Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. WrestleMania is just a week away now, which seems almost impossible. If WWE pull off delivering anything it will certainly be a historic event… for all the wrong reasons, and I suspect it will be difficult to watch in coming years. In the present, WWE have provided a welcome distraction from reality, and that continued this week.
Shayna Baszler had a sit-down interview with a nervous-looking Charly Caruso. Caruso said Baszler might be the most intimidating woman ever in WWE, citing her Elimination Chamber performance where she became the first superstar to eliminate every single competitor, and asked how she intends to conduct herself as champion if she beats Becky Lynch for the title. But Baszler wanted to know why Charly looked so nervous and asked if she was afraid she might bite. Caruso tried to use that as a jumping-off point and asked if that was the sort of brutality Lynch could expect at WrestleMania. Baszler said Lynch should expect to lose and told her to ask what she really wanted to – Why does she love to destroy and if all she cares about is destruction then why does she want to win the title so bad?
The answer is that she wants the title because she loves to destroy, and when she takes the title from Becky Lynch it will destroy her. From the very beginning, she has shown everyone who she is.
Caruso started to ask another question, but she didn’t get to finish it because Becky Lynch hit her over the back with a chair. Lynch hit her again when she was laid out on the mat, then walked away. She looked furious until she stopped on the stage and surveyed her handiwork, then she smiled.
Charlotte Flair also had an interview with Charly Caruso. She was all dressed up backstage, which was a little odd considering the quick interview was the only time she was on the show. They did show her streak-breaking match against Asuka from WrestleMania 34 immediately before the interview, as one of the filler matches they’ve sensibly been showing. It’s been quite nice getting to see random PPV matches during RAW.
Anyway, Flair was asked what it was like to relive that WrestleMania moment. She said it was inspiring for her and she’s sure Rhea Ripley wants to be just like her. At WrestleMania 34 she defended her title and broke Asuka’s streak. She’s sure Ripley is excited to be the first person to defend an NXT title at WrestleMania, but Flair is the masterclass at making history. She reeled off some of her accomplishment and said she’ll add to them by taking Ripley’s title at WrestleMania. If Ripley needs a history lesson, she’s welcome to watch some of Flair’s legacy matches. She might just learn something.
Io Shirai def. Aliyah
Candice LeRae def. Kayden Carter
Aliyah vs Io Shirai
Io Shirai was not Aliyah’s advertised opponent for this ladder match qualifier. She was scheduled to fight Xia Li, who broke Aliyah’s nose last time they met, but Li didn’t come out when her music played. The camera cut backstage where Li was laying in a corridor crying and clutching her knee. She was declared not cleared to compete and Aliyah expected a forfeit victory. Instead, she got Io Shirai.
Shirai has been away for a long time and it must have been weird to return to an empty Performance Center rather than a massive pop from a Full Sail crowd. Aliyah’s face said it all, she knew she was in trouble and she wasn’t wrong. She got a little offence in on Shirai, but it was a token few moments and it ended with a picture-perfect moonsault as expected.
Candice LeRae vs Kayden Carter
This was short but fun. Kayden Carter is at the point where she needs some character development. She’s entertaining to watch, she’s being used regularly, she’s gaining some traction with the crowd, and now we need a reason to invest in her. Candice LeRae is at the point where she needs some stand out victories to seal her place in the upper tier of the women’s division.
The match finished via submission with Carter tapping out to the Gargano Escape.
Candice LeRae joins Chelsea Green, Mia Yim, Tegan Nox, and Io Shirai in the ladder match, which will now take place on NXT in two weeks due to the cancellation of TakeOver.
Kayden Carter will get another opportunity to qualify. She will take place in a second chance gauntlet match for the final slot in the match alongside Shotzi Blackheart, Dakota Kai, Deonna Purrazzo, Aliyah, and Xia Li.
Aoife Valkyrie def. Nina Samuels
Nina Samuels vs Aoife Valkyrie
The premise for this match was that Nina Samuels is unhappy with Aoife Valkyrie stealing the spotlight she thinks should be hers. Valkyrie got a fair amount of hype from commentary on her previous appearances, but she’s basically in the same boat as the rest of the women’s division. No character development, little or no mic time, and nothing to inspire interest outside of the title picture.
Anyway, the match was decent, and the crowd made a lot of noise. If WWE listens to them then maybe Valkyrie has got a chance. Nina Samuels had Valkyrie rocked towards the end of the match, but she got too cocky, slapped Valkyrie, and posed at her. It was a mistake. She got pinned almost immediately after.
Alexa Bliss def. Asuka
Bayley and Sasha Banks opened the show and talked about WrestleMania and how it’s supposed to be where dreams can come true, but Paige has turned theirs into a nightmare. It’s now a fatal five-way match because Dana Brooke is in isolation, but they’re really cross about having to face each other and think Paige is jealous. Bayley was trying to get Sasha Banks to reassure her that they would stick together when they were interrupted by Lacey Evans. It might have been a lucky escape for Banks because it didn’t look like Bayley was going to get the answer she was looking for.
After Evans had exchanged the usual insults with Banks and Bayley, Naomi came to join them. Naomi said she’s with Evans, until Banks and Bayley are handled. She’s also planning to win the match. Bayley said it wasn’t going to be one of those nights where everyone interrupts and someone’s music hits and they want to say something, then Tamina’s music hit.
Tamina said ‘Actions speak louder than words’ then headbutted Naomi and superkicked Lacey Evans. Banks and Bayley piled in on Naomi until they realised Tamina was right behind them. They backed off quickly and backed off up the ramp saying nice things to Tamina and smiling at her.
Asuka vs Alexa Bliss
Nikki Cross joined Michael Cole on commentary for the match, which made it for me. She sat on the desk and kept up a constant stream of excitable chatter mixed with very vocal encouragement to her teammate and a lot of clapping. Cole was… I think bewildered is the right word, but Nikki Cross is just wonderful and can do no wrong.
The match was good, and Alexa Bliss won it. Asuka and Cross almost got into it after Asuka threw Bliss into the steps, but that got diffused by an ad break. Bliss got the win with a DDT despite carrying some damage to her arm.
The win should give them a case for a tag title match, which is what this has always been building up to, but that may not happen and at the time of writing no match has been announced.
WrestleMania is being, or has been, pre-taped. There is an ever-increasing list of superstars not competing. Dana Brooke is in isolation, as is Rey Mysterio, and several other superstars are rumoured to be out. It’s a shame, but the safety of the superstars must always come first. Honestly, WrestleMania this year is going to be take it as you find it. A lot of the card will have changed and it’s going to be the strangest PPV in history, but I’m interested to see what WWE do to give it a big show feel in a tiny venue with no crowd. It should probably have been cancelled or postponed, but the show, apparently, must go on.
That’s it for another week of WWE women’s division action. Join me next week for whatever there is to round-up, if there is anything, and in the meantime follow @ArnFuriousCom to make sure you never miss a review. You can also follow me @manda_why. Please stay safe.