Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. It’s been a quiet week considering how close WrestleMania weekend is. There is still some good stuff going on, there’s just not enough of it. Unsurprisingly, it’s a short column this week.
Sasha Banks def. Natalya
Ronda Rousey (C) def. Dana Brooke
Alexa Bliss hosted another Moment of Bliss, with Elias as her special guest. Before she brought him out, she handed over to commentary for a rundown of the WrestleMania card so far then talked about how great she is. When Elias arrived, they’d had a flirt, and she’d reassured him this was a safe space where he wasn’t going to be interrupted, he announced he’s going to be the headline musical act of WrestleMania. Elias bitched about last year’s WrestleMania (when he got decked by John Cena) and was making threats as to what would happen if anyone interrupted him when Heavy Machinery came out leading No Way Jose’s conga line.
Bliss was furious, she’d apparently arranged for them to come out at the end of the segment because it would be funny. She shouted at Otis then Elias started to lecture him about timing, which is when No Way Jose, disguised as one of the conga line, hit Elias from behind.
That was the end of this Moment of Bliss and Elias went off to beat Jose in the ring.
Alexa Bliss appeared again a little later. She interrupted Braun Strowman’s rant about what he’s going to do to Michael Che and Colin Jost backstage at WrestleMania to tell him that, as host, it’s her responsibility to make sure the show goes without a hitch. So she thinks of it as her duty to broker peace between Strowman, Che, and Jost. Strowman told her she doesn’t need to broker anything he’s going to break them when he sees them. She said that’s what she’s trying to avoid and asked him to give her a week to fix it. He agreed but said that if they disrespect him again he’ll show them what discipline really is.
The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection had an in-ring interview with Charly Caruso. She asked them if there is any truth to the IIconics’ suggestion they’re ducking them. As seems to be their new interview dynamic, Sasha Banks started to go off on one then Bayley calmed her and answered the question. They’re not ducking anyone, they’ll defend the title anywhere against anyone who wants to step up. Which is why they’ll be visiting SmackDown tomorrow.
Banks was just starting to talk about WrestleMania when she was interrupted by Natalya and Beth Phoenix. Phoenix said she respects Banks and Bayley. She’s witnessed everything they’ve done to get the championships going, and to make them respected. She and Natalya would have loved that opportunity when she was competing full time. She was perfectly content in her new role on commentary, watching it all unfold, until she saw Nia Jax and Tamina trying to set it all back with their pettiness and jealousy. Jax and Tamina did something else too. They awoke the dragon and they got her thinking. Maybe her and Natalya’s dream could become a reality. She loves everything she’s accomplished in the WWE, but there’s one thing missing.
So, since The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection said they’ll take on anyone at any time, she is ready to step out of retirement, stand beside Natalya, and challenge them for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania.
The crowd seemed into it, but Bayley and Sasha Banks seemed almost amused. Bayley said it would obviously be a huge honour, but are they sure they want to challenge them at WrestleMania? Don’t they want a bit more time to prepare? Beth Phoenix has been retired for six years and competition has evolved.
Natalya said, ‘This is Beth Phoenix, The Glamazon, a WWE Hall of Famer’. Does Bayley really think Phoenix is afraid to fight someone like her?
Banks asked Natalya who she thinks she’s talking to. She and Bayley live and breathe the wrestling business so of course they know who Beth is, she’s the woman whose coattails Natalya’s riding so she can have a match at WrestleMania.
That was it for the talking. Natalya slapped Banks, Banks launched herself at her. Beth Phoenix lifted Banks off Natalya and Bayley got in Phoenix’ face. Beth Phoenix pushed Bayley over… and we went for a break.
Sasha Banks vs Natalya
This is the match we came back to. Bayley and Beth Phoenix stuck around at ringside for the match, which was pretty good right up until it was interrupted.
Nia Jax came to the stage with a mic and started talking to Beth Phoenix. She took exception to Phoenix calling her jealous and said she’s done more in three years than Beth Phoenix did in her entire career. Phoenix is the jealous one, because Jax is getting all the attention and is the prettier, stronger, version of her.
While Beth Phoenix was trying to digest all that, Tamina snuck up behind her and shoved her into the ringpost. She also superkicked Bayley and Sasha Banks, getting Natalya disqualified in the process, before joining Nia Jax on the stage.
Ronda Rousey (C) vs Dana Brooke – RAW Women’s Championship match
Ronda Rousey had been stopped as she entered the arena with her husband, Travis Browne, reminded she was being fined and informed WWE had hired extra security for her match. She brought her bad mood to the ring with her.
Dana Brooke earned this title match with her impassioned speech in defence of the WWE last week. Before the match, Charly Caruso congratulated Brooke on the opportunity and asked if, in light of what Rousey had done to her WrestleMania opponents, who are both former champions, had she really thought about what she’s getting herself into. Brooke said she is Dana Brooke, and this is the Road to WrestleMania, where dreams become a reality and underdogs make history. She’s not naïve, she might not be better than Ronda Rousey but all she has to do is be better than her for three seconds to become the new RAW Women’s Champion.
The interview lasted longer than the match. Brooke caught Rousey’s foot on her first attempt at a kick and decided slapping ‘the baddest woman on the planet’ was a good course of action. Rousey kneed her in the face, picked her up to knee her in the abdomen a few times, then made her tap to an armbar.
Rousey refused to release the hold long after Brooke had tapped. Another official arrived and made the mistake of putting his hands on Rousey when she let go. She shoved him over and left the ring to go and see her husband at ringside. One of the security guys tried to pull Rousey away, so she decked him then started pounding on him. Another one lifted her off his colleague and got punched in the face by Travis Browne. Browne lifted Rousey over the barricade and dragged her away while she was threatening to take on the entire security team at once.
Only after they’d left did the camera cut back to Dana Brooke, who was still laying in the ring crying and clutching her arm. WWE late released a statement saying Brooke had suffered a hyperextended left elbow and ligament tears as a result of the prolonged time in the armbar.
The IIconics def. The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection
The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection vs The IIconics
Bayley and Sasha Banks said they’d be on SmackDown, and they made the visit worth it with a match against The IIconics. For reasons best known to themselves, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay spent the whole of their very slow entrance trash-talking Banks and Bayley and suggested they were scared to face them. Banks and Bayley looked less than impressed.
Bayley started things off and Billie Kay immediately tried to trap her in the IIconics’ corner. Kay and Royce’s teamwork is impeccable, they’re easily the most polished as a team, but they were completely outclassed in this match. Peyton Royce tried to knock Banks off the apron but only succeeded in distracting herself and letting Bayley take control.
Billie Kay wasn’t faring any better than Royce. But then Lacey Evans gate-crashed to do her catwalk bit and the distraction meant Bayley was caught off guard, missed an IIconics tag, and was almost pinned. She was still under the IIconics control after a break and they worked hard to keep her away from Sasha Banks.
She got there eventually, after she and Billie Kay had taken each other down, and Banks and Royce came in to finish up. Sasha Banks would have got the pin with double knees from the top, but Kay broke it up. Banks threw Kay out of the ring and almost got pinned with a roll up. She kneed Peyton Royce in the face before having to deal with Billie Kay again. This time she got out of the ring to pull Kay off the apron.
On Kay’s third interference, grabbing Banks leg, Bayley came around to assist. She took a big boot from Billie Kay. That distracted Sasha Banks enough for Peyton Royce to roll her up and Kay held onto Banks’ arm from outside the ring to stop her kicking out.
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair were guests on the Kevin Owens show. When he’d got them both in the ring, he talked about friendships going wrong and how no one can get under your skin like your former best friend. Then he started reading out bits and pieces of the twitter wars they’ve all been having, starting with some of Ronda Rousey’s comments and moving onto Charlotte Flairs. Sadly, he didn’t read out any of the exceptional work Becky Lynch has been doing on Twitter.
Once he’d finished reading, he tried to convince them to fight by saying no one wants to see them talk anymore. He always says Fight Owens Fight, but tonight it’s Fight Becky Fight and Fight Charlotte Fight. They both stood up and moved away from the table. Charlotte Flair said she would beat the holy hell out of Becky. Owens asked Lynch to wait for her response for a moment, until he’d got out of the ring. As soon as he gave her the ok, she punched Flair in the face.
They flew over the desk in the ring and brawled on the carpet. Flair rolled out of the ring, Lynch followed, and the threw each other around at ringside. Both of them took out security guards while trying to get back to each other, and several times they were separated only to launch themselves at each other again. They were still trying to scrap when the cameras cut away.
NXT didn’t have a women’s division match this week. It was a special episode of the show devoted to dealing with Tommaso Ciampa having had to vacate the NXT Championship to undergo neck surgery. The only match on the show was to find someone to face Johnny Gargano at NXT TakeOver New York for the vacant title (Adam Cole won).
There was a brief interview with Kairi Sane and Io Shirai. They were asked if they were watching the main event that night (they were), then about their own TakeOver match and whether it would affect their friendship. Io Shirai said nothing can come between them, at TakeOver, may the best woman win. Kairi Sane said, exactly. They both want the NXT Women’s Championship and they’ll fight each other for it if they have to. Bianca Belair interrupted to tell them neither of them should be going to TakeOver because, if Baszler hadn’t interfered, she would have beaten Shirai. Kairi Sane started to object and Belair said it was nothing to do with her, but she was going to run through both of them to become NXT Women’s Champion.
Toni Storm was given the opportunity to react to Jinny’s comments on last week’s show. Storm said she and Jinny are very different but the one thing they have in common is, they really love gold. Hard work is the reason she has championship gold and Jinny doesn’t. Maybe the reason Jinny has such a problem with her is that when they’re in the ring together Jinny actually has to work hard.
Toni Storm left and passed Rhea Ripley on her way out. Ripley told the cameraperson they weren’t done yet, she had something to say. Ripley heard what Xia Brookside said about her, and if she wants to step in the ring with her again the outcome will be the same as it was in the NXT UK Women’s Championship tournament.
That was it for the NXT UK women’s division. Two matches in waiting, none on the show. It’s not ideal, but the ultra-short matches with little to no character development time or storylines haven’t exactly been working well. Maybe it’s better to wait until there is something meaningful for them to do.
There was no original women’s division action on Main Event again this week. Ronda Rousey’s title match and post-match shenanigans were covered, and Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair’s appearance on the Kevin Owens show.
I’ll be back next week with more of the build to WrestleMania weekend. 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.