Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Not a bad week for the women at all. Seven matches over the four main shows, and most of them were well over three minutes. It’s good to see an upturn after a dodgy few months of too many short and meaningless matches.
Sasha Banks def. Nikki Cross
Lacey Evans def. Ember Moon
Carmella won the 24/7 Championship
Michael Cole had a sit-down interview with Becky Lynch this week. He asked about her decision to have the match with Sasha Banks inside the cell, and whether it was a wise move with Banks being on a hot streak (she’s been back five minutes, I’m not sure she’s had enough matches since her return to form any kind of streak). Lynch said she wants Banks on a hot streak, she wants to face her at her best.
After WrestleMania she left the SmackDown women’s division in the best shape ever (strongly contest that) and found RAW in ruins after Ronda Rousey cut through everyone (possibly fair). She can’t make history on her own which is why she called out everyone and why she wants Banks on a hot streak.
Cole pointed out Banks was a participant in the only women’s Hell in a Cell match to date and Lynch reminded him she lost that match. He asked about the threat of Bayley (umm, they’ll be locked in a cell with Bayley on the outside) and Lynch said the cell wasn’t there to keep Bayley out, it was there to stop Banks running away.
Cole asked about Banks upping the ante with a steel chair, which Lynch got fined for using. Lynch said sometimes you go into the ring looking for victory and sometimes for revenge. Sasha Banks was trying to take her out of the game when she came back. At Hell in Cell she’ll get her chance and she better take it.
Later in the show Banks and Bayley had a conversation to answer Becky Lynch’s interview. As far as Sasha Banks is concerned she’s just going to take back what’s hers.
Sasha Banks vs Nikki Cross
I loved every minute of this one, mainly because Nikki Cross looked great in it. That’s the thing with the way Cross has been presented since her arrival on RAW, win or lose, she has never once been made to look weak. Haphazard and impulsive at times, which works to her detriment almost as often as her in her favour, but never weak or incapable.
The match got a good amount of time as well, which makes such a difference. There is a new viciousness in Banks’ offence. She took the time to really look at Cross while working over her leg, watching her scream in pain.
Inevitably, Bayley tried to get involved. She got up on the apron after Cross had delivered the swinging neckbreaker that would probably have got her the win. Bliss came around and launched Bayley into the timekeeper’s area. Cross went to the top, but Banks rolled through her crossbody and got her in the Bank Statement.
After the match Bliss took a backstabber and Bank Statement as well.
A lot was made online of this picture of Sasha Banks and Bayley. Banks looking calculating and vengeful and Bayley shining with friendship and loyalty. It’s a good shot, but time will tell how accurately it really describes their dynamic.
Sasha Banks and Bayley are clearly heading towards another tag title opportunity, which stills seems odd with Banks yet to try to justify her comments about holding the championships.
And on that note, it will be Banks vs Bliss next week.
Lacey Evans vs Ember Moon
This was shorter, but it was nice to see Ember Moon visiting from SmackDown. The Wild Card Rule goes away after the draft, which I think is a good thing if they’re keeping separate brand rosters.
The RAW crowd didn’t get to see the best of Ember Moon, she had a few moments to shine, but Evans kept most of the match to her own pace and prevented Moon gaining any momentum until towards the end. Evans grabbed Moon by the hair when she went up for the Eclipse and delivered the Woman’s Right, but used a Sharpshooter to tap Moon out instead of pinning her.
Natalya was shown watching during the match and interviewed after it. Natalya said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so she understands why Evans would emulate her. But Lacey Evans hasn’t quite mastered the Sharpshooter yet and if she wants a rematch she better be ready to tap out.
Carmella is the new 24/7 Champion. It happened when R-Truth and Carmella ran to the ring, pursued by the chasing pack. Carmella yelled at everyone to stop chasing them and said they’re exhausted and they can’t do it anymore. She can’t do it anymore. It’s too much. She looked ready to cry so R-Truth hugged her, and she pinned him.
The chasing pack looked on sad and confused as R-Truth started to smile and held her hand up in victory. The women’s locker room (four of them led by Sarah Logan) appeared and they ran off with Carmella on Truth’s back. Corey Graves (Carmella’s significant other) complained briefly that his life was about to get difficult, but Renee Young gave him no sympathy.
After they’d gone, the men’s mid-card wandered sadly off. Drake Maverick looked distraught.
Next week is RAW’s Season Premiere, which is apparently a thing but strikes me as an odd concept for a show which runs without a break.
Sasha Banks & Bayley def. Charlotte Flair & Carmella
Kabuki Warriors def. Fire & Desire
This was SmackDown Live’s last Tuesday show, as of next week they move to Friday. There is a lot of hype for next week’s WWE programming overall. The first women’s division match of the night was set after Carmella came to Charlotte Flair’s aid last week. That’s pretty much it.
Before the match, Charlotte Flair went to collect her tag team partner only to be stopped by R-Truth. He has apparently just accepted that it is now Carmella’s turn to hold the title and is doing for her what she did for him. Flair congratulated her on the championship and checked she was focused for their tag match. Carmella reassured her and said she didn’t understand why Bayley was being like this. Flair said Bayley was just showing her true colours.
Charlotte Flair & Carmella vs Sasha Banks & Bayley
24/7 Championship rules were suspended for the duration of the match, but R-Truth was with Carmella to keep a lookout.
Despite their previous friendship, Bayley was brutal with Carmella, screaming ‘I’ve changed, huh?’, while she beat on her. Carmella was isolated in Banks and Bayley’s corner for a while before she got to Charlotte Flair, but Flair came in on a mission and Sasha Banks was forced to break up a pin and tag herself in to save the match. Bayley returned the favour a little later when Carmella was trying to pin Banks.
The end came via Bank Statement on Carmella after she kicked out of a pin.
As soon as the match was over, R-Truth put Carmella across his shoulders and ran off with her before the chasing pack could catch her.
Once Truth and Carmella were gone, Bayley and Sasha Banks started the beatdown on Flair. Becky Lynch came to Flair’s aid this time. Bayley had to drag Banks out of the ring while Lynch had the Dis-Arm-Her on.
Kabuki Warriors vs Fire & Desire
This match was an unexpected pleasure. Mandy Rose is on the cover of Maxim Australia. She was handing out signed copies on her way through the backstage area, with Sonya Deville trying to get her to focus. Otis, of Heavy Machinery, got one and a selfie. He was very pleased with himself. Paige wasn’t with Asuka and Kairi Sane, she’s still recovering after surgery, but she’s posted on social media that she’s feeling good.
The match was fun, if not hugely long. Kairi Sane took a nasty tumble out of the ring, courtesy of Sonya Deville, but Mandy Rose’s trash talk magically revived her… until some interference from Deville. Eventually Sane made it to Asuka and Deville was soon having to break up a pin on Rose. Kairi Sane got rid of her, then Asuka positioned Mandy Rose for the InSane Elbow.
At the end of the show, Becky Lynch was ranting about Sasha Banks when Banks attacked her from behind. She used the fixtures and furniture and a bit of chainlink partitioning to get the better of Lynch until officials persuaded her away.
Next week will be Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair vs Sasha Banks & Bayley, again. It’s a strong reliable match for the Fox premiere. A well storied rematch, in keeping with the current top storyline, and guaranteed to be a good match.
Dakota Kai def. Taynara
Rhea Ripley def. Kayden Carter
Dakota Kai vs Taynara
This was on the televised first hour and it was Dakota Kai’s return from injury. Taynara appears to have fallen foul of the WWE surname cull. She’s looking really good, a lot more polished and fluid. Obviously, she wasn’t going to ruin the return of the ‘Captain of Team Kick though’. It was a fun match and Kai is looking great and seemed to be making a point of using her injured leg in her offence. It’s interesting at the moment to see which women will feature in the division going forward, and not just at the top of the tree. The result was obvious, Dakota Kai delivered a GTK for the win.
Rhea Ripley vs Kayden Carter
Kayden Carter used to be Lacey Lane, and I’m hoping the rebrand is a sign of big things in her future. I’ve liked her since her Mae Young Classic appearance, she’s very entertaining. Rhea Ripley is also entertaining, and a total destroyer. She’s in NXT to make an impact and I can totally see her going for the title again in the near future. Carter put up a spirited defence but the match was only going to end one way, with Rhea Ripley’s Riptide.
Next week NXT moves to two hours on USA Network instead of splitting, and they’ve got another huge show to celebrate. One of those huge matches is Shayna Baszler defending her title against Candice LeRae. Three titles are on this line at the moment and it’s hard to see any of them changing hands if I’m honest. I’d love to see Candice LeRae as champion but I’m not sure the timing is right. If she wins it now, she’s likely to be a transitional champion and I want better for her than that.
Nina Samuels def. Dani Luna
Before Tegan Nox makes her return next week to face Kay Lee Ray, we got a video package of her injury and rehab. I’d almost forgotten how harrowing her injury was to watch. I’m a huge fan of both Tegan Nox and Kay Lee Ray, so I’m really looking forward to this one.
Nina Samuels vs Dani Luna
There is something about Nina Samuels’ character which just doesn’t click for me, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is. The match was honestly both better and longer than I expected it to be. I am trying to invest in NXT UK, I really am. Dani Luna got a lot more chances and a lot more of the offence than I expected, but Nina Samuels got the pin with a Curtain Call.
No women’s division action made it to Main Event this week, not even in the highlights.
There are good reasons for the excellent array of matches we’re getting across WWE programming at the moment. RAW’s season premiere, SmackDown’s big channel change, the upcoming draft, and NXT’s move to two hour live TV. Not to mention the perceived competition taking over Wednesday nights (no, I don’t honestly see AEW as competition, however good they are, that would still take years and they haven’t started tv yet). There’s a sense that WWE are putting their best foot forward. I just hope it continues.
That’s it for this week’s WWE women’s division action. Join me next week for another instalment and in the meantime follow @ArnFuriousCom to make sure you never miss a review. You can also follow me @manda_why.