group for people she’s beaten, but decided that already exists and it’s called the women’s locker room. Morgan asked her what she knew about the women’s locker room when she hasn’t been in it for years.
Liv tried to dismiss Belair but she told her that her issues with Lynch predate their feud. Becky Lynch told them to sort it out amongst themselves and let her know. They moved as one to kick her and throw her out of the ring.
The brawl was short, with Morgan scoring a step-up enziguri and Belair setting her up for a K.O.D. to finish. She didn’t get to deliver the move though. Lynch shoved her while Morgan was on her shoulders, sending Morgan right out of the ring, then delivered a Manhandle Slam to Belair.
Carmella & Queen Zelina (C) vs Rhea Ripley & Nikki A.S.H. – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships Match
Carmella’s new mask is getting a little close to the gimp mask line. Zelina Vega has a bee in her bonnet about facing Rhea Ripley, like she needs to prove something to herself. She started the match by slapping Ripley and ended up in a delayed vertical suplex.
Nikki A.S.H. took over from Ripley about a minute in and quickly lost the advantage Ripley handed her when Vega dragged her throat into the ropes. Nikki was in trouble from then, and the only time she got close to Ripley, Vega slammed her backwards onto the mat then shoved Ripley off the apron. She’d pinned Nikki A.S.H. with a rollup before Ripley couple get back into the ring.
This time, Rhea Ripley looked like she might just be starting to lose patience with her partner.
Doudrop stormed into Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville’s office and demanded to know why Liv Morgan and Bianca Belair were in line for another title shot. She’s not getting pushed out again. Everyone is tired of seeing the same people get all the chances and she demands her first chance.
Sonya Deville said they don’t just give out title matches, but next week they’ll give her an opportunity. Doudrop vs Bianca Belair vs Liv Morgan in a number one contender’s match. The winner gets their title shot at Royal Rumble.
At Royal Rumble, we’re ‘probably’ going to be having the expected mixed tag match Edge and Beth Phoenix vs The Miz and Maryse. The challenge was laid out in a segment this week by Edge after Miz spent five minutes complaining about losing the match at Day 1. According to Miz, Edge had to ask his wife to help him out because he knew he couldn’t win alone. Phoenix confirmed her appearance was her idea. Miz was goaded into accepting but Maryse was not happy about facing The Glamazon. She yelled at him until Phoenix raised her arm as if to throw a punch. Maryse was so scared she fell over.
Next week, RAW will begin coverage of Alexa Bliss’ road back to the ring. I’m very curious about what they do with her next.
NXT 2.0 – New Year’s Evil
Mandy Rose def. Cora Jade and Raquel Gonzalez
Persia Pirotta and Indi Hartwell interrupted Amari Miller talking to Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro about their New Year’s celebrations and their motivation for 2022. Pirotta believes she and Hartwell are going to be the next tag champs. Carter told her all three of them want to kick her in the face. Pirotta accepted a match but Hartwell told her off for accepting another handicap match, so they decided to find a partner. They asked Tiffany Stratton, but she declined like they’d asked her to clean the toilets. Wendy Choo(sp) was sleeping in the corner, in a onesie and sleep mask. She introduced herself to Hartwell when they woke her up, then went straight back to sleep.
Mandy Rose (C) vs Cora Jade vs Raquel Gonzalez – NXT Women’s Championship Match
Mandy Rose arrived at New Year’s Evil by helicopter. Raquel Gonzalez rode her motorbike to the ring. Cora jade picked the eco-friendly option and came in on her skateboard.
Commentary reminded us that Cora Jade would be the youngest ever NXT Women’s Champion if she won, and the way NXT 2.0 is shaping up, I could see them putting the title on her here. I think it’s too soon, but that’s the 2.0 vibe.
Gonzalez kicked Jade in the face then went straight for Mandy Rose, but it was switching and changing and two in one out for the early parts of the match. No one got any kind of extended momentum for a long while. Gonzalez came close when she Samoan dropped Rose and Jade heading into the break, but they both rolled out of the ring.
During the break, someone apparently brought out a kendo stick but it was gone when we got back. Gonzalez threw Jade at Rose, but Rose moved so she crashed to the floor. Mandy Rose, realising she now had Gonzalez’ full attention, tried to escape backstage. Gonzalez retrieved her and put her back in the ring. One on one, with Jade not looking like re-joining them anytime soon, Rose tried again to escape, then caught Gonzalez with double knees to the face after she was thrown back into the ring. She was horrified when Gonzalez kicked out.
Cora Jade arrived back in the match from the top turnbuckle to break up Gonzalez’ pin from the Chingona Bomb. She managed to shove Gonzalez from the top turnbuckle to the floor, and was left with a Mandy Rose who hadn’t yet got to her feet. When she snuck up behind her and tried to roll her up, Rose twisted round and sat down and got Jade’s shoulders on the mat for the winning three count.
Xia Brookside def. Myla Grace
Meiko Satomura def. Blair Davenport
Xia Brookside vs Myla Grace
Xia Brookside didn’t look happy about the crowd booing her, but she tried her best to shrug it off. Her journey from crowd favourite to hated entitled princess is complete. She almost got rolled up while complaining about her shoulder hurting, but kicked out. Myla Grace could have had a kinder debut. New Xia has a mean streak when things aren’t going precisely her way. She wasn’t taking any of Brookside’s flouncing, and she came pretty close to beating her, but Brookside drove her feet into her spine and pinned her.
Amale got a vignette and an interview segment on this week’s episode. She is hope, apparently. Someone interrupted to say her video package was inspirational. Nina Samuels disagreed, but left before Amale could unleash her anger. Stevie Turner probably should have kept her mouth shut, but she agreed with Samuels and Amale put her up against the glass to tell her they have a match next week.
Meiko Satomura (C) vs Blair Davenport – NXT UK Women’s Championship Match
The match started tentatively. Davenport made the first mistake, getting up on the top rope much too early. Satomura kicked her to the floor, hitting her face on the apron on the way down, and took over the match. Davenport endured a series of strikes then took a break on the outside. She landed a brutal kick to Satomura’s head as she tried to follow her, then drove her head into the floor.
That was Davenport’s chance and she threw everything into it. Satomura barely looked to be with it at times, and she was clutching at her neck, but she kept kicking out of everything Davenport threw at her. She halted Satormura’s comeback with an armbar, but failed to get a falcon arrow and took a DDT.
Davenport locked in an STF but Satomura wouldn’t submit. A knee to the face sent Satomura out of the ring and she took a double stomp on the apron. When she kicked out after that, Davenport’s frustration started to show. Out of nowhere, before Davenport could get her next move plotted, Satomura had delivered to Death Valley Bombs. She kicked out after that and countered Scorpio Rising. The end came via an exchange of rollups, with Satomura emerging victorious.
It was still Blair Davenport standing tall at the end of the show though. She attacked Satomura after the match and left her laid out in the ring.
Nikkita Lyons def. Erica Yan
Nikkita Lyons vs Erica Yan
The 205 matches are sometimes among the most fun to watch. Wrestlers trying things out and getting themselves over in a supportive and enthusiastic environment. Ok, so you’re most likely not going to see anything spectacular. But taken for what they are, training matches that would normally have been on live events, they’re often decent.
With some character development down the line, both these women have a chance. Yan has a lovely style. Lyons is a powerhouse but needs some smoothing out in the ring. That’s going to happen when you’re on tv off the back of a 10-match indie career and two matches for WWE.
Nikkita Lyons picked up the win this time, with a DDT.
Charlotte Flair def. Naomi
Charlotte Flair appeared and started by insulting the crowd’s new year’s resolutions. She was actually there to introduce the announcement of the first 18 names for the Women’s Royal Rumble Match.
- Rhea Ripley
- Nikki A.S.H.
- The Bella Twins
- Michelle McCool
- Dana Brooke
- Queen Zelina
- Mickie James
- Kelly Kelly
- Summer Rae
- Shayna Baszler
Once the video was done, she added herself to the list, so that’s nineteen of the thirty.
Naomi came and joined her to ask for a there and then title match. Flair asked what she’d done recently to deserve it, so Naomi slapped her. When Flair charged at her, Naomi tossed her out of the ring.
Charlotte Flair vs Naomi – Champion Contender’s Match
This was already happening when we got back from a break. Charlotte Flair was looking for payback for the disrespect. She got some, but she got a lot of disrespect as well.
Flair kicked Naomi in the face while she was on the top turnbuckle and knocked her to the floor. She followed her out and threw her into the timekeeper’s area, but when she went back after posing, Naomi kicked her in the head.
Naomi followed it up with a blockbuster and rolled back into the ring as the ref’s count hit nine. Sonya Deville appeared on the stage and said she forgot to mention the match couldn’t be won by count-out. Charlotte Flair hit Naomi from behind while she was looking at Deville, and we went for a break.
Flair was in control when we got back, but Naomi was on her way back into it. She got a solid two count with a crossbody but almost got pinned she missed the Rear View and ended up in a figure four. She got to the ropes before Flair could bridge, then Deville cut in again and made it No DQ.
Flair couldn’t keep Naomi down with a moonsault, even after stamping on her enough to get DQ’d in a normal match. She did eventually win, after trading near falls for a while. She caught Naomi going to the top for a split-legged moonsault and smashed her face into the top of the post. From there it was just a suplex and Natural Selection to the pin.
Sonya Deville declared Naomi the loser before she declared Charlotte Flair the winner, but there was a nod from Flair to Naomi that looked very much like respect.
Most of the announced legends and ex-superstars are pretty much the ones you’d expect. The Bella Twins are a nice surprise because there appeared to be a question mark over whether it was possible. The name that really stands out is Mickie James.
When James was released she took pictures of the bin bag full of her possessions that WWE sent her. Since then, she has been critical of the company on several occasions (with good reason). I’m amazed she agreed to take part. Even more amazing – and I suspect a condition of her appearance – she was announced as the current Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion. WWE don’t acknowledge the existence of wrestling companies that haven’t been annexed… until now, apparently. Pat McAfee said it live on air, then WWE tweeted it.
However it came about, it’s always great to see Mickie James. I hope she wears the Impact title to the ring and lasts for ages.
There are still 12 places to fill. Not all of the current RAW and SmackDown rosters have been included, and no NXT 2.0 Superstars announced yet, but I suspect they’re still going to need to bring in a few more extras.
On Saturday WWE confirmed the rumours circulating that Sasha Banks had been injured in a house show match. She’s bruised a bone in her foot and will be out for six to eight weeks. That means she’s not going to be back in time for the Royal Rumble. Sasha Banks responded to the announcement by tweeting that 30 women just got real lucky, and when she’s back she’s coming back for everything.
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.