Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Survivor Series started the week, and it was a great show if you’re an NXT fan. The week following a PPV is always interesting, while we wait to see whether new storylines will be started. So far, things look promising.
Team NXT def. Team SmackDown and Team RAW
Shayna Baszler def. Bayley and Becky Lynch
During the Kickoff Show, they showed footage from the post-TakeOver Facebook Live where Rhea Ripley named her team as Candice LeRae, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, and Toni Storm.
Bayley was interviewed by the Kickoff panel. She said her game plan was to keep doing what she’s been doing, taking over the show and being a champion. For years she’s been considered an underdog, and she’s kept it inside until it’s time for the match then she tries to prove them wrong. But she’s sick of it. This is Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler’s fault. Everything they’ve got coming to them is their fault. Either opponent is a bigger threat, they’re the same target and it’s her night. She respects Shayna Baszler, but she’s better than her. Booker T called the Bayley Buddies, Bayley Bears and got corrected and told to get it right.
Shayna Baszler didn’t get to speak, but she was shown backstage with Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. Becky Lynch got her time to talk just before the match.
Team SmackDown – Sasha Banks, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke, Carmella, & Lacey Evans vs Team RAW – Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Kairi Sane, Sarah Logan, & Natalya vs Team NXT – Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, & Toni Storm – Survivor Series Elimination match
This opened the show Toni Storm got to take part in the first stint, with Nikki Cross and Sarah Logan. They made way for Carmella, Kairi Sane and Io Shirai, so Sane and Shirai got the moment that was denied to them on Wednesday. Nothing came of it, of course. It was a long match with a while before the first elimination.
There was a nice run of action where everyone came in one by one and took someone down before being taken down by the next person. But at the end of it, Io Shirai and Candice LeRae were down on the outside and were taken to the back while the RAW and SmackDown teams jeered from the apron. That left NXT down by two, but Ripley, Belair, and Storm regrouped quickly and got on with it.
Nikki Cross became the first proper elimination courtesy of Bianca Belair with her feet on the ropes and Toni Storm holding them there. Belair also eliminated Sarah Logan, but that one was without cheating. Charlotte Flair eliminated Carmella, but not until we’d had to listen to Carmella screaming as she repeatedly failed to pin either Flair or Belair.
Toni Storm almost got eliminated by Kairi Sane, but Sasha Banks saw an opportunity to get rid of Sane instead and took it. Dana Brooke was eliminated by Asuka with a kick to the head.
Charlotte Flair and Asuka had a little team communication breakdown which looked to be resolved by Flair slamming Asuka to the mat by her hair after some shouting and shoving. But Asuka came back and sprayed Flair with the green mist before leaving. Blinded, Charlotte Flair was eliminated by a Woman’s Right from Lacey Evans.
Natalya was the final competitor on team RAW and she eliminated Lacey Evans, leaving Sasha Banks as the only SmackDown competitor. Team NXT still had three… for a minute or so. Natalya put Toni Storm in the Sharpshooter, Banks added a Bank Statement, and Toni Storm tapped. Bianca Belair was eliminated moments later by Banks and Natalya teaming up for a Hart Attack. Banks then eliminated Natalya while trying to convince her they should team up against Ripley.
Sasha Banks versus Rhea Ripley to be the last woman standing was great. What a couple of weeks for Rhea Ripley. They had an attitude-off before any blows were exchanged. I think that bit was a draw. There wasn’t much in it when the fighting started either, but Banks’ experience advantage may have just given her the edge.
Io Shirai and Candice LeRae ran back down to the ring when it looked like Ripley might tap to the Bank Statement. They pulled Ripley out of the ring but took a baseball slide from Banks.
Banks put Ripley down with a knee to the head. Candice LeRae got up on the apron to distract the ref while Io Shirai dropkicked Sasha Banks. Rhea Ripley picked up Banks and delivered Riptide to secure the win.
I’m thrilled NXT won. I don’t care how. Banks and Flair would both have done it if they’d thought of it.
Becky Lynch got a long pre-match promo towards the end of the show. She talked about her competitors and about the things she’s learned about herself. To Shaya Baszler she said that all the time she’s been crisscrossing the world and doing everything it takes to be The Man, Baszler has been training and preparing. She knows that any time out of the gym puts her at a disadvantage against a machine like her but no amount of training could teach her the things she’s learned about herself. Baszler will have to destroy her completely to take away everything she has worked so hard to get, but there’s not a person alive who can keep her down.
To Bayley, she broke her own rule for her. She didn’t come looking for her to settle the debt even when Bayley left her laying time and time again. She didn’t want to fight her because she sees herself in her. But everyone has a line. She didn’t want to hurt her, but tonight she will.
Becky Lynch vs Bayley vs Shayna Baszler – Champion vs Champion vs Champion
This match headlined the show, chosen to do so over Brock Lesnar vs Rey Mysterio for the WWE Championship. I really wanted to be able to say they made the right decision, but I’m not sure I can.
Shayna Baszler left Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir at the curtain, so everyone came alone to the ring.
It was a cautious start, but Baszler turned from Bayley to focus on Lynch and Bayley attacked her from behind. It got going after that. Triple threat matches are hard to establish any kind of dominance in. As soon as you build some momentum, the third person appears and ruins it all. It followed the standard two in one out pattern for long enough that the crowd started to get tired. In fairness, we were at five hours plus including the Kickoff show by that point.
The pace picked up slowly. The hype for the match had been so good that the match itself struggled to live up to it. That might have just been me, but social media seemed lukewarm on it as well. It wasn’t a bad match, it just lacked something. That said, I liked it better the second time when I watched it in isolation rather than at the end of such a long show.
Bayley and Becky Lynch got a long run together, keeping Baszler out of it when she tried to get back in the ring, with Bayley showing off her new-found aggression. When Baszler got back in she got planted into the mat by Lynch in a two for one as Lynch already had hold of Bayley.
The first real chance of the match came with a Dis-Arm-Her on Bayley, but Baszler took care of that and slammed Lynch into the mat, then found herself having to kick out of a Bayley to Belly. New Bayley spends too much time berating the crowd and arguing with refs, and Baszler made her pay for that.
Bayley got caught in a Kirifuda clutch over the ropes when she was focused on Becky Lynch, but Lynch saved her and powerbombed Baszler, but couldn’t get the pin. She couldn’t make the Dis-Arm-Her stick either.
A limping Bayley dragged Baszler to the outside, and Baszler threw both her opponents into the ringpost. Lynch was also sent into the barricade and the steps a couple of times, then the announce desk. The second time Shayna Baszler threw Becky Lynch onto the announce desk and she ended up in a crumpled heap on the floor.
Bayley went for Baszler and got her back into the ring, but after a short exchange, Baszler locked in the Kirifuda Clutch and Bayley tapped out.
Becky Lynch was still on the floor when Baszler climbed onto the desk to celebrate. She got up when Baszler turned her back, dragged Shayna Baszler’s legs out from underneath her and put her through the desk with a leg drop from the barricade.
So NXT won the night and the match but it was Becky Lynch’s music that played us out as she stood on the desk holding up her title. It looks like the door has been left open for a Becky Lynch versus Shayna Baszler rematch and I’d be very interested to see them one on one in a decent length match.
Survivor Series finished RAW – 1, SmackDown – 2, NXT – 4.
Legitimising NXT as a third equal brand in WWE was clearly a big priority for this weekend, and I think they did a great job. NXT looked strong in the build and on the night. On SmackDown at the end of the week, Roman Reigns responded to the crowd’s NXT chants with ‘It’s all WWE’. Hopefully, the three brands will be involved in more PPVs in the future. With all that said, I’m not sure anyone came out of the Survivor Series build and weekend looking better than Rhea Ripley did.
Asuka def Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair, Natalya, and Sarah Logan were amongst the superstars present for Seth Rollins’ Town Hall meeting. Rollins singled her out and told her she was supposed to lead the ‘ladies’ into battle and she wasn’t even the last one standing, and she calls herself a Flair. She responded by walking out without a word, just like everyone else he spoke to, and eventually everyone except Kevin Owens. Owens didn’t speak to Rollins either, but he did give him a stunner before he left.
Unsurprisingly, Charlotte Flair was given a match against Asuka to try to get some revenge for Asuka misting her in the Survivor Series Elimination match. She had an interview backstage with Charly Caruso to discuss the misting and events leading to it. Caruso asked if Flair thought her actions were captain-like and Flair said she never claimed to be a team player. She was just the only one qualified to lead Team RAW. And Asuka is obviously still bitter about Flair taking her title and ruining her mystique. Asuka knows deep down that’s the only way she could beat Flair and Charlotte Flair is going to remind her that she’s the ten-time champion and The Queen.
Charlotte Flair vs Asuka
The first thing Charlotte Flair did was complain that her hair was still stained green. Jerry Lawler made a weird comment about Flair’s dad looking down on her and had to be corrected by Vic Joseph that Flair was still very much alive. Lawler tried to cover by saying yeah, but he’s very condescending, but it was a weird moment.
Flair started off hard, but she let herself be distracted by kicking Kairi Sane off the apron and got caught with a kick. She maintained control of the match though, Flair was pissed off and out to let Asuka know about it. Every time Asuka tried to get any momentum going, pure rage fuelled Flair back into control.
That changed when Flair was, again, distracted by Kairi Sane and got her face hip-attacked into the turnbuckle. It wasn’t long before Flair turned it back in her favour, with a big boot and Asuka rolled out of the ring when she’d kicked out of the pin.
Charlotte Flair took the time Asuka was down, and while we were in the ads, to chase Sane out through the crowd.
The bit of the match with Sane gone was really good, but she inevitably came back. Sane got Flair to chase her, which she did, caught her, and threw her into the ringpost. She got back up and tried to get on the apron. While the ref was busy dealing with her, Asuka sprayed Charlotte Flair with the green mist again and rolled her up for the pin before the ref could see her face.
She is never going to get the green out of her hair now.
This was the only women’s division action on RAW, but it got a good amount of time and it’s a feud that’s not based around the title, so we’ll focus on the positives. And there was a women’s match on Main Event, so at least the live crowd got two.
Candice LeRae def. Dakota Kai
Xia Li def. Vanessa Borne
Apologies for the laziness, but the reviews below are just copied and pasted from my NXT Review this week. The original can be found here.
After the recap of the women’s WarGames match, it was announced that Dakota Kai was fined for putting her hands on William Regal. We saw a tweet from Tegan Nox saying she’s banged up and needs time to heal, but she’s more emotionally than physically hurt and wants answers
Candice LeRae was interviewed by Cathy Kelley who asked her about Dakota Kai. LeRae said she’s sick of hearing about Kai. All she can think about is seeing Kai attack someone LeRae thinks of as a sister. Tegan Nox will get hers, she knows that. But LeRae has a match against Kai tonight and Dakota Kai isn’t fighting her friend Candice LeRae, she’s fighting Tegan Nox’s pissed off big sister.
Candice LeRae vs Dakota Kai
It was a clearly angry Candice LeRae who arrived at the ring. Not helped when Dakota Kai turned up looking mean and carrying Tegan Nox’s knee brace like a trophy.
So this was the first chance to see how Dakota Kai translates from nice girl to bitter and vicious. Pretty well as it turns out. Her kicks look nasty and brutal, and the methodical way she immobilised LeRae in the ropes to deliver them, then made LeRae look at the hate in her eyes, looked unhinged. I think she’s going to be great in this role.
A LeRae suplex on the apron put them both down on the floor after Kai hit with a glancing blow that looked really ugly, but it was Candice LeRae’s turn to take control when they got up.
Kai moved to avoid the springboard moonsault. LeRae kicked out of the Kairopractor. Kai managed to scramble out of the Gargano Escape and rolled out of the ring.
Candice LeRae went to follow via suicide dive and got hit in the head with the knee brace. The ref disqualified Kai, who seemingly couldn’t care less and threw LeRae into the steps, the ringpost, and the steps again. She got a chair, but Rhea Ripley ran down and kicked it out of her hands before chasing her off with it.
Xia Li vs Vanessa Borne
Last time we saw Xia Li, she broke Aliyah’s nose with a stray kick. Vanessa Borne was there to get some retribution for her best friend and fellow mean girl. Borne was, unsurprisingly, alone as Aliyah is still on the injured list.
Borne didn’t get her revenge. She got her ass handed to her by Li in a very short match.
Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir appeared just before the end of the match and attacked Li after she won. Xia Li did a great job initially, but the numbers caught up with her and she took a beating before being kicked out of the ring.
Baszler grabbed a mic and said everyone is trying to take credit for Survivor Series weekend, but no one had a weekend like she did. She beat SmackDown Women’s Champion, Bayley, and RAW Women’s Champions, Becky Lynch, at the same time.
The crowd chanted for Rhea Ripley while Baszler was boasting, and apparently summoned her to the ring. Baszler and friends vacated the ring before she got in and Ripley asked where they were going. She came out because she had something to say to Baszler face to face. Baszler got up on the apron and Ripley congratulated her. She did beat Bayley and Becky, but when she went face to face with Ripley, Ripley beat her. And she’ll do it again, but next time it will be for the belt. Baszler got in the ring and they got nose to nose. Baszler said she’s heard it all before. Ripley might be the nightmare but she’s the reality and the reality is that Ripley will be tapping or napping like the rest of them. Ripley challenged her to do it now. Baszler declined. Ripley said Baszler knows if she steps back in the ring. Ripley will drop her. Baszler left anyway.
Piper Niven def. Jinny
Jinny, with Jazzy Gabert, vs Piper Niven
This match opened the show and it was good. It took seconds for Gabert to make her first distraction, but Piper Niven was ready for Jinny to try to capitalise. The second time, Niven got caught out and handed Jinny control of the match.
Jazzy Gabert got involved again when Jinny kicked Niven out of the ring. When the ref caught her with her hands on Piper Niven, he sent her to the back. Jinny was furious. But the thing is, it wasn’t that long ago that Jinny really was the queen bee of a thriving women’s indie scene… without a bodyguard.
Piper Niven delivered a headbutt so heavy it put them both down on the canvas, but they avoided the ref’s double count. Jinny tried for a hurricanrana but got caught and planted. It was only a foot on the bottom rope that stopped her getting pinned.
For the first time in a long time, this seemed like the Jinny I used to watch live week after week. It did her no good though because Piper Niven delivered a Michinoku Driver and pinned her.
After the match, Piper Niven sent a message to Kay Lee Ray that she’s coming for her championship. Kay Lee Ray came to the ring and slapped her. Ray was halfway through saying who do you think you are, when Niven showed her. Kay Lee Ray ended up outside the ring, where she was attacked and run off by Toni Storm.
Natalya def. Sarah Logan
Natalya vs Sarah Logan
Sarah Logan’s look is still evolving post-Riott Squad, but at least she’s been seen a few times, unlike Liv Morgan (Ruby Riott is still recovering from surgery). Her attitude is still evolving as well. This match was all about her vicious streak. She absolutely destroyed Natalya on the outside in the middle of the match. Apparently, she has said ‘No more wrestling, only fighting’ and that she’s done not being as dangerous as she can be. That should serve her well in the current women’s division, she just needs a storyline.
Natalya never really got to dominate the match, even the Sharpshooter she won with was only preceded by a move or two.
Nikki Cross def. Sonya Deville
Bayley and Sasha Banks came out to make excuses for their Survivor Series losses. They said the whole locker room let them down. Sasha Banks blamed not being able to choose her team. Bayley just said she didn’t lose because Shayna Baszler was better than her. Banks said the whole team were the weakest link and proceeded to not really say why.
Lacey Evans was the one to come and interrupt. She talked about having just prepared Thanksgiving dinner for 36 people, including her in-laws, so she was in no mood to take lip from two women who lack even the class to sit at the kiddie table. Evans did call them out on their excuses though, but she suggested she’d be a preferable locker room leader. I’m not convinced. She also called Bayley out for tapping out to Baszler. Sasha Banks got in Evans’ face when Evans started tapping on Bayley’s title belt. So Lacey Evans knocked her out with a Woman’s Right.
Sonya Deville vs Nikki Cross
This came about because Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville have been sounding off on Twitter about Nikki Cross being on the Survivor Series team, saying she didn’t deserve her place.
Mandy Rose decided to make some unpleasant pre-match comments about Nikki Cross’ appearance. It might have worked in Deville’s favour because Cross seemed rattled early on and Deville quickly took control. Rose had to step in again and distract Cross when she went to the top turnbuckle. That was less effective because Cross pined Deville with an inside cradle.
Rose and Deville attacked Cross after the match and Alexa Bliss returned to save her tag team partner and friend.
That’s it for another week of WWE women’s division action. Join me next week for another instalment, and in the meantime follow @ArnFuriousCom to make sure you never miss a review. You can also follow me @manda_why.