Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Technically, we’re in the build-up to Elimination Chamber. But in reality, it’s all about the Road to WrestleMania and Elimination Chamber is little more than a stepping stone, except for the Women’s Tag Team Championships.
Ronda Rousey def. Liv Morgan
Ronda Rousey def. Sarah Logan
The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection def. Nikki Cross and Alicia Fox
Stephanie McMahon’s in-ring meeting with Becky Lynch opened the show. Lynch didn’t wait to be introduced, she came out almost as soon as McMahon started talking.
After showing the footage of Lynch’s confrontation with Ronda Rousey last week, Stephanie McMahon told Lynch how impressed she was that she stood toe to toe with Rousey and smiled serenely while an angry Ronda Rousey screamed in her face.
Becky Lynch said, why wouldn’t she be smiling. She won the Roya Rumble, she’s going to WrestleMania, and she’s going to slap the head off the baddest woman on the planet while she’s there.
McMahon said that after everything Ronda Rousey did to her, there is no one who wants to see her do it more. Then she asked how Lynch’s knee was.
Lynch said she’s fine, and McMahon showed stills from the Royal Rumble of Nia Jax causing the injury after Lynch eliminated her then pointed out that Lynch has refused medical attention for eight days.
Becky Lynch said she won the Royal Rumble on one good leg, she’ll fight anyone anywhere, but no doctors are coming near her.
Stephanie McMahon told her she understands her not wanting to be evaluated. She remembers the mess she was in after taking the punch from Nia Jax when she invaded RAW. Her nose was broken and she was bleeding and all she wanted to do was fight. She’s incredibly tough and she’ll do anything for this moment, but she can’t let her compete unless she’s been cleared by the doctors.
Becky Lynch got angry. She said she sees what’s happening here. She’s the glitch in the plan, the one they didn’t plan for, but here she is, and she’s not moving for anyone. She fought her entire life to get exactly where she is today. But what would Stephanie McMahon know about struggle? She’s never had to struggle for a damned thing in her entire life. Just another daddy’s girl who never had to fight for anything who’s trying to stop her fighting for everything. But she rose up and earned every step of the way to get to WrestleMania, and there’s nothing McMahon on any stupid doctor can do about it.
McMahon agreed that she earned it, but it’s a liability to let her compete if she’s not cleared. It’s easy, all she has to go is go and see the doctor and he’ll clear her, and she can compete. Unless the knee is worse than Lynch is making out. She cares about Lynch and this match is one of the biggest matches in the history of WWE. Everyone wants to see it. But she has to get cleared. She actually pleaded with her, then asked her again.
Becky Lynch shook her head and said she’s not taking her moment away from her.
Stephanie said she doesn’t want to take her moment away, but it’s Lynch’s choice. If she doesn’t see the doctor then she’ll have to suspend her.
Lynch’s face clouded and she warned her that she wouldn’t be responsible for her actions if she said that again.
Stephanie McMahon said she doesn’t know why this is so hard, asked her not to make her do it, then asked her one more time to see the doctor. When Lynch refused, she suspended her.
Becky Lynch punched her in the face, then pounded her to the floor and started to put her in the Dis-Arm-Her, but her knee gave out. Officials tried to keep Lynch away and one of them got punched too. She dived back onto McMahon in the corner and Stephanie McMahon aimed a well-placed kick at Lynch’s injured knee.
The official kept her back until Stephanie McMahon had left, then Lynch hobbled up the ramp.
Backstage, Lynch and Ronda Rousey came face to face. Rousey’s opening comment was to tell Lynch she tests the limits of her professionalism every time she stands in front of her and she doesn’t implode her face. But she doesn’t because she’s a professional and she has their PPV to sell. She asked what beating up Stephanie and getting herself suspended achieved, did it sell their PPV (she should know, considering she also got suspended for attacking Stephanie McMahon not that long ago). Getting suspended and robbing the women’s evolution of their first main event at WrestleMania was unprofessional. She told her to stop showing up to hear the cheers for her weekly violin recital and stay home and rest up for WrestleMania.
As it turned out, Rousey was on her way to the ring for a match against Liv Morgan. Actually, match might be stretching the descriptor a little bit.
Ronda Rousey vs Liv Morgan
Morgan started well, by running away. When she did get in the ring, Rousey shoved her and she got out again. Sarah Logan tried to provide a distraction, which failed, as did Morgan’s attempt to avoid a punch from Rousey, she just caught it in the abdomen instead of the face. That punch was followed by a few more, then Liv Morgan tapped to the armbar. In fact, the match was so fast, this is the only photo of it WWE put of their website.
After tapping Morgan out in seconds, Rousey invited Sarah Logan to have a go.
Ronda Rousey vs Sarah Logan
This was a different deal to the previous match and lasted considerably longer. Logan took the fight to Rousey from the off. She still had to be rescued from an armbar by Riott and Morgan pulling her out of the ring though.
After a break it looked like Logan was holding her own, for about thirty seconds, then she was tapping in an armbar as well.
Ruby Riott got up on the apron and looked like she was going to step in and try her luck, but she looked down at her friends holding their arms and looking pained, and got back down.
Backstage, Riott was asked why she’d essentially run away from Rousey. She said she didn’t run away. There is no doubt in her mind that she can, and will, beat Rousey. But when she does it will be for the RAW Women’s Championship. Tonight, Liv and Sarah are hurt, and they need her, so Rousey will have to wait. The Riott Squad have a bond that can’t be broken, they’ll do anything for each other no matter what the cost, because that’s what friends do. And that’s something an opportunist like Rousey can never understand.
Bayley and Sasha Banks were given a backstage interview segment during the entrances for the men’s tag team number one contender’s match. They were asked if their failures against Ronda Rousey would have any impact on their chances in the qualifying match for Elimination Chamber. Sasha Banks started to get irate about the use of the word failure, but Bayley calmed her and answered for them. She said all that matters is, they both took Rousey to her limit because individually they’re great but together they’re the best and tag teams are what it’s all about tonight. Banks said the women’s tag titles are a dream ‘that the women of WWE willed into existence’ and come Elimination Chamber The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection will make history again.
They were interrupted by Alicia Fox and Nikki Cross at that point. Fox said they aren’t going to make it to Elimination Chamber because she and Cross are going to beat them. Nikki Cross said, no one wanted to play with Nikki Cross. The Fox wanted to play. The Fox embraces the chaos because chaos isn’t judgemental, chaos is fair. Fox added, fair and square, told them they’re about to realise you don’t cross the fox, and they wandered off laughing.
The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection vs Alicia Fox & Nikki Cross – Elimination Chamber qualifying match
So, can anyone see any scenario where Sasha Banks and Bayley aren’t part of the match to award the new Women’s Tag Team Championships? No? Me neither so this match had a bit of a fait accompli feel to it.
Alicia Fox and Nikki Cross tried to turn the odds in their favour by attacking Banks and Bayley before they’d even made an entrance. There was a brawl on the stage, and Bayley nearly had the best of Fox and Cross, for a while, but both she and Banks were smashed into the backboards and left laying after a sustained beatdown. Cross and Fox were ushered to the ring by officials, and we went to a break.
When we came back, Bayley was on her feet in the ring and in control. Sasha Banks, who is apparently carrying an injury, was kneeling at ringside holding onto the edge of the ring and didn’t tag in at all during the match. She did save Bayley from being charged into against the ringpost by Nikki Cross, which was vital to the finish.
Bayley had been taking some punishment from both Fox and Cross, after having controlled things for a while, and had already been taken down on the outside by a crossbody from the apron from Nikki Cross. After Banks had pulled Bayley out of the way, and Cross had wiped herself out on the post, Bayley got back in the ring. Cross had managed to tag Alicia Fox, who grabbed Bayley by the hair. Bayley reacted by rolling her up and pinning her.
There was an odd little segment with Natalya and Dana Brooke. Natalya was relaxing in a dressing room when Brooke came in to apologise for last week. She was stood slightly behind Natalya as she did, and Natalya didn’t turn around to acknowledge her. Brooke apologised for saying she was better than Natalya and explained she was just trying to fire herself up. When Natalya still didn’t acknowledge her, she got angry and ranted that she was going to get herself a match against Natalya for next week. After Dana Brooke stormed out, Natalya removed her earphones, completely oblivious to the fact Brooke had been there at all.
Paige paid RAW a visit this week and I was briefly hopeful that she might be announcing her new role. Unfortunately, she was just there to promote Fighting With My Family.
We got a Moment of Bliss as well this week. Alexa Bliss’ guest was EC3 and the flirting was off the scale. She got straight to the point and asked him which brand he was going to land at. Sadly, he didn’t get to answer because Nia Jax and Tamina crashed the party.
Bliss asked if she was ever going to do one of these without being interrupted. Jax said no one cares about EC3 and no one wants to see the nauseating blind date thing they’ve got going on. What they should be talking about was the week she’s just had. She broke boundaries entering the men’s Rumble match (only by recent standards by taking offensive moves from the guys, she’s not the first woman in a men’s Rumble match, but it did feel like she was implying that), then she and Tamina qualified for the Elimination Chamber… by beating Bliss – Bliss protested Mickie James actually lost the match. Everyone is talking and tweeting about her, waiting to see what she’ll do next. Maybe she’ll fill in for Becky Lynch at WrestleMania.
Dean Ambrose came out and apologised to Bliss for the interruption, but he had something to Nia Jax. It’s obvious to everyone that she has a huge crush on him. She’s not the first woman to have a problem figuring out how to deal with his raw sexual magnetism. He knows it will be hard for her, but she has to stay away from him. Then he asked Bliss who EC3 was. She told him and EC3 raised the mic to his lips, only to have it knocked out of his hand. Ambrose asked EC3 a bunch of quickfire questions that he wouldn’t let him answer, and referred to him as a ‘mute Chippendale dancer’. When he finally gave EC3 an opportunity to speak, EC3 punched him in the face and walked to the ring.
EC3 beat Ambrose, slightly opportunistically, after a very short match. I’m now even more concerned about how WWE will use Ambrose in his final couple of months with the company, but that’s a subject for another article… maybe.
On a related note, Nia Jax versus Dean Ambrose has been advertised for an upcoming live show.
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville def. Naomi & Carmella, and The IIconics
With Becky Lynch suspended, Charlotte Flair opened the show. Before she said anything, footage of Lynch attacking Stephanie McMahon was played. Flair said, ‘You know they say the only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance, and last night Becky Lynch’s arrogance got the best of her. She refused medical attention, she beat up Stephanie McMahon. It was her rogue behaviour that got her suspended. I really hope Bex is thinking more clearly today. I hope she sees the doctor, I hope she goes to rehab, but most importantly, I hope she’s healthy for WrestleMania.’ Then she started chanting Becky with the crowd and said she’s happy for her too – the sarcasm wasn’t even veiled. She knows someone who is 100% healthy and would love to face Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania.
She pointed at the sign, And the spotlight picked out Becky Lynch making her way through the crowd to the ring. While she was on her way, Flair called for security and made a crack about it being one thing to steal her dad’s catchphrase, but it was something else to steal Roman Reigns’ entrance.
When Lynch finally got to the ring, she told Flair to stop boring the people to death. They argued as officials flooded the ring, then Triple H’s music hit and he came out to get the situation under control. He told Lynch she was suspended, she wasn’t supposed to be there, and to go home. She could see the doctor if she wanted the suspension lifted.
Charlotte Flair was still goading Lynch, so he turned to her and said, ‘Charlotte, this does not concern you, get out of here.’ Flair left the ring and Triple H backed the officials off.
Again, he told her to go home. If she wants to get unsuspended, go to WrestleMania to face Ronda Rousey, it’s simple. Just see the doctor, get cleared.
Lynch explained that she didn’t trust him, she couldn’t take any of this in good faith.
He said, ‘You don’t have to trust it, it is what it is. You want to get cleared, you want the suspension lifted, see the doctor, get medically cleared, go to WrestleMania, face Ronda Rousey. That’s all you’ve got to do. Until then, go home.’
As he left the ring Lynch asked, ‘How’s Steph? Did you make sure she was medically cleared, you know, after I punched her in the face?’
He got back in the ring and said he didn’t see it until now, but now it’s clear and he’s seen it a million times. He bought into this ‘The Man’ crap. The truth is she’s not The Man at all, that’s a lie. She’s just a self-destructor afraid of failure. That’s all this is. She can stand there looking smug, but he can see it in her eyes that he’s right. She’s just looking to be the martyr. She’s looking for a way out of the whole thing. That’s why, when she scratched and clawed her way to the pinnacle of her career, the Survivor Series match, she recklessly went to RAW the next night looking for a way out. And she got it. She knew it was a suicide mission but she did it anyway.
Then she came out as the martyr, talking about medical prison. That’s just another way of saying convenient excuse, that is why she’s there now. She scratched and clawed her way back to that opportunity – he had to pause to shut the crowd up – and now here they are again with the convenient excuse, looking for a way out. The truth is she’s scared. Not of being kept out, but of being cleared. He’s not convinced she’s even injured. She’s scared the doctor will tell her she can compete against Rousey at WrestleMania, and Rousey will expose her for the fraud she is. She’s afraid that on the biggest stage of them all, with the whole world watching, she will prove to everyone that Becky Lynch fears Ronda Rousey.
Becky Lynch slapped him, and they got nose to nose (ish, he’s quite a lot taller). She smiled as the crowd chanted ‘One More Time’, dropped her mic, and left the way she’d arrived.
The three teams representing SmackDown in the Elimination Chamber (who all self-declared) had a triple-threat match. All three teams had pre-match promos.
Naomi & Carmella were first. Naomi addressed Mandy Rose’s story from last week, calling it the most phoney and lie-filled thing she’s ever heard. She also pointed out it was over four years ago. Carmella said Naomi was looking for a tag partner with style, substance, and something to prove and she found a fellow former champion to form the most fabulous tag team in the women’s division. They’re calling themselves Fabulous Glow.
The IIconics have been waiting for this, they arrived on SmackDown as a ready-formed tag team. Their interview was filmed earlier and was more interview, less promo. They talked about how much it would mean to them to be the first women’s tag team champions together. It would make everything they’d been through for the last fourteen years, worth it. They came across as so genuine, I almost want them to win.
Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville got the gorilla position promo they said Naomi and Carmella were inexperienced as a tag team and in over their heads. The IIconics make Deville laugh sometimes but you don’t laugh your way to victory. None of them are Fire and Desire (new team name). Apart from Sasha Banks and Bayley, Rose and Deville are the only two who have competed in an Elimination Chamber so their competitors should step aside. Rose was asked if she’s worried about having added fuel to the fire with Naomi, she said Naomi hasn’t pinned her yet so she must be doing something right.
Naomi & Carmella vs The IIconics vs Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville
So, three teams, two people legal at any one time, and anyone can be tagged in by anyone else, or tag themselves in when someone gets too close, which is what normally happens.
It was Carmella and Sonya Deville to start thing off. Deville tagged in Rose, but as soon as Carmella tagged Naomi, Rose tagged Billie Kay and got out of the ring. Rose and Deville were relegated to patiently waiting their turn when we got back from a break, while The IIconics had Carmella isolated. Mandy Rose got back in when Carmella kicked Deville into their corner, and just managed to stop her tagging Naomi.
Rose tagged Deville as soon as Carmella managed to get to Naomi, but this time Naomi chased her and got hijacked by Deville as she re-entered the ring. Deville grabbed her by the hair, and Naomi kicked her in the face, a lot. In an ingenious moment, Naomi forced Mandy Rose back into the ring by throwing Peyton Royce into her, effectively creating a tag. She dragged Rose in by her hair and pounded on her until Peyton Royce dragged her off.
Naomi dealt with Royce, but got caught by Rose and pinned.
The Sky Pirates & Bianca Belair def. Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, & Marina Shafir
Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, & Marina Shafir vs The Sky Pirates & Bianca Belair
This week, the women’s division got the main event slot. It’s a questionable tactic, exclusively playing out the only women’s division feud instead of building anything else, but it was a really good match.
Bianca Belair (and her husband Montez Ford) has special gear for Black History Months. It’s very cool, here’s a picture.
Belair and Baszler started things off, but Belair started showing off and Baszler tagged in Marina Shafir. Shafir took one dropkick and Duke tag in. When she was down as well, Belair tagged in Kairi Sane and pressed her over her head so she could drop an elbow on Duke.
Sane was quickly overpowered and shoved into her opponents’ corner where Shafir came back in. Io Shirai came in illegally to help Sane get Shafir under control, and the official basically let it happen. Shafir was in trouble until a distraction by Baszler gave her an opportunity, which she used to drag Sane over to their corner and tag out.
Quick note, the NXT crowd were completely out of order with the way they were chanting at Marina Shafir. Honestly, people, be better.
Baszler and company kept Kairi Sane isolated for a long time. Sane almost got free from Shafir, but Jessamyn Duke stopped the tag and was thrown from the ring. Duke managed to tag Baszler (looked like Baszler picked her up and put her back on the apron to tag) at the same time as Sane got to Shirai.
Shirai was on a mission when she got in. She got Baszler down in one corner, and Shafir in the opposite one, and delivered double knees to both of them and a tiger feint kick on Baszler, before flattening her with a springboard dropkick.
Sane came in and dropped the InSane Elbow on Baszler, but Marina Shafir kicked her in the back to break it up. Kairi Sane tried to tag Io Shirai back in, but Belair has a longer reach and leaned over to tag herself in. Belair knocked Duke and Shafir off the apron and hit Baszler with the K.O.D. which would have finished the match if both Duke and Shafir hadn’t made it back in and jumped on her.
Shirai low-bridged Duke and Shafir out of the ring, Kairi Sane launched herself off the top turnbuckle onto them. Io Shirai tagged herself in a finished the match with a perfect moonsault to Shayna Baszler.
Bianca Belair didn’t quite get into the spirit of the celebration. She tried, but she clearly felt robbed of the victory, and her smiles were more of a grimace. After a while, she gave up the smiling and just stood around looking annoyed while Shirai and Sane celebrated.
Xia Brookside def. Candy Floss
In addition to this week’s match, there was a hype package for, and interview with, Jinny. She was asked what she makes of the women’s division. She thinks she’s amazing and the division is full of talented women. She congratulated Toni Storm and said she’s one of the best, but she’s sick of it always being about Toni. Time after time it is Toni Storm who gets in her way and stops her getting to the top. But it doesn’t matter what happens between Storm and Ripley in Phoenix, who is left standing, because everyone knows it’s only a matter of time until the real queen of NXT UK is crowned.
Next week, Jinny faces Mia Yim, that should be good.
Xia Brookside vs Candy Floss
A nice match between two seemingly lovely superstars. It started with a handshake and it was all very good-natured and sportsmanlike.
Candy Floss probably had the power advantage in this one, which is not often the case for her. She utilised it a little, but it was a very hold and counter based match.
Xia Brookside got the win, her first in NXT UK, with Brooksy-Bomb (her version of the Iconoclasm).
Brookside and Candy Floss were sharing a post-match moment of mutual respect when they were attacked by Rhea Ripley. Ripley slammed Candy Floss and levelled Brookside when she fought back, then threw Candy Floss out of the ring and tortured Brookside until Toni Storm barrelled down to the ring to sort it out.
Ripley and Storm exchanged blows, but Ripley pulled Brookside into the path of a Toni Storm headbutt, slammed the champion into the mat with a Riptide and posed with one foot on her.
Natalya def. Lacey Evans
This week we got a women’s division match on Main Event. They also showed footage of Becky Lynch and Stephanie McMahon from RAW, and Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Triple H from SmackDown.
Lacey Evans vs Natalya
Lacey Evans is out to rid WWE of ‘nasties’ and outpower and outwrestle the division in the process. Natalya was looking to put the rookie back in her place, which she did.
Evans showed off her comfort with underhanded tactics, she’s apparently a big fan of a handful of hair, but Natalya dominated the first part of the match. Evans turned things in her favour after damaging Natalya’s arm on the top rope and built herself some momentum. But her covers ranged from lazy to disrespectful and Natalya kicked out of them all.
Lacey Evans got increasingly frustrated as her moonsault failed to gain her the win. She was so busy trash-talking and posturing, that she ended up tapping in a Sharpshooter.
No pictures for this one because… in all honesty, it’s because I take all the pictures for this column (credited, of course) from the WWE website and they don’t bother with Main Event, and this time none of the copies on YouTube were good enough to screencap from. I do wish WWE would give Main Event its own section on the website, they have some good matches and barely anyone sees them.
I’ll be back next week with all the news and action for the go home shows to Elimination Chamber. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover or anything you want to chat about, tweet me @manda_why.