Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. NXT 2.0 had the final build for their first post-TakeOver PPV. The main roster have some interesting things in the pipeline, but there’s nothing announced for Day 1 as yet.
Team Liv: Liv Morgan, Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Nikki A.S.H., & Dana Brooke def. Team Becks: Becky Lynch, Doudrop, Tamina, Carmella, & Queen Zelina
Becky Lynch and Liv Morgan had their contract signing, officiated y Sonya Deville. Lynch started by pointing out it was Morgan’s first contract signing and taking credit by saying, ‘You’re welcome’. She also took credit for Morgan showing some fire for the first time when she punched her in the face, and acknowledged she had a good right on her. She wanted to get her angry to see if she had that chip on her shoulder. But she had no follow-through. She held herself back like she always does. Is that what she’s going to do in the big fight, or is she going to prove her wrong?
She got Deville to tell Morgan the title match is next week and spent a minute or so riling up the crowd before Morgan told her to shut up for once. If Lynch doesn’t want her to hold back, that’s fine. She got upset last week but she channelled it with her fists instead of crying like Lynch did after her match against Charlotte Flair. Morgan even had a bit of footage of the tearful interview to show everyone.
There was a line Morgan delivered after the video ‘You’re the reason why your friend is gone just like your big fat greedy contract is the reason why my friends are gone.’ We’ll come back to that. She also accused her of being a bully and asked her how it feels to know she’s become everything she once despised. She refused to be Flair’s number two but she wants Morgan to be hers. But she learned from all Lynch’s mistakes. That’s not the Becky lynch she used to admire and she’s not the Liv that Becky left behind.
Deville had to stop them getting physical.
Lynch said Morgan wouldn’t know anything about big emotion after a big match, ‘And some of us deserve to get paid’. She was about to offer Morgan an opportunity. If Morgan thinks she’s got what it takes to be a leader, she pitched a ten-woman tag to Deville earlier, Team Liv versus Team Becks. It’s a good thing Morgan accepted the challenge because the teams were picked and the graphic had been made and everything.
So, THAT line. It got a big reaction from the crowd when released wrestlers were mentioned, and it wasn’t the only time it happened that night (Edge told The Miz he’d left his partner – John Morrison – high and dry to get fired). It also got a big reaction on social media, and rumour has it there was discomfort with it backstage as well. As a promo tool, it worked very well for getting people talking, but it felt wrong. People lost their jobs. That isn’t a thing to be used so cheaply… or at all. I understand that the idea of holding WWE to any moral standard became faintly ridiculous a long time ago, but still.
Apparently, someone at WWE agreed because the line was removed from the edited replay.
Team Liv: Liv Morgan, Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Nikki A.S.H., & Dana Brooke vs Team Becks: Becky Lynch, Doudrop, Tamina, Carmella, & Queen Zelina
Carmella waited until after the bell to get her mask put on, which caused a delay despite her not taking the first stint. Becky Lynch did, opposite Liv Morgan, who finally got to land the punch she wanted to earlier. Lynch got Morgan on the back foot and tagged out before she could come back.
Carmella trash-talked Rhea Ripley, so Morgan tagged her in and Carmella tagged Vega in creaming. Vega lasted only a few seconds before the whole team rapid tagged in and ganged up on her. Team Liv didn’t stop them, but Ripley did ok until she was felled by a blow from Tamina. Carmella ran away when Ripley raised a fist to her.
Team Liv tried the same five on one tactic on Tamina, but Team Becks saved her from Belair’s K.O.D. and retreated to ringside for the break.
Nikki A.S.H. and Doudrop got a stint, which was a lot of fun. Carmella got legitimately rocked by a clothesline from Ripley. Anarchy ruled for a while as everyone got a bit of something in. And Carmella failed to pin Ripley off a superkick going into the second ad break (that’s right, a women’s division match that went through two ad breaks).
Dana Brooke got the spectacular spot of the match after Vega and Carmella shoved her off the top rope to the outside, taking out Doudrop, Ripley, A.S.H., and Belair. Morgan was coping well against four members of the other team until Tamina’s superkick dropped her. She kicked out of the pin though, and struggled off Tamina’s shoulders before she could deliver the Samoan drop. From there, it was a quick trip to Oblivion for Tamina and a win for Team Liv.
Morgan didn’t get to enjoy it because Becky Lynch attacked her immediately. All hell broke loose at ringside with Vega fighting Nikki, Ripley fighting Carmella, and Doudrop fighting Belair. The scene was set for next week when Liv Morgan rolled through the Manhandle Slam and delivered Oblivion to the champ.
Kay Lee Ray def. Dakota Kai
Persia Pirotta & Indi Hartwell def. Yulisa Leon & Valentina Feroz
Dakota Kai vs Kay Lee Ray – WarGames Advantage Ladder Match
The first match of the night, but it took a while to get started because the WarGames teams started brawling on the stage. Kay Lee Ray looked like she’d already had a little accidental contact between a ladder and her face before they got anywhere near the ring (she kept checking the same bit of her forehead) but she started the match proper by diving over the top rope onto Kai, so I’m guessing she was fine.
Ladders came into play immediately, with Ray pinning Kai against the ring with one. They bounced each other off the steps. Kai might pride herself on her viciousness, but she’s got nothing on Kay Lee Ray in that department. Few people have. A Ray suicide dive sent Kai into the announce desk before Ray dropped her ribs-first on a ladder.
This was an NXT match, not a 2.0 match, and it was pretty great. A double stomp from the top, while Ray was hung upside down on the outside of the ropes, took us into the break. Kai was working over Ray’s knee when we came back, until Ray dropped her on the announce desk with the KLR Bomb.
Ray struggled to climb the ladder, giving Kai plenty of time to catch up. They traded punches at the top and Ray fell off. Kai dawdled so much she was back up and trying to pull her down before she got the briefcase. She kicked her down again but chose to go for a double stomp from near the top of the ladder instead of grabbing the briefcase.
Once again her ascent was so slow that Kay Lee Ray dragged her down and hung her upside down with her feet through the rungs. For some reason, Ray tried to climb the same side Kai was hung up on, so Kai tried to stop her and took a kick in the face for it. This time, Kay Lee Ray climbed the other side and retrieved the advantage briefcase.
Backstage, Toxic Attraction looked unimpressed by their teammate’s failure.
There had been rumours that NXT 2.0 were dropping Tiffany Stratton’s tedious Daddy’s Rich Little Princess character, but there was another vignette for it this week, so I guess not. She’s back to Coming Soon, despite having already debuted, so there must have been some tweaks.
Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta vs Yulisa Leon & Valentina Feroz
Indi Hartwell didn’t have her head in the game. She received a phone call before the match to say her husband, Dexter Lumis, had gone missing from the hospital. She paid for her distraction at the start of the match and only Pirotta yelling ‘Dexter’ at her gave Hartwell the strength to reach for the tag. Once Pirotta tagged in, she finished it in under a minute.
On Thursday, Beth Phoenix announced that WarGames will be her final night on commentary. She wants to spend more time with her family, which is lovely, but you can’t help wondering if she’d be making the same decision if NXT 2.0 was still NXT. A note of speculation, Edge started a feud with The Miz this week. Maryse was back alongside her husband and looking ring ready. Could The Glamazon be partnering with her husband going forward?
Meiko Satomura def. Xia Brookside
Meiko Satomura (C) vs Xia Brookside
Meiko Satomura didn’t have Emilia McKenzie with her with week. The match started the show as there were two title matches on the episode. There are still no words for how much I hate Xia Brookside being turned into an entitled Daddy’s girl. The only possible way to redeem the character is for her dad to appear and tell her if she wants to win he might want to try improving.
That sounds so harsh, when the truth is Brookside is decent. Decent is not equal to Final Boss though and Xia Brookside is not equal in the ring to Meiko Satomura. She’s changed her moveset with the character change. Now it’s aggressive petulance. Tantrum oriented offence and intermittent toddler screaming when things aren’t going her way.
Things weren’t going her way a lot in this one. She had her moments, and a couple of credible chances, but she never really looked like winning and the chances of them taking to title off Satomura in the opening match of a random episode were remote. Brookside’s last chance was her closest. She caught Satomura with a kick to the head and landed double knees to her face. When it was only a two count, Brookside lost focus. Less than a minute later she also lost the match. Satomura finished it with Scorpio Rising.
Backstage, Emilia McKenzie greeted Satomura and an unseen interviewer asked her what was next. Satomura said she’s going back to Japan for a few weeks.
Blair Davenport turned up and asked what McKenzie will do when her only friend isn’t there to protect her. When McKenzie said she’d be fine, Davenport challenged her to a match.
That’s happening next week.
Ivy Nile def. Erica Yan
Ivy Nile vs Erica Yan
I’m intrigued by Ivy Nile. Small, powerful, fearless, and ruthless. And showing some serious potential already. I’m concerned that being part of Diamond Mine limits her character development potential. But the flip side of that is Malcolm Bivens as a hype man, which might be more valuable at this stage. Yan is also decent, and this was a good contest. Nile won it by submission.
Sasha Banks def. Shayna Baszler
Sasha Banks vs Shayna Baszler
The video shown during Baszler’s entrance confirms they’re bringing Baszler’s NXT attitude back, which is perfect. It’s great that she got to show she can do some comedy bits and the whole team drama thing, but Baszler is a destruction machine and that’s where she shines.
That said, she struggled against Banks after the initial exchanges. After Banks’ Meteora on the outside, heading into the break, she was barely able to kick out. When we returned, she landed a knee to Banks’ face that looked brutal. Banks crumpled in the corner but still kicked out of the subsequent pin attempt.
Baszler fired the barely with it Banks up with some trash talk, and The Boss made her pay the price. Baszler plucked Banks out of the air to lock in the Kirifuda but Banks countered into a Bank Statement. A knee from Baszler laid Banks flat but when she picked her up for a gut-wrench, Banks managed to sit on her chest and grab her legs for the pin.
Good match. The way Sasha Banks sells Baszler’s kicks makes her look like a killer. I was legitimately concerned about the knee in the corner until they showed the replay. I thought it would have made more sense for Baszler to pick up the win as she’s building back up and Banks status is bulletproof.
Xia Li’s debut is next week. They’ve put a lot of effort into the cartoon ‘Protector’ vignettes. I’m hoping that means good things for her, but time will tell.
Toni Storm isn’t going to let being known as the girl who got two pies thrown in her face stop her from going for a title match. Flair had to embarrass her because Storm isn’t impressed or intimidated by her or her accolades. She still thinks she’s in Flair’s head and she’s planning to prove she is on her level when she finally gets her shot.
Charlotte Flair addressed Toni Storm’s comments in the ring. She knows the only way to get noticed is to challenge Charlotte Flair, the most decorated woman in sports entertainment history. Whether it’s bringing up her name in every interview or begging for a title match, she knows exactly what Storm is doing. Number one doesn’t talk about number two, six, or ten, and even acknowledging Storm feels like she’s giving her too much credit.
Storm should be thanking her for smashing pies in her face last week because it made people talk about her. If it’s that easy to embarrass Toni Storm with a pie, imagine what she could do to her in the ring. Flair wasn’t being mean when she said Storm wasn’t on her level. It was simply fact. Storm demanding a title match doesn’t add up, but she came out to let Storm know she’d considered her request. It’s a no.
Toni Storm ambushed her halfway up the ramp and pied her in the face.
There are a lot of ways WWE could have built homegrown WWE legacy-talent superstar Charlotte Flair versus Toni Storm, the indie darling who backed herself as a teenager and has basically travelled the world building her reputation ever since. I never imagined pie in the face would be the mechanism they used.
Naomi told Sonya Deville she couldn’t enjoy her win last week because she was at ringside and she couldn’t forget all the things she’s done to her. So she’s asking again for a match with her and only her.
Deville said ok. She’ll give her the match when she decides to take the suit off. But she wanted to make it clear that Naomi can’t touch her as long as she’s wearing the suit because she’s a WWE Official and her boss. If Naomi lays on finger on her while she’s in a suit, not only will she never get the match, she’ll make sure she doesn’t get a paycheque.
Naomi asked her to clarify that she could have the match. Deville slapped her and said yes. Naomi got right in her face but managed to restrain herself from making contact.
She won’t have to wait too long for the payback. The match is next week.
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.