Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Hell in a Cell kicked things off this week with one solitary women’s division match. There are three women’s titles across the two brands and there is no excuse for not having at least two of them defended on every single PPV. But the one match we did get was Bayley and Sasha Banks in the cell, and that’s where we’ll start.
Hell in a Cell
Sasha Banks def. Bayley
Bayley (C) vs Sasha Banks – Hell in a Cell Match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
Sasha Banks and Bayley’s careers are intertwined forever. It will never be over for good, and maybe that’s ok… as long as they leave enough time between rounds. They have been the best of friends and the bitterest of rivals, and neither can honestly talk about their success without acknowledging the role the other has played.
Banks dropkicked Bayley’s chair out of her hands as the cell was being lowered and it skidded underneath it and was trapped outside. More of a symbolic gesture than anything else, considering there are probably dozens of them under the ring.
Bayley had to fight her way out of an early Bank Statement, but it took her a little while to get out of it. She rolled to the outside and brought the first kendo stick into play. Banks took that off her and threw it through the chainlink of the cage, narrowly missing Michael Cole. She also took the next one off her. A table was the next toy in play and Banks was in control of that one.
Banks had controlled most of the early going but it was a torture of her own creation that turned the match against her for a while. She’d set kendo sticks up between the handholes in the steps and the cell fencing. She was trying to suplex Bayley into them, but ended up breaking one with her throat when Bayley tripped her. Bayley copied her idea and set more stick up, then catapulted her throat-first into them. A sunset-flip powerbomb into the cage evened things up again, but it was anyone’s game at the point.
They brutalised each other with chairs. Bayley trapped Banks upside down in the ring apron, smashed her face into the metal beam of the ring, then hit her with a kendo stick. Sasha Banks sprayed Bayley in the face with a fire extinguisher after Bayley had been taping together kendo sticks. Bayley staggered to the cell door where her trusty chair had somehow moved all by itself and was within arms reach. She grabbed it, but Banks took it off her and threw it into the ring.
That unleashed something in Banks. She beat the hell out of Bayley and hit her with a kendo stick like she was trying to beat the soul out of her, then cried in a corner for a few seconds before she got her anger back. Bayley crawled towards the chair and grabbed it in time to put it over herself to meet Banks’ frogsplash. That one slowed them both down.
Bayley set a ladder up between two chairs while Banks was down on the outside. When Banks crawled back into the ring, Bayley dumped her face-first into it then laid her on it. Weirdly, Bayley spray-painted a big cross on Sasha Banks’ stomach and screamed about being done with her before she climbed to the second turnbuckle with the chair and jumped off. Banks moved and Bayley hurt her arm.
Banks used the ladder for extra momentum to deliver double knees into the corner then tried to beat Bayley with a Bayley to Belly. Bayley kicked out, but Banks kicked out of the Bayley to Belly she delivered as well.
It was always going to take a lot to win this match. What it actually took was Bayley in a Bank Statement with a chair wrapped around her neck and Banks repeatedly stamping on the chair. Bayley tapped and her historic title reign is over. Sasha Banks held the title aloft with her foot on her former best friend as the cage was raised.
That was a long match report, but it was a long match. I hope, for her own peace of mind, that Sasha Banks gets to keep this title for more than a single match.
Lana def. Peyton Royce, Nikki Cross, and Lacey Evans
Neither the RAW Women’s Champion nor the WWE Tag Team Champions appeared on Hell in a Cell, so there was no PPV fallout to pick through for the women’s division. There was some other stuff going on though.
Alexa Bliss turned up on Firefly Fun House again. I’m struggling to articulate just how weird and creepy it is. This week was Alice in Wonderland themed and I guess that makes Bliss a twisted Alice. She brought tea with a secret ingredient for Rambin’ Rabbit, strawberry, peach, sugar, and arsenic. That wasn’t enough to kill him so Wyatt beat him to death. Bliss advertised her A Moment of Bliss interview with Randy Orton as well. I think maybe watching it is the way to go. It’s always fun watching commentary trying to figure out what to say after a Firefly Fun House segment.
Adam Pearce was accosted by Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. They both declared themselves the RAW team captain and handed him a list of who should be on the teams with them. They didn’t have each other on their lists. He said he’d take it under advisement and let them know later.
RETRIBUTION’s Reckoning (Mia Yim) got involved in a creative way in her factions’ match against The Hurt Business. She distracted MVP by getting up on the apron and scratching at her skin like she was trying to get something off her, then got into the ring and faked some kind of turn. The ref ejected her from ringside when she admitted she was faking by taking a bow.
Angel Garza tried to chat up Mandy Rose, then Dana Brooke, then Nia Jax, then Shayna Baszler. Jax took the rose from him. Once he’d gone they argued about who would have to fall in line when they were named as part of the other’s team.
Asuka joined New Day, who were imitating the Street Profits, for their rundown of the Survivor Series card so far. The Hurt Business interrupted to tell New Day they wanted the tag titles and Asuka said, ‘You will try and you will fail. Do you know why? Because New Day Rocks’.
The men were given a series of qualifying matches to decide their places on team RAW, but there aren’t enough women in the division to make that work. That needs addressing, but it’s an issue for another day. Adam Pearce announced the first four members of the team, Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Mandy Rose, and Dana Brooke.
Nia Jax demanded to be allowed to announce the final member of the team, as team captain, which started another argument about who would be captain. Pearce stopped that by telling them the fifth and final member of the team would be decided in a fatal four-way starting immediately.
Lana vs Lacey Evans vs Peyton Royce vs Nikki Cross
Ok, first of all, where the hell is Naomi? Nikki Cross has new music and new gear with yellow lacing. It was a decently entertaining match. One of those matches where everyone had their moment in the sun. Peyton Royce got underneath Lacey Evans when Evans was trying to suplex Nikki Cross of the turnbuckle. That created a tower of doom with Cross at the top. Lana dragged Peyton Royce out of the ring before anyone had time to recover and pinned Nikki Cross for the win.
Nia Jax hugged Lana to welcome her to Team RAW, then held onto her while Shayna Baszler cleared the announce desk and gave poor Lana her sixth Samoan drop through it.
Randy Orton spoke to Charly Caruso before his appearance on A Moment of Bliss and told her he wasn’t afraid of The Fiend. If The Fiend wants to show up, he’ll introduce him to the RKO. The fact the segment was closing the show was clearly a bad sign for him.
A Moment of Bliss has a much creepier vibe, not helped by Bliss’ sinister childlike persona and dungarees with Yowie Wowie written on them. Orton declined to take a seat, even when Bliss promised not to bite. After he talked a bit about his victory, Bliss made reference to him and McIntyre burning the house down, then started laughing. Orton immediately demanded to know where The Fiend was. Bliss just kept laughing.
Drew McIntyre arrived then and beat on Orton while Alexa Bliss sat on the turnbuckle pointing and laughing. The Fiend’s sound effects went as McIntyre was lining Orton up for a Claymore, and the lights went off. When they came back on red, McIntyre was in the ring alone and Orton had escaped up the ramp. Except he hadn’t escaped because The Fiend appeared behind him. Orton chose to go towards McIntyre instead of The Fiend and the lights went back to normal when they started fighting again. Bliss had vanished while the lights were out. Orton and McIntyre brawled the show off air.
Rhea Ripley def. Raquel Gonzalez
Io Shirai def. Candice LeRae
Shotzi Blackheart looked absolutely incredible for her Halloween Havoc hosting duties, in all three outfits. Her main job seemed to be spinning the wheel for the ‘Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal’ matches. Those spins gave Johnny Gargano and Damian Priest a Devil’s Playground match, and Candice LeRae and Io Shirai a Tables Ladders and Scares match.
Ember Moon is looking to give Dakota Kai a receipt she’s not going to like. She said a lot of nice things about her though.
Rhea Ripley vs Raquel Gonzalez
Both the women’s division matches on Halloween Havoc were absolutely brutal but in completely different ways. Io Shirai versus Candice LeRae had all the toys and the biggest bump of the night. Rhea Ripley versus Raquel Gonzalez was a fight. Commentary talked a lot about the fact neither woman is used to facing opponents of equal strength and size, but they both seemed to be enjoying the opportunity.
I loved every minute of this one. It’s still quite unusual to see women’s division matches based solely around power and dominance, and after a while, endurance. Rhea Ripley is awesome and this was easily the best match NXT has seen from Gonzalez, there was plenty of skill on display amongst the beating up and wearing down. Gonzalez had some periods of control, and there were some moves that really should have put Ripley down for the count. Throwing Ripley over her head from the top turnbuckle and launching her halfway across the ring, should probably have done it. Ripley kicked out after that and it was the Riptide which finished the match in her favour.
There were zombies in Dexter Lumis and Cameron Grimes’ Haunted House of Terror match. Some of them looked very familiar indeed. I can’t find official confirmation, and my facial recognition sucks, but I’m sure a few members of the women’s division crept in there.
Io Shirai (C) vs Candice LeRae – NXT Women’s Championship ‘Tables, Ladders, and Scares’ match
Poppy sang Io Shirai’s entrance and accompanied her to the ring. The reaction of Io Shirai and Candice LeRae was pretty much the same, not thrilled, not upset, just straight into it. This was only the third women’s TLC match in WWE, and NXT’s first, so it was pretty cool to see. It was a great match as well. It earned its main event slot.
There were so many toys. One of the common traits of the women’s division getting gimmick matches that they historically haven’t had is that the props get used a lot. The first thing one was a mystery bag which turned out to be full of severed limb and head props. LeRae opened it and freaked out. Shirai hit her with an arm. LeRae smacked Shirai in the face with a laptop. In return, Io Shirai threw a chair at her head while she was setting a ladder up between the announce desk and ring.
Shirai set LeRae up on a pile of chairs for the moonsault, but LeRae moved so she landed on the chairs. LeRae took a suplex onto an open chair that looked like it caught her awkwardly across the back. Shirai delivered double knees to a ladder, then hurt Candice LeRae’s leg by trapping it in a chair and twisting it. LeRae grabbed Shirai and put them both through two tables off the apron.
A figure in a black robe and death mask arrived. The same figure had helped Johnny Gargano in his match by handing him a headstone to hit Damian Priest with. They helped LeRae by putting her over their shoulders and climbing the ladder. Shotzi Blackheart appeared, dragged them off the ladder, and dropped them backwards into a pile of chairs, but LeRae was left draped over the top of the ladder.
Io Shirai set a ladder up next to LeRae, directly under the titles. They had an exchange at the top and LeRae pushed Shirai off the ladder, but she couldn’t reach the title. The final bump of the night was the biggest of the show. Io Shirai tipped the ladder over with LeRae at the top and sent her crashing through the ladder between the apron and announce desk. She landed legs first and kind of twisted. It was a big one, so I hope she’s ok. If she’d wanted to, Shirai could have gone for a coffee before climbing up to retain the title after that one.
My guess is the mystery helper is Indi Hartwell. They looked about the right height but that’s all you could tell. Great match though, and a really fun show.
Aoife Valkyrie def. Dani Luna
Aoife Valkyrie vs Dani Luna
Could have done without the WALTER vignette in the middle of this one, it’s not like it was the longest match. It was decent enough though. There’s so much potential in the NXT UK women’s division, but nothing is being done to invite investment in the characters. Aoife Valkyrie seems to be the one they’ve got pegged for the title picture. She won this one then heled Luna up and shook her hand.
Kay Lee Ray got a little video package, but that was the end of the involvement from the women’s division.
Bianca Belair def. Billie Kay and Natalya
Natalya, Billie Kay, and Bianca Belair all hassled Adam Pearce to be team captain for the SmackDown Survivor Series team. Exasperated, he gave them a triple-threat and said the winner would be on the team.
I’m not sure SmackDown have enough women to decide all the places like that.
Bianca Belair vs Natalya vs Billie Kay
They left poor Bianca Belair in the ring for a good five minutes while they went for an ad break and did a backstage segment with Aalyah Mysterio and Murphy. Eventually, Billie Kay and Natalya joined her and they got underway.
Fun triple-threat, and interesting for the relative positioning of these superstars within SmackDown’s women’s division. Natalya got Sharpshooters on Belair and Billie Kay. The one on Belair was broken up by Billie Kay adding her own submission. The Sharpshooter on Kay was broken up by Belair before throwing Natalya shoulder-first into the ringpost and out of the ring.
After thwarting a rollup attempt with added feet on ropes, Bianca Belair got the win with the K.O.D. on Billie Kay and becomes the first member of Team SmackDown.
Carmella is the one who calls the shots, gives the orders, and makes her own rules. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead because she’ll always win no matter what. Next week the whole world will find out why she’s untouchable.
Sasha Banks came to the ring for her celebration, carrying Bayley’s chair. She said she told Bayley she was going to finish what Bayley started and take what she loved the most, and she did. She thanked Bayley for stabbing her in the back because it ended an era. They were supposed to take over the company together, but when Bayley attacked her she realised it wasn’t their friendship that was unstoppable, it was her. And now she’s the champion. And now Bayley’s in her past she goes one on one with Asuka at Survivor Series.
Except Bayley wasn’t quite in her past because she came out and told Banks that everyone knows she can win a championship but even she knows she can’t keep one. Everyone knows Banks can’t beat Asuka without Bayley in her corner, so she’s doing Banks a favour and challenging her to a title match next week and taking the problem out of her hands. Sasha should enjoy her extremely short title reign because next week it ends.
Sasha Banks told Bayley she hopes she brings everything she’s got because ‘Backstabbing bitches never win’.
Banks has been a WWE fan since she was a kid. She has to know backstabbing bitches frequently win.
Sasha Banks vs Bayley – The Rematch – was confirmed for next Friday.
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.