Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Extreme Rules is on Sunday so the main roster brands were on go home week build up. I’ve still got no idea what’s going on with NXT 2.0, but it’s a fun show if you don’t compare it to the one it replaced. They could do with putting people’s names on the screen a bit more often though. The most common tweet I saw during the show was along the lines of “Who are all these people”. And NXT UK is finally finding its feet and becoming interesting.
Doudrop def. Eva Marie
Shayna Baszler def. Nia Jax
Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley def. Natalya & Tamina
Doudrop vs Eva Marie
There is a real problem with the way some of the women in WWE talk to each other. I know heel promos are supposed to be mean, but the body/appearance shaming has got to stop. Eva Marie started with a prime example, so I’m not repeating any of it.
The match was almost fifty percent Eva Marie running away, which is just as well because Eva Marie can’t wrestle… at all by the looks of it. She can take a senton and a crossbody though, and that’s all that was required of her apart from a few weak-looking punches.
Doudrop told the camera the Eva-lution is dead, then left looking happy and carefree.
Nia Jax vs Shayna Baszler
The breakup of Jax and Baszler as a team and the path to this match feel extremely rushed, which is weird in a WWE environment that usually likes to wring every scrap of mileage out of a feud. The match was short as well. Jax started by yelling at Baszler that she made her and she’d nothing without her. They shoved each other and Jax picked Baszler up into her shoulder then boasted about how easy it was and said she’s the winner and it’s all about her.
She was wrong about that. She delivered a shoulder breaker to Baszler, but that was the best of her offence. A lot of knees to the face, and less than two minutes, later she was going to sleep in the Kirifuda Clutch.
The interesting stuff happened afterwards. Baszler looked upset, then attacked Jax. She kicked her in the face while she was leaning against the steps, then fed one of Jax’ hands into the hole for lifting the steps (having removed the top layer) and stamped on it. To finish, she stood on Jax’ hand, on the base of the steps and stamped on her elbow. For the ruthless and emotionless Shayna Baszler of old, that’s not unexpected. But this version of Baszler held her head and cried, just a little, while listening to her former tag partner scream like a cat with its tail caught in a door (seriously well played to Jax for those screams, they were chilling).
WWE announced later in the week that Nia Jax had suffered a fracture to her elbow as a result of the post-match attack, which will require surgery. There is currently no timescale for her return. I don’t know whether it’s all storyline or if Jax requires surgery for an existing injury (which would explain the rushed nature of the breakup).
Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley had a segment before their title match to promote WWE’s work with Connor’s Cure. It was sweet and heartfelt. Rhea Ripley got very emotional and needed Nikki A.S.H. to get her through it, which she did beautifully. They led the crowd in the V for Victory pose which is this year’s theme, and they dedicated the match to the kids, to everyone affected by paediatric cancer, and to everyone who has supported Connor’s Cure.
Natalya & Tamina (C) vs Nikki A.S.H. & Rhea Ripley – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match
So, the Connor’s Cure segment feels like it gave the game away a touch. It was unlikely they were going to dedicate a match to the kids if they were going to lose. Unlikely, but not impossible.
Ripley was taken off the apron almost immediately by Tamina, but the camera missed it. She was back in time to save Nikki from Natalya, then Tamina chucked her out of the ring again. Interestingly, commentary mentioned the ‘one save per tag match’ rule, which is almost never mentioned and even more rarely enforced.
Nikki A.S.H. took some punishment, as she often does, but she got her knees up for Tamina’s Superfly Splash (and Tamina almost hit them as well). Nikki needed a tag but Rhea was still on the floor. The moment she got up, Tamina tried to pull her back off the apron at Natalya’s direction. Ripley launched herself off the apron and took Tamina down instead.
Natalya was in the middle of putting Nikki in a Sharpshooter but she watched as Ripley gave Tamina a Riptide onto the apron. Nikki A.S.H. grabbed Natalya in a small package and pinned her before she recovered from the distraction.
The only time Ripley entered the ring was to make that save and the whole match was under five minutes.
There was a mixed reaction online to Charlotte Flair guesting on Alexa’s Playground, but I liked it.
Flair’s approach was to belittle Bliss’ new character and tell her she wanted to remind people Bliss used to be a competitor. Bliss had recovered Charly from the bin Flair put her in but she wouldn’t take her back. She doesn’t want Charly, she wants the old Alexa Bliss back. She wants the Five Feet of Fury, the Mean Girl, the bliss who was once championship material. The character is an attempt to hide how fragile and delicate she really is. They both know she’s broken. Bliss used to walk to the ring with a title in her arms, now she has a doll in her arms and Flair wants to know how it feels that the doll is more popular. And the only reason Bliss was champion in the past was that they were on different brands.
Flair’s not quite sure how she got from the main event of WrestleMania 35 to Monday Night RAW playing with dolls. She doesn’t play dress up. She doesn’t pretend to be something she’s not. She’s the real deal, but she’s beaten an almost superhero, a nightmare, and now she has to beat a grown-ass woman dressed as a little kid. As far as she’s concerned it’s all a desperate cry for help but it’s her job to beat some sense into Bliss. She asked if Bliss wanted her to do it now or wait until Sunday.
Alexa Bliss was bored. She gets it. We all get it. Flair’s the best, no one’s in her league, etc. She asked if Flair gets as bored of hearing it as the rest of us. Yes, Charlotte Flair has won more titles than any other woman. But that also means she’s lost more titles than any other woman. And as they were getting personal, who is Charlotte Flair if she doesn’t have a title. She knows Flair can’t answer because even she doesn’t know. Without a title, she has nothing. She doesn’t have to play mind games to expose Flair’s insecurities, they’re stamped right on her forehead. She’s terrified of the title moving on and leaving her with nothing.
When she asked what Flair would say or how she would act without the title, the crowd gave a Woo and she pointed at them. Bliss pointed out that wasn’t originally hers and Flair snapped back with a pointed comment about Bliss not wanting to get into a debate about originality.
Bliss didn’t give Charly to Flair to play mind games. Charly was a pity gift. She pities her because even a narcissistic self-centred bitch like her deserves happiness (yeah, she used that last week, but it was good enough for a second outing). Flair can call her crazy or whatever else she wants, but at least she knows who she is and she doesn’t have to grasp at titles to stay relevant. She can call her crazy tonight, but at Extreme Rules, she will call her champ.
Flair mocked the ‘Who is Charlotte Flair without the championship’ and told Bliss she’ll never find out, then shoved her face. Bliss jumped on her, got shaken off and felled with a kick in the face, jumped on her again and got thrown to the mat. Charlotte Flair ripped Charly’s head off and dropped it on Bliss. She went for Lilly, but Bliss jumped on her back then DDT’d her before she could do any damage.
Bliss cuddled Lilly as Flair walked up the ramp still pulling Charly’s body apart.
Kay Lee Ray def. Amari Miller
Elektra Lopez def. Anna Scheer
The first action from NXT’s women this week was a backstage brawl, Kay Lee Ray fighting Amari Miller and B-Fab fighting Elektra Lopez.
Kay Lee Ray vs Amari Miller
I can’t help wondering if Kay Lee Ray knew how the NXT landscape was going to change when she made the leap from NXT UK. With new talent being the focus of the shiny new show, you’ve got to think her role is something along the lines of Aspirational Target. Commentary were very enthusiastic about Amari Miller, as they were on 205 last week. The less than two minutes between the bell and Kay Lee Ray’s Gory Bomb didn’t tell us much about her as a wrestler though.
Elektra Lopez vs Anna Scheer
I don’t know why they couldn’t have done straight for Elektra Lopez vs B-Fab, but we get what we get. Lopez is strong, vicious, and ruthless. Another match that didn’t make it to the two-minute mark.
After the match Santos Escobar said some nice things about Lopez completing Legado del Fantasma. Lopez said tonight was just a little taste of what the first lady of Legado del Fantasma is going to unleash on B-Fab and NXT 2.0. Looking into the camera, she told B-Fab she can keep talking but everyone knows that’s all it is. And if she doesn’t like it, she can get her skinny ass out there.
Hit Row’s music played and out strolled Swerve, Top Dolla, and Ashante ‘Thee’ Adonis. B-Fab attacked Lopez from behind. They had to be separated by their factions with Wade Barrett and the crowd encouraging them to let them fight.
Raquel Gonzalez will defend her NXT Women’s Championship against Franky Monet next week.
Lashing Out with Lash Legend is a new talk show segment on NXT 2.0, debuting next week. Lash Legend is former WNBA star, Anriel Howard. I’m not convinced by the false eyelash brand name, but we’ll reserve judgement. Maybe it will make sense later, or maybe it won’t.
Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin, and Jacy Jayne are now collectively known as Toxic Attraction. They addressed the NXT 2.0 Universe this week. Mandy Rose came to NXT to grace the unworthy with her beauty and is upset people weren’t as nice to her when her face is broken and she wasn’t pretty. She realised that people were treating her the way they treated Gigi and Jacy (is she saying they’re not attractive?)… I got a bit annoyed after that. Anyway, the crux of the alliance is Rose helping them with her experience and them helping bring out the beast in her beauty. I guess that’s a fair premise, if you pretend Gigi Dolin is actually as green as they’re making out (instead of having started the same year as Rose and done so much more). They want the tag titles and they’re not prepared to wait.
Io Shirai and Zoey Stark were watching all this backstage, and had the obligatory, what are your thoughts, interview. Shirai said she doesn’t like Gigi or Jacy, so they can have a match if they want one. Stark queried whether that should have been a team discussion, but agreed with Shirai anyway.
The tag title match is next week, one of three title matches on the show.
Jinny def. Isla Dawn
Blair Devenport had a message for Sid Scala. He can punish her for as long as he wants, but bad things will continue to happen until he reinstates her.
Isla Dawn vs Jinny, with Joseph Connors
This match was made after Jinny found Isla Dawn going through her locker. Jinny is unimpressed with Dawn’s spookiness, she just wanted to fight. The new Isla Dawn can do that too, and this one was a bit of a scrap.
Jinny seems to be back on form. She came close after smashing Dawn’s face into her knee, but it was only worth two. Dawn is relentless in her new(ish) incarnation, and ruthless. She threw Jinny into the barricades after tripping her into face-planting on the apron. Joseph Connors hadn’t shut up from the outset, but he got quiet after Dawn grabbed him and he couldn’t get free. Jinny tried to capitalise on Dawn’s distraction and got punched in the face.
Sadly, the next time Connors got Isla Dawn’s attention it did cost her the match. She was sat on the top rope looking at him and Jinny got hold of her and delivered the Makeover.
Xia Brookside challenged Dani Luna to a match because they’ve never faced each other and Meiko Satomura has got them all seeking out opportunities. She knows Luna has the strength, but questions whether she has the speed. Luna agreed. I like a nice friendly contest.
Ember Moon def. Cora Jade
Ember Moon vs Cora Jade
The headgear Moon wears to the ring, a lit-up skull, is weird and I kind of like it. They main evented 205, as much as you can main event a 28-minute show. The duelling chants were kind of unexpected. With three 205 matches and two NXT matches, she hasn’t had much of a chance to make a big impression. Ember Moon is looking for a way back into the division after being left behind by Shotzi Blackheart and very much lost in the shuffle.
Good match for what it was. It could have finished with Jade being counted out after she fell from the ring when Moon sent her shoulder-first into the corner. Moon broke the count at nine and dragged her back into the ring. That almost cost her because Jade tried for an inside cradle. That pissed Moon off so she kicked her in the face and slammed her.
Ember Moon looked like she was having second thoughts about ascending for the Eclipse, but she delivered it to seal her win.
Zelina Vega def. Liv Morgan
Nikki A.S.H. def. Natalya
Becky Lynch opened the show. After some footage of her ruining Bianca Belair’s homecoming, she accepted the boos and jeers of the crowd. She questioned why Belair got a party for her homecoming when no one threw her a party for coming back at SummerSlam, at last minute notice and less than a year after having a baby, and winning the title in record time.
It was Belair’s fault she ruined the celebration. She refused to let go of her hand and it’s hit or be hit so what choice did she have. She wanted to give her time to recalibrate after her shameful and embarrassing defeat, but Belair goaded her into a rematch so what choice will she have…
Bianca Belair had heard enough by then. She got a good ovation from the crowd. Belair told her to keep her parents’ names out of her mouth. Yes, she embarrassed her at SummerSlam and in her hometown, but that’s not going to happen on Sunday. She showed Lynch she’s the strongest last week. She knows she’s been watching her while she’s been off. Watching her match all of her career accomplishments in a quarter of the time. And she won an ESPY. The match on Sunday won’t end in 26 seconds, but it will end with Bianca Belair as the newEST SmackDown Women’s Champion.
Belair put her hand out but got a slap instead of a handshake. This time, it was Belair’s K.O.D. that finished the altercation.
Liv Morgan vs Zelina Vega
Carmella joined commentary for the match. She and Liv Morgan have a match at Extreme Rules on Sunday. She sat on the commentary desk and accused Michael Cole of looking at her. Morgan took her presence as an incentive to give her a demonstration of what she wants to do to her on Sunday.
Absolutely no attention was paid to the match and the camera was on Carmella nearly as often as the ring. Of course, it was Carmella’s interference that proved decisive. After Morgan kicked Vega’s face into the turnbuckle, just like she did to Carmella last week, Carmella went to ringside to yell at her about it. Morgan tried to dropkick her through the ropes and grabbed her by the hair when she missed. Zelina Vega kicked Morgan while she still had hold of Carmella’s hair delivered her finisher for the win.
Nikki A.S.H., with Rhea Ripley, vs Natalya, with Tamina
Rhea Ripley looks like she’s having the best time with Nikki A.S.H., but she’s still not quite sure how it happened. I really like them together, but I suspect it will be short-lived. That said, everyone said that about Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax.
Another sub-two-minute match (what the hell is going on? Why so many?). Ripley had to drag Tamina off the apron at the end when Nikki was setting up for a bulldog. The ref missed Natalya rolling Nikki up because he was watching Tamina. He counted two before Nikki A.S.H. reversed the roll-up and got the win.
After the match, Shotzi and Nox arrived in the tank and shot the plastic missile at Nikki and Rhea. They are due a tag title match, so that was just a little reminder for the new champs.
Naomi was fined last week for shouting at Sonya Deville. It looked like it had worked when she did her full entrance, but as she got to the ring and we went to a break, Michael Cole said she wasn’t scheduled to compete.
When we got back, Naomi explained she came to SmackDown to compete, but Sonya Deville refused to let her compete. She’s been fined, disrespected, insulted, and ignored. Now she’s done waiting and she wants a match, so she invited someone to come and fight.
Sonya Deville came out and said it’s not happening because she makes the matches, not Naomi. Naomi suggested she makes a match between them. Deville said everyone knows she’d smack the glow right off her face, but she’s not going to because she’s no longer a competitor. She’s her boss and a WWE official.
Naomi pointed out she’s not a good official if she can’t do the one job she’s supposed to, and got a ‘Make the match’ chant going. Deville got officials to cut Naomi’s mic and called for security to remove her from the arena. While they were doing so, Deville told Naomi she was doing her a favour because it was all downhill after her entrance. They’ve given her chance after chance, and she constantly drops the ball. So if she wants someone to be mad it, be mad at herself.
There is, as yet, no explanation for Sonya Deville’s vendetta against Naomi other than a petty power trip. She was quite rightly booed out of the building. I assume this leads to Deville getting back in the ring, which is fine but seems like another uninteresting and dead-end feud for Naomi. She deserves better than that.
Becky Lynch got a final pre-Extreme Rules backstage promo. It was furious and passionate, and very Becky Lynch. I was going to post the video, but WWE didn’t put it on YouTube.
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.