Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. No small talk this week, we’re starting the week with a rant.
WWE’s three-hour flagship production did not feel the need to include the women on this week’s show. There was a women’s division match on Main Event, which is recorded before RAW, but there wasn’t a single match or promo. The only woman who performed on the show was Zelina Vega when she interfered in Andrade’s match. Lana also featured in a segment, but she’s not wrestling so it has no place here (I hate the storyline, in case you couldn’t tell).
There were some extenuating circumstances, but they were of WWE’s own making. Most of the women were on a tour of Australia, and Becky Lynch was in LA doing something for ESPN. The only women reportedly at RAW were Natalya, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan. Fair enough, but if that’s the case then you put them on the main show and not on Main Event. At the very least you explain where the women are and have a couple of pre-recorded promos to set something up for next week.
Lacey Evans def. Camron Connors
Nikki Cross def. Mandy Rose
Lacey Evans vs Camron Connors
Lacey Evans said she wasn’t going to bother fighting the “nasty” in the ring and the crowd don’t deserve to see her perform. She got the ref to start the match and left the ring, got back in a nine and delivered the Woman’s Right. Pointless filler.
Nikki Cross had an interview with Michael Cole before her match against Mandy Rose. Well, Cross was backstage and Cole was at the commentary desk. She said she thinks Bayley is feeling the pressure of being a champion, and she’s happy to help her with the problem by taking the title off her hands. Tonight she faces Mandy Rose, who is gorgeous, but this isn’t a beauty pageant, it’s Friday Night SmackDown. Nikki Cross’ sweet excitement about being on SmackDown is lovely.
Nikki Cross vs Mandy Rose
Bayley and Sasha Banks joined commentary for the match, and I have to say I’m really enjoying ‘done with your shit’ Bayley. It veers into spoiled, entitled, brat at times, but it’s anchored enough in reality to not be jarring. There was a lot of talking to Bayley and Banks instead of commenting on the match, but it was interesting to hear Bayley say Nikki Cross reminded her of herself five or six years ago.
Sonya Deville accompanied Mandy Rose to the ring and it wasn’t long before she got involved. Mandy Rose started strong and dominated Cross through the early part of the match. It was when Rose threw Cross to the outside that Deville took the opportunity to punch her in the face while Rose distracted the ref. It didn’t help though, if anything it was the start of Nikki Cross’ fightback.
Once Cross got going, there was no stopping her. She even took a few moments to dropkick Sonya Deville through the ropes, then dodged Rose’s knee and delivered the swinging neckbreaker for the win.
Next week it will be Fire & Desire & Bayley versus Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke, & Carmella which seems a little random.
Rhea Ripley def. Bianca Belair
Dakota Kai & Tegan Nox def. Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir
Rhea Ripley vs Bianca Belair
This opened the show and it was a really strong start. Bianca Belair is one of the serious powerhouses in the NXT women’s division and, outside of the champion, she didn’t really have anyone comparable for sheer strength. Then Rhea Ripley turned up, and it’s pretty damned close by the looks of it.
Actually, they’re fairly well matched all round and it made for an interesting match. Ripley has six years of experience to Belair’s three, but Belair just has the edge in strength and athleticism. The result was an exercise in one-upmanship that was hugely entertaining to watch. There was a battle of the delayed vertical suplex, which Ripley won. But Belair threw her off the turnbuckle to redress the balance and got her own vertical suplex in a few moments later. They both struggled to build any extended momentum, but the match was starting to favour Ripley when there was interference.
Io Shirai ran down while the ref was distracted and hit Ripley with a tiger feint kick then threw her back into the ring. Belair hit a spear, but Ripley kicked out. Shirai got back on the apron to interfere again but Candice LeRae appeared and pulled her off the apron.
The distraction didn’t work. Ripley delivered Riptide to Belair and pinned her.
Io Shirai versus Candice LeRae was later announced for next week’s show.
Dakota Kai & Tegan Nox vs Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir
This match was short, and that was ok. We haven’t seen much of Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir in the ring on NXT, and they’ve done nothing to warrant a shot at the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. Based on this match, they’re not ready. Their coherence as a team is great, but there is something missing.
Jessamyn Duke tried to finish it immediately, by kicking Dakota Kai in the side of the head. She didn’t get the pin, but she and Shafir did manage to isolate Kai in their half of the ring for a while. Kai was finally able to fight off Marina Shafir ad get to Tegan Nox, who came in fired up. She briefly took both of them on, but when Shafir broke up Nox’s pin on Duke Kai cleared her from the ring.
Tegan Nox finished the match with the Shiniest Wizard on Jessamyn Duke.
After the match, Asuka and Kairi Sane appeared on the big screen. They congratulated Kai and Nox, cut a promo mainly in Japanese, and informed them they have no chance next week.
No women’s division action on NXT UK this week, just one solitary promo.
Xia Brookside had a video segment from the performance centre. She said she’s had her ups and downs but she’s on the up at the moment. She was close to her first NXT UK Women’s Championship opportunity, but Kay Lee Ray took it from her. So she’s going to work her way back up and she hopes Kay Lee Ray is still champion when she gets there.
Natalya def. Sarah Logan
In addition to the women’s division match, Main Event covered Bayley and Sasha Banks’ appearance on Miz TV.
Natalya vs Sarah Logan
Well, I’m still grumpy about this match being the only one featuring any of the RAW women’s roster, but it’s better than nothing. I have come to the conclusion that it’s time for Natalya to make some of the newer women on the roster look good, then step behind the scenes somewhere. There’s nothing wrong with what she does, but I find it very hard to get excited about her matches, it just feels like the division has moved past what she brought to it.
This match was fine, perfectly decent, but it’s time for Sarah Logan to get a proper feud. She isn’t improving her standing in the women’s division by fighting Dana Brooke and Natalya on Main Event. This match definitely didn’t improve her standing, because Natalya tapped her out with a Sharpshooter.
That’s it for this week’s WWE women’s division action, and what a disappointing week it was. It’s just not good enough when two of the four WWE brands choose to not to bother including the women’s division in the same week, and for RAW that should never happen. Join me next week for another instalment, and to see if anything improves. In the meantime follow @ArnFuriousCom to make sure you never miss a review. You can also follow me @manda_why.