Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Another PPV weekend kicks us off this week. A Survivor Series where it’s entirely possible the teams hate each other more than their opponents, and where most of them were on the opposing brand a few weeks ago anyway. It usually manages to be a fun show though.
Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair
Team RAW: Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Queen Zelina, & Carmella def. Team SmackDown: Sasha Banks, Shotzi, Toni Storm, Shayna Baszler, & Natalya
Jerry Lawler, Booker T, Peter Rosenberg, and Kevin Patrick joined Kayla Braxton on the Kickoff Show panel. No Sonya Deville for the discussion about Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. Now she’s clearly involved in storylines for her own purpose, she’s lost any insight value. The panel were split on whether Flair or Lynch would be victorious. The fan opinions they gathered between segments were split too.
Sasha Banks gave a pep-talk to the SmackDown team, as their captain, on the Kickoff Show. She was nice about everyone except Shotzi, whose name she pretended to forget then pulled a Rock-esque ‘It doesn’t matter what your name is’ (His debut was Survivor Series 25 years ago). All the team have to do is follow her lead and she’ll guide them to victory.
Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch – Champion vs Champion
This was the first match of the night. Generally, the first match of the night is one of the best matches of the night.
They went for each other on the bell, like it had taken them every ounce of strength to wait this long. The first two minutes were vicious and a bit scrappy, and included attempts by both to finish it quickly.
Lynch shoved Flair from the top turnbuckle almost into the front row. She hit the barricade and hurt her knee on the landing, but she was together enough to dump Lynch onto the barricade when she approached. The knee bothered her for the rest of the match.
Periodically they just started slapping and punching each other as the hurt and anger behind the storyline broke through. They looked like they wanted to hurt each other, which Becky Lynch confirmed in an emotional post-match interview.
Lynch really wanted the Dis-Arm-Her and went for it repeatedly despite Flair rolling her up almost every time. And even during the most hellish parts of the match, Flair still looked to be trying to prove something, looking to the crowd for reactions and stopping to preen when a move landed. There were a couple of shots from Lynch she simply refused to react to. And the trash-talk never stopped. Aside from it being a great match, which it was, I believed every bit of the story they were telling.
As the failed pins and submissions piled up, the frustration became increasingly obvious. Lynch delivered the Manhandle Slam but Flair casually stretched her leg across the ropes. With a derisive Woo’, Lynch locked in a figure four. Flair turned it over but there was additional damage to her injured knee. It didn’t stop her going for the moonsault from the top to the outside, but she barely connected.
As payback for Lynch using the figure four, Flair put her in a Dis-Arm-Her. Lynch struggled for the ropes and received a barrage of chops for getting there. Flair rolled Lynch up and got caught using the ropes as leverage. Becky Lynch reversed it and did the same but the ref didn’t see her, so Lynch got the win.
I didn’t expect one, but I would have liked a clean finish to do justice to the match. This was probably the correct result this time. Some feuds are never truly over.
Xia Li’s Protector vignette was shown before the women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match.
Team RAW: Bianca Belair, Carmella, Queen Zelina, Liv Morgan, & Rhea Ripley vs Team SmackDown: Natalya, Shayna Baszler, Toni Storm, Shotzi, & Sasha Banks – Five on Five Survivor Series Elimination Match
Toni Storm and Carmella got things underway, but Vega had to take over while she tried and failed to get her mask on. She asked for Vega’s help but Vega took it away from her and Carmella was eliminated almost immediately, rolled up by Storm.
Shotzi tagged herself in on Sasha Banks to fight Belair, which annoyed the crowd and backfired on her as she ended up isolated on the wrong half of the ring for a while.
Liv Morgan and Natalya failed to eliminate each other in their stint, but not for want of trying. Rhea Ripley dropped Natalya with a headbutt, but that wasn’t enough either. Baszler tried her elbow stamp on Ripley, but she blocked it. She also got out of the Kirifuda and would have delivered a Riptide if Shotzi hadn’t come in to start the first breakdown. Once everyone else had been dispatched to the floor, Basler tried the Kirifuda again. Ripley dropped her on her back and they tagged the first of their teammates to get to their feet.
And that’s how we got Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair for an extended period. There was no one for either of them to tag, and it was as incredible as it always is. Sometimes the chemistry just works. Natalya and Ripley tried to intervene at different points, and both were removed again. Vega tagged herself in on Belair and Belair launched her into the ring at Banks. No one wanted to tag Banks except Storm.
Toni Storm took out Zelina Vega for her second elimination. But that was all she got before Morgan eliminated her, even after Baszler came in and saved her once. Sasha Banks eliminated Morgan after Baszler and Shotzi softened her up. She tagged herself in on an unhappy Shotzi.
Rhea Ripley’s missile dropkick is always beautiful. Sadly, shortly after landing it on Sasha Banks, she got eliminated by Baszler after some teamwork with Shotzi.
Bianca Belair was alone with four members of Team SmackDown remaining.
Sasha Banks got counted out because her teammates kept dragging her out of the ring (they should have been quicker because she was clearly far enough into the ring to break the count three times). She’d been fighting with Shotzi and shoved her into Baszler, and they’d had enough.
The other three coordinated an attack on Belair from three sides of the ring. Belair knocked Baszler and Shotzi down but ended up in a Sharpshooter. She rolled out of it, sending Natalya into Baszler, and pinned Natalya to bring it to two on one.
She eliminated Shayna Baszler after struggling out of the Kirifuda and delivering the double chicken wing facebuster, leaving her one on one with Shotzi.
Bianca Belair rolled through Shotzi’s senton from the top, but Shotzi smashed her face into the mat and gave her senton against the ropes. Belair blocked her attempt at a tornado DDT and hoisted her onto her shoulders for the K.O.D. to end the match.
Bianca Belair def. Tamina
Carmella & Queen Zelina def. Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley
Becky Lynch or big Time becks as she’s currently being billed, had a Victory Lap celebration of her win over Charlotte Flair. She told the crowd she’d had some of the biggest moments of her career in Brooklyn, including three years ago when it skyrocketed after she slapped Flair. What we saw at Survivor Series was the culmination of nearly a decade of love and hate and friendship and betrayal. She came out and she wanted to hurt, injure, embarrass, and maim her. And Flair wanted to do the same to her. But the people loved every second of it (the crowd agreed). They didn’t care who walked out the winner, or if anyone walked out at all.
Of course, she walked out the winner. That was never in question. But now that’s done and it’s onto something fresh and new. She asked who the crowd would like to see on top, Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, maybe Liv Morgan. Morgan was the most popular choice, followed by Belair and then Ripley. But once again Lynch turned things around. She said she used to put so much stock in the crowd’s opinions until she realise they were full of crap. Everyone says they want something fresh and new but she watched ten women in the elimination match breaking their backs to prove themselves, but the crowd did their stupid chants and waves and songs instead.
Now, it hurts her to say it, but she agrees with the crowd this time because none of those ten superstars has what it takes to beat her, least of all Liv Morgan. She accused the crowd of only liking Morgan because she’s the underdog. They’ll bitch and moan when Morgan doesn’t beat her. Because she won’t beat her. Not every underdog has its day. She’s got a death grip on the title and no one is taking it away.
Bianca Belair had a few words to say about being the sole survivor, before her match. She credited the support of the WWE Universe as a factor in her success. Now she hopes Doudrop will realise they were right to put her on the team and find something else to do with her time instead of coming after her. And tonight she has to show Tamina what she showed everyone last night, no one can beat the EST of WWE.
Bianca Belair vs Tamina, with Natalya
Natalya was alongside her former partner as SmackDown superstars were still floating around after the PPV. We were told about that in advance, then they didn’t seem to make much of it.
It was interesting to see what Belair pulls out when she no longer has the strength and size advantage. She pulls out skill and athleticism, is the answer, but she also suffers more when she loses control. She had to struggle away from Tamina’s hold and found herself picking herself after being levelled more than once.
The end came quickly though – both in the short match and quick turnaround senses – when Belair sidestepped Tamina’s charge into the corner. Tamina hit hard with her shoulder. Belair kicked her in the face then hauled her up for the K.O.D. and the pin.
Natalya attacked Belair from behind while she was celebrating and tried to put her in a Sharpshooter. Belair kicked her out of the ring and was still asking her what the hell she did that for when Doudrop attacked her and hit her with a crossbody.
Doudrop yelled, ‘The EST ain’t better than me’ and left linking arms with Natalya and Tamina.
This is the Doudrop I want to see. The sweetest absolute badass.
Carmella and Queen Zelina weren’t worried about Nikki A.S.H. heading into their title match. They identified Rhea Ripley as the threat, so they were planning to take her out and leave Nikki all alone.
Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley (C) vs Carmella & Queen Zelina – WWE Women’s Championship match
I know it’s a heel thing, but I get snippy about Carmella and Vega writing Nikki A.S.H. off just because she’s excitable and enthusiastic. She’s also head and shoulders better in the ring than either or both of them.
Carmella once again delayed the start to get her ridiculous mask on after the bell. Once it was on, she took a kick in the midsection from Ripley and was thrown into the ring. She took enough punishment from Ripley to tag Vega less than a minute later. Vega initially didn’t fare any better. She’s tiny compared to Ripley, but she dropped her with a tornado DDT.
Nikki gave Vega some food for thought on whether she was a threat. She would have pinned her off a swinging neckbreaker if Carmella hadn’t intervened and slammed her face into the mat. Ripley chased Carmella for that, but had to break off to stop Vega pinning Nikki. Carmella ambushed her while she was doing that and superkicked her out of the ring.
At ringside, Carmella kicked Ripley’s head into the post, taking Ripley out of the equation completely. Nikki grabbed Carmella’s hair from inside the ring, giving Vega chance to crush her against the ropes. When the ref backed Vega off, Carmella kicked Nikki in the face. One code red from Queen Zelina later, we’ve got new tag team champions.
Dana Brooke is our 24/7 Champion as of this week’s RAW. It’s her first title in WWE, and it was kind of sweet. She won it by launching herself from the top turnbuckle with a neckbreaker on Cedric Alexander, seconds after he won the scheduled 24/7 match and pinning him. The rest of the 24/7 chasing pack had arrived in the ring, but they all just stood and looked at her and each other while she celebrated. No one seemed quite sure what to do.
Backstage she told Sarah Schreiber she created an opportunity and captured it. Just like she tries to live her life every single day, overcoming every obstacle in her path 24/7. She knows she has a target on her back now, but this is her chance to show the world who Dana Brooke is.
Kevin Patrick attempted to interview Liv Morgan, but Becky Lynch interrupted. She told Patrick that Morgan once again under-delivered, just like she did at Money in the Bank. Lynch told Morgan that she was embarrassed about saying Liv was going to be a champion, just like Morgan embarrassed her family, her ma, and her friends who aren’t even here anymore. She taunted her about the tears welling in her eyes, asking if she was going to cry. Morgan didn’t cry. She punched her in the face instead. As the segment ended, there was the slightest smile on Lynch’s face, like she’s found the Liv Morgan she wants to face.
Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter def. Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta
Cora Jade def. Mandy Rose
Ivy Nile def. Yulisa Leon
Mandy Rose told Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne that she won’t need them for her match against Cora Jade. Once she’s finished with Jade, Io Shirai and Raquel Gonzalez are going to have another space to fill on their WarGames team.
Dakota Kai joined them and walked alongside them, but she was spaced out and uncommunicative. They came across a scene of destruction and Rose passed a comment about whoever did it being a freak. Kai knocked a glass off a packing crate as they passed. After they’d gone, Kay Lee Ray appeared holding a metal baseball bat.
Tiffany Stratton got an intro vignette. She impressed me on 205 Live last week with her match, but I remain unconvinced that NXT 2.0 – or any other brand in any company for that matter – needs ‘an everyone’s jealous because I’m beautiful and my daddy is rich’, gimmick.
Persia Pirotta offered to let Indi Hartwell take another match off if she was too upset about Dexter Lumis being injured last week. Hartwell insisted she’d do the match, but I can’t help wondering if Pirotta’s motives aren’t entirely altruistic.
Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter vs Persia Pirotta & Indi Hartwell
Wade Barrett talked Pirotta up during the match and talked about Hartwell letting her down, which adds fuel to my theory their team will be short-lived. Especially considering Hartwell was slow to tag before she was moping in the corner, then was immediately overwhelmed once in the ring.
She was clearly off her game and had to be forcibly tagged back in after Pirotta ran herself into the post and hurt her shoulder. Carter then removed Pirotta from the match completely by kicking her in the head. Hartwell delivered a sidewalk slam then stared at her wedding ring instead of covering and almost got pinned.
She kicked out of that but was taken out by Carter and Catanzaro’s double team finisher.
After that performance, no one would blame Pirotta for deciding to become a single’s superstar.
Zoey Stark appears to be acting as a manager/referee for Io Shirai and Raquel Gonzalez as she’s injured and can’t be an active participant in WarGames. Cora Jade told them all that the ‘Can we coexist’ thing is boring and overplayed, and they should find a fourth while she kicks some Toxic Attraction ass.
Cora Jade vs Mandy Rose
Mandy Rose thought this was going to be an easy night for her. She was clearly better at controlling the match, as you’d expect considering the relative experience difference and the fact she’s the NXT Women’s Champion. But Cora Jade has that never say die spark.
Still, she was in trouble and Rose looked ready to finish her off when Kay Lee Ray arrived with the bat and smashed up a ringside computer. Ray threw the bat to the ref and while Rose was watching that, Cora Jade rolled her up. The ref dropped the bat in time to count the three.
Backstage, Kay Lee Ray invited herself onto the WarGames team and elected herself for the advantage ladder match next week. Perfect choice. Kay Lee Ray was on the same team as Io Shirai for the first women’s WarGames match in 2019 (with Bianca Belair and Shayna Baszler making up the team). Three of Shirai’s team have previous WarGames experience, but only Dakota Kai of Toxic Attraction’s team.
It will be Dakota Kai and Kay Lee Ray in that Advantage Ladder Match next week. WarGames is a week on Sunday. The card so far doesn’t look bad, but I’m glad they dropped the TakeOver label. It doesn’t belong to this brand.
Ivy Nile, with Diamond Mine, vs Yulisa Leon
Ivy Nile is a fascinating talent. Tiny but powerful. We’re still at the stage where all we’re seeing in matches is a display of her power and way too much posturing and arrogance. She wasn’t made to pay for the posturing this time round, but that will come. This one, she won by submission.
Isla Dawn def. Aleah James
Jinny def. Angel Hayze
Isla Dawn vs Aleah James
Isla Dawn attacked James and took her hair scrunchie as a souvenir last week, which is how we ended up with this match. Dawn had her trinket box with her during her entrance and Nigel McGuinness was building a mythology around her predictions… or trying to.
The character switch into the bizarre has done Dawn some favours in the ring. She’s much more interesting to watch with the combination of aggressive and odd. She had the best of James for long periods as well, temporarily suppressing the bounciness by keeping her grounded and on the defensive.
James did have a quick comeback, but Dawn quashed it, and James’ hopes of a win, by slamming her into the mat and pinning her.
Dawn took the scrunchie she stole out of the box and gave it back as she left. Apparently, it served its purpose.
Xia Brookside whined at Sid Scala about not being given her title match, being careful to mention her daddy was going to talk to him. Scala told her the match was next week and she whined about that as well. She wanted more time to train. She stomped out in a huff when Scala said next week or not at all.
The scheduled match was Angel Hayze versus Dani Luna. Instead, Jinny came out and said she’d made sure Dani Luna wasn’t coming. She apologised to Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster because they’d have to live without her for a long time. Her business relationship with Joseph Connors is over. She’s handling her own business from now on and getting her wins back on track. Starting tonight.
Jinny vs Angel Hayze
Apart from a token fightback from Hayze mid-match, this was Jinny’s new mission statement. The Jinny of old is back, and about time too. Short display finished with a Makeover.
Nina Samuels tried to get an interview with Meiko Satomura for the Nina Samuels Show but Satomura refused to speak at all and Emilia McKenzie told her to go away because they were training.
Elektra Lopez def. Valentina Feroz
Amari Miller def. Erica Yan
Elektra Lopez, with Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde, vs Valentina Feroz
I’m not sure quite what they’re doing with Elektra Lopez. She’s obviously a powerhouse, and plays a key role with Legado del Fantasma, but she’s treading water. She looked a little clumsy trying to deal with Feroz’ offence. Her strength advantage is undeniable, but she’s kind of one-dimensional at the moment and less convincing in the ring than on the mic. She won by slamming Feroz into the canvas. It’s going to be fascinating to see how she develops.
Erica Yan vs Amari Miller
Amari Miller is one of the definite ones to watch. She’s got that something the crowd responds to. It is, of course, in the lap of the geriatric billionaire whether she gets to fulfil that potential in WWE or elsewhere, but it’s fun watching her get a little more polished with each appearance.
Yan is an interesting prospect too, and they worked well together. Fast energetic and enjoyable match, with Miller picking up a bounce-back win after her loss last week to Tiffany Stratton.
Naomi & Sasha Banks def. Natalya & Shayna Baszler
Charlotte Flair had an in-ring interview with Michael Cole this week, following her loss to Becky Lynch. The only thing she’s disappointed in is the poor officiating. Becky Lynch proved the only way she could beat her was by cheating, so it was a hollow victory. Lynch wasn’t the superior athlete. She’s not stronger than her. She just got lucky. All the match proved is that Becky Lynch is everything Flair said she was. Lynch knows Flair is the better woman and her success is down to her.
Cole asked what’s next for Charlotte Flair and she told him she’s still the most dominant woman in WWE.
Toni Storm arrived and said she called it. Flair’s obsession with Lynch made her vulnerable and just as she predicted, Becky won. So next, Flair will come after her for daring to stand up to her. Storm was there to make that easy for her.
Flair said that was cute but she barely knows Storm exists. They’re not on the same level. She asked Storm how she’d like her to embarrass her tonight, then leapt to the attack. Toni Storm threw her out of the ring but when she followed, Flair hit her with a pie in the face (from the Thanksgiving Leftovers Match before). Flair told her to come at her again, and gave her another pie in the face when she did.
Sasha Banks demanded Sonya Deville’s attention and accused of her sabotaging the Survivor Series team by making her captain and giving her a team full of traitors. The loss and the fact she was counted out when her own team held her out of the ring, are Deville’s fault. She should have been able to pick her team. If Naomi was on the team, they would have won. She demanded to know Deville’s problem with Naomi but Deville told her to watch her tone when she spoke to her and denied having one.
Banks asked if Deville was jealous because Naomi is more athletic, has a bigger following, is a two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion when Deville has been downgraded to a suit. Deville said damned right she’s wearing a suit, and that makes her ‘the boss’. Then she put her in a tag match, since she loves Naomi so much.
Sasha Banks & Naomi vs Shayna Baszler & Natalya
Sonya Deville joined commentary for the match, so there was no point in getting invested in it. Before the match got underway, Deville denied fast-counting when she refereed, promised the ref who fast counted last week, and threatened to sack Pat McAfee for asking if she stinks at her job. It didn’t stop McAfee heaping praise on Naomi to wind her up though.
In the ring, the match was rolling along just fine with no one paying attention. Naomi was the star performer, but also the one who took an extended run of punishment. Banks had to save her from a Kirifuda Clutch by giving Baszler a backstabber.
Naomi was still isolated after a break, and Baszler kept her that way by knocking Banks off the apron. The whole time Naomi was suffering through the combined efforts of Baszler and Natalya, Deville was being quizzed by Cole to reveal her balance. Baszler kept taking Banks off the apron when Naomi got close. Eventually, Banks gave Baszler double knees into the barricade and wiped herself out in the process.
Naomi and Natalya went back and forth with the near falls but in the end, it was Naomi who stacked her up and got the win.
Deville clapped, shrugged and said congratulations. When Naomi got in her face she just continued a steady clap and said well done.
Xia Li got another cartoon vignette. This one was about someone picking on her brother and her beating him up… or to death, it wasn’t quite clear. Anyway, she’s The Protector, but there’s still no arrival date beyond Coming Soon.
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.