Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. It was go-home show week for Royal Rumble, NXT have a TakeOver in two weeks and the Dusty Cup in progress, and there was WWE Superstar Spectacle on Tuesday, featuring some of the women’s division to help showcase Indian talent in WWE. What I’m saying is, you might want to grab a coffee and put your feet up for this one.
Charlotte Flair def. Shayna Baszler (DQ)
Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose, & Dana Brooke
Asuka vs Alexa Bliss – No Contest
Charlotte Flair had an interview with Charly Caruso before her match. She asked how Flair was feeling with the Rumble match a tag title defence and the match against Baszler. Flair said if there’s one thing she does well it’s perform under pressure. She takes it day by day and tonight she hopes Baszler brings her invisible crown because it’s one thing to call yourself a queen it’s another to be one. On Sunday she’s going to defend the tag title with Asuka and entering the Rumble. She always defies the odds and if there’s one person she’ll always back it’s herself.
Caruso asked about the ‘situation’ between Ric Flair and Lacey Evans. Charlotte said she’s seen her dad in a lot of dark places and this might be his darkest. She knows Lacey’s intentions and it’s one thing to have the last name Flair, it’s another thing to carry the weight of it.
Charlotte Flair vs Shayna Baszler
This could have been a potentially exciting match, but less than a minute in, Nia Jax invaded the ring to save Baszler from a figure four and leg dropped Flair to make her let go and cause the DQ.
Match over, the beatdown could begin. It wasn’t Asuka who made the save for her partner, it was Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke. Lacey Evans arrived and attacked Flair while Rose and Brooke were busy with Baszler and Jax. There was chaos going into the break and you’ll never guess what happened after.
Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose, & Dana Brooke vs Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, & Lacey Evans
Full circle for Dana Brooke on RAW as she spent a while as Charlotte Flair’s ‘protégé’. Flair was a lot nicer to her this time. We did get to see a spell of the advertised match, and it really could have been great. We also got to see Lacey Evans doing everything she could to wind Flair up.
The match finished twice. The first time, Flair had dragged Baszler out of the ring and followed her around. Baszler shoved her into the apron and started to roll herself, but they hadn’t been paying attention to the count and Baszler was too slow.
Adam Pearce restarted the match with the consent of Flair’s team after Jax, Baszler, and Evans harassed him to during a break. We got back just in time for Nia Jax to start making Dana Brooke question her decision. If there’s one thing Brooke’s career has taught her, it’s resilience and she eventually tagged out.
Mandy Rose is great at the moment. Best she’s ever been by a long way. Things went awry in the match after Baszler broke up her pin on Evans. Flair speared Baszler. Jax bulldozed Flair and dragged Evans to the corner to tag in. Evans pulled Flair out of the ring, then realised she’d gone far and ran for her life as Flair chased her off backstage.
Dana Brooke almost pinned Jax after sending her shoulder-first into the post. She went to the top, but Jax caught her and threw her halfway across the ring then gave her an evil looking powerbomb for the win.
The powerbomb looked like an awful landing and sparked the oft-repeated debates about the safety of Jax’ opponents. There have been no reports so far of injuries to Dana Brooke, so it was probably fine.
Later in the show, Charlotte Flair walked in on Ric giving Lacey Evans some coaching. She clicked her fingers and said, ‘Lacey, out.’ Evans edged out using Ric as a shield, but Charlotte was focused on Ric. Before she said a word, he said just because she’s a big star doesn’t mean there’s no place for him in the locker room. If someone wants some of his wisdom passed on to them, he’s going to do it. And he’s always going to be him.
Charlotte asked him if “always be you” meant the man who was spending all his money on everyone but the family and informed him she’s not the bad guy. This was cute when she was young but she’s the only one protecting him right now. He’s turning from legend into old man and she has no problem saying it to his face. She’s not the bad guy.
She didn’t see Lacey Evans come back until she took the Woman’s Right when she turned to leave and a kick the slammed her head into a metal panel. Evans pulled Ric away when he stooped to check on her and they left discussing Wooing.
Alexa Bliss is RAW’s darling of the women’s division at the moment, and she’s absolutely acing it in the role. For the second week running she had an Alexa’s Playground segment and a match. And for the second week running that match was against Asuka in the main event. This week, it was a title match.
The Alexa’s Playground segment came after a replay of Randy Orton’s promo from last week about Bliss burning his face with a fireball. On a side note, I never thought I’d be calling Randy Orton one of WWE’s most valuable in 2020/21, but here we are. Anyway, Bliss started with the nursery rhyme ‘Mary Mary Quite Contrary’. She said it was fun seeing what Randy’s face looked like after what they did. She was having conversations with an imaginary/invisible Fiend throughout. They apparently think Orton looks better now. Bliss said that last week she wanted to have fun with Asuka in her playground, but Asuka didn’t want to play nice. In the match, neither did she. There was footage from last week’s match to illustrate her point and she asked if we liked her mid-match gimmick change trick. He taught her it. He taught her a lot of things and she can’t wait to see him again so she can thank him. But tonight, she has the opportunity to win a shiny new toy and just like last week, she doesn’t feel like playing nice.
She finished by singing Ring a Roses and saying ‘Let Me In’ in The Fiend’s voice.
Asuka (C) vs Alexa Bliss – RAW Women’s Championship match
There was no chance that this wasn’t going to get freaky at some point. Playful and smiley Bliss started the match. She didn’t do so well until she kicked Asuka out of the ring after a missed hip attack. When Asuka looked around, Bliss was in the middle of the ring on a rocking horse.
The rocking horse had gone after a break. We still had the same version of Bliss, but she was in control of the match. Asuka turned it around and almost pinned Bliss, then got her in the corner. Alexa Bliss’ pre-Fiend music cut in and suddenly it was the old Bliss, sodding and confused. Asuka looked like she didn’t know whether to freak out or cuddle her. She chose to charge and Bliss sidestepped and sent her into the turnbuckle then just walked into the corner and looked down while the lights went off and the sound effects played. It was Bliss’ dark side when they came back on and she was upside down in the Wyatt Crab pose.
Like last week, dark Bliss effortlessly blocked and countered Asuka’s initial offence. She took a knee in the face and got caught in the Asuka Lock, but she powered out and applied the mandible claw.
That would have been the end of it, a new women’s champion, if Randy Orton hadn’t appeared behind Bliss and RKO’d her.
Becky Lynch is teasing a Royal Rumble return. She’s changed the header and profile picture on her Twitter, which now shows a picture of her wearing a jacket with ‘I’m coming around’ on the back. Her bio now reads, ‘Time to go to work’. It’s possible she’ll come back for it, but she’s less than two months out from giving birth. That seems like a bit of a stretch, but I’d never bet against her if that’s what she decided she was going to do.
On Saturday, Mia Yim confirmed she has tested positive for COVID-19. We wish her a speedy recovery. At the time of writing, it is not known if her positive test has quarantine implication for any other superstars.
WWE Superstar Spectacle
Charlotte Flair & Sareena Sandhu def. Bayley & Natalya
The opening video package, charting WWE’s popularity in India was interesting. It seems India like WWE and the feeling is mutual. The Superstar Spectacle was timed to celebrate Republic Day. It was from the ThunderDome, but the fans were all from India. The matches were pretty good, but the dancing was the highlight for me. That was incredible.
Charlotte Flair & Sareena Sandhu vs Bayley & Natalya
This was a hell of a debut for Sareena Sandhu. For starters, it began with her coming off the top turnbuckle and taking out Bayley and Natalya, and quickly progressed to joining Charlotte Flair for tandem baseball slides into them. She got time in the ring with Bayley and Natalya and didn’t get too badly pushed around by either. Not until Bayley felt the need to cause a distraction and Sandhu got kicked to the outside by Natalya. Bayley chop blocked her on the outside but couldn’t keep her down in the ring.
Sandhu forced Bayley to come in and save Natalya from being submitted but struggled to get back to Charlotte Flair. Bayley knocked Flair off the apron, Flair knocked Bayley out with a big boot at ringside. Natalya got the Sharpshooter on Sandhu, but Flair got there in time with Natural Selection. After that, Sandhu simply rolled over and made the pin.
I don’t think Sareena Sandhu could have asked for a more memorable debut.
Kavita Devi got a promo package during the show as well. Michael Cole informed us she’ll be back at some point.
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez def. Aliyah & Jessi Kamea
Dakota Kai said a year ago an unbreakable bond was created and now they’re only three victories away from a history-making win of the first Dusty Cup. Robert Stone said Aliyah and Jessi Kamea are two superstars waiting for an opportunity to break out, starting tonight.
Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez vs Aliyah & Jessi Kamea – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
Dakota Kai has purple/pink hair now. It suits her. Stone accompanied his clients to the ring. I still feel for Aliyah. She’s worked her ass off to get good, but can’t find the gimmick to get herself noticed. I worry Jessi Kamea is on the same path.
I think we all knew this wasn’t going to be their night either. They had a few moments each to shine, but inevitable the end came with Raquel Gonzalez planting Kamea into the mat.
Kai & Gonzalez will face Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter in the semi-final next week.
Candice LeRae knew she and Indi Hartwell were going to win the Dusty Cup from the moment it was announced. They don’t can who they face in two weeks because they’ll find a way.
Toni Storm came to the ring with a message for Io Shirai. When she wants something, she doesn’t just wait her turn, she makes it happen. When she wanted to be NXT UK women’s champion, she took it away from Rhea Ripley. And when she wanted to win the Mae Young Classic, she did it by beating Shirai in the final. She wanted to become the first person to win the women’s Dusty Cup. But Shirai took that away from her, so now she wants to hurt her, ruin her, and take the NXT Women’s Championship away from her.
Shirai arrived, wrenched the microphone from Storm’s hand, and said, ‘I will fight you anywhere. I already made it clear. Toni, I don’t like you’. Toni Storm leapt on her, Shirai sent her rolling out of the ring and was immediately attacked by Mercedes Martinez.
Storm got back into the ring and argued with Martinez until Shirai dropkicked Martinez into her. Storm knocked Shirai off the turnbuckle and pulled Martinez from the path of the moonsault, then slammed her into the steps. With Io Shirai down in the corner, Storm got back in the ring and delivered three hip attacks. The segment ended with Toni Storm holding the belt.
Kay Lee Ray wants the best in the world to challenge her. She’s getting her wish. Meiko Satomura is on her way to NXT UK. I’m excited for her to run through the division, but I can’t help hoping it’s a stop on her way to NXT because the way the NXT UK women’s division has been presented so far, it’s no place for a legend. This week, they didn’t even bother with a women’s division match. I guess last week’s title match used two weeks time allocation.
Xia Brookside and Nina Samuels have a match next week. They’ve already had a bunch of matches and Samuels is still convinced Brookside is inferior, despite never having beaten her.
Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon
Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon vs Marina Shafir & Zoey Stark – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
There was a nice run-through of the women’s Dusty Cup in the intro to the show. This match was the last of the first-round matches.
Shotzi Blackheart’s tank carried her and Ember Moon to the ring. I still don’t like this as a format for debuts, but Zoey Stark got stuck in straight away against Blackheart. She’s a power game wrestler and she threw Moon hard into the corner before she tagged Marina Shafir. They worked well as a team, and they had Moon isolated for a while.
Unfortunately for Shafir, she pissed Ember Moon off by shoving her face. Moon stepped up a gear and that was the end of Shafir’s turn. Zoey Stark came in to try to rescue her partner, but they both ended up on the wrong side of a senton against the ropes from Blackheart and a kick in the head from Moon.
Ember Moon accidentally distracted the ref, complaining about Stark trying to invade the ring, long enough for Stark to kick Blackheart in the back. There was definitely enough of Zoey Stark in this one to make an impact. She would have pinned Shotzi Blackheart if Moon hadn’t got there in time.
It was Moon and Stark at the end, but it didn’t go Stark’s way. She took an Eclipse, but Shafir broke that up. Shotzi Blackheart dealt with Shafir and Moon tapped Stark out instead.
Bianca Belair def. Bayley
Kayla Braxton interviewed Bayley before the match. When Braxton said Bianca Belair beat her last week, Bayley corrected her to say the last thing she saw was Belair writhing on the floor after a basketball in the gut and a basketball post to the shoulder. Bayley also effortlessly plugged Belair’s Chronicle and said some nice things, but said something about Belair running away from her problems half her life. She’s going to be Bianca Belair’s biggest problem so she can keep on running because she’s not winning the Royal Rumble and she’s not winning tonight.
Bayley vs Bianca Belair
SmackDown’s women’s division is poorly treated and stale, on the whole. Bianca Belair needs to be the exception, it’s time to start her ascent to the top.
Bayley worked over the shoulder she weakened last week (and reminded us she’d weakened in the pre-match interview) and it was her match early on, mostly. It was the match you’d expect from the next big thing and the seasoned veteran. Belair got herself together, or lost her restraint, when Bayley kept pulling her hair and shouting Ding Dong. That evened it up and we got to see the fire and the resilience we know Bianca Belair is capable of.
The elbow from the top Belair kicked out from, looked brutal. Belair’s arm gave out on the double chicken wing facebuster, but the K.O.D. after flipping Bayley’s face into the turnbuckle, hit the spot perfectly and Bianca Belair has beaten Bayley.
Kayla Braxton interviewed Belair after the match. She said Bayley has been trying to make her apologise for being herself, but she’ll never apologise for being her and doing her. Bayley is not her role model and never has been. But she was SmackDown Women’s Champion for 380 days, so who better to try to prove herself to. After everything that’s happened, this is the biggest win of her career and she’s not stopping there. The only thing bigger than beating Bayley is winning the Royal Rumble and going to WrestleMania.
Bayley was shown intermittently throughout the interview, staring daggers at Belair.
Natalya and Tamina will face off on Backstage tomorrow on FS1 to determine who will be the Number 30 entrant to the Royal Rumble. I’m not sure how either of them is due that coveted spot, but I may never find out unless the show is also on network straight away. I guess they’ll let us know on the Kickoff Show.
Carmella’s sommelier, Reginald, gave Sasha Banks a bottle of wine. She’d asked him to pick the perfect bottle of wine to pair with losing her championship. Banks flirted with him a bit and asked him if her freelances. He said he could, and she asked what the perfect wine would be for Carmella to drink with a broken jaw. She thinks the finest champagne is in order when she crushes Carmella’s dream, maybe like a grape. She handed the wine back to him saying it looked like he could use a drink. He was smiling as she left. Probably just grateful not to be on the receiving end of another backstabber.
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.