Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. This week was go-home week for The Horror Show at Extreme Rules, which so far doesn’t look like the most extreme of PPVs… as long as you discount the Rollins vs Mysterio Eye for an Eye match. Bayley and Sasha Banks are looking to come out of Extreme Rules holding all the main roster gold, so it was another busy week for them.
It is five years this week that Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Sasha Banks made their main roster debuts and the Women’s Evolution officially began (yes, we can argue until the end of time about its origins and underpinnings, but it’s nice to have a date to celebrate). It was mentioned on the programming and there was a commemorative package. Still no announcement of Evolution 2 though.
Bianca Belair & Ruby Riott def. The IIconics
Sasha Banks & Bayley def. The Kabuki Warriors
The IIconics taunted Ruby Riott again backstage this week. They were convinced their planned tag match was going to be a handicap match because Riott has no friends. They were wrong, Ruby Riott has made friends with Bianca Belair. Belair introduced herself and told Royce and Kay she doesn’t like the way they think they’re better than they are. She had time, so she stepped in to help out Ruby Riott.
Ruby Riott & Bianca Belair vs The IIconics
Ruby Riott and Bianca Belair don’t seem like the most organic of teams, they both have a lot of attitude and it feels like they should clash, but I’m so pleased to see Belair back on RAW that I don’t care. The IIconics did not want Belair in the ring and did everything to prevent Riott making the tag. That was fair enough because when she did get in she absolutely destroyed them. Peyton Royce had to break up a pin, which she only just made because Belair’s handspring had knocked her off the apron. Riott came back in to take out Royce with a kick to the head and Belair finished Kay with the K.O.D.
If there is a talent in the RAW locker room that WWE really needs to run with, it’s Bianca Belair. I’ve seen the arguments that she’s not quite top level ready yet, with a heavy emphasis on the yet, but I honestly think she can handle it. WWE want the women at the top to be good role models with a strong work ethic in addition to being incredible in the ring and decent on the mic. I don’t see anywhere that Bianca Belair is lacking.
Shayna Baszler came back this week, in just about the oddest way possible. She interrupted R-Truth’s pre-match questioning of Akira Tozawa about why he had three ninjas with him and destroyed the ninjas. Akira Tozawa ran away. Just for a moment, I thought she might take the 24/7 title from R-Truth, but he said he’d let himself out and threw her the mic before legging it.
She said she’s been so patient, she’s allowed everyone to have their fun, but she’s done. All the weak-minded women’s “champions” are running around fooling themselves under the delusion that they’re in control. That the limbs and terror left in her wake are nothing but a distant memory. But the Queen of Spades is there to shatter the illusion by hitting them with a hard dose of reality, and she is that reality.
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs The Kabuki Warriors – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match
Bayley and Sasha Banks showed their tribute to themselves again before this main event match. They tried to jump Asuka and Kairi Sane before the bell but got kicked out of the ring going into a break. The match started when we came back.
I feel like saying it was a good match is redundant considering who was in it, but it was. Kairi Sane looks great and I really hope she sticks around. Banks and Bayley turned the match firmly in their favour heading into the mid-match break by catapulting Sane into the plexiglass. After the break, they were taking it in turns to beat her down, but neither could keep her down for the three count. Banks ended up screaming at her to give up.
Asuka came in with enough pent-up frustration to take on Bayley and Banks together, which was good because she needed to. She lost control of the match after Bayley pulled her off the turnbuckle, but neither Bayley nor Banks could put her away either. Bayley knocked Sane off the apron to remove Asuka’s tag option, but Banks got trapped in the Asuka Lock anyway. Sane was back in time to spear Bayley and prevent her breaking it up, but Banks got a toe on the ropes.
Kairi Sane would have secured the titles with an InSane Elbow to Banks, but Bayley pulled her off the pin and out of the ring, then knocked out Asuka. It didn’t look like Sane would need the help. She was well into the string of moves that would have led to Banks demise when she got caught in a Bank Statement and tapped.
Indi Hartwell def. Shotzi Blackheart
Io Shirai def. Tegan Nox
Shotzi Blackheart vs Indi Hartwell
During Shotzi Blackheart’s entrance, they showed her running over Robert Stone’s leg with her tank, and announced he’d suffered ruptured leg ligaments, which meant it was only a matter of time before Stone arrived.
In the meantime, the match was good. Indi Hartwell is presented so interestingly. She has zero character development, I’ve never heard her speak and know little about her, yet she’s always presented as a legitimate threat. Mauro Ranallo said during the match she started training at 19, in 2016, so maybe I should just listen more. It feels like she’s marked for good things, but they haven’t quite decided on her direction yet.
Robert Stone hobbled down the ramp with his injured foot in a boot. He got up on the apron and held the ref’s attention while Aliyah pulled Blackheart’s leg out from underneath her while she was in the top turnbuckle. Blackheart crashed back-first onto the canvas. Indi Hartwell took advantage with a big boot and got her first win on NXT tv.
NXT showed a tweet from Rhea Ripley saying she was watching the result of the main event title match very closely.
Io Shirai (C) vs Tegan Nox – NXT Women’s Championship match
They cut off the ring announcer in their haste to get things underway, but it was actually quite a tentative start to the match. They went hold for hold, testing each other, looking for an opening, until Tegan Nox stepped it up with a couple of optimistic pin attempts.
If Tegan Nox hadn’t had to deal with injuries, there’s a good chance she would already have been champion by now (I feel like she and Kai would have had a tag title run at the very least). Her momentum was shattered by the time out and it’s tough to climb back to the top in such a talent heavy division. She made the very most of this opportunity, and had the better of Shirai for much of the match. She got a significant break when she rolled out of the way of Shirai’s double knees into the steps and Shirai’s knees hit them hard.
Nox had a couple of legitimate near falls, from a diving crossbody and from a chokeslam, but Shirai kicked out. A suplex from Shirai smacked Nox’ head into the bottom rope but Nox kicked out even after the tiger feint kick and missile dropkick. Tegan Nox’ final chance came from a Molly Go Round, but Shirai smacked her in the face when she was coming in for the Shiniest Wizard and pinned her off a moonsault.
Io Shirai was celebrating on the stage when Dakota Kai kicked her in the side of the head and laid her out.
A look back at some of the brand’s best matches this week on NXT UK. Kay Lee Ray introduced the first Women’s Number One Contender Battle Royal, which she won. Jinny had a promo segment. She’s planning to head for the title when NXT UK returns.
Bayley & Sasha Banks def. Nikki Cross & Asuka
Lacey Evans def. Naomi
There was a new style opening to SmackDown, with some of the superstars talking about what they would be doing on the show. I quite liked it.
Alexa Bliss, with Nikki Cross, hosted A Moment of Bliss. Bliss talked about the anniversary of the women’s evolution and made some predictions. She predicted the LA Lakers to win the MBA Championship, Matt Riddle to win the Intercontinental Championship (he didn’t), that Braun Strowman will beat Bray Wyatt on Sunday, and that her mystery guest will tear the roof off the place on Sunday.
Cross thought the description of the guest – unconventional – meant it was her and went off on a proper rant about how she is going to beat Bayley on Sunday. Bliss eventually got a word in edgewise and asked Cross if she’d had too much coffee, then told her she wasn’t the mystery guest.
Sasha Banks & Bayley arrived before Bliss could announce who the guest was. They were mean to Cross and self-aggrandising as usual. Bayley predicted that they were both going to win their matches at Extreme Rules and hold all the main roster women’s gold.
Alexa Bliss’ actual guest was Asuka. Banks and Bayley attacked Bliss and Cross while Asuka was dancing on the stage and she ran down to help them. As soon as Asuka arrived Bliss stepped out of the fight and called for a referee.
Asuka & Nikki Cross vs Sasha Banks & Bayley
It was an interesting match. For all their bluster about being unstoppable and unbeatable, Banks and Bayley reach for underhand tactics and unsportsmanlike behaviour at every opportunity. They did everything they could to keep Cross trapped in their corner, and keep Asuka out of the ring, and Cross still got a pin attempt on Bayley with a rollup.
Asuka was on top of her game when she came in. She took a page from Nikki Cross’ book and trapped Banks in the ring skirt, then she shared the fun by tagging Cross in while Banks was still trapped. Cross trapped Bayley in the ring skirt when she was done with Banks then delivered a crossbody to Banks from the apron. Cross and Asuka danced into the break on the announce desk.
After the break it was Sasha Banks in control against Asuka, but it was Cross who took the worst of the punishment again. Her resilience frustrated Banks who ended up screaming at her inability to pin her. Cross turned it around again with a tornado DDT to Bayley on the outside. Banks and Asuka took each other out at ringside and Cross went for another tornado DDT to finish Bayley. Bayley countered and folded Cross up, but she had to put her feet on the ropes to make the pin stick.
Lacey Evans vs Naomi
This match was a result of the shenanigans last week after the cringe-worthy karaoke competition. Lacey Evans is apparently a very bad loser. It was short and should have been a clear and easy victory for Naomi. Instead, Lacey Evans tied Naomi to the middle rope by her hair. As soon as she freed herself, Naomi took a Woman’s Right and got pinned.
Some time after the match #NaomiDeservesBetter started trending. She does. I know she’s taken some time off for personal reasons, but that shouldn’t have affected her standing as much as it appears to have done. It’s way past time she found herself in a storyline that puts her in serious contention for another title.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton asked Banks and Bayley if their momentum will continue on Sunday. Bayley said yes and launched into a description of the meaning of momentum, then said that Banks winning is fate. Sasha Banks said it’s their destiny.
Cameras cut to Nikki Cross being upset with herself for losing again to Alexa Bliss. She’s annoyed that the friends and family she left in Scotland are watching her lose. Her confidence is shaken and she’s worried about blowing her chance on Sunday. Bliss tried to reassure her, but she wasn’t convinced.
Cross heard Bayley laughing and ran at her, knocking her to the floor and pounding on her. Banks tried to pull Cross off Bayley, but Bliss had to come and drag her away.
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.