Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Lots of action this week and even a couple of appearances from members of the roster we haven’t seen nearly enough of recently.
Nikki Cross def. Rhea Ripley (Timed Out)
Charlotte Flair def. Asuka
Natalya & Tamina def. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax
Rhea Ripley approached Charlotte Flair in the corridor before Flair’s match and wished her luck, telling her she’s definitely going to need it as she’ll probably lose like she did last week. Flair’s response was that Ripley was just jealous of her, wants to be her, and is intimidated by her. She told her to get used to the fact it’s her face she’ll see at Hell in a Cell.
Nikki Cross appeared and said, actually, she could beat both of them, so why didn’t one of them give her a match. Flair was condescending and said Cross wasn’t worth her time but she could beat her in two minutes if she didn’t have a match with Asuka. Ripley said the way Flair treats people is why no one likes her. Flair challenged her to beat Cross in two minutes and Ripley accepted.
Rhea Ripley vs Nikki Cross – Two Minute Challenge Match
I’m really annoyed that after all this time away, Nikki Cross got a two-minute challenge as her first match back. She’s popular and talented and I don’t understand why they’re not using her.
So, all Nikki Cross had to do to win was last two minutes. Rhea Ripley did not give her enough credit and was in no hurry. Cross wasn’t going to make it easy for her and she even had a chance to pin the champ off a crossbody from the top. Ripley got angry at Cross fighting back and ran out the timer punching and kicking her in the corner. The buzzer went and Nikki Cross was victorious while being stamped on.
She did a very excited victory lap then thumbed her nose and waggled her fingers at Charlotte Flair when she arrived for her match.
Charlotte Flair vs Asuka – Winner to Face Rhea Ripley at Hell in a Cell
This was one of the matches that got a bit of extra time this week. It was genuinely lovely and refreshing to have longer matches and it made for a much more enjoyable show, but we’ve seen Asuka and Charlotte Flair fight so many times recently I’d rather have seen them do a two-minute challenge and Nikki Cross get the longer match. I never thought it would be possible for me to be sick of reviewing this pairing, but I am.
Going into the break, Flair dropped Asuka on the steps on her knee. She’d already damaged the knee with a chop block and done some work on it, so that left Asuka writhing in agony on the floor. Flair was still punishing Asuka’s left knee when we came back but she spent a long time in an Asuka Lock when Asuka tried a comeback. A foiled hip attack stopped that momentum in its tracks and Flair was back to punishing Asuka’s leg.
It went into a second ad break with Flair’s head having been bounced off the post and Asuka’s knee and Asuka’s face having been bounced off the announce desk. They were back into it by the time we returned, and it went on for another few increasingly frantic and frustrated minutes. When I say it was a longer match, it went twenty minutes. The finish was Charlotte Flair flipping out of the Asuka Lock and using it to keep Asuka down for the pin.
Rhea Ripley versus Charlotte Flair was confirmed for Hell in a Cell later in the show.
Shayna Baszler had a few words for Nia Jax before their title rematch. She’s sick of Jax getting distracted, especially by Reginald, and insisted Reginald stayed in the back for the match. She told him if she saw him ringside for another one of her matches she’d give him a real reason to have nightmares.
Natalya & Tamina (C) vs Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match
It was another decent match, solid rather than spectacular. It was all Baszler and Jax in the early going. Baszler’s arrogance got the better of her when she tried to submit Natalya with a Sharpshooter. If anyone knows how to get out of that move it’s going to be Natalya.
Reginald, of course, did not stay in the back. His appearance distracted Baszler long enough for Natalya to ready herself for the elbow stamp she was about to receive, and dodge it. He got up on the apron to distract the ref from Baszler getting pinned by Natalya, but distracted the ref from her reversal again. By that time, Nia Jax was already down by the barricades having got into a scrap with Tamina and tipped her over them.
Baszler stopped what she was doing to yell at Reginald and send him to the back. He got to the top of the ramp and fire shot up and forced him back. When Baszler turned back to Natalya to drag her to her feet, Natalya wrapped her in an inside cradle and pinned her.
After the match, Baszler checked on Reginald then grabbed him by the lapels and told him she’s tired of him interfering in her matches. She challenged him to a match next week and told him if he has the balls to accept shell make him with he was in the explosion.
There were more Eva Marie vignettes this week. She is apparently training, and I’m still set on giving her a chance.
That turned out to be Adnan Virk’s last RAW before leaving WWE. The decision was announced as mutual, with Virk mentioning the schedule and travelling being an issue. He was starting to settle in, having been in the job only six weeks. Jimmy Smith was announced as his replacement while the obvious and correct choice for the job, Tom Phillips, was released from the company. That one might actually have been the worst of the releases.
Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon def. Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai
Mercedes Martinez def. Zayda Ramier
Franky Monet def. Cora Jade
Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon vs Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai
This was both teams’ first step back to the title picture. That makes sense for Blackheart and Moon, but the timing is weird for Gonzalez and Kai unless it’s the first steps towards them facing each other for the title.
It was an excellent opening match to a busy show, and it got around ten minutes. Both teams were displaying some tight and intuitive teamwork, and I think all four women are the best they’ve ever been.
Raquel Gonzalez’ power is tough for any of the women’s division to deal with. She dragged Moon out of a submission attempt on Kai and just clubbed her to the mat with one blow to the chest. Moon countered the single-arm powerbomb which followed into a modified Eclipse. Gonzalez rolled out of the ring, stunned, so Moon and Blackheart quickly delivered a double team finisher to Kai for the win.
Raquel Gonzalez destroyed Shotzi Blackheart after the match. Dakota Kai made Moon watch as Gonzalez ran Blackheart into the plexiglass and ringpost then dropped her on her ribs across the barricade.
Tian Sha are after Mercedes Martinez. The first clue was Boa peering out from around a corner after Martinez finished her promo – She didn’t win against Gonzalez but she took her to her limits and she learned from her, and she’s on her way back to another shot – The second came after her match.
Mercedes Martinez vs Zayda Ramier
A solid match between a veteran of twenty years and a rookie in her thirtieth match. Ramier has Booker T cheerleading her, which is a nice big endorsement… only slightly biased by the fact she trained at his school. She is decent and the short match was good. She gave Martinez more of a battle than she could reasonably expect before she got pinned off an air raid crash.
After the match, the lights went off then went red and Tian Sha’s graphics came up. When the lights came back on, Martinez had been marked with the cross. For someone who has no fear, she sure looked nervous as she backed up the ramp glancing around.
Franky Monet vs Cora Jade
This was a short and sweet introduction to Franky Monet for those unfamiliar with the work of Taya Valkyrie. She doesn’t appear to have changed anything other than the name, which is great because she didn’t need to. Beth Phoenix made me laugh when she said Monet’s finisher looked familiar. Taya Valkyrie called it Road to Valhalla, but Phoenix called it the Glam Slam.
The women’s division didn’t get as much as a mention on this week’s NXT UK. They’ve been improving recently, so that’s extremely annoying.
Natalya & Tamina def. The Riott Squad
Bianca Belair def. Carmella
Natalya & Tamina vs The Riott Squad
I don’t know if it was different in the US, but in the UK The Riott Squad didn’t get an entrance and the match started in the break. Tamina was down due to a pre-match attack that we didn’t see, and Natalya was in trouble.
She stayed in trouble for the majority of the match, which was little more than a display of Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan’s teamwork. Eventually, Natalya dodged a double stomp from Morgan and seconds later she was looking for a double Sharpshooter. That was a bit ambitious and failed. Tamina crawled back onto the apron and Morgan tried to stop her coming in to break up Riott’s pin, but Tamina just threw her onto them. I’m surprised Riott got up at all after Tamina hit her from behind so hard she bounced off the bottom rope.
Ruby Riott tried to arm-drag Tamina out of the corner, but she failed and fell to the canvas after a headbutt. Natalya was taken out at ringside by Liv Morgan’s double knees to the face, but before she could get back into the ring, Tamina landed the Superfly Splash on Riott and pinned her.
Bianca Belair vs Carmella
I’m not entirely sure why this happened but it did and it was decent. Carmella had a pre-match backstage interview with Kayla Braxton, but it was just a rundown of why she’s amazing.
Sadly, Bayley joined commentary before the match started, so no one got to pay any attention to the match until Belair made eye contact with Bayley as she lifted Carmella above her head and threw her into the ring. Pat McAfee ganged up with Bayley on Michael Cole, which was mildly amusing, but her incessant whining about Belair using her hair was as annoying as it’s supposed to be.
Bayley thinks she’s due a rematch, but this match was Carmella’s attempt to get back into the title picture, and it was a fairly compelling claim. She looks good, and she had plenty of chances, much to Bayley’s delight. But Belair is on a different level at the moment and her power was too much for Carmella.
Michael Cole had a slip of the tongue and called Belair, Belanca. Bayley mocked him mercilessly, and it completely overshadowed the K.O.D. finish. I’m starting to think Cole has something against the finishes of Belair’s matches. He keeps botching them.
I’m going to take a quick moment to say, I was wrong about Pat McAfee on commentary. I’ve not been a fan of his work in NXT, but commentary suits him and he’s great at it.
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.