Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. It’s been a really busy week again. RAW and SmackDown were putting the final touches to the Survivor Series line-up. NXT and NXT UK both had title matches, and NXT had two tag matches as well.
Asuka, Dana Brooke, & Mandy Rose def. Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, & Lana
Lana requested a six-woman match where she teamed with Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler so she could prove the belongs in Team RAW. They told her that the match wasn’t about her it was about them, and under no circumstances should she tag herself into the match.
Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, & Lana vs Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, & Asuka
It’s ridiculous to put part of your Survivor Series team against the rest of your Survivor Series team plus Asuka, with less than a week to go before the event. Lana almost started for her team, but Baszler tagged herself in. Baszler took Mandy Rose out of the match completely by stamping on her already taped shoulder. She was taken to the back by medics during an ad break. Dana Brooke got on Nia Jax’ back and was dumped over the top rope, hitting the apron on her way down.
The end didn’t do Lana any favours either. She tagger herself in when Baszler staggered backwards with Asuka in a Kirifuda Clutch. Asuka would have tapped but Baszler was no longer legal. Lana tried to pin the champion off a kick to the face but Asuka kicked out. Jax and Baszler yelled at her to tag out before Asuka got up, but Lana refused. When Asuka did get up, Lana took a kick to the head and tapped out in an Asuka Lock.
As an extra cruelty, Jax told Lana she was proud of her for the courage she’d shown tonight and welcomed her to Team RAW. She and Baszler turned away, then turned back and said ‘Sike’ before Lana took her ninth Nia Jax powered trip through the announce desk.
Dana Brooke was giving a highly anxious and emotional update on Mandy Rose’s condition after a break when she was attacked by RETRIBUTION’s Reckoning. Brooke was left lying in pain in the corridor.
Both Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke were ruled unfit to compete in the Survivor Series match due to injuries sustained. Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce were named as their replacements. Very disappointing.
Royce and Evans interrupted a discussion between Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. Jax complained about Baszler stamping on Rose’s arm so hard when they could have used her. Baszler reminded her she’s put Lana through a table every week for over two months and told her the only people they need on their team are them. Royce and Evans arrived with Evans calling Baszler and Jax ‘nasties’ and telling them she hopes they’re not going to try pushing them around. Royce tried to backtrack and ask if they wanted to strategize, but decided from the look on Jax’ face that they should leave. After they left, Jax expressed her disgust at what Baszler had landed them with and left.
Alexa Bliss appeared a couple of times this week, and it looks like we’re getting closer to her being back in the ring with her new persona. The first time she appeared was on Firefly Fun House, laughing and giggling with Bray Wyatt.
Nikki Cross spoke to Sarah Schreiber in the corridor. She said she won’t give up on Bliss because Friends never give up on each other. The Fiend has her hypnotised and she has to get Bliss away from him. No matter what.
For her second appearance, Bliss came out to tell The Miz that Bray Wyatt has denied his request to team up on Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton by Wyatt attacking Orton and Miz cashing in the briefcase. Nikki Cross ran out to the stage and told Bliss The Fiend was bad news and bad for her and she needed to leave. Bliss agreed with her, then slapped her and they had a pull-apart brawl.
Bliss was being carried away kicking and screaming when Wyatt’s music started. On the first notes, Bliss stopped struggling and turned into happy creepy childlike Bliss again. Wyatt looked at Cross for a long time before linking arms with Bliss to go to the ring.
She got involved in the match as well, popping up and scaring John Morrison the first time he interfered, then launching herself onto him and sending them both over the barricades when he interfered the second time. Wyatt’s concern for her nearly cost him, but he put Miz down with a Sister Abigail and her happy face popped up from behind the barricade when the music started. She walked across the top of the barricade to him, like a child on a wall, while Wyatt clapped. He helped her down and the left hand in hand, but they stopped halfway up the ramp when The Fiend appeared on the big screen and just stared.
Asuka is very excited about the prospect of beating Sasha Banks at Survivor Series, because no one is ready for Asuka.
Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell def. Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro
Toni Storm & Ember Moon def. Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez
Io Shirai def. Rhea Ripley
Shotzi Blackheart appears to be rebuilding her tank. She had a promo video this week from a workshop where she said people like to tear you down but in life, you rebuild and rise up. She advised Candice LeRae to build an army because they are going to war. That was the official War Games announcement. It’s on December 6th.
It was confirmed later in the show that Shotzi Blackheart and Candice LeRae will be the team captains for the women’s WarGames match.
Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell vs Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro
One of the big criticisms since the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships arrived is that there hasn’t really been a tag division for them to exist in. NXT appear to be addressing that in that they have a lot of tag matches, but a few solid teams are emerging. Carter and Catanzaro are one of those teams, but this match was to see how Candice LeRae and her new mentee Indi Hartwell got along in the ring.
It went pretty well for them. Ethics aside, Hartwell picked a good mentor. Short match though. Hartwell got to earn her keep by dragging Kacy Catanzaro out of the ring before she could stop LeRae delivering the Wicked Stepsister to Carter.
In her pre-match interview alongside Toni Storm, Ember Moon said Dakota Kai is one of the best in-ring performers to set foot in NXT but for some reason she uses Raquel Gonzalez and everyone is sick of it. Storm said she’s glad they’re teaming because they have common interests but when it comes to the women’s championship… Moon cut her off before she could say more and sold her they should get through tonight before they started talking about the title.
Toni Storm & Ember Moon vs Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez
Another one of those matches that brings home how much talent there is in the NXT women’s division. Kai and Gonzalez are quite the team now, one which could easily hold the tag belts at some point. Toni Storm and Ember Moon are very much individuals, but they worked well enough together.
Storm has come back with renewed focus and so has Ember Moon (now she’s shaken off the touch of ring rust she came back with. They were on a roll going into the ad break, but Raquel Gonzalez briefly had control when we came back. The US viewers would know what happened because they have picture in picture. Ember Moon fought her way into a pinning position on Gonzalez, but Kai pulled her away and when Moon chased her she got levelled by a kick in the face from Gonzalez.
It was a bad few minutes for Moon, and some great work from Gonzalez keeping her out of her corner. Kai didn’t have such good luck and Storm came in ready to finish it. Gonzalez prevented the pin but took a headbutt from Storm and a DDT from Moon, who then got superkicked by Kai. They were back in time to cause chaos at the end. Moon got in the ring and while the ref was arguing with her, Gonzalez ran Storm into the post. Ember Moon took out Gonzalez with a suicide dive, and as Dakota Kai grabbed Toni Storm to finish her, Storm trapped her in an inside cradle and got the win.
As Moon and Storm got to the bottom of the ramp they were attacked from behind by Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell. They tossed them back into the ring where they each got a powerbomb from Raquel Gonzalez.
I guess Candice LeRae’s WarGames team is probably complete.
They gave the title match a huge big fight feel with packages detailing their journeys and superstars offering their predictions. It was clearly much more important than an average NXT episode title match.
Io Shirai (C) vs Rhea Ripley – NXT Women’s Championship match
This was technically the main event, but Finn Balor’s return (where he brought back Undisputed ERA) got to close the show out.
It was an excellent match, but it was tough on both of them. Rhea Ripley got some earrings ripped out in the course of the match, which looked horribly painful. She used the blood as warpaint. Shirai was reported afterwards to be suffering from a sore neck and whiplash.
Shirai worked hard on Ripley’s left arm and had her screaming in agony. It didn’t stop her locking Shirai in the Prism Drop more than once, or spinning Shirai around in it and sitting it out. But Io Shirai got to the ropes.
Shirai countered the Riptide into an armbar and managed to keep hold even when Ripley picked her up and dropped her. Ripley got a foot on the ropes to break the hold. It took Shirai three attempts to land a tiger feint kick, but even landing it perfectly and following up with a missile dropkick didn’t keep Ripley down, and Ripley avoided a moonsault and flipped Shirai with a clothesline.
A second Riptide was countered into a DDT then Shirai performed the feat of the night. Over 20 minutes into a full-on and hard-fought match, she picked Rhea Ripley up off the apron and powerbombed her through the announce desk. Ripley made it back into the ring at nine and three quarters and immediately took a moonsault and got pinned.
They shook hands at the bottom of the ramp and Shirai pulled Ripley into a hug. Ripley raised her hand and smacked her bum on the way out.
The rumour now, of course, is that Ripley is headed to the main roster, which does make sense considering the hype the match got. And that post-match certainly looked like goodbye. There’s a queue for Shirai’s title and that loss should put her at the back of it. She’s already been NXT Champion, so it’s time for a go at the main roster. Both brands need her desperately, but I think there are better opportunities for her on RAW.
Kay Lee Ray def. Piper Niven
Kay Lee Ray (C) vs Piper Niven – NXT Women’s Championship Falls Count Anywhere match
It is sad that the biggest conversation this match sparked was about a random shot of a cameraman’s (clothed, happily) crotch. I might not have been the greatest match of all time, but it deserved better production care and internet attention.
The fighting started before the match when Piper Niven went to meet Kay Lee Ray during her entrance. They got into the ring long enough for the official start, then took it out to ringside and made their way. Ray threw the bell on its board at Niven’s head. I’m glad she moved because it left a dent in the steps. Niven hit Ray’s injured knee a couple of times with a metal thing.
Commentary mentioned a momentary distraction by Jinny, but if there was one it was cut by the ad break. The photo gallery suggests she kicked Piper Niven and got chucked over the barricade. There were some bad jokes about the signs they hit each other with once they got to the backstage area as well and a couple of puns about the guitar Ray hit Niven with.
Kay Lee Ray repeatedly struggled to get Niven up for the Gory Bomb. Niven managed a Piper Driver onto a chair, but Ray kicked out. Niven found a big steel pipe and hit Ray’s knee with it, but it didn’t stop Ray superkicking her in the face and flinging her into packing crates. That was the start of their ascent for the big finish. Piper Niven dragged Kay Lee Ray onto a tall crate but before she could throw her off it, Jinny hit Niven with a chair. She fell off the crate, dragging Ray down on top of her. The ref made the count and Kay Lee Ray is still champion.
Natalya def. Tamina
Natalya complained to Adam Pearce that he was making her compete again to try to qualify for the Survivor Series team when he could just give her a place. She should probably be grateful she’s been given so many chances to qualify. He told her he could only put one woman straight into the team and it had to be a proven leader with a championship pedigree, which is why he chose Bayley. Natalya stomped her feet and did her ‘don’t you know who I am’ bit. She stropped off to the ring when he told her the match was next.
Natalya vs Tamina
Bianca Belair joined commentary for the match. Bayley arrived at ringside, unexpectedly and also joined commentary and informed them she’s named herself the team captain. Belair wasn’t having that. They didn’t have long to argue, the match was short and almost completely ignored. Natalya won it with a Sharpshooter, so I guess persistence pays off.
Bayley gathered the team in the ring after the match. Belair made a point of taking her time and not getting in the ring until Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan did. None of them looked convinced about Bayley being the captain. That title has caused problems on both brands this year, but I don’t think it has any relevance to the match.
Sasha Banks versus Asuka at Survivor Series is being framed, by Michael Cole, as the end of a bitter rivalry which started when Banks took the RAW title, briefly, from Asuka.
Cole asked Banks if she thinks Asuka has her number. Sasha Banks was outraged. She said she has to give props to Asuka because she’s one of the best. Asuka kept interrupting. Banks kicked off her heels and suggested they didn’t need to wait until Sunday, at which point Michael Cole excused himself from the ring. Asuka said Banks wasn’t ready for Asuka, Banks said she was born ready. Before they could fight, Carmella attacked Banks again.
Carmella hung Banks in the tree of woe and said she’d told her to watch her back. Boss time is over. Then she kicked her in the face and left. Asuka just stood and watched.
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.