Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. NXT 2.0 had their first special this week, in the form of Halloween Havoc, and RAW promised us a new era with their season premiere.
WWE released the 2022 PPV Schedule this week. Lots of Saturday PPVs and another two-day WrestleMania.
Zelina Vega def. Doudrop
Carmella def. Liv Morgan
Queen Zelina’s Coronation was the first appearance of the women’s division. During her speech her accent slipped back and forth from her normal one to something I’m assured was supposed to be British. I’m a brit and didn’t recognise it. It sounded like her vocal cords were on demo mode.
Her first act as queen was to tell Mike Rome off for not introducing her properly and make him do it again. She informed us she’s been unappreciated for too long, but not anymore. She told everyone she was the only person fit to be queen. It was her destiny and no one else had a chance. Some of the locker room were shown watching backstage, and they seemed unimpressed.
So, anyway, she’s going to be as iconic as Nefertiti and as ruthless as Cleopatra and better than both.
Doudrop ended the speech with her music to get their match started.
Zelina Vega vs Doudrop
A Crown Jewel rematch, but a weird choice. Doudrop doesn’t need another loss and Vega couldn’t lose her first match as queen. So they did the only thing they could. Zelina Vega cheated.
She had the sceptre in her hand when the bell went so Doudrop used it to pull her into a clothesline then started throwing her around. Vega went quick and sneaky, with added mind games, to turn things in her favour, and got a legitimate near fall with double knees to the face.
When that didn’t work, she untied a turnbuckle pad right in front of the ref. While he was busy tying the turnbuckle pad back on, Vega hit Doudrop in the head with the sceptre. He turned around in time to count the pin.
Sadly, it seems like the new era looks very much like the old one for the women’s division (except for Becky Lynch, Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, and Sasha Banks). That match was two and a half minutes. Don’t get me wrong, Lynch etc deserve their time and more, and so do the other women sitting in the locker room trying to work out how the hell to make an impression in under three minutes.
Becky Lynch took to the ring to talk about being RAW Women’s Champion again. A title she won at WrestleMania 35 and never lost… just in case you forgot that after the last 100 times she’s mentioned it. She intends to pick up where she left off. Since she came back two months ago, she’s been making headlines. Last week was no exception because she won the history-making triple-threat at Crown Jewel.
She doesn’t think anyone wants to see Bianca Belair near the title. We want to see her beat Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan and all the other women in the locker room.
Bianca Belair eventually interrupted what had basically become waffle. From the EST chants, the crowd are definitely into her. Belair reminded Lynch that she wasn’t the one pinned at Crown Jewel, Sasha Banks was. She also accused Lynch of cheating, which may or may not be a shout. The ropes don’t cause a break in a triple-threat, but I’m still not convinced you’re allowed to hang onto them for the pin. Lynch only thinks she gets what she wants because she’s never faced any adversity. She’s slipped away from her every time they’ve gotten in the ring, but that’s about to change.
Belair beat Sasha Banks at WrestleMania, Bayley at Hell in a Cell, and Charlotte Flair last week (by DQ, but still). Technically, that last one earns her a rematch with the RAW Women’s Champion. – The face Becky Lynch pulled at the inescapable nature of that, was a meme before the segment ended. – The new face of RAW has arrived, but it’s her, not Lynch.
Becky Lynch showed pictures of their respective faces after Crown Jewel and mocked her sadness. She refuted Belair’s claims she hadn’t faced adversity and said Belair was the one who’s had a smooth ride. Bianca Belair might have beaten the best in the company, but that’s only because she wasn’t there to stop her. Since her return, it’s been nothing but disappointment for Belair.
Belair said the only thing she’s disappointed about is that she hasn’t slapped the smile off Lynch’s face to show everyone who she is. The only thing Lynch has done since she came back is try to hide how hurt her little feelings are. The crowd are still rooting for her when Lynch thought her return would bring them all back to her. She might have the title, but she still seeks all the validation. Having the title is a beautiful thing but if you’re not enough without it you’ll never be enough with it and Lynch is nothing without it. Without the title, Belair is still the EST. She knows who she is and she wants her title match tonight.
Becky Lynch told her to “Get to the back of the line, bitch”, so Belair punched her. Belair lost it, slammed Lynch into the mat and threw her over the announce desk. When Lynch came back with a kendo stick, Belair took it off her and used it until a kick to the gut made her drop it. Lynch squirmed out of the K.O.D. and dropped Belair with the help of the stick.
When she got to the stage, Becky Lynch accepted the match. Just not tonight.
The title match was later announced for next week.
Liv Morgan vs Carmella
Corey Graves is a little biased calling Carmella the most beautiful woman in WWE, considering they got engaged this week (wishing them every happiness). Liv Morgan congratulated Graves after she’d bounced Carmella’s face off the announce desk, while Carmella was asking him to tell everyone how beautiful she was. It was ok though, because Carmella was wearing the stupid sparkly ‘protective’ mask. Carmella got the pin soon after they got back in the ring. I hope they don’t share a ring again for a very long time, but I suspect I’m out of luck there.
The thing I object to about Carmella’s current character, or lack thereof, is that it’s lazy. Carmella’s vanity is unlikely to be the most interesting or noteworthy thing about her. She’s better than this lazy two-dimensional rubbish.
So, with Zelina Vega vs Doudrop getting two and a half minutes, and Liv Morgan vs Carmella lasting three minutes and six seconds, the entire women’s division got under six minutes of match time out of a three-hour show. I know the Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair segment was longer than that, and Vega got the bizarre queen’s speech, but that in no way makes up for such a pathetic amount of match time.
NXT 2.0 – Halloween Havoc
Toxic Attraction def. Io Shirai & Zoey Stark and Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta
Mandy Rose def. Raquel Gonzalez
Io Shirai & Zoey Stark (C) vs Indi Hartwell & Persia Pirotta vs Toxic Attraction – NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships match
As a nice treat because Halloween Havoc is a special, the first half-hour, and the whole of this opening match, was ad-break free.
With 15 years of in-ring experience, there’s a good chance Io Shirai has had more matches than everyone else in the ring put together (I don’t want to do the maths, but it’s got to be close). So she may well be the star for NXT 2.0 to create stars against. It’s probably a better option than the main roster at the moment. One of those new stars will be Gigi Dolin, easily the most likely of the bunch (other than Zoey Stark of course) to rise above the pack. Persia Pirotta is coming through as a powerhouse
The match was entertaining, in no small part thanks to Shirai being everywhere and doing the impressive stuff. Jacy Jayne got slammed onto a ladder and moonsaulted on by Shirai. Zoey Stark tried to do the same with Pirotta, but messed her knee up on the landing and took herself out. Indi Hartwell slammed her onto a ladder to make sure, then tipped Shirai off the top of a ladder through the terrifying ladder between the announce desk and ring.
Hartwell took too long staring at Shirai and wondering what she’d done. Jacy Jayne pulled at her while she was climbing the ladder and Gigi Dolin kicked her down and retrieved the belts.
Toxic Attraction are the new NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, there were some issues, some scary moments (in keeping with the Halloween theme, I guess), and some ouch moments in the match. Hopefully Zoey Stark was just selling the knee and no one ended up injured. There’s no reason for Shirai and Stark to remain a team now, so we’ll have to see what happens there.
Raquel Gonzalez (C) vs Mandy Rose – Spin the Wheel and Make the Deal, NXT Women’s Championship match
Raquel Gonzalez rode a motorbike into the building then spun a Chucky’s Choice on the wheel. Chucky chose a Trick or Street Fight. Gonzalez has a new and very bright look.
Mandy Rose was the first to take advantage, bringing a Kendo Stick into play. After an ad break, this one got violent. Gonzalez got a kendo stick then Mandy Rose brought a ringside chair into play and used a stick to trap Gonzalez in it. She tipped the chair over and tried to pin her in it, but the match was a street fight not falls count anywhere, so there was nothing the ref could do.
Rose got all fired up and let loose with the kendo stick. Gonzalez cooled her off with a fire extinguisher and headbutted her wearing a mask. She also dropped Rose on a scary-looking pile of chairs wedged into the ropes.
The crowd chanted for tables when there was one already propped up in the ring, but Gonzalez was busy throwing Rose into the steps. She placed the bottom half of the steps on the apron, hollow side facing the ring, and Mandy Rose almost immediately flung her into it. Rose couldn’t capitalise though. The crowd got their table break when Gonzalez ran Rose through the one propped in the corner. Rose still kicked out.
As Raquel Gonzalez recovered from the failed pin, someone outside the ring, masked and hooded all in black, hit her across the back with a shovel. Mandy Rose kneed her in the face and pinned her.
Mandy Rose is the NXT Women’s Champion. Toxic Attraction hold all the gold in the women’s division.
Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne came out and posed with Rose after the match. Once they’d left, the hooded figure revealed herself to be Dakota Kai.
With both women’s division titles, the men’s tag titles changing hands on the show, Halloween Havoc had a real ‘New broom sweeps clean’ feel to it. Only Tommaso Ciampa walked into and out as champion. NXT 2.0 is starting to take shape and I’m curious enough to want to see where it goes and how it pans out. Questions remain about how long people stay in developmental and what will happen to the old guard of NXT superstars. It’s not NXT, and it’s extremely obviously a developmental brand, but it has a certain charm.
Amale def. Myla Grace
Myla Grace vs Amale
This was Myla Grace’s debut and, considering the venom and determination of Amale’s recent promos, it was unlikely to be an easy ride for her. Amale wants another title opportunity, and the only way to get it is to run through the locker room until she’s earned it.
Myla Grace, bringing a street dance background, wasn’t going to lay down and make it easy for her, but she didn’t get much in the way of offence while Amale was working out her issues.
Blair Davenport appeared on the stage mid-match and looked bored while Myla Grace made her comeback. She gave a slight smile as Amale slammed Grace into the mat and pinned her, and left without incident.
For someone who just won a match, Amale angry screams a lot.
Nina Samuels took over Aleah James’ interview with a Nina Samuels Show segment. She immediately insulted James’ height and James walked off.
I’m not sure NXT UK know what to do with Nina Samuels. Her character doesn’t work. It’s insincerity and inauthenticity in one package, and it doesn’t fit with the tone of the locker room. Sure, there are good ways to stand out from the pack, but this ain’t it.
Meiko Satomura gives Jinny another chance at the NXT UK Women’s Champion next week. In the build package, Jinny suggested that Satomura’s longevity in the business might have caused her to become weakened and frail and slow, but also acknowledged that she shows everyone why she’s the Final Boss every time she gets in the ring. She believes Satomura knows she’s dangerous and that’s why she never asked her to step up to her.
Satomura said she’s nervous every title defence, but she’s always evolving, and she’s dangerous. Jinny can’t beat her. Jinny is the queen, but she’s the Final Boss.
Isla Dawn has cast a spell on Dani Luna, or she’s in the process of it. It sounds like she needs to collect something else for it.
Sarray def. Katrina Cortez
Sarray vs Katrina Cortez
Let’s be honest, Sarray should have come in and been boosted straight into the potential title contender group, or provided with some character development and bounced off to the main roster. I’m not sure why it hasn’t happened. Her back was covered in kinesio tape for this match, so maybe she’s had some injury issues.
All the 205 matches are fun. There’s no pressure, no storyline, no promo, just a chance to get out there and get the crowd wanting to see more. I really enjoyed this one. Cortez’ submission hold into swinging Sarray’s face into the bottom rope looked unpleasant. Those ropes are hard for taking an impact on your face.
Sarray’s submission attempt had Cortez struggling for the ropes, but she got there and broke the hold. The next submission didn’t do the job either, and neither did the missile dropkick. Cortez was seeking her first victory on NXT/205. If Sarray hadn’t moved to avoid her finisher, she might have got it. Instead, she got her face kicked off against the ropes and pinned. Maybe next time.
Sarray checked on her and helped her up after the match.
Charlotte Flair def. Shotzi
Shayna Baszler def. Naomi
It was a spooky SmackDown this week, but they went as far as making one of the men’s tag matches a Trick or Street Fight, and that was about it.
Charlotte Flair opened the show. Michael Cole and Pat McAfee finessed over the appalling title exchange segment during her long slow entrance. Honestly, if they have her and Roman Reigns on the same show they’ll have to cut a match to fit their entrances in.
Anyway, she’s back and she’s SmackDown Women’s Champion again. She’s still insulting audiences and talking herself up. She alluded to reports of her being isolated from the locker room, saying other people are celebrated for winning titles, but when she does it it’s just another Friday… with a big wink to camera.
While she was telling us the locker room need someone to guide them, Sasha Banks arrived. She wants a title shot but Flair thinks it should be a new face. Banks asked if that was real or if Flair was just scared, and Shotzi turned up to offer herself up as a new face.
Charlotte Flair rolled her eyes and made some snarky comments, but she gave her a contender’s match.
Charlotte Flair vs Shotzi – Championship Contender’s Match
This happened after a break, with Sasha Banks at ringside. I hope this is the start of big things for Shotzi, but I don’t trust WWE with anyone. She did great in this one though. Banks was yelling support the whole time and the crowd chanted for her as well. She had Flair rocked more than once, and had a near fall after landing a kick. Flair halted her momentum with a punch to the face as Shotzi ran to the ropes and got distracted mocking Banks. Shotzi went for a suicide dive, but the landing didn’t look right at all.
Flair was apparently in control during the break, but Shotzi took over soon after we returned, taking Flair off the top turnbuckle with a hurricanrana. Flair knocked her off the apron. Shotzi kicked her in the face at ringside but couldn’t get her back in the ring in time to pin her.
Shotzi had a few credible pin attempts, and a few why not have a go’s. But avoiding an accidental collision with Banks, who was up on the apron trying to distract Flair, left her open to a punch in the face. Natural Selection followed, and the champ secured the win.
Sasha Banks looked genuinely sorry and tried to apologise to Shotzi after the match. Shotzi shoved her over and screamed at her that it was her fault. Banks got momentarily distracted by Flair doing something slightly off-camera, and Shotzi attacked her from behind. Banks didn’t get a second to find her feet and fight back. Shotzi beat her in the ring, kicked her out of it, then bounced her off the tank and barricades. Finally, she put Banks back in the ring and delivered a senton from the top.
Guess Shotzi is a heel now she’s on her own. That could be fun. Also, the women’s division got the first half-hour of the show and a second match.
Naomi vs Shayna Baszler
This one arose from Sonya Deville adding Baszler to her match with Naomi, resulting in Naomi taking an ass-kicking. This time, Deville inserted herself into the match as the referee.
It’s a shame because Naomi and Baszler could have a legitimately interesting feud, but this was pointless. Deville refused to count Naomi’s pin and fast counted Baszler’s for the ‘win’.
Naomi got in Deville’s face after the farce. Baszler grabbing her from behind and putting her to sleep in the Kirifuda Clutch probably did her a favour and stopped her getting fined and/or suspended for hitting an official.
Backstage, Naomi said if Deville ever puts away her corporate suit and steps back in the ring, she’ll be waiting. And if Baszler wants to step up and face her one on one, all she’ll be seeing is her Rear View and then some.
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.