Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. With Fastlane just around the corner and WrestleMania approaching fast, this should be a busy time for WWE’s women. Storylines galore, rivalries starting to develop, all that good stuff. In fairness, there is some of that, but I’ll let you make your own minds up whether it’s enough.
Ronda Rousey & Natalya def. The Riott Squad (DQ, although it may have been recorded as no contest).
Bayley def. Nia Jax
Lacey Evans’ catwalk bit occurred during Elias’ segment, as one of the now compulsory interruptions. The final interruption was The Riott Squad coming out for their match.
Ronda Rousey & Natalya vs The Riott Squad
The Riott Squad was represented by Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott, with Liv Morgan on the outside.
Natalya and Logan got things started and Natalya was quickly, but briefly, isolated in the Riott Squad corner. She got to Rousey but, thanks to a Liv Morgan distraction, Ruby Riott got the better of her and she tagged out within a minute.
With Natalya back in the ring, Morgan got involved again. She grabbed Natalya’s leg so Natalya slid out of the ring and picked her up for Ronda Rousey to jump off the steps and elbow her to the floor. Sarah Logan took Natalya down with a dropkick at ringside before she had a chance to get back in the ring.
Natalya spent a long time trapped on the wrong side of the ring after that. When Rousey eventually came back in she was ready to win. Ruby Riott tried to stop Rousey beating on Logan in the corner, but ended up sharing the beating instead.
Rousey dealt with an attempted Morgan distraction by knocking her off the apron and had Logan pinned, but Ruby Riott got there in time to break it up. Natalya came in to deal with her and they took each other out at ringside.
Rousey delivered Piper’s Pit and had Sarah Logan seconds away from an armbar with no escape, when Becky Lynch appeared from the crowd. Natalya tried to talk to Lynch and got punched in the face, by which time Rousey was out of the ring. Lynch and Rousey tussled over possession of the crutch Lynch was using until officials pulled Rousey away and back to the ring. Rousey fought off security, while Becky Lynch fought against those restraining her to get to Rousey.
They almost got back to each other, but the police arrived at ringside and took over restraining Becky Lynch. She struggled as they hauled her away (four of them), so they cuffed her. As they led her up the ramp she was yelling ‘I need these hands to hold up the women’s title. You should arrest them, they robbed me’.
After an ad break, Rousey was helping officials assist Natalya out of the arena. She grabbed the title and stormed back to the ring, demanded a mic, then called out Vince McMahon.
She got Stephanie McMahon instead. Before she even got to the ring, Rousey was demanding that Becky Lynch be reinstated for the WrestleMania match. Stephanie said she understands Rousey was upset, but reinstatement is the least of Lynch’s problems right now, she’s been arrested and loaded into a police car.
Rousey said they can take care of that too. The McMahon family drop the charges and reinstate Lynch for the match. She told her to ‘Go tell your daddy and just do it’. McMahon said it’s not that easy and she doesn’t know how many times they have to go through it, Charlotte Flair is her WrestleMania opponent. It’s not what Rousey wanted, it’s not what she wanted, but Becky Lynch is a victim of her own actions. She’s a loose cannon. Rousey said it herself, Becky Lynch is unprofessional. Becky Lynch did this to Becky Lynch. Now, instead of being on the Road to WrestleMania, Lynch is on the road to jail.
Rousey tried changing tactics. She said Stephanie McMahon always tries to do what’s best for business, this is what’s best for business. It’s what Rousey wants, what we want, what ‘the ginger douche in cuffs’ wants. The first ever women’s main event at WrestleMania, her, Becky, and Charlotte (actually the first time a triple-threat has been mentioned, despite it being obvious that’s where we’re heading). She asked her to think about what it means for her legacy, for her three daughters.
McMahon looked like she was thinking for a second then said she’s sorry, but the answer is a hard no. She tried to leave the ring but Rousey stopped her and yelled that it wasn’t good enough. She demanded Becky be reinstated to the match now.
That got Stephanie McMahon’s back up. She reminded Rousey that she’s her boss. Her father got it right, Rousey and Lynch are cut from the same cloth, they both have a bad attitude. Nobody, not Becky Lynch, not Ronda Rousey, nobody is bigger than the WWE.
Rousey said Stephanie doesn’t control her. She’s not like everyone else that the McMahon family gives just enough to that they have to come back. She’s bled enough to be set for life. She’s not her worker, she’s Ronda Rousey, RAW Women’s Champion. She will carry the title as long as it represents the best of the best. But now she just defends against the chosen it means nothing. It’s just a belt, a gaudy accessory that isn’t even her style. She can’t stand there and endorse her violating the title, it means too much. Vince said he’s the man and he makes all the tough decisions, it’s time for him to make the right decision.
Rousey laid the title at Stephanie McMahon’s feet and walked away.
Alexa Bliss hosted another Moment of Bliss, with Finn Balor as her guest. It was as flirting heavy as her EC3 interview. Bliss told Balor that the downside of him being a champion is that the title belt covers his abs, and said if he’ll show them to her, she’ll show him her—. That was as far as she got before the interruption of Lio Rush. Balor and Rush had a conversation that ended in Balor giving Rush a title opportunity he clearly didn’t want. Bliss’ only contribution after Rush’s appearance was to goad Rush into taking the challenge by asking if he was hesitating because he wasn’t man enough, and to tell him he didn’t have time to prepare because the match was starting immediately.
Bayley vs Nia Jax
Sasha Banks accompanied Bayley and Tamina was with Jax. They stayed out of the way until the very end though. Nia Jax and Tamina are officially The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection’s first challengers for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. That match is happening at Fastlane.
Bayley has a good track record against Nia Jax, which is something commentary didn’t really mention. Jax did dominate quite a lot of the match. It’s almost inevitable with her power advantage. But Bayley has had plenty of practice dealing with her and she had no intention of staying down.
Bayley managed to fight out of a bearhug and avoid a leg drop and an elbow drop. She took Jax’ leg out from under her and slammed her face into the mat. But all her momentum was halted by Jax just running through her.
Again, Bayley fought back into it, kicking Jax out of the ring, hanging her up in the ropes, then kicking her off the apron. But again, Jax halted her momentum in a single move. This time catching Bayley as she launched herself off the turnbuckle, hanging her in the tree of woe and splashing her into the corner.
Sasha Banks came to stand in the corner where Bayley was laying, to give her a pep talk. Nia Jax grabbed her by the hair and Bayley kneed Jax in the head to make her let go. Tamina charged at Banks and barrelled into the steps when Banks stepped out of the way.
With Jax still down from the knee, Bayley climbed to the top turnbuckle and delivered an elbow drop for the win.
SmackDown didn’t feel the need to have a women’s division match this week. There’s not really any reason for them to have one, after all, nothing within the SmackDown division itself has been built. Asuka didn’t appear to address her loss to Mandy Rose last week, or to build their match at Fastlane. None of the other women who took part in the Elimination Chamber match have been seen since, except Carmella who accompanied R-Truth for his match and made herself useful in controlling for the Zelina Vega effect.
WrestleMania isn’t that far away, and Fastlane is in less than two weeks, it is beyond ridiculous that there is nothing going on for SmackDown’s women outside of the title picture, and it’s the most underhyped title match possible. One more thing while I’m whinging, where the hell has Nikki Cross gone?
Charlotte Flair addressed the WWE universe regarding Becky Lynch getting arrested and Ronda Rousey laying the title at Stephanie McMahon’s feet.
She started by pointing at the sign with a cheesy grin, then said, ‘It’s not very often the Queen gets to witness history instead of making it,’ and talked about Mr McMahon making the WWE Championship match at Fastlane better by taking out Kofi Kingston and replacing him with Kevin Owens (cheap boos). That was almost as important as when Mr McMahon anointed ‘our queen’ to save the main event of WrestleMania versus Rowdy Ronda Rousey. She knows why Mr McMahon did it and he said it best. She knows her lane and she stays in it. Unlike the criminal Becky Lynch and the quitter Ronda Rousey, she does exactly what’s asked of her and she always delivers. Media, charity, live events, the main event, she is the gold standard. On Monday Becky got arrested and Ronda laid down the title that Flair so proudly carried. She would never lay down the title. But she knows what they were thinking.
It’s so simple. They fear her and fear makes you do irrational things. Becky fears Flair will expose her for the fraud she really is. And Ronda fears Flair will give her another beating of a lifetime like she did at Survivor Series. Flair fears nothing and a true champion fears no one.
She played a Ronda Rousey rant promo from November where she talked about all the things a true champion is. Flair said that’s finally something they can agree on, but the difference between the two of them is Flair will never quit and she will never lay down the title because she is a true champion.
Next Monday, on Monday Night RAW she’s going to show up, ‘so Mr McMahon can crown the new RAW Women’s Champion. Someone who deserves it. Your Queen, Charlotte Flair.
The only other women’s division sighting was Lacey Evans doing her catwalk thing on the ramp. Honestly, this isn’t making me any less concerned about her character translating to the main roster.
Vanessa Borne & Aliyah def. Taynara Conti & Xi Li
Shayna Baszler def. Mia Yim
As if trying to make up for SmackDown and NXT UK, NXT gave us two women’s division matches and a visit from the new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions.
Taynara Conti & Xia Li vs Vanessa Borne & Aliyah
All four of these women have struggled to find a standing in NXT’s women’s division. With the women’s tag division becoming more of a focus, they could do a lot worse than teaming up.
It wasn’t a long match, but it was entertaining. Conti and Borne started things off and Conti’s superior speed gave her the upper hand. She dodged Borne as she delivered a kick and when Borne’s leg ended up through the ropes, Conti hung off it for the five count.
She’d have been better off getting straight back in the ring, but when Aliyah aimed a kick at her she took the bait and dragged Aliyah off the apron. Aliyah paid her back by keeping hold of her leg and stopping her getting back in the ring until Borne had got control of her.
It took a long time in a straitjacket hold, courtesy of Aliyah, and a couple of attempts, but Taynara Conti finally got to Xia Li. Li had been waiting the whole match to come in and she was more than ready. So ready that Aliyah couldn’t cope with the speed and accuracy of her striking.
Unfortunately, Xia Li made a rookie error. She didn’t see Aliyah tag out and was still trying to pin her when Vanessa Borne came in and smacked her in the chest, then knocked Conti down as well. After that, it was just a quick double team from Aliyah and Borne to put Xia Li down for the three count.
A Cathy Kelley announcement was disrupted by Bianca Belair and Io Shirai arguing in a corridor. They were pulled apart before it got physical, but later in the show they were awarded a number one contender’s match for next week. The winner will challenge Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship at NXT TakeOver New York.
The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection arrived to a raucous welcome, tears from Izzy, and ‘Welcome Back’ chants. Genuinely one of the sweetest segments I’ve seen on NXT.
Sasha Banks asked the crowd if they missed them, told them it’s good to be home and said this is why you don’t forget where you came from. Their journey to becoming WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions started in NXT.
Bayley asked if the crowd remembers that the last time they were in an NXT ring together was at NXT TakeOver Respect, in the main event and the first women’s ironman match. She pointed at Izzy (Banks made Izzy cry by beating Bayley up in front of her, getting in her face, and stealing her headband in that match) and they assured her Banks has changed. It was very important to them to share the titles with the NXT universe. Their journey as the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions has just begun and they want them to be the most sought out talked about championships in all of WWE.
Banks said they want the ladies to take a good look at the titles because they’re taking them all over the world from RAW to SmackDown Live to NXT.
Bayley told all the women in the back to step up and maybe next time they set foot in NXT it will be to defend the championships.
Banks sealed it with an, ‘And you can bank on that,’ to finish the segment.
Shayna Baszler vs Mia Yim
Interestingly, Baszler came to the ring alone for this non-title match. It got the main event slot as well, which equated to around 10 minutes.
In just about every Mia Yim match so far, commentary have at least mentioned that Yim trained with Shayna Baszler when she was coming back from injury and had to change her wrestling style. In this match, where it would have added an interesting layer to Yim’s opposition to Baszler’s bullying tactics in the locker room, it wasn’t mentioned at all.
Baszler’s initial offence was derisive, like she wasn’t taking Yim seriously. She might have been a bit complacent because she punched down to Yim while Yim was on the canvas and ended up punching the mat when she dodged. Mia Yim got a two count from a roll up while Baszler was still surprised, and a target for the rest of the match in Baszler’s now damaged hand.
Yim followed up on the momentum with a suicide dive when Baszler escaped to the outside and further damaged the hand by stomping on it on the steps. Baszler found her limb to target when Yim aimed a kick at her against the steps and Baszler rolled out of the way.
Once Baszler has a damaged limb to work, she’s a dangerous opponent indeed, and she worked Yim’s right leg relentlessly. Commentary pointed out that it was the same leg Yim has previously broken and still didn’t mention that Baszler was one of the people with whom she rehabbed it. When she thought she’d worn Yim down enough, Baszler locked in the Kirifuda Clutch, but Yim manipulated Baszler’s damaged hand to make her break it. Baszler substituted it for a leg-based submission instead and Yim had to fight to get to the ropes.
Mia Yim was barely able to stand. She managed to land a tornado DDT but couldn’t capitalise and her leg gave out when she wanted to charge Baszler in the corner. She told Baszler to give her the knee and rolled her up when she tried, but only got two.
A flash of adrenaline allowed Yim to land a few kicks and even Eat Defeat (Seoul Food was a much better name), but she laid clutching her leg instead of going for the cover quickly enough.
Baszler got two after a gut wrench slam, but Yim caught her leg as she let loose with a barrage of kicks, lifted her while on one leg, and powerbombed her. Baszler kicked out at two.
Baszler landed a penalty kick then locked in the Kirifuda Clutch again. Yim tried to get out by manipulating the hand, then fought it for as long as she could, but she had to tap.
There was no post-match attack, just Baszler standing over Yim, holding the title and yelling at her.
It’s immensely pleasing that Baszler did the whole match alone. The champion having Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir for backup makes her an almost unstoppable force. The champion needing Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir to win matches is just a bad look. It sends the right message when she does the occasional one alone.
NXT UK didn’t have a women’s division match this week, just a Nina Samuels promo/hype package. It’s the Nina Samuels show apparently.
There was no original women’s division action on Main Event this week, just highlights of Ronda Rousey laying the title at Stephanie McMahon’s feet and Charlotte Flair sounding off about it. It really would have been good for this to have been one of the rare weeks the women got one of the Main Event slots.
All in all, a bit of a mixed week for WWE’s women. Two of the four brands failed to have a single women’s division match, and that’s not good enough. Ok, so NXT UK is just meandering along heading nowhere in particular at the moment, but SmackDown should be building their women’s division towards Fastlane and WrestleMania. Asuka has a Fastlane match against Mandy Rose, but what about the rest of the roster?
Next week is go home week for Fastlane and I’ll be back with all the important info. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover or anything you want to chat about, tweet me @manda_why.