Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Extreme Rules kicked off the week and the first night of the WWE Draft 2021 closes it out on Friday.
Liv Morgan def. Carmella
Charlotte Flair def. Alexa Bliss
Bianca Belair def. Becky Lynch (DQ)
Kayla Braxton hosted, with Kevin Patrick, JBL, Booker T, and Peter Rosenberg. Sonya Deville joined them to talk about the women’s division matches.
The first question Braxton asked was what Deville’s problem is with Naomi. Deville said it’s a matter of respecting WWE officials. She would treat anyone who disrespected her like that exactly the same way. She was clearly lying.
Deville has changed her attitude. She’s become more combative and is throwing out stronger opinions. It’s a lead up to her getting back into the ring, but I’m enjoying her input into the panels less because of it. She used to lend an authentic and supportive voice in her analysis, now she speaks as a potential rival.
Liv Morgan vs Carmella – Kickoff Show
At this point, Carmella’s entire gimmick is that she is pretty and everyone else is ugly and jealous. It is the most mindless, unimaginative, and overused gimmick possible. It’s the laziest version of ‘I’m better than you’. She used precious time at the start of the match to reiterate her opinion to an increasingly bored crowd until Liv Morgan snapped and started the fighting.
Carmella was mostly concerned with protecting her face, while taking every opportunity to break Morgan’s. The match was fine, and good in places. I may be biased, but it felt like the crowd were about as irritated by Carmella’s gimmick as I am. They like Morgan though.
At the finish, Morgan smashed Carmella’s face into the announce desk then got her back in the ring for Oblivion.
Charlotte Flair (C) vs Alexa Bliss – RAW Women’s Championship match
It’s unsurprising that Charlotte Flair wanted to face the old version of Alexa Bliss rather than this one, because this one is unpredictable and a little creepy in places. I’m into it. Bliss has played it all flawlessly. She’s almost as popular with the crowd as Flair is hated by them. Good on both of them.
Bliss almost got an early DDT but Flair blocked it. Bliss got a cannonball off the apron instead but lost the advantage quickly after that.
Flair bashed her face awkwardly on the turnbuckle, courtesy of Bliss escaping from atop her shoulders. She was holding her nose and mouth for several minutes afterwards between moves. Unfortunately for Bliss some of those moves were devastating and included a swing into the barricades for her.
Bliss nearly picked up an inside cradle victory. Flair answered with a moonsault, also worth two, and a Natural Selection that didn’t quite hit. The near falls mounted up on both sides, frustration growing with every kick out. Bliss got her feet up to meet Flair’s moonsault and got two and seven eighths from a sunset bomb. She went up for Twisted Bliss, but Flair moved and grabbed her for a Figure Eight, which Bliss countered into a small package. Flair got her foot on the ropes for Bliss next attempt.
Charlotte Flair grabbed Lilly, then threw her at Bliss and delivered a big boot while she was trying to catch her. Mere seconds and a ring post to Bliss’ shoulder later, Natural Selection ensured The Queen retained her title.
After the match Flair kicked Bliss out of the ring and ripped Lilly to pieces. Bliss lost in and jumped on her, but Flair threw her over the announce desk to end the brawl. Flair left, mocking the people booing her all the way.
An enraged Bliss emerged from behind her announce desk, screaming and tearing at her hair. We were then forced to watch her gathering up the pieces of her doll alternating between grief and anger. The crowd gave a ‘Thank you Lilly’ chant while Bliss howled and walked up the ramp, collapsing on the stage utterly bereft and screaming again.
It later emerged that Alexa Bliss is scheduled to be off tv for “months” because she’s having surgery. Who knows which version will return.
Becky Lynch (C) vs Bianca Belair – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
Becky Lynch was upset by the ‘EST’ chants that accompanied the start of the match. I assume she was slightly mollified when they turned into duelling chants, but they’re locked up by then. Great match, but we were spoiled by the chemistry between Belair and Sasha Banks and that can’t happen every time.
This one was about Lynch showing everyone she’s still the best and needing the acknowledgement that despite her time away she’s still The Man. She’s taken offence to Belair calling herself The EST – and backing it up – and is determined to make an example of her. Belair is trying to prove, again, that she’s everything she says she is and more.
Lynch told Michael Cole off when she heard him say she was wondering what she’d got herself into, and told him she had a plan. Apparently, that plan involved Belair’s braid, because she brought that into play moments later.
After Belair kicked out of a pin attempt on one, Lynch started to look less sure she could beat The EST, but Belair wasn’t in the greatest shape either.
A seriously delayed vertical suplex and some counted punches to Lynch in the corner (Lynch only let her get nine punches, not ten), somehow led to them playing tug of war with Belair’s braid. Becky Lynch took a spinebuster at the end of that, so Belair won that battle.
The war was very much still on though. Lynch got her foot on the ropes from a fallaway slam and Belair took a few moments to clear her frustration. It was too long, and Lynch had regrouped as well. She pressed Lynch over her head, but didn’t do anything with her and found herself stretching her toes for the rope in a Dis-Arm-Her.
Lynch once again tried to use the hair. Belair went for the double chicken wing facebuster on the outside, but Lynch shifted her weight and sent Belair’s face into the steps. But even after that and a leg drop from the top, she only got two. Another leg drop from the top, this time to the back of Belair’s neck while she was hung in the ropes, also only got a two count.
The duelling chants which broke out at various points during the match were well-deserved. They worked their asses off and gave the crowd every reason to invest.
Bianca Belair powered out of a Dis-Arm-Her by standing up and slamming Lynch into the mat, all the more impressive because of the length of time she’d been in the hold.
They resorted to slugging it out and going for roll-ups before Lynch went back to the Dis-Arm-Her. Belair powered out of this one and got her in position for the K.O.D. to regain the title. She never got to deliver it because Sasha Banks ran in and shoved her, causing a disqualification.
Banks stamped on Belair in the corner and gave her a few knees, then faced her fellow horsewoman. Lynch obviously thought an alliance between them might be possible. Sasha Banks put her right tackling her to the mat and punching her. Belair pulled her away and took a backstabber. And a backstabber for Becky Lynch finished the job As Banks left, she called back that she’d see them on Friday.
I’m not a fan of finishing title matches like that, especially ones that are so damned good. On the other hand, we should get to see another round of Lynch and Belair, and I can’t be upset about that. And it’s always good to have Sasha Banks back.
Of course, with the draft starting on Friday, everything could change.
Extreme Rules lacked any form of extreme anywhere other than the main event, but it was a good PPV for the women’s division. There’s no point in speculating on what will happen beyond the next week because the draft puts everything up in the air.
Charlotte Flair def. Doudrop
RAW didn’t have much in the way of women’s division action this week. The first two hours of the show
Doudrop went to Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce to ask permission to answer Charlotte Flair’s open challenge. Deville agreed because Doudrop has beaten Eva Marie twice and she doesn’t think Flair would expect her to be her opponent. She managed to get a dig in at Naomi as well. She made Doudrop promise to do her dance if she wins the title.
Sarah Schreiber asked Shayna Baszler to explain what was going through her mind when she realised how badly she’d injured Nia Jax. Baszler just gave her a tortured look and walked away.
Charlotte Flair vs Doudrop
This could have been great. All I wanted was to see Doudrop wrestle a match and show the WWE Universe what she’s made of. We got closer than we have so far, but this still wasn’t it.
Flair wasn’t as dismissive of Doudrop as I thought she’d be, more pissed off that she’d dared to step up. Honestly, this is the kind of competition Flair should be relishing. The power disadvantage took her by surprise a bit, and the speed at which Doudrop moved to evade her.
Sadly, just a minute or so into the match and right after Doudrop successfully delivered a senton, Eva Marie came out. While Doudrop was watching her, Charlotte Flair smacked her in the back and pinned her Natural Selection.
Eva Marie posed in the ring after the match, looking like she was taking credit for Flair’s win. Flair clotheslined her to the mat before she left.
Shayna Baszler might have accidentally turned babyface this week. After Eva Marie got clotheslined by Charlotte Flair, she stayed in the ring through an ad break and a Goldberg video segment. When we returned to her, she said she would have been the new RAW Women’s Champion if she’d been given the opportunity instead of Doudrop. She’s tired of being taken advantage of, and the disrespect. She can beat any woman in the locker room and they all know it.
Baszler arrived to let her prove it, but didn’t wait for a match. Eva Marie tried to escape, but she was too slow and Baszler caught her in the ropes and dragged her back into the ring. She put Eva Marie to sleep in the Kirifuda Clutch, despite her desperate attempts to tap, then set about a repeat of what she did to Nia Jax. Holding Eva Marie’s arm over the edge of the ring and kicking her shoulder started it. Stamping on her elbow in the steps finished it.
There was a different feel to the stamp on Eva Marie’s elbow. For one, Baszler was smiling rather than conflicted. And instead of the stunned silence during Nia Jax’ screams, the crowd started a spontaneous ‘One more time’ chant. They only started booing when it became clear that officials weren’t going to allow it (and might have been piped in).
Nikki A.S.H. and Rhea Ripley had an interview with Sarah Schreiber. Ripley admitted they’re complete opposites and the only thing they’ve got in common is the tag titles. They’re not worried about the draft because the tag champs can go anywhere. Ripley still can’t help smiling at Nikki’s enthusiasm, but she’s not convinced about the team name Super Brutality. I suspect Nikki A.S.H.’s attempt to get her into blue and gold is going to come to nothing as well.
Elektra Lopez def. B-Fab
Io Shirai & Zoey Stark def. Gigi Dolin & Jacy Jayne
Raquel Gonzalez def. Franky Monet
Hit Row opened NXT this week and welcomed us to an episode that is ‘All about the ladies’. It was a nice way to do the housekeeping section of the show, but they were there for the first of the women’s division matches.
B-Fab, with Hit Row, vs Elektra Lopez, with Legado del Fantasma – No Disqualification match
Commentary discussed the relative lack of experience of B-Fab and Lopez (40 matches between them according to Cagematch, two each in NXT) and the fact it was probably less of a disadvantage because it was essentially a fight with no technical expertise required. It was a fight. Hit Row and Legado del Fantasma got involved and brawled into the break while B-Fab recovered from Lopez running her into the steps.
Good takes on a different meaning at a developmental level. We’re not comparing them to the Io Shirai’s or Charlotte Flair’s of the world. Things other than technical expertise matter more. For the match it was, in its context, it was good. If they’re the future of the division, it’s probably going to be fine.
Elektra Lopez picked up the win this time, but it’s not over (Edit: With Hit Row being drafted to SmackDown on Friday, maybe it is over).
Raquel Gonzalez said Franky Monet is a good opponent but she’s about to be added to the list of those she’s beaten. Toxic attraction walked in front of the interview on their way to the ring. Mandy Rose told Gonzalez she looked good with the title, but it will look better on her.
Io Shirai & Zoey Stark (C) vs Jacy Jayne & Gigi Dolin, with Mandy Rose, – NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships match
For a match built on, ‘We want a match’, ‘Ok, then’, this was decent. I can’t help wondering about Io Shirai’s future. NXT 2.0 is possibly not the place for one of the best in the world, unless bringing through the next generation of talent appeals to her of course. All the women in this one are talented, but Shirai is head and shoulders above them all.
Mandy Rose had to intervene and put Jayne’s foot on the ropes to stop Shirai submitting them both. Gigi Dolin let frustration get the better of her when Stark kicked out of her suplex, and Jacy Jayne took it worse than she did. That may have contributed to her getting caught by Stark’s knee to the face and laid out on the mat.
Stark tagged Shirai and did the good tag partner thing. She kept Dolin down after Shirai had kicked her off the apron and kept Rose busy while Io Shirai finished the job with a moonsault.
Cora Jade has a match next week. It looks like she and Trey Baxter are NXT 2.0’s next feature couple.
Lashing Out with Lash Legend was a pre-recorded segment with her introducing herself and her history in basketball and gossiping a bit about some of the roster.
Raquel Gonzalez (C) vs Franky Monet, with Jessi Kamea and Robert Stone, – NXT Women’s Championship match
This main evented the show, but only got a few minutes. My gut feeling is that Franky Monet is main roster bound, possibly as soon as the draft, so I wasn’t expecting a title change heading into the match.
Gonzalez deserves all the credit for the speed of her improvement. She’s the right person to lead the women’s division into this new era, for now. But good as she’s become, Franky Monet is in a different class. There’s no replacement for experience, and at times that showed in this one. Monet is also the closest Gonzalez has come to someone matching her strength.
If it had been a PPV match, it might have been great. As it was, it was good but finished rather abruptly with a Chingona Bomb just as it was getting interesting.
Toxic Attraction came out as Monet was leaving. They attacked her, Kamea, and Stone and left them on the floor. Then they surrounded took three sides of the ring to advance on Gonzalez. To the champ’s credit, she hit Dolin with the title belt and fought the other two off as best she could, but it was three on one and she was eventually overwhelmed. The beatdown finished with Jayne and Dolin holding Gonzalez still while Rose kneed her in the face. They posed with Rose holding the belt to close out the show.
Dani Luna def. Xia Brookside
Jinny interrupted Emilia McKenzie and Meiko Satomura training to tell McKenzie it was pathetic that she’s playing second fiddle and no one cares about her. McKenzie said she doesn’t care about Jinny’s opinion and told her to leave. Jinny said she’ll make her care.
They have a match next week.
Nina Samuels is trying to be a talk show host now. Except she only wanted to talk about herself so her interviewees, Dave Mastiff and Jack Starz, walked away. It took her a while to notice.
Dani Luna vs Xia Brookside
Xia Brookside asked politely for this match, to test her speed against Luna’s strength. There are so many spite based storylines, it’s nice to see a simple contest to see who’s better. Brookside is fast, but Dani Luna is extremely strong. If they can bring Luna’s character out a bit more, she could be great.
It was a good match for both of them, which is why I tend to like these respectful contests. There were moments of skill from Brookside and extended periods of domination from Luna. It finished with a Dani Luna powerbomb.
She offered Brookside her hand after the match, but Xia Brookside was having a bit of a moment and slapped it away.
Stevie Turner demanded Sid Scala reinstate Blair Davenport so she can get her in the ring. He said he’d speak to Johnny Saint and get back to her.
Amari Miller def. Valentina Feroz
Amari Miller vs Valentina Feroz
The NXT 2.0 crowd, who get to see 205 Live these days, are always supportive. The match started with duelling chants and a friendly handshake from the competitors. Pretty good match. Very entertaining. It’s interesting watching the 2.0 and 205 matches, knowing this is just the beginning of their WWE journeys and wondering who will get rushed to the main roster before their ready, who will get lost in the shuffle, and who will catch that perfect storm of character, skill, and momentum it takes to reach the top.
Amari Miller got the win this time. She helped Feroz up and hugged her after the match, which was sweet.
SmackDown – The WWE Draft 2021 – Night 1
Sasha Banks def. Bianca Belair
The draft rosters don’t come into play for another three weeks, until the week after the Crown Jewel PPV. My initial thought was, that’s very strange indeed and will make WWE programming for the next few weeks very odd. Why not just do the draft the week after Crown Jewel? That question was answered later in the show when they announced the King of the Ring, and new Queen of the Ring Tournaments start next Friday.
Anyway, as with previous drafts, half the roster are eligible for drafting tonight and the other half on RAW. It’s frustrating at times but stops all the top names being picked on SmackDown, and RAW only drafting the midcard and below. So, if your favourite isn’t drafted tonight, they’re probably in the Monday pool. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch will be drafted on Monday.
I’ve included all the draft picks for the night, including the men, because it’s nice to know where everyone is going to be.
- Roman Reigns – So SmackDown keep their main champ.
- Charlotte Flair – current RAW Women’s Champion, so she’s losing that at or before Crown Jewel
- Drew McIntyre
- The New Day – That means they’ve been split from Big E again, which is a shame.
- Happy Corbin & Madcap Moss
- Hit Row – Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott, Top Dolla, Ashante ‘Thee’ Adonis, & B-Fab – That is a wild choice. It had been rumoured, but as B-Fab has only had 10 matches, and Top Dolla has only had 7, I thought there was no way. She has a great character and she’s awesome with a mic in her hand, but I question the sense of asking her to step up that far that fast. I wouldn’t write them off though. Swerve is incredible, and they’ve made a big impact on NXT in a very short amount of time.
- Naomi – and Sonya Deville made it exceptionally clear it wasn’t her choice.
- Jeff Hardy
After the show, SmackDown also drafted
- MACE – Without T-BAR
- Toni Storm
- Aliyah – She vanished from NXT after her split with the Robert Stone Brand and hasn’t been seen since. She deserves this call-up. She’s been working her ass off in NXT, improving all the time. Hopefully, they’ll finally give her a character she can run with on the main roster.
- Mustafa Ali – It looks like they were drafted separately, rather than as a team.
- Drew Gulak – Who might actually get to have matches now he’s been split from the 24/7 chasing pack.
- Big E – RAW Keep their main champ too.
- Bianca Belair (which probably means they’ll move The Street Profits as well)
- RK-Bro – drafted as a team, which is allowed but they don’t have to be.
- Edge – interesting he’s so high a pick considering how few matches he’s likely to have.
- Rhea Ripley & Nikki A.S.H.
- Keith ‘Bearcat’ Lee
- Rey & Dominik Mysterio
- Austin Theory – which spells the end of The Way. That’s no bad thing and with Candice LeRae on a countdown to maternity leave, it makes sense. It will be interesting to see what they do with his character because his NXT persona isn’t going to work on the main roster.
After the show, RAW also drafted
- Akira Tozawa
- Zelina Vega
- Nia Jax
- Apollo Crews & Commander Azeez
- Alpha Academy – Chad Gable & Otis
- T-BAR – Splitting him from MACE and hopefully leading to both of them getting their names back
- Drake Maverick
- John Morrison
Charlotte Flair had an interview with Kayla Braxton. After she’d told Braxton off for not congratulating her for being the first draft pick of the women’s division, she just said she was the obvious choice for Fox and reminded us how decorated and important she is.
Carmella vs Liv Morgan never even started. My newest draft wish is for these two to be split up. Morgan punched Carmella in the face before the match started. Carmella rolled out of the ring and got a mic to call Morgan a bitch and tell her that was the last chance she’d get to damage her face. She had people at ringside strap on a sparkly silver match that covered her whole face. The crowd informed her she looked stupid for the few seconds it took her to punch Morgan, superkick her, and slam her face into the mat.
It is time to move on from this now. Please.
They also gave us a WrestleMania rematch between Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks. They have a triple-threat with Becky Lynch at Crown Jewel. I’m a little sad that this rematch has no title stakes.
Bianca Belair vs Sasha Banks
Becky Lynch joined commentary for the match. Quite rightly, it was the main event, and it still felt undervalued. Lynch on commentary pulled focus from a match that deserved our full attention. You can’t read the chemistry of a match with someone prattling on about themselves and occasionally talking up the Crown Jewel match. I adore Becky Lynch, but I wish she’d stayed in the back.
I’d like to say it got better after the break, but it didn’t. That’s really sad and more than a bit disrespectful. And a shame because the match was great. There is a chemistry between Belair and Banks you just can’t manufacture. I’m not sure if Belair has an injury to her right arm, but it looked like it let her down a couple of times. It didn’t slow her down or anything, her strength is always impressive and the way she and Banks bounce off each other is a pleasure to watch… just watch it on mute.
Sasha Banks was distraught when Belair kicked out of her frogsplash. Belair got desperate and it looked like she was going for a K.O.D. off the apron to the outside. It didn’t happen and she had to moonsault off the apron to avoid being powerbombed off it. She stumbled into Lynch and almost got caught off guard by Banks, but she caught her and slammed her spine into the barricade.
Becky Lynch held onto Belair’s hair when she got back into the ring and only let go to let Banks flip her into a jackknife cover for the win.
Charlotte Flair appeared from nowhere and laid both of them out. She held her title up in the ring while Lynch stood on the announce desk with hers to close the show.
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.