Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Everything is building towards SummerSlam weekend now, and things are starting to move along.
Natalya & Tamina def. Eva Marie & Doudrop
Nikki A.S.H. def. Charlotte Flair
Brand-new RAW Women’s Champion Nikki A.S.H. opened this week’s show. After celebrating with the crowd her first words were, ‘I’ve always wanted to say this, Welcome to Monday Night RAW’. She had to stop partway through her next bit for the crowd’s ‘You Deserve It’ chant, but she said it feels like a dream but the dream is real. Before, when she reached for the stars she didn’t have the confidence. She was too afraid to fail. Now she realises if she fails, she fails. It’s not a big deal. She’s still her.
When she puts on her superhero outfit it gives her confidence. It reminds her, and she wants it to remind all of us, that no matter what, if you believe in yourself, you can overcome all the odds. It worked for her, and it can work for everyone. We can all almost be superheroes.
Charlotte Flair arrived then. It takes her almost Roman Reigns amounts of time to actually walk to the ring. She said Nikki was telling a nice fairytale, but it doesn’t have a happy ending because Nikki A.S.H. as RAW Women’s Champion is a disgrace. She mocked Nikki’s outfit and said no one would believe she’s supposed to be a champion. Maybe the WWE Universe believes it, but in her world, you have to earn it to be a champion – Charlotte Flair (the character) might need to have a little look at what brought Nikki to the party in the first place – but Flair is there to add star power and perspective to the ring.
Flair stood with her arms outstretched to take the ‘You Suck’ chants, and laughed at the boos she got for baiting the audience. She wanted to go through what really happened last week. After she proved her superiority over Rhea Ripley and retained her title (or hit Ripley with the belt for trying to stop her walking out), Ripley acted out like a teenager who’d had her phone taken away (or a woman who’d just been hit with a title belt and lost the opportunity to get the title back). That was the only reason A.S.H.’s cash-in was successful.
It’s beneath her to complain, but she wasn’t even on her feet when the ref started the match. Nikki stole her title. Nikki A.S.H. held the title up in response, to cheers from the audience. Flair wants her rematch at SummerSlam.
All this injustice isn’t Nikki’s fault, it’s the WWE Universe’s fault. We all cheered all the injustices inflicted on her. We’re all jealous and trying to bring her down to our level.
Rhea Ripley shut that nonsense up. She got a huge ovation from the crowd and a Rhea chant for mocking Flair for only holding the title for a day. Flair’s an eleven-time champion and last week she got herself intentionally disqualified because she knew Ripley was going to win. So it should be her going into the rematch to beat Nikki at SummerSlam.
Nikki A.S.H. took exception to Ripley saying beat her instead of face her and asked, who said anyone was going to beat her at SummerSlam. When Flair and Ripley represented the division wonderfully. But, like her butterfly represents, the women’s division is ready for a metamorphosis, and she will be leading that change as RAW Women’s Champion.
Flair said she’d had enough of the superhero crap. At SummerSlam, she’s going to be champion. Ripley said no, the title belongs around her waist.
Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville came out and made the RAW Women’s Championship match at SummerSlam a triple-threat. Flair wasn’t happy and demanded a match against A.S.H. tonight. Nikki accepted and Adam Pearce made it official.
Charlotte Flair attacked Rhea Ripley and threw her out of the ring. She rushed A.S.H. and got dropkicked out of the ring.
Eva Marie gave Doudrop a pep-talk about not thinking about what happened in Alexa’s Playground last week. The Eva-lution will not be stopped, as long as she keeps up her side of things. Doudrop nodded and gave a tight-lipped smile with a carefully neutral expression. The fact Eva Marie didn’t run for the hills tells me she’s never encountered any really angry Scottish women before. Doudrop might be happy to take it, but Piper Niven is going to turn Eva Marie into a smear on the mat one day (Please. If that’s not the payoff then I don’t understand any of it).
Natalya & Tamina Vs Eva Marie & Doudrop
Eva Marie got things underway, giving Natalya an unconvincing forearm to the face then running for the ropes and tagging out. Doudrop has learned something from her “mentor”. She now flicks her hair after she does a move.
Natalya’s leg got caught under Doudrop as she rolled her and something was immediately and obviously wrong. Natalya didn’t put any weight on her right leg, quickly tagged out, and took no further part.
Tamina couldn’t get Doudrop up for a Samoan drop. Eva Marie insisted on tagging in after Doudrop landed a crossbody, but it took too long and Tamina kicked out. Before Eva Marie could get back to her corner, a video started on the big screen. It was an Eva Marie style vignette for the Lilly-lution.
Eva Marie was outraged, but not for long. She turned back to the match and Tamina superkicked her in the face and pinned her.
Worryingly, Natalya was helped from the arena post-match by a medic and Tamina, still putting no weight on her leg.
Later in the week, Natalya shared this tweet thanking people for their concern, with a picture showing what happened. She said there are beatings you can plan for and ones you can’t, but she’s willing to give up whatever muscles, bones, and tendons she needs to, to do her job. On Friday, she confirmed she’ll be out for surgery.
Nikki A.S.H. told Sarah Schreiber she’s not afraid to fail and she believes in herself win or lose and no one can take that away from her. She wants the little boys and girls of the WWE Universe to know that the hardest of challenges are worth fighting for. She’s going to take her super-extraordinary positivity into the main event. And whatever happens, she’ll be defending her title at SummerSlam.
Rhea Ripley appeared and told her she can’t help but respect the unconditional belief Nikki has in herself. At SummerSlam, she believes she’ll beat her and get the title back, but tonight, she hopes Nikki gives Charlotte Flair hell.
I adore Nikki A.S.H., she’s the purest sunshine human, but her promo delivery gives me anxiety. I’m always a little scared for her that she’s about to forget her words on live tv.
Sarah Schreiber told Charlotte Flair it seemed like she’d taken Nikki A.S.H.’s success personally. Flair agreed and said the only reason A.S.H. was able to beat her is because Rhea Ripley brutally assaulted her. And the only way she managed to dropkick her out of the ring earlier was because her focus was on Ripley. Now she has to a delusion WWE Universe and Nikki, thinking she can be champion. She’s sick of the division being run down by almost superstars. She built the title as five-time RAW Women’s Champion. There wouldn’t even be a women’s championship without her.
Nikki A.S.H. vs Charlotte Flair – Championship Contender’s Match
That’s how the match was billed, which is very odd considering the SummerSlam triple-threat had already been confirmed.
Flair took pleasure in derisory actions and comments early on, trying to pull Nikki’s mask off and throwing her out of the ring. She jeered at the crowd to chant for Nikki while she was manhandling her around the ring.
It looked like Flair was just going to have the match her way. There was the briefest of resurgences from A.S.H., in the form of a hurricanrana and a dropkick through the ropes to knock Flair over on the floor. But that led only to Nikki spending the final break of the show recovering from being thrown over the announce desk.
When we returned, Flair was stretching Nikki’s arms backwards around the post. She did back into it. A crossbody from the apron to the outside fired her up and bouncing Flair’s leg off the ropes when she got hung up got her a near fall. A bulldog got her another two… and a series of chops from Flair.
A DDT from the second rope put Flair down, but she was ready for Nikki’s crossbody from the top. She rolled through and pinned the RAW Women’s Champion.
After the match, Kevin Patrick entered the ring and congratulated her on the victory. She asked him why he was congratulating her. What did she expect? She turned her attention to Nikki and told her no one was in her league.
Nikki A.S.H. took the mic and said she lost, but she showed herself she almost could have won (that was really tortured). She has the confidence she can beat her, so she wants a rematch next week.
Flair accepted, telling her she can beat her any week. Then she punched her in the face and beat her up. She even took her to ringside and beat her in front of a young fan holding a Nikki A.S.H. sign. To close the show she dragged her back into the ring and put her down with a bog boot so she could pose with her at her feet.
Charlotte Flair did more in this week’s RAW to get Nikki A.S.H.’s character over than anyone else would have been able to achieve in a month.
Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro def. Franky Monet & Jessi Kamea
McKenzie Mitchell asked Franky Monet what her association was with the Robert Stone Brand. Monet said there are lots of possibilities. She could merge with them and make them more powerful than ever. She could rebuild them from the ground up. Maybe she and Kamea could be partners and go after the women’s tag championships.
Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro took that personally. It’s not that easy to just walk in and go for the titles. They told Monet and Kamea to get to the back of the line.
After they left, Monet declared them super-annoying.
Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai delivered an address to the NXT Universe. Gonzalez said that last week she crushed one of the most feared superstars in the women’s division. She has dominated every single person who has stepped up to the plate. Who’s next? All she can say is, keep ‘em coming.
Dakota Kai said eighteen months ago Gonzalez debuted and she’s been unstoppable ever since. she tells people her best friend is the most dominant woman in NXT history. More dominant than Charlotte Flair, Asuka, and Shayana Baszler. She’s defeated former champions like Rhea Ripley and everyone else who has stepped in her path. The list will continue to grow. The NXT women’s division is one of the greatest because of one woman.
NXT TakeOver is four weeks away so she’s asking, who is woman enough to challenge Raquel? Which woman knows in their soul they have what it takes to face her? There’s no one. They’ve been through so much together and while she has Gonzalez’ back, she will always be champion.
Kai raised Gonzalez hand then, while she was showing off the title belt in the corner, she kicked her in the face. Gonzalez fell to the mat and Dakota Kai crouch close holding the belt and said, ‘I’m woman enough’.
Later in the show, she was asked to explain her actions. She grinned in response and ran for her car.
Zoey Stark tried to convince Io Shirai she didn’t have to train alone. Now they’re tag champs they should train together, create a bond, a relationship. Shirai asked, like friends? Stark said yes. She said no thanks. Stark changed tactics and said, not friends, a partnership. They should hang out and get on the same page. Shirai said she doesn’t like her. Stark said, yet. She doesn’t like her yet. Finally, Shirai agreed, but she didn’t look happy about it.
Mandy Rose was shown talking to Cora Jade and Jacy Jayne. She shooed the cameras away when she spotted them.
Franky Monet & Jessi Kamea, vs Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro
Robert Stone got too close to Monet on her entrance, twice. She had to push him out of the spotlight on the stage, then he stepped on her jacket.
The women’s tag division in NXT is probably the most exciting part of the women’s division at the moment. Carter and Catanzaro have to be champions eventually. And Franky Monet could be the making of Jessi Kamea. I sense big plans for her.
Kamea got knocked off the apron in this one, which triggered Robert Stone to interfere. He threw his purse at Monet and told her to use it to finish Kayden Carter off. Sadly, for his chances of sticking around, Carter kicked Monet in the head while she was yelling at him. She was pinned with a Carter and Catanzaro double team.
Post-match, she was rightfully furious with him. His days of being tolerated as a hanger-on are numbered.
The Way might also be entering their final days. Austin Theory ran away and Indi Hartwell isn’t talking to Candice LeRae because she keeps getting in the way of her and Dexter Lumis. While she was talking to LeRae and Gargano, she received a picture from Lumis, showing him as part of The Way. Gargano and LeRae said he will never be a part of the family. Hartwell suggested sorting it out in the ring. Lumis versus Gargano. If Lumis wins, they have to give him a chance. If Gargano wins, Hartwell must let him go.
Jinny def. Aoife Valkyrie
Stevie Turner def. Aleah James
NXT UK Meiko Satomura spoke to the women’s locker room and turned the whole place into an argument with a few well-placed words asking who her next challenger will be. She smiled at the descent into chaos.
Aoife Valkyrie vs Jinny, with Joseph Connors
Joseph Connors caused a distraction and Valkyrie fell for it. She went over to him and left her back open to Jinny. It took Valkyrie a minute to get back into the match and as soon as she did, Jinny distracted the ref while he wobbled the rope Valkyrie was on and caused an awkward slip. He had the cheek to trash-talk her when she was struggling afterwards as well.
Jinny reversed a submission, using a handful of hair to do it. Valkyrie didn’t tap and reversed it again, but Jinny got to the ropes. Valkyrie used all the count though and answered Jinny’s slap with a flurry of blows.
Connors failed again with one distraction, but tired again and Valkyrie took a few moments to punch him off the apron. That was her final mistake. Jinny hit her from behind and finished it with a Pele kick.
So, what we learned from that is the once formidable Jinny can’t win a match on her own anymore. She’s never been averse to a shortcut if it served her, but there is a difference between taking shortcuts and needing to be rescued.
Aleah James vs Stevie Turner
This one was fun, but the matches are too short. Aleah James is very quick and bendy. Commentary mentioned gymnastics, which makes sense. It got her out of several difficult spots in the match and got her a couple of near falls, but it wasn’t quite enough. Stevie Turner won it with a rope-assisted flatliner.
Blair Davenport will be in action next week.
Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks def. Carmella & Zelina Vega
Bianca Belair had an in-ring interview with Kayla Braxton to celebrate 110 days as SmackDown Women’s Champion and to ask her how she thought the next 100 days would play out. She’s loving the journey she’s been on, and she has no idea how she’s going to top it.
Carmella came out and congratulate her and to tell her that to cement her legacy she should give her another title match. She was champion for 130 days. She deserves it because of a hundred excuses about the lighting at Rolling Loud and…
Zelina Vega came out and told Carmella to slow her roll because she’s too pretty to be a third-time loser. To Belair, she said that the WWE Universe wants to see her challenge a rising star like her. She is the moment, and no one is more deserving than her.
She asked Belair to accept her challenge. The second she did, Carmella attacked her from behind and they started beating on her.
Sasha Banks ran to the ring, threw Vega and Carmella out, then pulled Belair to her feet and hugged her. They bonded over making history together, and they celebrated Banks’ return by dancing in the ring to her theme together.
Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce later made the main event a tag match, Carmella and Vega versus Banks and Belair.
Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks vs Carmella & Zelina Vega
Banks and Belair worked together well from the off. Pat McAfee sowed the seeds of betrayal, reminding us it wouldn’t be Banks’ first time, but I don’t think any of us actually think Banks is back for anything other than the title. They just decided to give us the feelgood moment first.
Belair rescued Banks from a Carmella and Zelina Vega double team and they tandem dropkicked them out of the ring. To send us into a break, Belair pressed Banks over her head at ringside and threw her at Vega and Carmella.
Zelina Vega had a decent shot at submitting Belair, but the champion proved too powerful. Sasha Banks had to get the finish. She was about to get the triumphant return with a frogsplash on Vega, but Carmella kicked her in the head and tagged in. Belair saved the match after Carmella planted Banks into the canvas. She and Zelina Vega rolled to the outside, leaving Sasha Banks to bring it home with a backstabber and Bank Statement on Carmella.
There was more dancing after the match, followed by a backstabber from Banks to Belair and a full-scale beatdown culminating in a Bank Statement. Sasha Banks held the title above her head then put the Bank Statement back on. The official was still trying to make her let go when the show faded out.
I wasn’t sure if they’d let the happy last until next week, but apparently not. Bianca Belair versus Sasha Banks, the rematch, makes the most sense for SummerSlam.
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.