It was all about the tag team wrestling for WWE’s women this week. NXT 2.0 are deep in the Dusty Cup. The main roster are busy trying to remind everyone the women’s tag titles exist and throwing teams together so there’s a possibility of them being defended.
Dana Brooke def. Tamina
Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan def. Queen Zelina & Carmella
Dana Brooke, with Reggie, vs Tamina, with Akira Tozawa – 24/7 Championship Match
This was less a match and more part of the ongoing romance storyline with Brooke and Reggie doing their thing and Tamina and Tozawa apparently having a bit of a thing. This was all about good luck kisses, with Tamina kissing Tozawa very aggressively. He liked it. He also accused Brooke of cheating when she pinned Tamina after getting battered. Tamina had her in a Boston Crab and Reggie’s support stopped her giving up. Eventually, she reversed it into the pin.
Tozawa declared Tamina the rightful winner and the love of his life. She refused to hug him, but she did blow him a kiss.
Liv Morgan & Rhea Ripley vs Queen Zelina & Carmella
For no obvious reason, Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan would be added to the triple-threat tag title match at WrestleMania. The tag team champions did not get a televised entrance, which is just disrespectful. Carmella already had her mask on though, so that was something.
Carmella was screaming help me as she tagging in Vega. Vega didn’t seem keen to get in, but she kicked Morgan off the apron and got into it. She survived the delayed vertical suplex without taking the suplex, thanks to Carmella’s interference, and delivered a tornado DDT that sent Ripley out of the ring. Carmella kicked Ripley’s head into the steps then went to talk to her fiancé during the ads.
After a break, Morgan had to stop Carmella pinning Ripley. After taking a kick to the head and tagging out, Carmella drifted over to Graves and completely ignored her partner’s desperate calls for a tag. She didn’t notice when Vega took double knees to the face from Morgan, or when she took a Riptide and got pinned.
Vega and Carmella have had a terrible title run with titles that feel completely worthless at this point.
Ripley and Morgan look great together as a team, but I’m annoyed that WWE split Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. up just to team Ripley up with someone else. We could be having a tag title match featuring actual teams, rather than teams that formed specifically for the match.
Bianca Belair wore a shirt bearing the words, ‘Thou Shalt Not Touch My Hair’ for her interview with Kevin Patrick about whether she would use it at WrestleMania. She said she and Lynch are WrestleMania main eventers and they should be fighting with respect, but Lynch brought her hair into it and she got what she deserved. The scars Lynch has may last forever, but Becky Lynch’s title reign won’t. That ends at WrestleMania.
Commentary mentioned Belair and Lynch had a ‘Dust up’ that left Lynch unable to appear on RAW. Lynch posted she was in hospital, but who knows where the truth lies with WrestleMania just weeks away.
Dakota Kai & Wendy Choo def. Raquel Gonzalez & Cora Jade
Tiffany Stratton def. Fallon Henley
Io Shirai & Kay Lee Ray
Raquel Gonzalez & Cora Jade vs Dakota Kai & Wendy Choo – Dusty Cup Semi-Final
Putting Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez opposite each other in a semi-final was an interesting move, but they weren’t clamouring to get at each other. Sensibly, Kai and Choo preferred to play the odds and focus their attention on Cora Jade.
Wendy Choo’s sleepy routine is interesting for the moment, but it’s a short-term gimmick. She should be able to evolve out of it, and that will be interesting to watch. Her teaming with kai will probably be short-term as well, but there’s something quite endearing about it.
The match was fun and entertaining. Sadly, there were shenanigans. When Kai tried to sneak attack Jade, Gonzalez stalked around to stop her. Before anything could happen, Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne attacked Gonzalez’ knee and left her laid out at ringside heading into a break. The ref didn’t see anything. Kai just looked overwhelmed.
Medics saw Gonzalez during the break but she insisted she would finish the match despite being unable to support her own weight. Meanwhile, Cora Jade was working her ass off to keep their Dusty Cup dreams alive.
Eventually, she had to tag out and it came down to Gonzalez and Kai. Kai got overwhelmed when building up to her usual finish and left herself open to a Chingona Bomb. Gonzalez’ leg gave out on the Chingona Bomb. Kai made it through her corner kick next time, tagged in Choo for a splash, then tagged back in for the double stomp that got her the pin.
Dakota Kai and Wendy Choo are in the Dusty Cup Final, and Kai has to process the fact she just pinned Raquel Gonzalez… albeit with significant help.
Cora Jade was by Gonzalez’ side as she was taken backstage for treatment.
Tiffany Stratton vs Fallon Henley
Fallon Henley’s eye-rolling at Tiffany Stratton’s entrance and theme tune made me warm to her instantly.
The match was fine. Sarray popped up from below the ring and kicked Stratton in the head without the ref seeing. Henley pinned her with a knee in the face.
Later in the show, Tiffany Stratton had a tantrum in place of an interview. She’s the wronged party because she was trying to help Sarray with her wardrobe and Sarray said no to her. No one says no to her. Next week she’s going to break Sarray’s face.
Lash Legend did revive Lashing Out with Lash Legend to have Nikkita Lyons as her guest. It was a mess. A bit of zero chemistry trash talk and an unconvincing moment of getting in each other’s faces. I’m not sure what that achieved.
Io Shirai & Kay Lee Ray vs Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro – Dusty Cup Semi-Final
This was a difficult call because I love Io Shirai and Kay Lee Ray as a team and I’d be very happy if they won it. But Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro are great and they’ve worked so hard to become a truly formidable tag team.
Fun match. Kayden Carter got a bit cocky with Kay Lee Ray, which is rarely a good plan. It’s great when they give Shirai athletic and bouncy competitors because she responds in kind. She had fun with Catanzaro.
Carter and Catanzaro took down both opponents at ringside heading into a break. Catanzaro had Shirai in trouble for a while after it. She’d taken Ray off the apron and left Shirai with no backup. Shirai got her knees up for the double team, and made an immediate comeback, tripping Carter into position for a tiger feint kick then following up with a missile dropkick. The pin attempt only got her two though.
It all broke down again after Shirai tagged in Ray. Kacy Catanzaro almost ended up atop a tower of doom. Instead, Carter shoved Shirai to the floor and set Ray up for the double team finish – Catanzaro hurricanrana’ing Ray off Carter’s shoulders. Shirai barely managed to push Carter onto them to stop the pin.
At the finish, Shirai sent Carter into the steps and Catanzaro took a KLR Bomb and a moonsault.
Cora Jade ran into the Toxic Attraction viewing area and beat on Mandy Rose for a while after the match.
Persia Pirotta and Indi Hartwell’s friendship has gone from rocky to critical. They had an argument in the locker room, not helped by Duke Hudson. They’re both convinced they’re the better wrestler and have been carrying the team, so they’re going to have a match. I hope it’s better than the setup because that was painful.
Stevie Turner interrupted Aleah James’ interview to complain the camera crew weren’t talking to her, I think. They argued, and no one got interviewed.
On The Nina Samuels Show, Samuels accosted Emilia McKenzie and asked if she was alone because Meiko Satomura had realised she wasn’t worth it. McKenzie took the mic off her and asked what it’s like to be so desperate for attention you have to parade around dressed like a flamingo at nine-am.
And that was is for appearances from the women’s division this week. Isla Dawn will have her title shot against Meiko Satomura in two weeks.
NXT LVL UP
Ivy Nile def. Brooklyn Barlow
Ivy Nile vs Brooklyn Barlow
This was Brooklyn Barlow’s debut. She apparently looks up to Ivy Nile and wanted to test her strength against her. It would appear that Nile is stronger. No idea if Barlow will be given any kind of character, but Ivy Nile is developing nicely. Nile won it by submission when Barlow chose to tap rather than go to sleep.
Sasha Banks & Naomi def. Natalya & Shayna Baszler
Lita got a tribute package for Women’s History Month. It would appear her match against Becky Lynch scratched the itch for her and she’s not likely to do any more matches.
Ronda Rousey said she’s anything but a one-trick pony and she’s always looking for ways to improve. She’s been refining the ankle lock she learned from Kurt Angle, and she can think of no better way to thank Kurt than to tap Charlotte Flair out with it again at WrestleMania.
Flair arrived and blamed her clothing for Rousey catching her last week. She took issue with Rousey called it one of the biggest matches of her career. A match against Charlotte Flair is The biggest match. She promised to make Rousey tap out and Rousey told her to take her heels off and have a go. Flair was wearing a sequined dress, so it didn’t seem terribly likely. Predictably, she left.
As she walked away Rousey told her that at WrestleMania, either Flair would tap, or she’s going home with her arm.
The match will be great, I guess, but there’s not a single spark of chemistry in this pairing.
At the close of the show, they had a brawl in the parking lot. Between them, they took out a lot of officials. Flair suplexed Rousey on a car bonnet and locked her in a submission with her fingers in her mouth, then left her laying on the concrete after a headbutt.
Sasha Banks & Naomi vs Natalya & Shayna Baszler
Carmella and Zelina Vega were ringside for the match, scoping out their WrestleMania opponents. I’m still kind of bad-tempered about the whole women’s tag division thing. It started so well and it could have been amazing… about ten releases and a half dozen shattered tag teams ago. Now, there’s no heart to it. There are no proper tag teams, ones who exclusively work together and are solely focused on tag team wrestling.
Over in NXT 2.0, you’ve got Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro, the only pair who could possibly inject some life into this flailing championship. I wouldn’t wish that ill-fated task on them though, and I wouldn’t trust the main roster with them.
While I’m here and whinging, poor Shayna Baszler. She’s done everything asked of her, now please return her to the absolute destruction machine she was in NXT and let her shake things up. SmackDown’s women’s division is a mess of underused talent and crap storylines.
Anyway, this match was short and mostly designed to establish Banks and Naomi as a team on the same page. Naomi took a ton of punishment from both Natalya and Baszler. She was hopping by the time she tagged Banks in for clean-up.
Natalya tried to drag Banks out of the ring, so Banks sent her flying into Vega and Carmella with a hurricanrana. Naomi flung herself off the steps to take Baszler down in front of them.
Carmella and Vega tried to set Banks up for defeat. Carmella got on the apron to distract the ref, while Vega got up on the other side ready to hit Banks with her sceptre. Instead, Natalya crashed into her and knocked her off the apron then got pinned off Sasha Banks’ double knees to the face.
Join us next week as WrestleMania draws ever closer and everyone kind of spins their wheels because all the women’s division matches are set. It’ll be fun.