Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. A busy week for WWE’s women. With Money in the Bank and a return to touring on the horizon for the main roster brands, and The Great American Bash coming up next week for NXT, everyone except NXT UK have something to prepare for. And they’re muddling along quite nicely now.
Nikki Cross def. Shayna Baszler
Eva Marie & Doudrop def. Naomi & Asuka
Charlotte Flair, Natalya, & Tamina def. Rhea Ripley, Mandy Rose, & Dana Brooke
Nia Jax and Reginald approached Shayna Baszler in the corridor. Jax asked if Baszler was ready for a card game or a match because Baszler was shuffling cards to clear her head. Reginald tried to excuse his hypnotised behaviour last week and Baszler told him to shut up. She knows it’s Alexa Bliss’ fault they’re not in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. But if she doesn’t do anything about it then it’s her fault, so after she gives Nikki Cross a hard dose of reality she’s going to send Bliss to join her doll on a permanent time out.
They walked off to the ring and had no idea Bliss was stood in the background listening.
Nikki Cross had another backstage interview before the match. Lucha House Party complimented her on her mask before it. She’s so wholesome. When Sarah Schreiber referred to her new superhero persona, Cross said she was aspiring to be a superhero. She’s almost a superhero. There’s something deep down inside her that was always there and she’s just now found the courage to show it. She’s not the only one because everyone has the feeling in them that they can be better and do better. Her outfit represents that mindset. We should embrace it and go for it.
Look at her. She’s qualified for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match and if she wins she’ll be an inspiration to little boys and girls everywhere. She got overexcited about the prospect of being RAW Women’s Champion, then calmed herself down and told herself to focus on Shayna Baszler. She wants to be Nikki ASH – Almost a SuperHero.
Nikki Cross vs Shayna Baszler, with Nia Jax and Reginald
Cross got battered early on, until she dodged and Baszler’s knee connected with the turnbuckle instead of her. She kicked Basler out of the ring in front of Jax and Reginald, then Alexa Bliss arrived. Baszler stopped Reginald looking in her direction and while the three of them were staring nervously at Bliss, they got felled by a flying Nikki Cross.
Bliss was just watching from ringside when we came back from a break, but it pulls focus from the match. Shayna Baszler was the one whose focus was pulled most and it gave Cross a chance for DDT that had Baszler rolling around holding her head.
Gradually, Bliss and Jax moved around and met at the side of the ring. Reginald tried to sneak up behind Bliss to disrupt her hypnotic thing, so Bliss kicked Jax in the stomach and back-kicked Reginald in the balls. Baszler stared after her as she backed up the ramp and nearly got rolled up. She kicked out of that, but Cross tied her up and pinned her the same way she did last time.
Are they working long-term towards some epic good versus evil thing with Cross and Bliss? If they are then it could be a cute storyline for young fans, or it could be terrible. Possibly both.
Eva Marie had another backstage interview alongside Piper Niven. She said Doudrop made a rookie error (again, 12-year veteran, champion on two continents) and was clearly overwhelmed by being at the forefront of the Eva-lution. She requested the re-match so Doudrop could learn from her mistakes.
Eva Marie & Doudrop vs Asuka & Naomi
There is no way this alliance between Eva Marie and Niven lasts long, but it’s great to see Piper Niven wrestling Asuka and Naomi on RAW so we’ll count that as a blessing. She almost got submitted by Asuka this week, but managed to shake her off. As payback for last week, Eva Marie jumped down when she reached for a tag.
Asuka tried to roll Niven up, but she rolled through and gave her a senton, then levelled Naomi, before pinning Asuka with a crossbody. Eva Marie claimed the victory for herself and gave Niven and look daring her to challenge her. They argued, but I don’t think Eva Marie knows who she’s dealing with, yet.
Charlotte Flair gave Natalya and Tamina a pep-talk about them being the only ones who know what it’s like to hold up a family name and carry the weight of a legacy, and a division, on their backs. She thinks Rhea Ripley wants to be just like her, and was unpleasant about Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose. Natalya wasn’t worried about any of them, and Tamina was looking for a receipt for Rose and Brooke cheap-shotting them last week.
As far as a rationale for a six-woman feud mashup nothing match… it really wasn’t one. But it was the closest we got.
Charlotte Flair, Natalya & Tamina vs Rhea Ripley, Mandy Rose, & Dana Brooke
They had to cut Ripley, Brooke, and Rose’s video promo short because a brawl broke out during their entrance. That ended with Flair, Natalya, and Brooke outside the ring, and the match proper started after a break.
Honestly, the match was fine but the brawl was much more fun. Dana Brooke was taken down on the outside with a double team from Flair and Natalya, which left her in a lot of trouble. It all broke down after Ripley took Natalya down and handed her over to Rose and Brooke for a double team that required Tamina’s intervention to save the match.
Ripley dropkicked Tamina but got chop-blocked by Flair. Flair took a neckbreaker from Brooke who got hit with a discus lariat from Natalya. Rose tried to roll up Natalya, and we were back on track because they were legal.
Natalya failed to get a Sharpshooter locked in, but Charlotte Flair tagged herself in unseen and pinned Rose with a big boot.
Rhea Ripley chop-blocked Flair after the match.
Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon
Tian Sha (Xia Li & Boa) def. Mercedes Martinez & Jake Atlas
Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon vs Io Shirai & Zoey Stark vs Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez – Number One Contender’s Match for Great American Bash
A good, high-energy, opening match of the type NXT favours. Going into the ads, there was a run of dives, skittling an extra person each time. Shirai took down Kai and Gonzalez with a moonsault. Blackheart went with a suicide dive. Moon chose a somersault. And Stark finished it off with a leap off the top turnbuckle onto everyone.
Moon and Blackheart got to show what a great team they have become in this one. If the rumours are correct, that’s perfect timing for Blackheart to be drafted off to the main roster. She should thrive there, but I’d rather have her teaming with Moon.
Dakota Kai narrowly avoided being at the top of a super tower of doom, thanks to Raquel Gonzalez coming in and taking out everyone. Kai took out Blackheart with a double stomp after that but took double knees in the face from Shirai before she could capitalise. Gonzalez laid herself across Kai and took the brunt of Shirai’s moonsault. Stark stopped Blackheart’s senton on Gonzalez being a winner, then everyone took a finisher from someone.
Io Shirai’s palm strike put Dakota Kai on the mat for the moonsault which proved to be the final move of the match.
Backstage, a little later, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell interrupted McKenzie Mitchell congratulating Shirai and Stark. Hartwell said she and LeRae are a real team, they’re family. Shirai and Stark aren’t even friends. According to Hartwell, that means they have no chance.
Stark and Shirai see it differently. Stark said they have mutual respect and that’s all they need. LeRae told Stark to watch her back because Shirai tends to be a sore loser. Shirai reminded LeRae she’s never beaten her. Next week they become champions.
Tian Sha told us that anyone who messes with Tian Sha will eventually get punished. Jake Atlas and Mercedes Martinez are out of time.
Mercedes Martinez & Jake Atlas vs Tian Sha
No one will ever convince me that mixed tag matches are good. I could totally get on board with Mercedes Martinez and Jake Atlas kicking ass as an intergender tag team. The team of LGBT heroes we all need. And I could get on board with Xia Li and Boa as a team. But mixed tag matches are disjointed and irritating because of it. In fairness, this one suffered much less from that than other’s I’ve endured.
Of course, Martinez and Atlas worked together to take Boa down once. Martinez had an interaction or two with Boa, and Xia got at least one shot in on Atlas as well.
Sadly, this match ended with an injury to Mercedes Martinez. She’d just been dragged back into the ring by Li after leaving it to shout at Mei Ying. Xia Li kicked her in the head and knocked her out cold. Martinez raised an arm for the pin she was presumably supposed to kick out of, but the ref stopped in immediately after.
Martinez was taken to the hospital afterwards for tests and various outlets are reporting she suffered a concussion. It was a scary knock. She went straight down and was clearly not fully conscious. Credit to the ref for making the right decision.
Sarray asked William Regal for a match, suggesting Toni Storm as an opponent. He said he’d take it into consideration.
Emilia McKenzie def. Isla Dawn
Aoife Valkyrie def. Mila Smidt
Emilia McKenzie vs Isla Dawn
Emilia McKenize is not impressed with Dawn’s spooky side and commentary noted moments before she flung herself at Dawn to get things started that they don’t like each other. That was the overall tone of the match. No respectful contests here. It’s fair enough from Dawn’s perspective, I guess. She’s one of the people who have been knocked down the rankings by McKenzie’s reappearance.
It was an entertainingly vicious match. Dawn turning nasty has made her considerably more interesting to watch, and McKenzie is just genuinely good. She got battered a bit at Dawn’s hand, but she gave as good as she got and overall it was a fairly even affair.
Dawn took much too long after putting McKenzie down on the mat with a kick in the head. She paused to do some kind of ritual/prayer/communion thing with her hands on McKenzie’s and, quite rightly, nearly got tapped out. Instead, she got kneed in the head and pinned a few seconds later. Serves her right for not covering her opponent. I wish commentary would stop referring to whatever Dawn is doing as a Wiccan practice.
Meiko Satomura addressed the NXT UK Universe. Three weeks ago, she beat Kay Lee Ray to become NXT UK Women’s Champion, which made her very happy. NXT UK is now her home.
Nina Samuels interrupted her then, with some very phoney congratulations. She was, of course, there to challenge Satomura for the title. Amale attacked her as she was telling Satomura she’s the megastar who will put her on the map and told her, ‘No one needs more Nina’.
Amale’s had enough. She’s sick of seeing the same girls every week and she was there for her opportunity. She doesn’t care that they call Satomura The Final Boss, she’s not there to play games. Satomura smacked her in the face and said, ‘Enough talking. You get a match’.
Short and to the point. That’s how it’s done.
Blair Davenport is Bea Priestley. She’s on her way.
Aoife Valkyrie vs Mila Smidt
Valkyrie’s opponent is the newbie who told Jinny she thought she could beat her last week. She looked very confident in the early parts of the match as well, less so as the match wore on.
Jinny came out partway through the match to watch from the stage. Aoife Valkyrie gave her a long look from the top turnbuckle before she launched herself off to connect with her leg drop to the back for the win.
Liv Morgan def. Zelina Vega
The show opened with Michael Cole informing us there will only be one more SmackDown after this in the ThunderDome. After the end of next week, WWE are back on the road and back in front of fans. It’s… I guess it’s down to each individual to decide whether it’s too soon to go out into crowded environments. It’s not something I’d do yet, but the less risk-averse may feel it’s long overdue. Either way, it’s happening at the end of next week.
Bayley and Bianca Belair had a face to face this week. Bayley came out first and bragged about beating her in the mixed tag last week. According to her, that means Belair’s victory over her was a fluke and Belair’s reaction means she’s mentally weak. She’s crumbling under the weight of the WWE Universe’s expectations, and if she can’t cope after such a short time it’s not a good sign. It would make Bayley so sad to see Belair fall apart in front of the little boys and girls who worship her when they’re back on the road in two weeks (said while laughing).
Bianca Belair had heard enough at that point. She told Bayley she can’t have the title and she keeps beating her and it feels like she’s obsessed. Bayley goaded her about being obviously agitated by her presence. She admitted Bayley was in her head because she keeps coming back no matter how many times she beats her. There’s always an excuse. The only option is to embarrass her to the point of no return. She’s suggesting they have an I Quit Match at Money in the Bank.
Bayley thought it was a joke at first, then explained she’s never quit anything in her life. She’s doing the only thing she wanted to do and she’s accomplished all her goals. If Belair could make her quit, she’d probably quit SmackDown, or WWE, or stop wrestling altogether. But she could totally see Belair quitting, and she accepts.
Belair started laughing. When Bayley demanded to know what was funny, she said she thought she was so sick of hearing her run her mouth she couldn’t bear for one more word to come out of it, but she’d just realised how excited she is to hear her say ‘I Quit’. Bayley suddenly didn’t look so confident.
Sonya Deville announced the next SmackDown entrant into the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. It’s Zelina Vega. The same Zelina Vega who left WWE a few months ago, and I am so happy they brought her back. Now if they can just undo the other ridiculous sackings, we’ll be all good.
Vega agreed it was Deville’s honour to announce her return. Just like it will be her pleasure to grab the money in the bank contract and wait until the champion is laying on the ground half beaten, can barely stand. That’s when she’ll cash in to become RAW, SmackDown, or NXT Women’s Champion.
Liv Morgan arrived, outraged, that she’s still being overlooked. She doesn’t think Vega deserves to be in the match. Vega disagrees and told Morgan she could run circles round her and show her up as the amateur she is.
Morgan slapped her and demanded a match. Deville agreed.
Liv Morgan vs Zelina Vega
Carmella was shown watching this from backstage, with a glass of champagne. It didn’t take up much of her time, the match was only a few minutes. It was good to see Vega back though. She almost pinned Liv Morgan off a rollup with a handful of tights, but ref Jess caught her. While she was arguing, Morgan rolled her up and pinned 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.