Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Busy week this week. Not huge numbers of matches, just one per show, but there were more than a couple of surprises…
Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, Eva Marie, & Doudrop def. Nikki A.S.H., Alexa Bliss, Naomi, & Asuka
Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, and Reginald were complaining about having to team up with Eva Marie and Doudrop when Reginald saw Bliss standing in the shadows. She wasn’t there when Baszler and Jax looked, of course, and Baszler shouted at him. She was back listening and observing by the time they walked away though.
In their pre-match segment, Naomi and Asuka were being supportive of Nikki Cross’ new character and newfound self-belief, until she started talking about winning the ladder match. They’re both in it too, so they think they’re going to win and they told her so. It wasn’t until after Nikki had left for her entrance that Alexa Bliss arrived and told Naomi and Asuka to lower their expectations about their chances of winning at Money in the Bank.
Nikki A.S.H., Naomi, Asuka, & Alexa Bliss vs Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, Eva Marie, & Doudrop, with Reginald
Corey Graves was a bit mean about Asuka and Naomi’s colourful outfits, suggesting it looked like someone had slaughtered Sesame Street. But then, Graves is still an Eva Marie fanboy, so his opinion is questionable at best.
Eva Marie actually tagged herself in to start the match against Naomi, but she lasted one dodgy lock up and a forearm that was more toddler tantrum than wrestling blow before she tagged Niven in a panic. Naomi had had enough and dropkicked Niven to the floor then took out Jax and Baszler with a dive. Asuka hit Doudrop with a hip-attack then A.S.H. took her to the floor with a crossbody. Eva Marie looked to be the only one standing heading into the break, until Alexa Bliss screamed at her and scared her out of the ring.
After a break, Asuka found herself in the middle of a Nia Jax and Doudrop sandwich. Eva Marie entered the ring for a twenty second stamp on Asuka while she was securely in their corner. And Asuka had a generally bad time against Nia Jax, who also found a moment to knock A.S.H. to the floor.
Of course, there were Alexa Bliss and Reginald shenanigans. Reginald got caught in her gaze and was hypnotised again. As he walked towards her, ignoring Baszler trying to get his attention, she ran around the ring, threw Bliss into the barricade to break contact, then slapped him back to the present.
Eva Marie got lightly slapped around by Asuka. Naomi and Asuka gave Baszler a beautiful double team that required a last-second save from Doudrop to save the match. Eva Marie saved Baszler from being pinned from a Nikki A.S.H. crossbody. A.S.H would have got the pin on Baszler again, except Baszler had made an unseen tag to Jax. Jax pulled A.S.H. out of the pin attempt by her hair and, despite Nikki’s best efforts, pinned her with a Samoan drop.
Eva Marie declared herself the winner of the match. Reginald had to hold Nia Jax back to stop her killing her, and I don’t think Eva Marie could have counted on Piper Niven’s support if Jax had gone for it.
Charlotte Flair came to the ring, using a crutch badly, to give an update on her medical status. She said she knows it was shocking to see her like that, after Rhea Ripley took her out post-match last week with her own move. She made comparisons with the NBA playoffs but said the fact she might miss Money in the Bank is worse. Ripley’s so scared to face her she has to attack her with her own move (the fact it was her move was repeated a lot. She doesn’t blame her, she’d be scared in Ripley’s position as well and would do whatever it takes.
Rhea Ripley’s music hailed her arrival, also using a crutch. She took a painfully long time to get to the ring and was accused of stealing Flair’s entrance as well when she had someone open the ropes for her. She said Flair was right, she did exactly what she would have done, and she still is. After she accused Flair of being a little drama queen, they kicked each other’s crutches away. Flair’s shoes came off and Ripley took of the title belt in preparation. Flair’s long trousers covered the fact she was wearing killer heels, not generally recommended with a ‘knee injury’, but the charade was over. They picked up a crutch each and went to battle.
Ripley was disarmed first but regained her weapon and knocked Flair’s crutch from her hand when she dodged a swing. Charlotte Flair had to roll out of the ring to avoid the crutch crashing down on her head.
NXT: The Great American Bash
Io Shirai & Zoey Stark def. Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell
Dakota Kai had some unpleasant things to say about Shotzi Blackheart and Ember Moon, believing they’re the reason she and Raquel Gonzalez weren’t in the title match. She may struggle to carry out her threat to put Blackheart on the shelf permanently, but I’m sure Ember Moon will give her the chance to go through her like Kai said she would.
Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell (C) vs Io Shirai & Zoey Stark – NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship match
I want to pick up on one of the things the commentary team were discussing. The progress Indi Hartwell has made since being aligned with Candice LeRae is phenomenal. She looks more settled, more rounded, with just about every performance.
Hartwell had to run interference when LeRae had Shirai in the Gargano Escape. She successfully neutralised and restrained Stark, but Shirai rolled LeRae over and made her release the hold. Moments later she had to prevent Shirai delivering a moonsault That interference allowed LeRae to suplex Shirai out of the corner, but she only got two.
Zoey Start got the pin on Hartwell, but she had some indirect assistance. Just before the end of the match, it went dark. The charging icon came up and flipped from 99% to 100%. When the lights came back up Tegan Nox was stood there.
Candice LeRae was so stunned she barely reacted when Io Shirai dropkicked Hartwell into her, she just fell out of the ring. With LeRae down, Stark pinned Hartwell.
Tegan Nox beat LeRae up after the match.
During a break, Dexter Lumis scooped Indi Harwell off the edge of the ring and carried her away.
Toni Storm requested an interview to express her displeasure that Raquel Gonzalez has set her sight on Shotzi Blackheart when she’s the one who deserves a title match. She thinks it’s because Gonzalez knows she’d lose the title if she got in the ring with her. When asked about Sarray requesting a match with her, she said Sarray is not on her level, so no.
I suspect that match will happen.
Blair Davenport def. Laura Di Matteo
There was a nice promo package this week for Meiko Satomura’s title defence against Amale. It’s rough to make a package out of a couple of promos and about a minute’s worth of interaction, but they did a good job.
Blair Davenport vs Laura Di Matteo
Blair Davenport was formerly known as Bea Priestley. I have to admit, it’s been a while since I saw her wrestle. There’s not a huge amount you can tell from a standard NXT UK three-minute match, but she appears to be better than she was then. And more women on the NXT UK roster can only make the division more interesting.
It was fine and obviously Davenport won. She had a little to say for herself after the match. She came here because she believes NXT UK has the best women’s roster in the world. No one has seen anyone who wrestles like her, and she put them all on notice.
Jinny has Aoife Valkyrie in her sights. She had a whole video promo tearing Valkyrie down.
Shotzi & Nox def. Natalya & Tamina
This was the final SmackDown in the ThunderDome. Next week’s show will be in Houston, Texas, in front of fans.
Before SmackDown on Friday, WWE announced that Bayley has been injured in training and will be out for approximately nine months. There was no initial confirmation of the injury, but the speculation was an ACL injury due to the timeframe.
This news, of course, cancelled her I Quit match against Bianca Belair at Money in the Bank, so an opponent would be announced on SmackDown.
WWE tweeted this video of Bayley talking about her injury, her knee was braced, which suggests the ACL tear rumours might be true. She believes no one gives a damn that she did it trying to get better for Money in the Bank. It’s our fault. All of us. She doesn’t care who her replacement will be
Natalya and Tamina were unimpressed that they were forced into a non-title match with some debuts who had the gall to call them out. Not just any debuts though. Shotzi Blackheart… but with Tegan Nox beside her in the tank instead of Ember Moon. They were announced as Shotzi & Nox. Weirdly, commentary acted like they’d been a team in NXT when this is Tegan Nox’ first match back from a long injury, after returning to beat up Candice LeRae on Tuesday. That’s WWE for you.
I’m happy for Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox, but where does that leave Ember Moon? Did she not want to return to the main roster or wasn’t she given that option? She didn’t have the greatest time on her last call up. Maybe she wanted to stay put. I hope that’s the case, otherwise, it sucks. Moon sent Shotzi Blackheart a congratulatory tweet not long after the debut.
Natalya & Tamina vs Shotzi & Nox
Decent match, considering it was a little over three minutes long, and a good introduction to Shotzi and Nox for those who don’t watch NXT. They were constant energy with some nice teamwork and double team manoeuvres worked out already. There’s a limit to how much that helps you if you’re getting clubbed to the ground by Tamina though.
There was one Natalya and Tamina double team that looked potentially worrying. Natalya catapulted Shotzi into Tamina’s superkick, but Tamina was a little too far out and it looked like her supporting knee went out from underneath her.
Tamina elbowed Tegan Nox off the apron but she was back in time to stop Natalya pinning Shotzi despite Tamina running interference. A Nox cannonball into the corner put Tamina out of the match, and a Natalya discus lariat took Nox out.
Shotzi Blackheart caught Natalya with a clothesline to put her down for the Ball Pit senton from the top, which earned her the pin.
Sonya Deville came to the ring to reveal Bianca Belair’s opponent for Money in the Bank. She started by telling everyone Bayley sustained an injury in training and will be out for at least nine months, then played the video linked above.
Deville wished Bayley a speedy recovery and moved on to the business at hand. Belair will no longer be defending her title at Money in the Bank. Instead, she’ll defend it on next week’s SmackDown, the first one back in front of fans, against Carmella.
Carmella thanked her for the long overdue and much-deserved honour, then told her off for not adding ‘Most beautiful woman in all of WWE’ to her accolades.
Liv Morgan came out to argue with Deville and accuse her of favouritism. She got in her face and demanded to know how many times she has to beat Carmella to get an opportunity.
Deville yelled at her and said if she’d shut up, she’d find out she was just about to name her as Carmella’s replacement for the Money in the Bank ladder match. Carmella’s out to face Belair and she’s in because she deserves it. She gave her thirty seconds to get out of her ring before she changed her mind and makes sure Morgan never gets another opportunity.
Liv Mogan used them to tell Carmella she hopes she wins next week, because when she wins Money in the Bank, she’ll be cashing in on her.
Bianca Belair came out while Morgan was leaving. They had a moment on the stage where Morgan stared at the title belt then pointed at the briefcases. Belair acknowledged her, and it was all smiles, for now. Once she’d gone Belair said she’ll gladly accept Carmella as her challenger. She doesn’t know if Bayley’s injury is real. If it isn’t then shame on her for stooping that low. If it is then she has to say she respects her competitive skills. She doesn’t like her, but she respects her skills and looks forward to finishing it when she comes back.
Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox are great additions to the SmackDown roster, which has been looking a little sparse and really couldn’t afford to lose Bayley. They aren’t the only additions though. Toni Storm got a Coming Soon vignette.
They all absolutely deserve it and they’re all more experienced than a lot of the current roster. Shotzi Blackheart will slot right in. She’s got the big personality and bigger gimmick. I’m interested to see what they do with Tegan Nox. She’s not necessarily been the biggest character-wise and I’m not sure how they’ll stop her becoming ‘the other one’ alongside Blackheart. Hopefully, that’s all been thought out, but time will tell. Toni Storm should be absolutely fine as well. She’s got the brash confidence to demand people take notice.
Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks won the Espy for Best WWE Moment of the Year. They both looked incredible at the awards, and Belair made her own dress for it. Check out the WWE congratulations article here.
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.