Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. A couple of additions to the regular programming this week. There was a women’s division match on the network special The Shield’s Final Chapter, and this week’s World’s Collide was all women’s matches.
The Shield’s Final Chapter
Bayley & Ember Moon def. The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan)
Bayley & Ember Moon vs The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan)
So, The Shield’s final chapter was The Riott Squad’s final chapter as well. Liv Morgan has been moved to SmackDown while Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott remain on RAW. They had a singalong with Elias before the match. Happily, Bayley stopped that with her entrance, complete with Bayley buddies.
Really good match, zero pressure, zero storyline, just four competitors for whom everything is changing.
Liv Morgan got her chance to interfere, she shoved Bayley off the turnbuckle while Ruby Riott distracted the ref. And got a cheap shot in on Bayley while the ref wasn’t looking.
It was Bayley who took the majority of the punishment in the match and spent the majority of the time in the ring. Ember Moon is just coming back from injury though, and she was in for the impressive bits and the finish.
There was a lot of talk from commentary about Ruby Riott and Ember Moon being future champions, they should have talked more about Sarah Logan. A lot will depend on how they build her character in single’s competition, Riott has done most of the Riott Squad’s talking, but there’s no reason she shouldn’t be a future champion.
Liv Morgan interfered again, holding Ruby Riott’s feet on the ropes while she was using them as leverage to pin Ember Moon. She got caught and the ref sent her to the back. The Riott Squad were inconsolable and screaming in frustration that their final match had ended that way.
Ember Moon had climbed to the top turnbuckle while Riott was howling. As soon as she was in range, Moon delivered the Eclipse and got the pin.
Naomi def. Billie Kay
Becky Lynch def. Alicia Fox
Naomi vs Billie Kay
This match was 70 seconds long. I’m not entirely sure how much there is to say about it. Peyton Royce tried to interfere. It didn’t help. Naomi won.
Becky Lynch is still getting plenty of adoration from the crowd. She said there was something special in the air that night. It was the Superstar Shake-up. That time of year when opportunity presents itself and new challengers emerge. She didn’t have to wait to find out who her new challenger was. She found out last week it’s Lacey Evans, the woman who likes to sucker-punch The Man. She doesn’t mind being sucker-punched, she’s been known to throw a few sneaky right hands herself when she wanted to. It’s not the punching, it’s the woman throwing them. But she’s made a career from slapping bleach blondes who have curried favour from management, so Lacey Evans is really just a new version of an old approach. So, while Lacey is in the back trying to further her career – said complete with raised eyebrow and awkward look – she’s out there ready to fight anyone to cement hers.
She called out Alicia Fox but got Evans instead.
Evans said a lot of stuff without saying much, but she did tell us she’s taking her title shot at Money in the Bank.
Lynch said she was just trying to enjoy the results of her long journey to the titles, but Evans was getting on her last nerve. She warned Evans not to confuse her recent happiness with contentment because she will go to the Money in the Bank PPV and dismantle her because she can. Then it’s time for The Man to go back to collecting her debts.
Alicia Fox came out then. Same attitude, new hairdo. She looks great.
Becky Lynch vs Alicia Fox
Fox’ first match for a while and it was good to see her back. She doesn’t get anywhere near the credit she deserves.
The first short-lived advantage went to Becky Lynch when she followed Fox to the outside and drove her repeatedly into the apron. Fox came back quickly, by slamming the champion back-first into the barricade and shoving her back into the ring for a two count.
Fox was just about still in control after a break. Something went weirdly wrong, and they both took a moment, but when Fox followed Lynch to the outside she got shoved into the barricade and rolled back into the ring.
Apart from a blip when Alicia Fox went for a roll-up, it was straight to the finish for Becky lynch from there and Fox tapped out to the Dis-Arm-her.
Before she’d had a chance to release the hold, Lacey Evans gave her a Woman’s Right (that honestly looked like it missed completely). When Lynch staggered to her feet, Evans gave her another.
Next week there will be a Moment of Bliss to announce RAW’s Money in the Bank participants in both matches.
Kairi Sane def. Peyton Royce
Charlotte Flair def. Bayley
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville spoke to Paige backstage about her choice of tag team to work with. They said Paige must have realised that they were out of her league now and not to call on them when her new team falls flat.
Kairi Sane vs Peyton Royce
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the IIconics talk too much, too loud, and they screech too much. I’m not entirely convinced they know how microphones work. They deliberately got Kairi Sane’s name wrong repeatedly and made excuses for Royce taking the pin last week.
Peyton Royce got a moment early in the match when she had Sane trapped in the corner. But a moment was all she got. To be fair, Kairi Sane didn’t get much more. There are a limited number of moments available in a ninety-six-second match.
Kairi Sane won with the InSane Elbow.
To the best of my recall, the only match The IIconics have won since WrestleMania, separately or together, is the squash match they set up. It has to be the set up for something, I just don’t know what yet.
After the match, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville came to the stage and had a stare down with Paige, Asuka, and Sane. It came to nothing after Jinder Mahal came out for his match.
Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch were advertised to have a face to face. Flair came out first and had a few things to get off her chest.
She said, At WrestleMania 35 in the main event in a Winner Take All match, three of the very best, not just very best women, very best in this business went head to head. The Baddest Woman on the Planet, Ronda Rousey; The Man, Becky Lynch; and The Queen, Charlotte Flair.
Becky Lynch pinned Ronda Rousey and won both the RAW and SmackDown Women’s Championships. But she pinned Ronda Rousey. Flair did not tap out and did not get pinned. Ronda Rousey lost her championship. So Becky Lynch didn’t beat her for the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship. She wants Becky Two Belts to come out and explain why she thinks she deserves to be the SmackDown Women’s Champion when she didn’t beat her.
Becky Lynch obliged. She said, ‘You said it was a winner takes all match, did you not understand what that meant’. No, she didn’t pin Flair at WrestleMania because she was too busy beating the Baddest Woman on the Planet. The woman no one else could beat, and more importantly, the woman Charlotte Flair couldn’t beat.
Flair reminded her she was in the match too and Lynch told her she was, but she’s beaten her so many times she’s lost count. She wanted to know she could beat Ronda Rousey because she already knew she could beat Charlotte Flair. And when it was all over, she walked out with both of their titles and there wasn’t a damned thing either one of them could do about it.
Flair said the only injustice is that she’s holding the SmackDown title without beating her. She thinks she’s in Lynch’s head because every time Lacey Evans is knocking her out all she can see is Charlotte Flair. It’s all over Lynch’s twitter and in every promo she does.
Lynch told her that since their battle began she has beaten her and owned her countless times and beaten the odds to come out on top while Flair has been on her worst winning streak ever (she meant losing streak but Flair picked up it), so who is in whose head.
Flair agreed, but she thinks Lynch is scared because her days are numbered. Flair has nothing left to lose and Lynch has everything to lose. So after Lynch faces Lacey Evans at Money in the Bank, Flair is next in line and she’s taking it back.
Becky Lynch questioned how Flair is next in line. What she wants is for Flair to clear the way for the likes of Bayley, Mickie James, and Ember Moon because she wants new challenges and new opponents. But Flair is the web that management won’t untangle her from, so after she runs through Lacey Evans, of Flair wants to work her way from the bottom to the top, she will still be Becky Two Belts.
Flair said she’s done it eight times and she’ll do it nine.
Bayley came out and said the Superstar Shake-up is supposed to be about fresh starts but all she sees is a rerun. She thanked Lynch for the shout out and said Lynch might have forgotten how many times she’s beaten Charlotte Flair but Bayley knows how many times Lynch has beaten her, zero.
Flair put her hand on Bayley’s shoulder and told her not to listen to Becky, and get in the back of the line because it’s still her show.
Bayley knocked the hand away. She told Flair to stop acting like she’s owed an opportunity and start earning one. Flair wants a shot at Becky Lynch, well so does she, so how about they see who deserves one.
Flair told her she’s not even worth her time to face her right now, and Bayley got in her face. Flair took off the robe and there was a match on by the time we came back from the ads.
Bayley vs Charlotte Flair
This is a PPV match, surely. At least it got a relatively decent amount of time. I’m really liking Bayley’s new look, it’s just a palette change to darker colours, but it works.
After the initial lock-up, Flair tried some intimidation and Bayley put her on her ass. It was a good plan because it knocked the condescending out of Flair and they got on with it. This new, aggressive Bayley is great. She’s actually been at her absolute best for a few months now, but it’s so much more apparent in singles’ matches.
Great or not, Flair took control of the match, but she wasn’t able to keep Bayley down. She did halt Bayley’s fightback with a vicious shot to her knee before we went to a break.
Flair was still in control after the break, but Bayley levelled the playing field, and Flair, with a knee to the face. A big boot from Flair put Bayley down for two, and Flair started to look frustrated and dragged Bayley into position for the moonsault.
Charlotte Flair not only missed with the moonsault but landed awkwardly and hurt her knee, then Bayley caught her with a belly to back suplex but Flair kicked out.
A sunset flip sent the back of Flair’s head into the turnbuckle, but Flair kicked out again. Bayley went to the top, Flair knocked her leg out from underneath her and tried for the figure four when she hit the mat. Bayley countered into a small package, but Flair got free.
Charlotte Flair landed a spear and Bayley could not kick out.
It’s official. Becky Lynch will defend the RAW Women’s Championship against Lacey Evans and The SmackDown Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair on the same night. With it being the Money in the Bank, she could easily win both matches then lose a title to the Money in the Bank winner, depending on the run of the card.
Backstage, Becky Lynch was shown looking unimpressed. She was asked why she’s accepting a challenger when she’s already set to face Lacey Evans at Money in the Bank. Because holding both championships means pulling double duty. She plans to have Evans tapping before she’s even taken her gloves off and she already knows she can beat Charlotte Flair.
After an exchange on Twitter, WWE announced Bayley versus Becky Lynch for next week.
Candice LeRae & Kacy Catanzaro def. Aliyah & Vanessa Borne
Candice LeRae & Kacy Catanzaro vs Aliyah & Vanessa Borne
Kacy Catanzaro is so much fun to watch and she and LeRae make the tiniest tag team. I’m getting sick of typing this was a short match, but it was. Still longer than the IIconics got in their combined matches though.
Catanzaro found herself isolated and dominated for much of the match. Borne and Aliyah had the good sense to keep her well and truly grounded, until she countered their double suplex into a double neckbreaker and tagged in LeRae.
Candice LeRae came in with a missile dropkick on Borne and a baseball slide into Aliyah to take her out of the match. Vanessa Borne didn’t get a single piece of offence in from the moment LeRae tagged in until the moment she was pinned off LeRae’s springboard moonsault.
Io Shirai was interviewed about the aftermath of Kairi Sane’s match last week. She got as far as telling Cathy Kelley that what Shayna did was terrible and she was going to get her, then was attacked by Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir, and Shayna Baszler. Duke and Shafir put Shirai on the floor then held her still while Baszler kicked her.
Mia Yim also had an interview this week. She talked about Shayna Baszler being unstoppable. She said she learned a lot from her previous match with Baszler and deserves another shot at her.
Kay Lee Ray def. Xia Li
Toni Storm talked about how awesome it was to represent NXT UK as Women’s Champion in New York on the most important weekend of the year (this was filmed WrestleMania weekend). Two weeks ago she defended her title against Jinny and it was close. It got her thinking. NXT UK is home to some of the most talented women in the entire world, she named Rhea Ripley, Xia Brookside, Nina Samuels and Piper Niven, but she’s Toni Storm and she’s going to be champion for a long, long, time.
Kay Lee Ray came out for her match as Storm was leaving and gave her a ‘what about me’ look before continuing to the ring.
Kay Lee Ray vs Xia Li
This was fun. Xia Li is still a little low on experience, but she’s intimidatingly quick. Thing is, you can’t intimidate Kay Lee Ray.
Short contest, quite technical for the most part. Li had Lay Lee Ray on the defensive with the speed of her strikes and even got a pin attempt in.
That was lay Lee Ray’s wake-up call though. She took over the match but possibly underestimated her opponent, who worked her way back into things with a series of strikes. When it only culminated in a two count for Li, she got frustrated.
A couple of shots and a widow’s peak later, Kay Lee Ray was victorious.
Piper Niven was asked about Rhea Ripley. She said she’s a phenomenal athlete and a tremendous superstar, but she’s a bully and Niven doesn’t have any time for bullies. She wants to see how Ripley likes it with someone a bit too big to push around on the scene.
Dana Brooke def. Ruby Riott
Dana Brooke vs Ruby Riott
No Sam Roberts to be insulting about Brooke this week, which was a relief. David Otunga was much more complimentary. It’s a shame the significantly fewer people see Main Event. I know it’s only two new matches, but Riott and Brooke got around ten minutes this week and it was pretty good.
It was Ruby Riott’s first match without Riott Squad backup. Commentary said Sarah Logan is dealing with an injury. I hope it’s nothing serious, she’s ready to make a big impact. Liv Morgan is, of course, now a SmackDown superstar.
There’s nothing to pick out in the way of spectacular highlights in the early going, just a decent and sold wrestling match. It was quite lovely. Riott should be one of the top stars in the company and Brooke has legitimately worked her way from really not good to decent. She’s ready for a bigger role.
Brooke’s power advantage was the difference maker throughout the match. Ruby Riott undoubtedly has the skills advantage but she was just out-powered and eventually pinned by Brooke.
Candice LeRae def. Kay Lee Ray
Piper Niven def. Zelina Vega
Sonya Deville def. Io Shirai
Toni Storm def. Nikki Cross and Bianca Belair
Mia Yim joined Vic Joseph and Aiden English on commentary for the event. With so many of my favourite wrestlers packed into less than an hour of programming, this was my show of the week.
Candice LeRae vs Kay Lee Ray
It’s ridiculously funny hearing Aiden English calling the women on here “young talents” like they haven’t brought years of experience to WWE with them.
World’s Collide feels off storyline and off-brand, and like the perfect opportunity for these women to have the kind of match that shows why WWE wanted them. Which is exactly what they did and it was fantastic.
Kay Lee Ray put her power advantage to good use early in the match when she could, but they’re so evenly matched that they went blow for blow and exchanged moves and counters with no one gaining a prolonged advantage. Kay Lee Ray spun LeRae around on the apron and smacked her in the face. It should have put her down, but it seemed to wake her up.
Candice LeRae flung Kay Lee Ray into the ringpost, then a trio of suicide dives put her in control. A double stomp from the top got her a two count. But she missed with the moonsault and took a kick in the face.
A step-up enziguri put Kay Lee Ray down, but LeRae collapsed to the mat instead of capitalising. They both barely made it to their feet by the ref’s count. A German suplex by LeRae when Kay Lee Ray was on the second turnbuckle got her another two count. And a kick in the head got a two count for Kay Lee Ray.
Finally, a neckbreaker followed by a springboard moonsault secured the victory for Candice LeRae.
Zelina Vega vs Piper Niven
Piper Niven is considerably taller than Zelina Vega, Vega is considerably louder. It was clear that if Niven could get hold of Vega then Vega was in trouble. Her best bet was to land what she could and keep moving.
It worked until she started trash talking, then she got thrown into a corner by her hair. She did avoid the splash though and a DDT put Niven down and gave Vega a two count.
A slam, a senton, and a splash put Vega down on the canvas and it could have been an easy pin for Niven, but she got greedy and went to the top. Vega moved and landed double knees in the corner, but had trouble dragging Niven out of the corner for the pin and Piper Niven got her foot on the rope.
Vega went to the top, Niven moved and delivered a Michinoku Driver for the win.
Io Shirai vs Sonya Deville
I’ve been a fan of Sonya Deville since she arrived in NXT and it’s been frustrating to see her somewhat overshadowed by Mandy Rose. She set out to make this match hers from the off though, and two minutes in she put her hair up which I don’t recall seeing her do for a while. She was looking composed and sharp and she controlled Shirai for long periods of the match.
Unfortunately for her, she was also in the ring with one of the best in the world. There were a few false starts in Shirai’s fightback, when Deville just knocked her back down, but it came in the end.
Io Shirai struggled to her feet in a submission and backed Deville into the corner to break the hold. The Deville missed with an enziguri and Shirai took over. Her tiger feint kick and missile dropkick only got two, but Deville was rocked. Sonya Deville had her own two count from a step up enziguri but Io Shirai wasn’t letting her take control again.
She picked Deville up and placed her for the moonsault, but Deville moved, Shirai rolled through. To my, and Io Shirai’s, absolute shock, Sonya Deville tackled her to the mat and got the pin.
Toni Storm (C) vs Bianca Belair vs Nikki Cross – NXT UK Women’s Championship match
This match was so much fun to watch. Nikki Cross can do no wrong in my eyes, sorry, that’s just the way it is. Toni Storm is one of my favourite wrestlers, and I think Bianca Belair is a future multi-brand champion. I just wish it had been a little longer.
Nikki Cross was first into the fray, and first to get thrown out of the ring. When they were one on one, Toni Storm extended her hand to Belair, Bianca Belair refused the handshake and gestured for Storm to kiss her ass. Possibly a bad move to disrespect Toni Storm.
Nikki Cross was back before anything could happen and Belair rolled out of the ring briefly, then pulled Cross out by her feet. Cross reciprocated and managed to get Belair tied up in the ring skirt to beat on her a bit. When Toni Storm tried to take advantage she ended up trapped there too.
Cross threw both opponents back into the ring and launched herself onto them. Belair moved and was able to break up Cross’ pin attempt on Storm. Belair dumped Cross onto Storm and had to quickly throw her off before Cross got an accidental pin.
Toni Storm got a break when Nikki Cross jumped on Belair’s back. The backwards slam required to get her off took it out of Belair as well, and all three were down. Toni Storm was up first and found her opponents in opposite corners. They both got backed into, twice.
Bianca Belair delivered a K.O.D. to Nikki Cross and Storm had to break up the pin. That took Cross out and left Storm and Belair to decide it. It nearly broke for Storm after Belair charged into the post and a headbutt put Belair down but left Storm unable to capitalise.
Nikki Cross reappeared and had a couple of close counts on Toni Storm. Belair tried to grab Cross as she climbed the turnbuckle but Cross kicked her to the floor. Toni Storm moved out of Cross’ flight path, grabbed her and delivered Storm Zero for the win.
I’ll be back next week to round up whatever WWE throws at us. In the meantime, connect with me on twitter @manda_why and let’s talk wrestling. Make sure you’re following @RearViewReviews so you never miss a review.