Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. It’s all about Survivor Series at the moment, with next week being go-home week for the PPV. SmackDown are a little behind RAW in naming their teams, but maybe it’s better that way because neither of RAW’s teams can stand the sight of each other.
Shayna Baszler def. Lana
Asuka def. Nia Jax (DQ)
RETRIBUTION’s Reckoning did part of the talking in their promo, the only one to talk other than Mustafa Ali. From her positioning within the group, I think she might be Ali’s second in command. The promo was mostly about why they attacked Ricochet and some of the usual stuff about shutting everything down. I’m still into it, but they need to start actually doing something soon.
Shayna Baszler, with Nia Jax, vs Lana
Lana looked like she was having second thoughts about this match on her way to the ring. She went for it as soon as the bell went though and jumped on Baszler’s back while she was still handing over her belt.
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke joined commentary and talked about Lana. They said she’s rubbing people the wrong way, but they did give her credit for working hard. Their main concern was whether they could all get on the same page for Survivor Series. All the time they were talking, Lana was getting beaten up in the ring. Baszler pulled her out of a clear and easy pin, then submitted her in the Kirifuda Clutch.
Nia Jax cleared off the announce desk and Baszler threw Lana to her, but Rose and Brooke kicked Jax to make her put her down and yelled about needing to get it together.
Backstage, Lana thanked Rose and Brooke for saving her. They said they didn’t do it for her, they did it to send Jax and Baszler a lesson and reminded her she cost them the tag titles last week. Lana said she was just trying to help out. Rose told her next time she wanted to help to just stay out of their way.
The childlike and perky version of Alexa Bliss was sat on a packing crate picking the petals off roses when Nikki Cross approached her. Bliss greeted Cross enthusiastically, saying she feels like it had been ages. She didn’t remember seeing her last week, when Cross found her with the weird red-ringed eyes, but she asked if Cross had seen the Firefly Fun House and promised to invite her over for a playdate.
Cross said she wasn’t playing and Bliss said that was a shame. Bliss started laughing when Cross said if she’d been a better friend The Fiend wouldn’t have been able to sink his claws into her. It was the idea of claws that she found so funny. Cross apologised and said she was there for her. She tried to explain that The Fiend was evil and told Bliss it was time to make a choice between him and her. Bliss blew petals in Cross’ face and chose him.
Nia Jax requested this non-title match against Asuka because there is some confusion over who runs the women’s division. She thinks it’s her, but Shayna Baszler doesn’t agree so I guess Jax is right. Jax said that after she beats Asuka this time and singe-handedly eliminates the entire SmackDown Survivor Series team, she’s coming back to beat Asuka again for the title.
Asuka vs Nia Jax, with Shayna Baszler
Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, and Lana were at ringside for the match. Baszler chose to stand away from her Survivor Series teammates. She and Jax might antagonize each other, but they’ve got each other’s backs… unless there’s something in it for them.
The match was good, but it was messy towards the end. Asuka had Jax in an armbar. Shayna Baszler got up on the apron and Lana got up to challenge her. Baszler put Lana in a Kirifuda, stood up on the apron, and Asuka hip-attacked them down onto Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke. Asuka got Nia Jax in and Asuka lock but Baszler kicked her in the back before Jax could tap.
Baszler started pounding Asuka, Rose and Brooke jumped on Baszler. Lana jumped on Jax’ back. Jax and Baszler threw Rose and Brooke from the ring, Asuka had already rolled out and gone. Nia Jax cleared the announce desk while Baszler kept hold of Lana, then threw her to Jax. Despite trying to fight back Lana took her eighth trip through the announce desk. Jax got a mic and said, ‘You don’t belong here. You’re going to drag us down. Just quit.’
The rumour mill suggests that this is a ploy by WWE to garner sympathy for Lana and put fans on her side. I’m really not sure it’s working.
Candice LeRae def. Toni Storm
When Candice LeRae destroyed Shotzi Blackheart’s tank last week, she said that made them even. Shotzi Blackheart disagrees. She said the tank represents every challenge she’s overcome, and her family in the military. It’s a piece of her. She’s not looking for payback or revenge, she’s looking to kick LeRae’s ass.
Xia Li vs Raquel Gonzalez had been announced last week but was missing from the preview. Gonzalez did come to the ring for the match, but she got Boa instead of Li. He explained the Xia Li was unable to compete in the match, so Gonzalez beat him up instead. After she’d left a dragon image chased around the video wall and a guy came to ringside, handed Boa a letter similar to the ones which have left Xia Li so shaken recently, and marked his hand with a symbol. He also looked scared. I guess we’ll find out what’s going on eventually.
Candice LeRae vs Toni Storm
A video of Candice LeRae gloating about what she did to Shotzi Blackheart’s tank, played over her entrance. She also called Toni Storm a ‘Punk rock poser’.
I really enjoyed the match. They’re both great at what they do and they worked well together. Toni Storm had the best of it, but not by a huge margin. She seemed to tire towards the end of the match and took much too long going to the top and LeRae followed her. Storm pushed her down, but missed a leg drop and had to kick out of a pin after a kick in the face.
Candice LeRae got the win via roll-up, but she had her feet on the ropes. Toni Storm didn’t take it well and went in for a post-match equaliser. The masked figure arrived and attacked Storm. Shotzi Blackheart arrived to save her from being stamped on in the corner. Storm rolled out of the ring as Blackheart was overpowered and the masked figure held her in position for the Wicked Stepsister.
With a nod of permission from LeRae, the masked helper revealed their identity. It’s Indi Hartwell, which is exactly who everyone expected it to be.
Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai got a Prime Target video package ahead of their title match. I love the way these videos are put together. Building matches by creating investment in the competitors is something NXT does well. Rhea Ripley talked about the disappointment of her big WrestleMania debut being in an empty Performance Center. I still feel so sad for her. She also talked about coming back stronger and more focused because Rhea Ripley doesn’t quit. Io Shirai talked about what it means to be a disciplined champion and said it has taken Ripley months to recover from WrestleMania and she’s not afraid of nightmares. She thinks Ripley is too emotional. There were comments from coaches on how great they both are as well.
The title match is next week and it should be incredible.
Xia Brookside def. Nina Samuels
Nina Samuels vs Xia Brookside
This match was long enough to be bisected by an ad break, which feels unusual enough for an NXT UK match to comment on, but I may be being unfair. It was decent enough. Xia Brookside is fun to watch and she had the best of the action in this one. Nina Samuels used referee distraction to land a kick to Brookside’s head, but it only gave her a temporary reprieve.
The end was odd. Samuels hurt her knee landing a cartwheel off the ropes and the ref backed Brookside off to check on her. Xia Brookside wasn’t buying it and wrapped Samuels up in a small package for the pin.
When Samuels was being helped out by officials, Brookside questioned whether she’d just taken advantage of an injured competitor, but as she got close to check on her, Samuels kicked her in the face. A Nina-Goroshi at ringside Left Brookside screaming on the floor as Samuels strolled away.
Next week Kay Lee Ray and Piper Niven have a Falls Count Anywhere match.
Liv Morgan def. Tamina, Natalya, and Chelsea Green
On Friday, a few hours before SmackDown, WWE announced they have released Zelina Vega. No reason as yet. Vega had posted a pro-unionization tweet not long before, and she has a popular Twitch channel, which is no longer allowed under WWE’s rules for their independent contractors whose lives they appear to basically own. The employment situation at WWE has always walked the line between bizarre and dodgy, but things need to change sooner rather than later.
I’m hoping Vega’s release was at her request. Reports on her Twitch stream later on Friday, suggest she was heartbroken and clearly emotional while talking about her gratitude for getting to live a dream she’s had since she was a small child. No blame was apportioned, so my guess is it was some disagreement on conditions. If that’s the case, I think WWE messed up. She needed more time in the ring to get back to her best, but she can hold her own against anyone. She’s generally flawless on the mic, and she’s a great manager. She also came through for WWE big time in the initial phases of the pandemic. If they’ve let her go without a fight, they made the wrong decision. If her husband, Aleister Black, follows her then they’ve truly fucked up.
Sasha Banks said the haters said she could win but not retain a title, yet here she is. Everything she’s been through would have ended people, but she’s stood there on top of the division and putting everyone on notice. She started to address Carmella’s attack on her last week, but Bayley’s music played and she stomped towards the ring. Before she could get there Carmella hit Banks with a superkick and planted Banks into the canvas.
Natalya argued with Adam Pearce about him putting her in a triple-threat qualifier. As far as she’s concerned, she should be named in the team because she’s the ‘best of all time’ and that’s the only way SmackDown will win. He apologised and told her the match was next. After she’d stomped off, Chelsea Green appeared at Pearce’s shoulder.
Natalya vs Liv Morgan vs Tamina vs Chelsea Green – Fatal Four-way Survivor Series Qualifier
Natalya, Liv Morgan, and Tamina were already in the ring when the announcement came that the match had become a fatal four-way instead of a triple-threat. No one was impressed.
As it was, Green hardly featured in the five-minute match. She got kicked off the apron by Liv Morgan about a minute in, after helping Natalya throw Tamina into the barricades, and that was the end of her involvement. It was Morgan’s match. Commentary spent a disproportionate amount of time talking about how great she is, and they’re not wrong. Natalya was the recipient of most of Morgan’s offence, but it was Tamina who took a facebuster and got pinned.
Liv Morgan joins Ruby Riott and Bianca Belair in the Survivor Series team.
Predictably, Natalya had a post-match tantrum.
The reason for Chelsea Green’s odd debut was revealed after the show. She broke her wrist during the match and requires surgery. Wishing her a speedy recovery. She’ll be a great asset to the SmackDown roster when she’s healed up. Her fiancé Matt Cardona, who used to be Zack Ryder posted this tweet about Green’s tumultuous journey within WWE.
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.