Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. There’s a lot of information this week regarding who now resides on which show and a reasonable array of matches as well.
Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair
The Kabuki Warriors def. Natalya & Lacey Evans
The originally announced match was Becky Lynch versus Sasha Banks to decide which brand got first pick, but WWE substituted Charlotte Flair as Banks has a tailbone injury.
Becky Lynch had to say a few words before the match. She started by reminding everyone she was the first overall draft pick, and said she turned up expecting to kick Sasha Banks all over Colorado, but Banks is still injured from the last beating she gave her. But while Sasha Banks is always trying to get away from her, she can’t seem to get rid of Charlotte Flair and every time they step in the ring together it’s a war. She’s ready for a war.
Flair said maybe she’d get drafted to RAW and they’ll fight forever. She doesn’t want this any more than Lynch does. She doesn’t want to take opportunity after opportunity away from others. All she really wants is for them to be friends again, she misses her. While Lynch was looking incredulous, Flair smacked her in the face and they started brawling. The match hadn’t started and they rolled out of the ring and had to be separated by officials during the ads.
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair
So, they’ve done this a thousand times, and they’re probably going to do it a thousand more, and as long as they space it out enough, that’s fine. As the first match of the night, it got a decent amount of time, and it was as consistently good as you’d expect it to be. They both came close on multiple occasions without any clear and obvious winner.
Becky Lynch kicking out of the spear sent Flair’s frustration levels soaring. She was sat on the canvas laughing in disbelief when Becky Lynch flipped her over and pinned her.
The second half of the WWE Draft 2019 was still very light on women. Charlotte Flair went to RAW in the first round. Zelina Vega did as well, but only because Andrade was drafted and she’s an add on as his business manager. It would be nice to see her wrestle though, other than the odd move to interfere in her client’s matches. The Kabuki Warriors went to RAW in the second round and Bayley went to SmackDown in that round. Carmella was drafted to SmackDown in the fourth round, and sadly R-Truth went to RAW so that’s the end of their shenanigans. And the sixth and final round saw Liv Morgan move to RAW.
Ruby Riott is still on the injured list, as is Nia Jax. Naomi is still out with no return date I’m aware of. Ember Moon is injured again, so they weren’t eligible. But Sarah Logan, Dana Brooke, The IIconics, Fire & Desire weren’t drafted during the shows.
Natalya came out and said she’d been asked to find a partner for this match and she wanted someone on her level. Someone who had taken her to her limit. She picked Lacey Evans. Yes, that’s weird, and it looked to be quite an uneasy alliance. It was Lacey Evans’ last match on RAW though, because she was drafted to SmackDown on Night 1.
The Kabuki Warriors vs Natalya & Lacey Evans
Lacey Evans did the majority of the legwork for her team, which equated to getting beaten up by Kairi Sane for an extended period. The Kabuki Warriors are looking polished as a team now, but that was never going to take them very long.
Asuka eventually gave Evans the opportunity to get to Natalya, who would have tapped Asuka out to the Sharpshooter if Kairi Sane hadn’t broken it up. In return, Asuka had several attempts at tapping out Natalya, as did Kairi Sane, before she got back to Lacey Evans.
It was another long match, and the final one of the night, so the women’s division bookended the action (although they didn’t close the show). No green mist for the finish this time around. An unseen tag by Asuka made her the legal competitor. Lacey Evans gave Kairi Sane the Women’s Right, then got rolled up and pinned.
Following the show, the free agents made their choices.
The RAW women’s roster is currently comprised of – Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Natalya, The Kabuki Warriors, Liv Morgan, The IIconics, Sarah Logan, and Zelina Vega (if she wrestles). Maria Kanellis is listed as a RAW Superstar as well, but she’s currently pregnant. Naomi has landed on RAW, but she’s been out for a while for personal reasons. Hopefully she’ll be back soon. Nia Jax will return to RAW when recovered, as will Ruby Riott. The addition of Riott means the entire Riott Squad are now back on the same brand.
Interestingly, despite having moved across to SmackDown and co-presenting a show on Fox, Renee Young is listed on the RAW page. We’ll see what happens there, I guess.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross were originally drafted to RAW, as separate picks, but were later traded to SmackDown as announced in this tweet.
Nikki Cross def. Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Lacey Evans, Dana Brooke, and Carmella
SmackDown only had one women’s division match this week, but it was a big one, a Six-pack Challenge to decide who Bayley’s next challenger will be.
Before that, Bayley, accompanied by Sasha Banks, was a guest on Miz TV. Banks told everyone Bayley is the first women’s Grand Slam Champion (NXT, RAW, SmackDown, and Tag titles). Miz wanted to talk about Bayley’s ‘shocking behaviour’ last week, the murder of the inflatable Bayley Buddies and pinning Charlotte Flair with two fistfuls of hair before cussing out the WWE Universe. They showed the footage, then he just asked, ‘Why?’
Bayley said she didn’t owe him or anyone an explanation. Miz said what about all the kids who idolised her. She shrugged and wouldn’t talk and he got tougher, comparing her, as a champion who wouldn’t talk, to Brock Lesnar and asking if Banks was her Paul Heyman. He kept pushing, asking if people didn’t cheer enough, or she didn’t like something about herself, or maybe the fact however many accolades she gets, she’ll always be second fiddle to Sasha Banks.
Banks made a dig at Miz’ draft position and he said it didn’t matter, when he talks people listen and he doesn’t have to slash a load of Bayley Buddies to become relevant.
Bayley said she slashed the Bayley buddies because that has defined her entire career, how they saw her. They saw someone fun and colourful, something to put a smile on her face. But what about her. Every week she gave and gave, and they just took, but they didn’t see what she was trying to do. To be a role model, to make a better future and change the world. The night she first won the SmackDown Women’s Championship she said she was going to elevate the division and she did that. When she lost the title, at Hell in a Cell, she was heartbroken and crying and there was no one there to hug her. They destroyed her, but like the role model she is, she picked herself up and won her title back.
She used to think the division lacked opportunity but it’s lazy and lacks passion. Now she has outgrown them. She asked if we wanted some inspiration, and offered ‘Life sucks and then you die’.
Nikki Cross appeared on the stage and told Bayley that was enough and the time for talking was done. So Bayley should go and make herself comfortable and when she’s won the match she’ll come and give her a big hug.
The rest of the women for the six-pack challenge started to file out then. Dana Brooke is still running her redemption arc. Lacey Evans followed and everyone else came out during the break, Carmella’s entrance was in progress when we came back.
Nikki Cross vs Dana Brooke vs Lacey Evans vs Mandy Rose vs Sonya Deville vs Carmella
Bayley and Sasha Banks sat at ringside for the match, which acted as a showcase for all six participants. WWE are hoping they’ve picked up some brand new viewers with the move to Fox, and with the roster shuffle caused by the draft, matches like these are great for showing how people compare and relate to each other. It’s not the replacement for good storytelling it’s being used as, but it was fun.
It was good as well. Rose and Deville worked together, while Lacey Evans opted to stay on the outside early on and watch for an opportunity, and Nikki Cross was everywhere. It meant that Fire & Desire and Nikki Cross basically set the pace and tone of the match.
Carmella had a chance with a Code of Silence on Mandy Rose, but Nikki Cross delivered the swinging neckbreaker (didn’t she used to call the The Purge) to Rose and got the win. I am a very happy fan. She didn’t hug Bayley, just stood on the turnbuckle and screamed at her while Bayley held the title up.
It’s not exactly a fresh match, Bayley versus Nikki Cross happened a few times in the storylines leading up to Bliss and Cross teaming. It is interesting to note that RAW drafted Cross and Bliss separately before they were both traded to SmackDown, and SmackDown have immediately thrown Nikki Cross into the singles title picture. It was a bit of a surprise Bliss didn’t feature in the match. I haven’t heard that she’s injured, but WWE have been very cautious with her for the last year or so. It should be a great match, although I fear it won’t end in Nikki Cross’ first single’s title.
After the draft and all the post-draft movement, the SmackDown women’s roster is now made up of – Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nikki Cross, Alexa Bliss, Tamina, Fire & Desire, Carmella, Lacey Evans, and Dana Brooke. Ember Moon, Lana, Maryse, and Mickie James are also listed on the SmackDown Superstars page. Ember Moon is injured as far as I know. Lana is… not currently wrestling. Mickie James was injured, but has been doing commentary on Main Event so who know s what’s going on there. And Maryse just had another baby.
Io Shirai def. Kayden Carter
Tegan Nox def. Taynara
NXT have a tough job to do at the moment. They’re trying to keep they’re existing viewers happy while introducing a whole new viewership to the product. They’re also in competition for viewers with AEW, but that’s very much a side issue at best – it’s also a competition they’re very much losing at the moment, but it will be months before the figures are truly meaningful.
What it means is there’s a lot being packed into this new two-hour format. This week there were eight matches and a considerable amount of storyline business completed. Two of those matches involved the women’s division and both had added story progression elements.
Bianca Belair had a hype package, making her case for another shot at Shayna Baszler and warning Rhea Ripley that she’s won’t be able to get past her.
Io Shirai vs Kayden Carter
I still love everything about the new badass Io Shirai. Trouble is, so does everyone else which could be a problem if NXT are determined to try to get her booed. She is getting some boos, but she’s also getting a lot of cheers and some chants as well. Seeing Kayden Carter again so soon is a good sign for her, which is pleasing. She looked good in this match, not like she stood any chance of winning, but good in defeat.
It was a very athletic match, but you got the feeling Io Shirai never really got beyond second gear. A German suplex put Kayden Carter on the mat and Shirai dragged her into position from the beautiful moonsault that finished her off.
After the match, Shirai said ‘Not Rhea. Not Bianca. Shayna, it’s me’. Rhea Ripley came out to disagree. She told Shirai that Bianca Belair had run her mouth off last week and next week she’s going to shut it for her. If Shirai ever spits her name out again, she’ll have no problem shutting her up.
Tegan Nox vs Taynara
This might have turned into a bit of a whingey week about NXT, but I’m worried about Taynara. She’s been around for a little while now, steadily improving, but she’s not had any real character development. She’s lost her last name, which WWE seem to believe counts as character development, but apart from where she’s from and her martial arts background, we’ve been given no information.
It was a brief but fun match, with there never being any real danger of Taynara spoiling Tegan Nox return to NXT. The match finished with Nox’ Shiniest Wizard.
After the match Dakota Kai ran down to hug her friend and fellow Team Kick member. Nox was being interviewed but didn’t get to say much before Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir turned up. Baszler said, ‘Let me guess, you want to throw your name into the hat’, told her to ask Dakota Kai what it was like being in the ring with her and said Nox was running out of limbs to rehab.
Nox said if she feels like that then she should get in the ring and give her a title shot. Baszler said she hasn’t earned one and to come back when she’s done something worth talking about.
Xia Brookside def. Nina Samuels
After Rhea Ripley helped Piper Niven out in her match last week, Niven approached Ripley to suggest they team up against Jinny and Jazzy Gabert. Ripley said she doesn’t like Niven, but she really doesn’t like Jinny and Gabert. So she could coexist with her for a week if she can make the match happen.
Nina Samuels vs Xia Brookside
Neither of these women have made quite the impact on NXT UK that they might have hoped to. Samuels has made a lot of big claims she’s been unable to follow through on. While Brookside has been used as a fall-guy for bigger storylines. As an upshot, they’re sitting relatively equally in the pecking order, which made this one interesting.
Samuels was overconfident, as is her style. She has the power advantage over Brookside and clearly thought that would be enough. She was wrong. Xia Brookside grabbed Samuels legs while she was trying to pin her and folded her up for the win.
Sarah Logan def. Dana Brooke
Because Main Event covers both shows but features the RAW roster and is broadcast on a Thursday, the show now covers the previous week’s SmackDown and the current week’s RAW. That meant we got some coverage of Bayley’s Bayley Buddy destruction and title victory over Charlotte Flair, as well as a women’s division match.
Dana Brooke vs Sarah Logan
This is a rivalry which has rumbled on through Main Event for a few months, but this is the final match. Dana Brooke has moved across to SmackDown, while Sarah Logan remains on RAW.
The match wasn’t bad, if a little slow and deliberate in places. Dana Brooke really is looking to reignite her career, and she dominated the majority of this one. She had come back from everything Logan had thrown at her, but she took too long going to the top and Logan dragged her down and wrapped her legs up for a submission.
That’s it for this week’s WWE women’s division action, and it really was a big week. 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.