Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions did double duty this week, as did the NXT Women’s Champion. No title matches this week, but we did find out who will face Asuka at Backlash.
Nia Jax def. Natalya and Charlotte Flair
RAW had a crowd this week, made up of NXT Superstars and Performance Center athletes. They really helped with the atmosphere during matches, but I found them oddly distracting during promo segments. With it being just a few scattered people you could hear individual boos, cheers, and heckles, and it’s very different to the wall of noise of a full crowd. Some good news for RAW going forward though, Samoa Joe has joined the commentary team permanently, as a replacement for Jerry Lawler. It is thought that Joe will combine commentary in in-ring work once he is cleared to compete.
The Kevin Owens Show opened this week’s RAW, with Asuka, Nia Jax, Natalya, and Charlotte Flair as special guests. Asuka arrived first, still chanting for Becky. He was going to ask her about the events of last week and about the triple -threat to find her Backlash opponent, but he got as far as showing her for footage from last week and listening to her rant for a few seconds before Charlotte Flair arrived.
Flair reminded Asuka she’s never beaten her and said that the title should have been handed to her.
Natalya’s music hit and Owens threw the KO Show signs out of the ring before she got there so he could tease her about her tantrum last week. She apologised for that and Flair told her that not even sucking up to Kevin Owens was going to help her win the match. Owens said he didn’t think she was sucking up, and Asuka gave Flair a look which made her apologise… even if she did follow it up by saying she should have told Nattie she was irrelevant.
Nia Jax completed the group. She said they all know she’s going to be the next RAW Women’s Champion, and Flair and Natalya know what she’s going to do to them later in the show. Kevin Owens asked her to pause before she got in the ring so he could leave because he could see where it was going. She said ‘good idea’, and she wasn’t wrong. Jax told Asuka that what she did to Kairi Sane was a fraction of what she’ll do to her. Owens, from a position of safety on the apron, said to Asuka that whatever she does next she shouldn’t hit Jax in the face. She back-elbowed her in the chest instead. They fought. Flair and Natalya fought. Jax rolled out of the ring to escape. Flair and Natalya rolled out of the ring still fighting. Asuka was left in the ring alone.
Charly Caruso asked Charlotte Flair what becoming a double champion, should she win the triple-threat and go on to beat Asuka, would mean for her legacy. Flair said she is the most consistent and prolific women’s champion in WWE history. It doesn’t matter how many titles or how many wins, that’s just maths, she raises the bar for every woman in the division and no one else compares. Asuka danced into shot, told Flair ‘Red is not your colour’, and left.
The IIconics came to the ring and apologised to each other. Peyton Royce apologised for getting them disqualified. Billie Kay apologised for slapping her. They reminisced about they’re journey from growing up together to signing their WWE contracts together to winning the tag titles at WrestleMania together. They complained about never getting to defend their titles, being overlooked and having opportunities stripped away and binned. As far as they’re concerned, they should still be the champs and they’re not having ‘Some crazy lady and the office’s favourite blonde’ holding them.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross had something to say about that. Bliss pointed out that Royce and Kay have had opportunities and blown them. When Nikki Cross tried to say her piece, Billie Kay told her to stand there and look grateful. I’m not sure she was ready for the vocal storm of an angry Glaswegian, but that’s what she got. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Nikki Cross is wonderful and can do no wrong. She made some excellent points about how hard she’s worked and the friendship she and Bliss have built.
Of course, it got physical. Royce and Kay clearly didn’t know what to say about Cross’ tirade. The IIconics managed to deal with Bliss and Cross separately, Royce putting Bliss down long enough for them to double team Cross, then Bliss, then Cross again. They finished by standing over them holding up the title belts then dropping them on Bliss and Cross.
Natalya should have had a backstage interview with Charly Caruso but she took a phone call from her husband instead. He was obviously giving her a hard time about her temper tantrum last week. By the time she was off the phone, the slot was over.
Charlotte Flair vs Natalya vs Nia Jax
Asuka joined commentary for the match, which is always entertaining. She was cheering for Natalya, booing Charlotte Flair, and thoroughly enjoyed any kind of punishment Nia Jax took.
Flair and Natalya managed to keep Jax out of the match for a while after knocking her to the outside, but she pulled Flair off the apron and the fight moved out there. Flair hit Jax with the announce desk cover after Jax has smashed Natalya’s face against the edge of the ring and pulled her to the floor by her head. They had a bit of a tug of war with the cover and Flair got it in the ribs. Charlotte Flair and Natalya lifted Jax off the apron between them and put her through the announce desk going into the break. It was impressive, but Asuka’s shocked reaction made me laugh.
Jax was back in it a little after the break but got overambitious when she tried to lift both her competitors for a Samoan drop. Natalya had to break up Flair’s Figure Eight on Jax. Jax pulled Natalya away before Flair could tap to a Sharpshooter. Flair threw Natalya out of the ring after she broke up another pin attempt, then knocked her down when she tried to get back in. Natalya was back in time to instigate a tower of doom with Flair at the top, but she couldn’t make it count. Charlotte Flair rolled out of the ring after taking a leg drop from Jax while in Figure Eight bridge. She couldn’t get back in to prevent Jax pinning Natalya off a Samoan drop.
It will be Asuka vs Nia Jax at Backlash. They were heading that way anyway, but the match was fun to watch.
Liv Morgan had another promo segment. They all seem to start with ‘What might surprise you about me is…’ Last week it was about her mum and how much like her she is. This week it was about her self-worth and how she never felt good enough growing up. She remembers being six and wondering what life was all about for her. She floated around until she found her purpose when she found WWE. She doesn’t have all the answers because life keeps changing the questions, but she knows she’s alive and she’s living her best life.
Raquel Gonzalez def. Shotzi Blackheart
Charlotte Flair & Chelsea Green def. Rhea Ripley & Io Shirai
Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano came out to announce the first Johnny Gargano Invitational, which is just an excuse for Gargano to beat up a rookie. The honour of being the first went to Adrian Alanis an Evolve wrestler according to Beth Phoenix, and the ‘match’ was short.
After Alanis had tapped to the Gargano Escape, Mia Yim and Keith Lee appeared on the big screen and delivered a parody of ‘Dinner with the Garganos’ which has to be seen… so here it is.
Shotzi Blackheart vs Raquel Gonzalez
This was more about the interference than the match itself, although the match itself was pretty good. Dakota Kai accompanied Gonzalez, so interference was inevitable and it came in the form of Kai getting into Blackheart’s mini tank and breaking bits off it. Tegan Nox came and kicked her out of it, literally, so that didn’t work as a distraction. But the interference wasn’t over.
Nox stayed at ringside in Blackheart’s corner to counter the influence of Dakota Kai. Shotzi Blackheart took one of the worst looking landings I’ve seen in a long time when she threw herself backwards off the middle rope onto Gonzalez and Kai. Tegan Nox looked horrified when she helped her up and was holding Blackheart’s neck steady and checking on her as she helped her to the ring. Candice LeRae appeared to argue with Nox, which somehow meant the ref didn’t see Dakota Kai pull Blackheart’s legs out from under her so she crashed onto the ringpost. He was paying attention when Gonzalez slammed Shotzi Blackheart into the mat and pinned her.
Rhea Ripley & Io Shirai vs Charlotte Flair & Chelsea Green
Mauro Ranallo paid tribute to Hana Kimura during Io Shirai’s entrance, calling for an end to cyberbullying and urging us all to be better members of the human race.
There had been speculation as to who would agree to be Charlotte Flair’s partner considering how obnoxious she’s been of late. Chelsea Green made perfect sense. She’s looking to make a name for herself and she has Robert Stone brokering her deals, but that’s a lot of ego on one team. It was big company for her to be in considering her relative newbie status within the division, but she had both Ripley and Shirai reeling at various points. Charlotte Flair came in for the first time when it looked like Io Shirai was struggling, but it was just a brief visit.
Flair and Green worked quite well together, with the exception of a small incident when Shirai ducked and Green took a Flair chop which knocked her on her ass. Rhea Ripley was desperate to get her hands on Flair and kept trying to get to her on the apron, but missed Flair tagging herself in and took a kick in the face. Shirai had to break up the attempted Figure Eight which followed. Unfortunately, Io Shirai accidentally knocked Ripley off the apron so she wasn’t able to save her from being rolled up and pinned illegally with Flair’s feet on the ropes.
Later in the show, Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano seethed about Yim and Lee’s parody in a backstage interview. LeRae said Tegan Nox should be ashamed of herself, and demanded a match against Mia Yim next week.
NXT UK was another Unseen Matches show this week. One of the featured matches was Nina Samuels vs Rhea Ripley from October 2019. It was Rhea Ripley’s last match in NXT UK according to commentary. It was decent, if not overly long, and finished with a Riptide.
Lacey Evans vs Sonya Deville – Double Count-out
Sasha Banks def. Alexa Bliss
Sonya Deville had a backstage promo before the match. She said last week she wrecked one ‘bleach blonde barbie doll’ when she dominated Mandy Rose, and the same fate awaits Lacey Evans. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t hear Lacey Evans behind her and as soon as she got her catchphrase out, Evans shoved her to the ground.
Lacey Evans vs Sonya Deville
This was a fun match to watch, even if the trash-talk was a little hair colour based. Evans has an amateur wrestling background, so they did a bit of that. It’s a bit odd with Deville’s ‘put your hair up and square up’ catchphrase when both competitors stop in the middle of a match to tie their hair back, but whatever. I’ve been critical of Lacey Evans in the past, and I still find the gimmick a bit heavy-handed, but she’s completely earned the spot she was thrown into before she was ready.
Evans took a move from Nikki Cross’ playbook, tangling Deville up in the ring skirt, and they took it to the outside. It ended with a double count-out, but they carried on beating each other up at ringside anyway. Evans demanded Deville get back in the ring, but Deville grabbed a headset to say, ‘I’ll fight you on my terms, blondie’ and left.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross hosted a Tag Team Champions Summit on A Moment of Bliss with SmackDown tag champs New Day. They exchanged presents, Nikki Cross gave Kofi and Big E some Scottish pancakes that she made from her grandmother’s recipe, and Big E’s gift involved coffee beans that came out of his singlet. They talked about who they we’re looking to face next. New Day think Forgotten Sons are on their horizon. We didn’t get to find out who Bliss and Cross were hoping to face on SmackDown because Sasha Banks and Bayley came out to spoil the fun.
Sasha Banks threw her jacket at Alexa Bliss, who had to be held back. Bliss and Bayley bitched at each other and Bliss asked Banks where her title is. Bayley went off at her. Banks talked about how she and Bayley put the titles on the map and could win them back anytime. Bliss told her to name the time and place, but Bayley offered Banks up to take Bliss on one on one instead. Sasha Banks protested to Bayley, she wasn’t in her ring gear and she was wearing high heeled boots, but it was a done deal. Bayley got out of the ring to get her some boots to wrestle in and Bliss threw Banks jacket in her face and dropkicked her out of the ring.
Alexa Bliss vs Sasha Banks
Bayley and Nikki Cross joined commentary for the match, although Cross stood on the desk the whole time and did more cheerleading than anything else. She threatened Bayley a couple of times as well. Michael Cole broke down laughing, Corey Graves lamented the loss of any kind of control, and there were some serious concerns about the structural integrity of the desk. It was chaotic, but Nikki Cross can do no wrong.
The match was decent, but Bayley and Nikki Cross influenced the result. Bayley got up on the apron when Bliss climbed for Twisted Bliss. Nikki Cross followed to stop her. They brawled on the apron, Bayley shoved Cross into Bliss and knocked her off the turnbuckle. Sasha Banks took advantage, and double knees sent Bliss face-first into the corner and got the pin.
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross will face Bayley & Sasha Banks for the tag titles next week.
That’s it for another week of WWE women’s division action. Join me next week for all the action, including the go-home for NXT TakeOver: In Your House. In the meantime follow @ArnFuriousCom to make sure you never miss a review. You can also follow me @manda_why. Please stay safe.