Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. It’s been an interesting week. More Nikki Cross, which is always a good thing. A go-home show and a big return for NXT. A title match for NXT UK. And some really very weird things going on for Shayna Baszler on RAW.
Nikki Cross & Asuka def. Rhea Ripley & Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair requested that her loss to Nikki Cross last week be stricken from the record. Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville said no so she demanded a rematch. Before they could decide, Rhea Ripley arrived and said she’s the one who should get a rematch because she at least respects Cross. She took her eye off the clock and should have taken Cross seriously. Pearce and Deville set a tag match, making them team up against Cross and a partner of her choosing.
Sarah Schreiber interviewed Nikki Cross backstage with the biggest smile on her face. Whenever you see Nikki Cross, the people around her are smiling. She’s just joyful to watch. Anyway, the interview was about Cross taking her recent chances. Cross said she thinks this has been inside her all along. She has to remember that it doesn’t matter if you’re not the prettiest or strongest or most experienced. It’s her tenacity and spirit that makes her a winner. The only thing she’ll regret is not taking the chances, so her only choice is to try. Her tag team partner for the night was someone Cross had admired for a long time. Asuka. Asuka joined her at the end of the interview and it looked like they were going to have a lot of fun.
On a side note, Nikki Cross and Asuka’s Last Woman Standing match on NXT was almost exactly four years ago and remains one of my all-time favourite NXT matches.
Before the match, Flair told Ripley to follow her lead because she is the most professional and experienced superstar. She allocated her the job of taking care of Nikki Cross. Ripley said her title makes up for Flair’s experience, so Flair can follow her lead.
Nikki Cross & Asuka vs Rhea Ripley & Charlotte Flair
Nikki Cross and Asuka did have fun during their match. The focus of the match wasn’t really on them, so they might as well have. Flair started by disrespecting Cross, shoving her over and demanding Ripley come in to deal with her, but it was the partnership between Flair and Ripley that formed the story of the match.
There was a steady stream of one-upmanship, and increasingly aggressive tags until Flair delivered a tag that was an undisguised chop. Before we got to that, Ripley shoved Flair away after being hip-attacked off the apron by Asuka and told her to leave her alone. In response, Flair pulled her off the apron and forearmed her in the face.
It was a nice long match, which is something I’ve really appreciated from the last couple of RAWs. Nikki Cross was out there being quietly excellent, despite taking about 80% of the match’s punishment quota. After Flair’s chop/tag, which was designed to make Ripley mad, Cross was held upside down in a massively delayed vertical suplex. Ripley tagged Flair back in by patting her hard on the head. Flair used Cross to kick Ripley off the apron, which may or may not have been an accident. Ripley almost got pinned off a kick in the face from Asuka after a bulldog from Cross. Asuka almost got pinned after some shenanigans from Flair.
Flair had to drag Cross of a cover on Ripley. She threw Cross out of the ring and yelled at Ripley. Cross got herself back in the ring, in the far corner, and watched and Flair and Ripley beat on each other. After Ripley went for Riptide, Flair went underhand, raking Ripley’s eyes and chop-blocking her into position for Natural Selection. Nikki Cross nipped across and pinned Ripley with Flair sat a few inches away.
Cross and Asuka danced on the announce desk to celebrate.
Eva Marie’s Eva-lution arrives on RAW next week. She says we’re going to get a look behind the curtain and she’s going to show us a side of her we haven’t seen before. The vignette shows her wrestling training, so just maybe she’ll be ok. We’ll find out soon.
There was a long video package for the journey Alexa Bliss has been on from being corrupted by The Fiend to now. She also got a little promo for the segment where she promised it was going to be a real scream. She and Lilly are still unhappy that Baszler interrupted their playdate with Reginald and that she called Lilly a ‘Stupid doll’.
Shayna Baszler’s appearance in Alexa’s Playground was the closing segment.
Before she went to the playground, Nia Jax stopped Baszler in the corridor and tried to offer her support. They argued, of course, but Jax did off her help. Baszler rejected it. She called Lilly a stupid doll again.
Alexa Bliss was looking at it as an opportunity to make a new friend. Lilly was less keen. Baszler tipped the rocking horse over on her way in, so I guess that tells us where she stands. Bliss gave her the opportunity to be their friend anyway, all she had to do was apologise to Lilly. Baszler called her delusional and blamed her for Reginald’s accidents and for her and Baszler losing the titles. Bliss thought that was funny, but she listened to Lilly again and told Baszler it would be in her best interests to apologise.
Baszler ripped Lilly from Bliss’ hands and told her she’s sorry she’s just a stupid doll then threw her on the floor. Bliss jumped on Baszler and got rolled out of the ring. Baszler stamped on Lilly while Bliss looked on distraught. The lights and sound effects got weird and Bliss started to smile. Baszler ran of backstage with flames firing off. Backstage, bits of the set started to collapse around her. She ran through the corridors with lights flashing and barricaded herself in a room.
The lights flickered there too and when she looked in the mirror, Lilly appeared in the reflection but wasn’t in the room. Baszler smashed the mirror but Lilly’s reflection was still there. As Bliss promised, Shayna Baszler’s scream was the last thing we heard.
It was a controversial ending. A LOT of people hated it. A few people loved it. And most of the rest of us just shrugged because it’s not like it’s the weirdest thing WWE has ever done. I don’t think it would even get close to the top ten. I did, however, see more people talking about RAW on social media on Tuesday and into Wednesday, than I have for a long time.
Mercedes Martinez def. Amari Miller
Ember Moon def. Dakota Kai (DQ)
Poppy returned to NXT this week to promote her new album. Candice LeRae still isn’t impressed with the attention Poppy gets because she thinks it should all go to her and Indi Hartwell as the tag team champions. Hartwell is still obsessed with Dexter Lumis. She heard he listened to her power ballads and cried, interpreted that to mean he still loves her, and ran off to find him. LeRae seemed confused as to why that keeps happening, claiming Hartwell and Lumis were never even a thing.
Later in the show, LeRae tried calling Poppy out. Poppy said she doesn’t wrestle but she knows someone who does… and Io Shirai returned to give LeRae an ass-kicking before celebrating with Poppy.
Xia Li attacked Mercedes Martinez on the stage as she was making her entrance for a scheduled match. Li beat Martinez up around the ring, then took some of her own medicine when she rolled her into the ring. Martinez kicked her back out and knocked her over the barricade before demanding her match be started. Officials prevented Li coming back.
Mercedes Martinez vs Amari Miller
It wasn’t a match. Miller took a knee to the face and an air raid crash and got pinned.
After the match, Martinez yelled a message to Xia Li into the camera. Li messed with the wrong one.
Dakota Kai, with Raquel Gonzalez, vs Ember Moon
Kai went into this trying to soften Moon up for Gonzalez on Sunday. Moon came in seeking the first stage of her revenge for Kai holding her still to watch while Gonzale injured Shotzi Blackheart.
I think the perception of Kai is that she’s less capable on her own since Gonzalez’ arrival. It’s not true, but that’s what happens when you have a bodyguard who becomes more successful than you.
Moon spotted Gonzalez about to come in to break a pin, and there was a long staredown. The next round of offence on Kai was pointedly aimed at Gonzalez. Going into a break, Kai spun Moon into the ringpost and she fell to the floor.
Moon was back on top of her game by the time we returned. She couldn’t keep control of the match, but she had the best of the chances in the second half of the ring. Kai came close after a series of kicks, but Moon kicked out.
Gonzalez’ attempt at interference backfired, as did Kai’s attempt to capitalise on the distraction. Her kick missed and she ended up outside the ring. Moon’s suicide dive did not miss, but did make her bash herself into the announce desk as well as taking them down.
The match was not destined for a clean finish. When Moon climbed the turnbuckle for the Eclipse, Gonzalez invaded the ring and pushed her to the floor. Moon got up, got back in, and went straight for Gonzalez. She got in the modified Eclipse from the height of Gonzalez lifting her. And she gave her a real Eclipse for good measure. Raquel Gonzalez was still down and out by the time Ember Moon made it to the stage.
Meiko Satomura def. Kay Lee Ray
A Subculture promo video informed us that Dani Luna and Flash Morgan Webster will be representing the group in a mixed tag against Jinny and Joseph Connors next week.
Kay Lee Ray (C) vs Meiko Satomura – NXT UK Women’s Championship match
After two weeks of no women’s division matches, we got a title match. It doesn’t quite make up for it, but what a title match it was.
Judging on the first few minutes of the match, attacking Satomura a few weeks ago and pissing her off, was a bad move. Satomura was after some payback as well as the title. But Kay Lee Ray hasn’t been champion as long as she has by accident (I mean, there were several months of no running in there, but still), and she soon evened things up.
Having already taken each other to the limit once before, this one started brutal and escalated fast. Ray delivered a Death Valley Bomb, one of Satomura’s moveset, so Satomura gave Ray a Gory Bomb. Commentary declared, ‘This is it’ and ‘It must be over’ more times than I care to count. There were DDTs and superkicks. Another Gory Bomb or two and a senton from the top. Neither of them was prepared to stay down.
Kay Lee Ray tried to walk out with the title, then tried to hit Satomura with it. Meiko Satomura ducked, and Ray took a Death Valley Bomb on the outside. In turn, Satomura took a Gory Bomb into the apron and that wasn’t even close to the end.
When it looked like she was out of energy and out of ideas, Ray locked Satomura in a submission. That was her final, unsuccessful, attempt. Moments later, Scorpio Rising landed true and Kay Lee Ray’s record-breaking title run is over. Meiko Satomura is the NXT Women’s Champion.
The ring filled with red and yellow streamers from the ceiling for Satomura’s celebration.
Liv Morgan def. Carmella
Carmella vs Liv Morgan
It’s still weird hearing commentary talk about Liv Morgan being desperate for these single’s opportunities, knowing the only reason she’s getting them is that her tag team partner joined the list of people WWE were stupid to fire in 2021 (big list and growing by the week). Carmella’s current gimmick is Most Beautiful Woman in WWE, and she’s leaning into it hard.
Anyway, good enough match if not the longest. Carmella won the last one with the Code of Silence and Morgan won this one by smashing Carmella’s face into the canvas. I guess we’ll be seeing it again in the next couple of weeks.
Bayley hosted an episode of Ding Dong, Hello! With Seth Rollins as her special guest. She’d decorated the set with all her favourite pictures of herself in the ring. He had nothing but praise for Bayley and the way she’d put Bianca Belair in her place recently. He’s convinced she’s going to beat Belair at Hell in a Cell, and he joined her in laughing at Belair being confronted with a ThunderDome full of cackling Bayley faces. They laughed at his attack on Cesaro as well.
The segment ended with Cesaro ringing the doorbell and destroying the set and Rollins. Rollins trousers were ripped off in the altercation and he fled the ring and hopped the barricade in shirt, suit jacket, and his undies.
While Bayley was combing through the wreckage of her talk show set, Bianca Belair came to the stage and laughed at her.
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.