Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. PPVs seem to come around so quickly. Money in the Bank kicked off the action this week, complete with fans in attendance.
Money in the Bank
Nikki A.S.H. def. Liv Morgan, Natalya, Tamina, Asuka, Naomi, Zelina Vega, and Alexa Bliss
Charlotte Flair def. Rhea Ripley
Sonya Deville joined the Kickoff panel to discuss the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match and the RAW Women’s Championship match. Her own interference in a MITB match, when she tried to help Mandy Rose win the briefcase that eventually went to Bayley, was used as an example of ‘Anything can happen’.
Liv Morgan joined via video link to talk about her feelings going into it. She was clearly emotional, and her makeup was applied to look like it was running down her face. She loves what she does and the support of the WWE Universe means the world to her. She’s ready to do whatever it takes. There’s no other option for her other than to win.
Deville had some nice things to say about Rhea Ripley, saying she was really nice but Flair has pushed her hard enough to see the other side of her, The Nightmare, and it’s going to be scary. The Hall of Fame contingent of the panel, Jerry Lawler, Booker T, and JBL, all predicted a Charlotte Flair win.
Becky Lynch tweeted a tease about hoping no one gets taken out of the ladder match. She’s looking return ready, but who knows when it will actually happen.
Alexa Bliss vs Liv Morgan vs Nikki A.S.H. vs Natalya vs Tamina vs Zelina Vega vs Naomi vs Asuka – Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Alexa Bliss, the first one out for the match, won this in a previous incarnation and cashed in the same night. Disappointingly, the crowd weren’t wild for Nikki A.S.H. but it’s a new character so it might take time. She’s very endearing. I’m backing her to make it work. Natalya, Tamina, Zelina Vega, and Liv Morgan got lukewarm reactions as well, with Vega possibly just winning that one. Naomi got a huge pop from the live crowd. WWE need to put a belt on her. Asuka, last year’s winner, got the biggest pop of all. Bliss stood on the middle turnbuckle throughout the entrances, and everyone gave her a wide berth. It’s interesting to see proper crowd reactions again after so long.
Bliss tried to summon the briefcase early on but got taken out by Asuka. Liv Morgan tried to climb a closed ladder held by Tamina, which didn’t end well for her. Asuka trapped Tamina under an open ladder and slammed it down on her throat a few times, but tried to climb it when Tamina was still under it and was surprised when she started tipping it. Liv Morgan got involved and stopped that. Bliss crawled up a ladder towards a trapped Liv Morgan, but Natalya pulled her away.
Alexa Bliss met Vega at the top of the ladder and hypnotised her into climbing back down with her. Before Bliss could dart back up, Natalya grabbed her and bounced her off the ropes and ladder before she powerbombed her.
Naomi powerbombed Liv Morgan onto Zelina Vega while Vega was laid on the ladder Morgan had just shoved her face into. She also took out Natalya and Tamina at once, slammed Nikki A.S.H. onto a ladder and gave her a leg drop. Natalya pulled her down and threw her out of the ring.
Vega jumped on Natalya’s back while she was climbing the ladder, so Natalya climbed with Zelina Vega on her back choking her out. Vega almost got the contract when Natalya began to fade out, but Morgan saved the match.
Nikki A.S.H. flew from the top of a ladder outside the ring back into the ring to take everyone out, except Bliss. She was dragged off the ladder and took Bliss’ modified Sister Abigail before she could capitalise, but Natalya and Tamina stopped Bliss climbing the ladder and assaulted her with another ladder at ringside. When they buried her under a couple of ladders, everyone else joined in and piled ladders onto her. Bliss wasn’t seen again.
Tamina pulled Morgan off the central ladder. Natalya set another ladder up next to it and Morgan pulled her off that one. Asuka and Vega set up a third ladder on the other side and everyone climbed. Nikki A.S.H. was the last one to climb. She climbed over Liv Morgan while she was fighting Naomi and unhooked the briefcase while Natalya was busy fighting Vega and Asuka was focused on Tamina. No one noticed her until it was too late.
Natalya, Tamina, Morgan, Vega, Naomi, and Asuka just watched her celebrate, still at the top of their ladders. Nikki had a cry at the top of a ladder on the stage and I don’t blame her. I just don’t want her to be the first failed cash-in.
Rhea Ripley (C) vs Charlotte Flair – RAW Women’s Championship match
The crowds chanted for Becky Lynch. WWE had to cut the feed for a moment as Charlotte Flair stuck her middle finger up at them. They conveniently removed that from the replays, showing only Ripley’s reaction. It pissed Flair off, but it wasn’t like she was in a great mood to start with.
These two don’t like each other. They’ve fought so many times recently, with the animosity growing each time, that the only thing left for them to do was hurt each other. Flair’s annoyance with the crowd amused Ripley, but the fun stopped when she tried to take Flair out with a senton off the apron and landed flat on her back. Flair dropkicked her into the barricade and took control of the match. Ripley got a second chance on the move a little later and landed it perfectly.
The crowd chanting for Becky Lynch went from mildly amusing to downright disrespectful after a while, but they did periodically give the match they were watching some attention. As they should because it was great. Brutal, but great.
Ripley ended up in a Boston crab after Flair caught her out of a dropkick. She turned that into a near fall and escaped the figure four attempt that followed. She pulled Flair down awkwardly from the top turnbuckle and put her on her shoulders but couldn’t make anything of it. Manhandling Flair up into a vertical suplex was impressive, but only got her two.
Flair sent Ripley for the weirdest fall over the top rope, then big booted her off the apron and moonsaulted to the outside. Ripley seemed to be reeling when Flair rolled her back into the ring, but she was playing it up and quickly got Flair into a submission after dodging Natural Selection. That didn’t work, and Flair countered the Riptide into a DDT. She started crying when Ripley kicked out and she got caught with her feet on the ropes on her next attempt.
She nearly lost it at that point and Ripley caught her with a kick in the head. When Ripley kicked out after a Natural Selection from the top Flair clearly mouthed ‘Holy Shit’ and the crowd finally started chanting ‘This is Awesome’.
Ripley flipped Flair away from her causing Flair to catch her head on the turnbuckle and roll out of the ring to regroup. When Ripley leaned out of the ring to pull her back in Flair grabbed Ripley’s head and bashed it into the post, then trapped Ripley’s leg between the ring and the steps and repeatedly kicked them while Ripley screamed.
Charlotte Flair scrambled back into the ring to lock on a figure four. She bridged into the Figure Eight and after resisting for as long as she could, with nowhere to go, Rhea Ripley tapped out.
That won’t be Ripley’s last title run and there’s nothing diminishing about losing that match. She fell just short of the 100-day milestone, but a 97-day title reign isn’t bad.
Natalya and Tamina def. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax
Rhea Ripley def. Charlotte Flair (DQ)
Nikki A.S.H. def. Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair held a Championship Coronation for herself. She said she’s very proud and it feels good to be standing there as RAW Women’s Champion again. The last year and a half hasn’t been kind to anyone, but from adversity comes opportunity and she’s the opportunity that everyone’s been begging for.
Rhea Ripley is an opportunist. The difference between an opportunist and the opportunity is that she doesn’t need to take a page out of anyone’s book. She created the book. Ripley can do as many of her moves as she likes but she will never measure up to the original. We apparently all know that.
The crowd chanted for Becky Lynch again, so Flair told them that Becky is home breastfeeding while she is dominating the entire women’s division. She was trying to tell everyone how happy people were for her, and she wanted to remind everyone of her accolades. So here they are:
1 x Diva’s Champion (the final holder)
5 x SmackDown Women’s Champion
5 x RAW Women’s Champion
Apparently, her NXT title run last year doesn’t count, so she’s an 11-time champion.
She said she beat Ripley last night and she could beat her any night of the week. And if she had the opportunity she would beat Rhea Ripley…
At that point, Rhea Ripley came out to hear the rest of that sentence in person. She asked Flair, if she thinks she can beat her any night of the week then why not tonight.
Flair said Ripley was in no condition to challenge her and talked about what she did to her knee.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville came to the stage and, after congratulating Flair, told her she’d said she could beat Ripley any night of the week. So as Ripley said she’s ready for the challenge, they made it the main event.
Charlotte Flair kicked her shoe into Ripley’s face and kicked her knee out from under her, then walked away.
Natalya & Tamina vs Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler – Championship Contender’s Match
Another beat the champs to face the champs match, which I think WWE are really overusing at the moment. It’s lazy booking which means a ton of talent is sat in catering unused and no hierarchy is being built within the divisions.
The match was fine, if a little short, but the important bit came at the end. Reginald was, once again, instrumental in the finish. He got on the apron to distract Tamina so Baszler didn’t get Superfly Splashed. Natalya pulled him down so Baszler kicked her away from him. By the time Baszler turned around, Tamina was waiting with the superkick winner.
After the match, Baszler yelled at Jax that they used to be unstoppable before Reginald. Jax hugged him tight then said, ‘She’s right’ and headbutted him to the mat. They walked out and left him alone in the ring.
It wasn’t all bad for Reginald, he won the 24/7 Championship about a minute later.
Alexa Bliss had Lilly as her special guest on Alexa’s Playground. She’s out of time out. Eva Marie and Doudrop crashed the segment and Eva Marie said some mean things about Lilly. Bliss was happy enough to see Doudrop but made her feelings about Eva Marie quite clear. She told her not to be mean about Lilly because she didn’t want to have to put Lilly back in time out again so soon. Instead, she suggested they put Doudrop in time out, just for a little while, so Eva Marie can get in the ring with her and show the world what she can do on her own.
After more bluster from Eva Marie about being very powerful but not wanting to waste any more of her time on them, she tried to storm out. She immediately fell over her feet and slunk off as Bliss laughed.
Charlotte Flair (C) vs Rhea Ripley – RAW Women’s Championship match
I don’t think there’s anything left to say about Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair because I don’t think there’s anything left for them to do in the course of a normal match. It was good. As you’d expect it to be. It also wasn’t the longest match because they’d had a PPV match 24 hours earlier.
Ripley got tipped out of the ring then kicked down from the apron with a kick to her injured leg. Flair followed that up with a chop block. Ripley was in the ropes trying to get some respite going into the final break and medics checked on her during the ads.
Flair was working that leg hard when we came back, but Ripley fought back, flipping her into the corner and suplexing her. On one leg, Ripley kept fighting. The northern lights suplex might have been more effective with both legs. It was only worth two with one.
Ripley got her knees up for Flair’s moonsault and locked Flair in a figure four. Flair flipped her over and made Ripley get to the ropes. Ripley delivered a Riptide. Flair got her foot on the ropes. While Ripley was still contemplating her next move, Flair decided to pick up her ball and go home. She grabbed the title and walked up the ramp. When Rhea Ripley followed, she hit her with the title belt and got disqualified.
Ripley didn’t take it well and attacked Flair while she was celebrating. Nikki A.S.H. music hit after Ripley had run Flair into the post, just as she delivered a ringside Riptide. Ever helpful Ripley even rolled Flair back into the ring for her and watched laughing from the ramp as she handed over the briefcase.
Charlotte Flair vs Nikki A.S.H.
One crossbody on the semi-conscious Flair was all it took for the win Nikki A.S.H. might be Almost a SuperHero, but she’s completely RAW Women’s Champion.
The show closed out with Nikki A.S.H. celebrating in the crowd with the belt held aloft.
I’m thrilled she cashed in successfully, she deserves it. I’m a little concerned it happened so fast. It didn’t seem like the live crowd were completely on board with the character, so we’ll see how it pans out.
Franky Monet def. Jacy Jayne
Raquel Gonzalez def. Xia Li
I’m not sure if Xia Li went too far in her pre-match video promo for her title match. She said the normal stuff about it being the most important match of her career, but she also said she was going to do to Raquel Gonzalez what she did to Mercedes Martinez. Considering Martinez was taken to hospital after Li legit knocked her out, that’s a bit uncomfortable.
Franky Monet, with Jessi Kamea, vs Jacy Jayne
Jessi Kamea came to the ring with Monet. Robert Stone arrived after the match was underway, obviously uninvited and still putting his jacket on. I wish they’d hurry up with the storyline building for Monet, or give her an interim in-ring storyline while they’re building whatever they’ve got planned. I just want to see her fight members of the regular roster instead of these placeholder matches.
In fairness, this one wasn’t bad. Jacy Jayne wasn’t there to just let Monet do her thing. No doubt, she wants to become one of those regular roster members. Mandy Rose appeared midway through the match and laid on the announce desk to watch. She was impressed enough with Jayne to give her a nod at one point.
Inevitably, Monet’s Road to Valhalla, or Glam Slam or whatever this incarnation of it is called (Jon Moxley used to call it a Hook and Ladder many moons ago), finished it.
Raquel Gonzalez told McKenzie Mitchell she doesn’t fear Xia Li, or her bodyguard Boa, or Mei Ying. Dakota Kai is apparently still annoyed that Li stole her post-victory spotlight by choosing the middle of her celebrations after beating Ember Moon to make the challenge to Gonzalez.
The Way is falling apart. Candice LeRae complained about everything and everyone. Indi Hartwell is still obsessed with Dexter Lumis and LeRae and Gargano are still obsessed with preventing the relationship. Gargano missed a no-look high five. And no one noticed when Austin Theory left.
Raquel Gonzalez (C) vs Xia Li – NXT Women’s Championship match
Li was going to have to be at her fastest and most brutal to compensate for giving up a lot of height and power. Li’s little though, so she’s going to have to get used to fighting bigger and more powerful women.
She made a good start, moving around and bounding back up when she got knocked down, and connecting with a couple of those vicious looking kicks. Gonzalez swatted her away and threw her around and even put her on her shoulder at ringside and darted her into the post.
Li gave herself a chance on Gonzalez’ next move, dodging her kick against the post and smashing her knee into the post repeatedly, then shoving her into the steps as we went for a break.
Xia Li was still in control when we came back, and still working that knee. She had a go at a pin, but it was much too soon for that, and the submission attempt didn’t produce results either.
Gonzalez started her comeback by throwing Li over her head, knocking her down a couple of times then dropping her, but Li had too much left for her to be able to set up the powerbomb. Li’s final and brief flurry of offence ended badly. She got a near fall from a kick to Gonzalez’ that worried Dakota Kai, but that was her final hurrah.
After a little powerbomb to keep her in place, Gonzalez ascended to the top and dropped onto Li’s ribcage and abdomen. Li barely managed to kick out and the ref forced Gonzalez to back off. It took a couple of attempts to back her off, and Gonzalez shouted that this was what Li wanted, but she stood in the corner while medics checked on Li. The match was allowed to restart, after a fashion. The ref talked to both and Li was permitted to take a Chingona Bomb and get pinned.
It was later reported that Xia Li was ok backstage and not injured.
Interestingly, Indi Hartwell and Aliyah had one of the dark matches before SmackDown this week.
Nina Samuels def. Laura Di Matteo
Nina Samuels vs Laura Di Matteo
Nothing says ‘probably going to lose this match’ like already being in the ring when the video promo finishes. Even during Samuels’ entrance commentary weren’t talking about this match, they were talking about her unfinished business with Amale and her hopefully finished business with Xia Brookside.
Commentary were biased enough that Di Matteo could have been anyone for most of the match. Samuels was all they talked about. In fairness, she was running the match and Di Matteo was struggling to just stay in it.
Laura Di Matteo did get her comeback, along with a sprinkling of mostly rollup based pin attempts, but the brief moment of hope was snuffed out by Samuels’ new finisher.
Blair Davenport crashed Xia Brookside’s promo to tell her that everyone is talking about Blair Davenport and no one is talking about Xia Brookside. She suggested that people only know who Brookside is because of her dad’s last name. For those of us who remember how Davenport used to introduce herself at the beginning of her career, that’s extra funny.
Jinny and Joseph Connors were Noam Dar’s guests on SPRNVA Sessions. Dar jokingly attempted to get her number, then tried to connect with her over fashion, but she shot him down. He moved on to insulting her by asking if she and Connors were together. He decided from their answer that Jinny was single, suggested cocktails, and tried to wrap the show up.
Jinny had other ideas. She had a message for Aoife Valkyrie. She’s heard what Valkyrie has said about her while watching from a safe distance. What she’s said from afar, she’d never say to her face because she’s a scared, fragile, little girl. Valkyrie would never step toe to toe with the queen of NXT UK because she knows she’ll be the one to break her. She’ll be the one to destroy her.
As she left, taking Connors with her, Jinny turned down Dar’s final invitation. She doesn’t drink cocktails, only champagne.
Connors had a match immediately after. Jinny accompanied him but played no part in the match. Aoife Valkyrie appeared at the side of the ramp at the end of the match and hopped the barricade to meet Jinny. Valkyrie plucked a feather from her outfit and handed it to Jinny while they stared each other down. As Valkyrie posed to her music, Jinny looked at her and let the feather fall to the floor.
Bianca Belair def. Carmella
Toni Storm def. Zelina Vega
SmackDown was a dual location show this week. The main set was in Cleaveland, but some of the action came from the Rolling Loud festival in Miami. Bianca Belair and Carmella’s rematch was one of those matches. Huge crowd, although the ring was on a stage instead of central. Honestly, it was weird. The set-up wasn’t right for wrestling. There was a big screen behind the ring, but it appeared to just be showing the SmackDown logo the whole time. The crowd couldn’t see what was going on in the ring, just two tiny figures on a faraway stage, and most of them didn’t care.
Bianca Belair (C) vs Carmella – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
Carmella demanded the rematch because Belair used her braid in the win last week and because she only had six days to prepare for the match. Bianca Belair said fine because that’s the kind of champion she is. Belair’s rule is, don’t touch her hair she won’t use it, but if they use it first then all bets are off.
It was a better match than the crowd gave it credit for. I hope there was more noise live than came across on tv. The SmackDown crowd who paid to watch wrestling would have loved it, and Carmella and Belair would have had a little more freedom.
Anyway, it was something new WWE tried and that’s always good. Bianca Belair retained with a K.O.D. and got a fireworks display celebration.
Baron Corbin is down on his luck. I’m not sure what he did to deserve it, or if it was an accidental result of trying to fix the tank, but Shotzi and Nox shot him in the stomach with the plastic missile. He’d just borrowed money from Kevin Owens. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode stole it while he was writhing on the floor.
Toni Storm vs Zelina Vega
Back at the arena, Toni Storm made her SmackDown debut against the recently returned Vega. They made the most of the short match, but it was a short match and there’s no need for it. There’s also no need for these headbutts that are sneaking in. Rhea Ripley like them, and Toni Storm’s to Vega put them both on the mat for a minute.
Something went wrong with the feed and after the blip, Vega was holding Storm’s belt. That was basically the end of the match barring Storm’s new Storm One finisher. Commentary called it as an evolution of the Storm Zero, but it’s clearly not.
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.