Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. We’re back to go-home week again, for all three brands this week. RAW and SmackDown have Hell in a Cell on Sunday and next week’s NXT is Halloween Havoc, so it should be a busy week. But, as thing stand, there are only two women’s title matches across those events. Io Shirai faces Candice LeRae at Halloween Havoc, and Bayley takes on Sasha Banks inside the cell… if she signs the contract. No RAW Women’s Championship or WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship matches have been announced. Asuka is defending the RAW title on this week’s show. I hope that’s not instead of a Hell in a Cell match, but I suspect it is.
Asuka def. Lana
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax def. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke, The Riott Squad, and Peyton Royce & Lacey Evans
Commentary did an extra-long housekeeping segment at the beginning of the show to talk about it being the season premiere. They were interrupted by the lights going red and the sound effects announcing The Fiend’s arrival. It was Alexa Bliss who appeared in the ring though. She said ‘Monday Night RAW, he’s here. Let him in’ then The Fiend did his long as hell entrance. He stood behind Bliss for a pose when he got in the ring, then moved beside her and took her hand.
The lights came back on, the ThunderDome disappeared and was replaced by the RETRIBUTION logo. RETRIBUTION arrived and surrounded Bliss and The Fiend, who didn’t react to their presence. Just as Mustafa Ali gave the command to attack, The Fiend’s leaving drumbeats played. The lights went out, and when they came back up, Bliss and The Fiend were gone.
Bliss appeared on the big screen after The Fiend had destroyed RETRIBUTION single-handedly after their match. He looked up at her and she said, ‘Let Me In’ in his voice.
It seems plausible, if RETRIBUTION are facing off with The Fiend, that we may get Mia Yim versus Alexa Bliss. I never knew I wanted Mia Yim versus Alexa Bliss, but I’m intrigued by the possibility in their current incarnations.
I honestly think the stuff with The Fiend and Bliss is interesting. It’s something completely different for her and allows her and Nikki Cross to branch out on their own. I want to see Cross challenging for the title again sooner rather than later.
Bliss also turned up at the end of Firefly Fun House. She’s got a children’s tv host persona as well. Cute and cheery, but creepy.
Asuka (C) vs Lana – RAW Women’s Championship match
Unless there were major shenanigans, there was no way Lana had the remotest of chances of being ready for Asuka. I was a little worried it would be a six-second match, but happily not. To her credit, Lana has obviously been working very hard and she’s getting results. She had a couple of moments and a couple of pin attempts that were hopeful at best, but the end came via an Asuka Lock as we knew it would.
After the match, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler crashed the ring. Jax knocked Asuka to the mat then cleared off the announce desk while Baszler stopped Lana escaping. Then Jax put Lana through the announce desk for the fifth time. Baszler picked Asuka up but Asuka wriggled free, kicked her in the stomach, and hip-attacked her out of the ring. Asuka was halfway up the ramp before they got back in the ring.
After a break, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler had a few things to say to anyone who thinks they’re not a real team because they don’t braid each other’s hair or follow each other on Instagram. They couldn’t quite agree on whether they were talking about dominance or teamwork. But Baszler pointed out what they say isn’t important, it’s what they do that matters and they dominate week after week. They own the women’s tag titles and that means they own RAW and SmackDown. Jax challenged anyone who refutes that to come out and do something about it. Of course, people did.
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke were first. They hadn’t even got to the ring when Lacey Evans arrived, with Peyton Royce as her partner – we’ll come back to that – and The Riott Squad rounded out the group in their farewell appearance on RAW.
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke vs Lacey Evans & Peyton Royce vs The Riott Squad
This non-title match broke down almost instantly. Heading into a break everyone was diving to the outside. Peyton Royce went first. Lacey Evans next, then tandem dives from Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott. Extra credit to Dana Brooke and Nia Jax who caught Evans’ dive because it looked like she would have landed on her head.
The rest of it was fun and entertaining, like a tour show match. Everyone got to do their bit. Lacey Evans had just taken the Riott Squad’s ‘double knees to the face from Morgan into Riott Kick’ finisher when Shayna Baszler pulled Riott out of the ring and put her to sleep in the Kirifuda Clutch. She rolled her back in so Nia Jax could tag herself in and deliver a Samoan drop to Evans for the win. That’s good teamwork from the tag champs.
So, they split up the most cohesive team in WWE, The IIconics, so Peyton Royce could go solo. And the week after Billie Kay is shipped off to SmackDown, Royce is teaming with Lacey Evans. No explanation, they’re just there. Like I said, it felt like a tour show where they were always trying to get as many superstars on as possible. As a one-off, I guess it’s fine, but there’s going to be so much ranting if they try to put Royce back in a tag team with someone who isn’t Billie Kay.
Ember Moon vs Jessi Kamea
Kacy Catanzaro def. Xia Li
Ember Moon vs Jessi Kamea
This was Ember Moon’s first single’s match back in NXT, so it wasn’t going to be Jessi Kamea’s night. I have a lot of hope for Kamea eventually climbing the ranks, she got a decent amount of offence on Ember Moon and a close near fall as well. Sadly, for her, that was Moon’s trigger to finish things. It wasn’t the Eclipse this time, she used a new submission finisher to tap Kamea out.
Ember Moon didn’t get much time to celebrate, she had her feet pulled out from underneath er from outside the ring then spun round and kicked in the face. The perpetrator, Dakota Kai, leaned in and said, ‘If you think you can just use me to put yourself back in the spotlight, think again’, then walked away.
Xia Li was very intense in her joint backstage interview, alongside Kacy Catanzaro. She thanked Catanzaro for facing her and kept saying how important it was for her. She was clearly anxious. Catanzaro said she was happy to step up and always up for a challenge. Li said it was the biggest match of her career and she has to win, but avoided the question of why.
Xia Li vs Kacy Catanzaro, with Kayden Carter
This was a short match, but a decent one. Xia Li’s frustration was her undoing. She lost focus and got pinned when Catanzaro rolled her over and sat on her. I hope they’re doing something interesting with Li. I like her style and the extra aggression suits her.
After the match that aggression was on display again. She attacked Catanzaro, then kicked Kayden Carter over. She was stamping on Catanzaro in the corner when Raquel Gonzalez dragged her away by the hair and clotheslined her to the mat from behind.
Gonzalez picked Catanzaro up and threw her at Kayden Carter up, then picked Carter up and slammed her into the mat. She grabbed a mic and said this is what awaits Rhea Ripley at Halloween Havoc.
Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano played with a practice wheel at home ahead of their ‘Spin the wheel, make a deal’, matches at Halloween Havoc next week. Johnny Gargano hates wheels, and the Buried Alive and Casket matches he rolled didn’t change his opinion. LeRae got a Trick or Street Fight and was thrilled because she’s undefeated in street fights. Shame for her it was just a practice wheel. They won’t find out the actual stipulation until next week.
Io Shirai is not worried about the stipulation. Whichever one gets picked, she says she will beat Candice.
Raquel Gonzalez and Rhea Ripley also have a match at Halloween Havoc, and Shotzi Blackheart is hosting the event. It should be a fun show.
Nina Samuels def. Amale
Amale vs Nina Samuels
This came about as a result of Nina Samuels walking out on Amale during their tag match. Amale wanted revenge as much as a win, whereas Samuels was more calculating and less emotionally led. It was a perfectly fine match but I’ve got little to say about it because I’ve been given no reason to invest in these characters. The finish came via Nina Samuels Final Act.
Samuels had a backstage interview after the match. She wants us to consider this the official rematch of the Nina Samuels Show. She’s got her eye on Piper Niven.
Bianca Belair def. Zelina Vega
Bianca Belair vs Zelina Vega
Hallelujah and praise be to whatever, Bianca Belair had a match. Michael Cole and Corey Graves agreed as she made her way to the ring that she’s one of the best draft picks SmackDown have ever made. They’ve already predicted she’ll be champion within a year. I’m excited to see it. I’m not even going to complain that the match was against Zelina Vega rather than someone she hasn’t fought yet. This one came about because Zelina Vega feels disrespected by the amount of attention Belair’s arrival has had.
It was good. Belair was dominant until Vega was sneaky. Vega got a minute or so of hope, then Belair ended her with the K.O.D.
Bayley made an appearance just to have a chat. She was annoyed that she has to address the issue with Sasha Banks because she’s done a lot of interviews and all anyone wants to ask about is Sasha Banks. They want to know why she won’t sign the contract for Hell in a Cell, is she afraid?
She’s not afraid, Sasha Banks is an ungrateful brat and doesn’t deserve it. The last thing Bayley wants to do give her what she wants. She did what she did a few weeks ago because she wants to be done with Banks, but now she’s an even bigger pain. And she’s still not signing the contract.
Sasha Banks came out with the contract. According to Michael Cole, Bayley has been champion for 376 days. When Banks got in the ring and tried to make her sign it, Bayley dropped the title and grabbed the chair. Banks ducked the chair and grabbed the title and tried to use that to make Bayley sign. Bayley grabbed for the title, so Banks kneed her in the face and trapped her neck in the chair and stepped in it to try to make her sign. Bayley kicked her in the face. A Bank Statement through the chair finally got Bayley to sign, then Sasha Banks kicked the chair over with Bayley still trapped in it. She picked the belt up and crouched over Bayley to tell her that on Sunday she’s going to take the title and finish what Bayley started.
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.