Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. The big news of the week came early on Monday. It’s official, Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair will make history when the RAW Women’s Championship match main events WrestleMania 35.
Ronda Rousey def Sarah Logan
Becky Lynch def. Liv Morgan
Sasha Banks def. Natalya
I’ve spent weeks complaining about the ever-decreasing length of women’s division matches, and it feels like WWE are trolling at this point. This week’s RAW started with a Beat the Clock Challenge.
The show opened with the announcement of the RAW Women’s Championship main eventing, then Ronda Rousey came to the ring. She prowled around scowling while the crowd chanted for Becky Lynch. When she eventually spoke, she said, ‘For the first time ever, women are going to be the main event of WrestleMania. For the RAW Women’s Championship, it’s going to be me versus Charlotte versus Becky and I only have one thing to say, you’re welcome.’ She dropped the mic and started to get out the ring, then picked it back up and said she does have one more thing to say, not that anyone appreciates anything she says or has accomplished. But she has a promise, she’s going to tap out Charlotte and Becky at the same at WrestleMania, and that’s all she has to say. Another mic drop, another change of mind. The third time she picked the mic up she said she has no idea what a beat the clock challenge is, it sounds like another one of those BS gimmicks WWE has going on, so let’s get the farce over with. Finally, that was all she had to say.
The Riott Squad came out next, ready for the match. They had to wait a while though because Lynch and Flair had to say their bit as well.
Becky Lynch was next. She told Rousey to stop being a little weirdo. We all know Rousey came in with her big money contract and the whole world yawned. She was given every opportunity and every advantage, only wrestled the best of the best, and still nobody gave a damn until The Man came around. Everyone knows Lynch is the best thing to ever happen to her. She saved her title run, she makes her better, and that’s why they’re the main event of WrestleMania. Her final line was a warning. ‘You know how this ends. At WrestleMania, with your title above my head and your skull beneath my foot,’
Charlotte Flair just said yes, the women are the main event. Not because of what Becky’s done in the last six months, not because of what Ronda’s done over the past year. Because of what she’s done the past seven years. That’s why she was hand-picked to be the main event of WrestleMania.
So, rules of the match. First pairing set the time, the next two have to beat it. Simple.
Ronda Rousey vs Sarah Logan
Sarah Logan started the match by running away. It gave her an advantage because she ambushed Rousey on her way back into the ring and actually got some offence in. She had a good thirty seconds or so, maybe forty, but Rousey tapped her out with the clock on 1.25.
Charlotte Flair vs Ruby Riott
Flair had one eye on Rousey, who was watching from the stage. Ruby Riott kept sending Flair out of the ring. It was a good back and forth for a little over a minute, and Charlotte Flair had Riott in the Figure Eight when the clock ran out, but she didn’t beat it.
Flair took her frustrations out on Becky Lynch with a boot to the face.
Becky Lynch vs Liv Morgan
Flair had given Morgan a pretty big advantage. The ref waited for Lynch to pull herself to her feet before starting the clock, but Morgan still took immediate control. She got a clear forty seconds of dominance before Lynch recovered. Becky Lynch pinned Liv Morgan with seven seconds left on the clock to win the whatever the hell that was. In fairness, it was fun.
Next week, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Ronda Rousey have to team together against The Riott Squad… on the WrestleMania go home show. If any of them betray their team during the match, they forfeit their place at WrestleMania.
Sasha Banks vs Natalya
This was an attempt at a rematch after Nia Jax and Tamina crashed the party last week. Bayley and Beth Phoenix accompanied their tag partners, just as they did last week. And Nia Jax and Tamina arrived mid-match and got Natalya disqualified by kicking Sasha Banks in the face, just like last week.
The match before their arrival was decent. Banks and Natalya had escaped from each other’s finishers and they were both down in the middle of the ring when Jax and Tamina arrived and levelled Bayley at ringside. Tamina got in the ring and delivered the kick to Banks, but Beth Phoenix had seen enough.
Phoenix got Tamina trapped in the corner until Jax pulled her away. She managed to get Nia Jax up on her shoulders, but a kick from Tamina made her drop her. Jax rolled out of the ring looking shocked and left Tamina to take a Glam Slam.
To send a final message about how ready she is, Beth Phoenix put her foot on the strap of Sasha Banks’ title belt as she tried to retrieve it and smiled at her.
Phoenix and Natalya stayed in the ring while commentary announced The Hart Foundation as the latest inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame 2019. Natalya was crying following the package played for them.
Backstage, Bayley and Sasha Banks said they said they would take on any team on any brand at any time. So if everyone wants to come for them they’ll take them all on at WrestleMania.
Later, WWE announced The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection will be doing exactly that. At WrestleMania, they will defend the tag titles against Nia Jax & Tamina, Beth Phoenix & Natalya, and The IIconics in a fatal four-way match.
Alexa Bliss hosted another Moment of Bliss to try to broker some kind of peace between Braun Strowman and Colin Jost and Michael Che. Not only did it not work, but Michael Che and Colin Jost are now entering the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Charlotte Flair def. Asuka
Becky Lynch had a backstage interview to explain why she’s going to win the title at WrestleMania. She was asking what Flair had done to deserve being in the match in the first place and called her and ‘undeserving third wheel’. She didn’t get to finish her speech because Flair’s music interrupted and the cameras cut off to her entrance.
Flair said she was about to show us how deserving she was, and then we got a surprise.
Asuka (C) vs Charlotte Flair – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
Yep, unannounced and for no reason other than possibly to wind up Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair had a title match. Commentary expressed their shock and speculated as to how Flair wrangled a title match this close to WrestleMania, while Flair and Asuka fought for control of the match.
They’re too well matched for either to achieve any kind of extended dominance. Asuka showed the first signs of damage after taking a lot of punishment to her knee, but she was also the first to get a really close near fall. Flair got the second soon after, and so it went on.
Slowly, Flair started to wear Asuka down and repeatedly tried for the figure four. Asuka kicked her into the turnbuckle then kicked her in the head then went to the top turnbuckle. Flair caught up with her there and punched her and delivered a Spanish fly from the top. It only got her another two count though and Flair looked desperate.
The desperation made her careless and she ended up in a triangle but she stood up and slammed Asuka to the mat to get out. They tussled on the mat, each trying to get their own submission locked in, and it was Charlotte Flair who succeeded. Flair bridged into the Figure Eight and Asuka tapped out.
Charlotte Flair is the new SmackDown Women’s Champion and the first woman to win eight titles in WWE.
The speculation started immediately. Will both titles be on the line leading to a unification? If so, would that be temporary or the first step towards ending the brand split? Or will this lead to the Four Horsewomen standing together at the end of WrestleMania holding all the gold – Sasha Banks and Bayley with the tag titles, Charlotte Flair with the SmackDown Women’s Championship and Becky Lynch with the RAW Women’s Championship? I have to admit, I love that idea. And if that happens, does that then lead to Rousey returning with Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir? So many options.
Of course, the big downside of tonight’s result is one fewer women’s division match on the WrestleMania card. As the show is rumoured to be the longest yet, they needed to fix that.
During the week, the Women’s Battle Royal was announced. Nikki Cross, The Riott Squad, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Naomi, Carmella, and Asuka are all pictured in the graphic. It’ll be a fun thing, but I guess it rules out another women’s division match being added to the card.
The IIconics had a promo segment to talk about the four-way WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match. They screamed a bit and said WrestleMania was going to be IIconic, but that’s about it.
Vanessa Borne & Aliyah vs Lacey Lane & Kacy Catanzaro – No Contest due to interference.
Vanessa Borne & Aliyah vs Lacey Lane & Kacy Catanzaro
I was really into this match in theory. NXT has a huge pool of talent available to them across the board and the women’s division is no exception. With the new WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships in need of a proper division to support them, NXT seems like the perfect place to build some great teams. Lacey Lane and Kacy Catanzaro are an especially fascinating combination, they could really add something to mix.
Sadly, we didn’t get to see much in the way of teamwork from them. Lacey Lane started things off with Aliyah, got doubled teamed and worked back to having Vanessa Borne on the run. Unfortunately, she didn’t spot Borne tag in Aliyah and got kicked in the face.
That was the start of Lane being isolated in Borne and Aliyah’s corner, and she never got to tag Kacy Catanzaro in.
Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, and Marina Shafir strode down to the ring. Vanessa Borne and Aliyah did the sensible thing and got the hell out of there. Lane and Catanzaro weren’t so lucky.
Kacy Catanzaro was quickly knocked off the apron by Jessamyn Duke. Lacey Lane was already slumped against the ropes and the knee from Baszler knocked her out of the ring. Baszler dragged Catanzaro into the ring by her hair and locked her into the Kirifuda clutch. Catanzaro escaped by walking up the turnbuckle and flipping over Baszler’s head (Baszler’s TakeOver opponents might want to take note of that), then dropkicked her and dropkicked Duke and Shafir off the apron. Shayna Baszler caught her as she tried for something athletic, locked in the Kirifuda clutch, and put Kacy Catanzaro to sleep.
Baszler stopped by the commentary desk on her way out. She leaned over to say this is going to keep happening for as long as the NXT Women’s Champion keeps getting mistreated, then climbed on the desk and held the title aloft.
Rhea Ripley def. Xia Brookside
Jinny had a promo segment filmed in India, ahead of her title match, against Toni Storm, in two weeks. She is as confident as ever.
Xia Brookside vs Rhea Ripley
Rhea Ripley did not appear to be taking Brookside seriously at all to start with. And Xia Brookside did look tiny next to her, she was unfazed though and piled straight into Ripley.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Ripley’s power advantage to come to the fore and Brookside found herself struggling. A delayed vertical suplex got Ripley a two count, Brookside got her own near fall from an inside cradle, and they laid each other out with simultaneous dropkicks.
Rhea Ripley recovered first but Brookside powered out of one submission and got to the ropes on the next. Xia Brookside slowly started to build some momentum. Double knees to the back put Ripley down and she went to the top, but Ripley got up and punched her before she could do anything. Ripley tried for a superplex, but Brookside hung her in the tree of woe and dropkicked her.
Ripley rolled out of the ring and Brookside flew off the top turnbuckle onto her. Back in the ring, Brookside got the closest of two counts, but that was her final chance. Rhea Ripley secured the victory with the Riptide.
After the match, Ripley grabbed a mic and complained about the competition she’d been given. She said she’s the dominant woman in NXT UK, which was the cue for Piper Niven to make her NXT UK debut to disagree.
Ripley was out of the ring before Niven got there. Piper Niven introduced herself with the words, ‘The most dominant woman in NXT UK, not anymore’.
Backstage, Isla Dawn was asked for her thoughts on Piper Niven arriving. She said she was extra excited to have a fellow Scot around. Kay Lee Ray turned up and said that’s cute. Does she think they’re all going to be a little gang just because they’re from the same country? Kay Lee Ray isn’t here to make friends, she’s there to take out the rest of the competition, and Dawn might be next.
She will be. Isla Dawn and Kay Lee Ray face off next week.
Main Event talked about the announcement that the RAW women’s title match will headline WrestleMania and showed highlights of Charlotte Flair versus Asuka.
NXT TakeOver New York – Preview and Prediction
Shayna Baszler (C) vs Bianca Belair vs Kairi Sane vs Io Shirai – Fatal Four-Way for the NXT Women’s Championship
To call this a preview, or a prediction, is probably stretching the definition a bit (although check back on Rear View Reviews later in the week for a full preview of the show). Truth is, when it comes to picking a winner of this one, I might as well pick names out of a hat. I have no idea.
In a four-way situation, the odds are very much against the champion, but there is always the possibility of Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir becoming a factor. Any one of the three challengers would be a worthy champion. Kairi Sane has a long history of standing up to Baszler and has beaten her. Bianca Belair would possibly have beaten her twice, if the first attempt hadn’t been thwarted by Duke and Shafir and the second by a tag from Io Shirai. That tag handed Shirai a victory over the champion, and she’s done very well in combating Baszler’s attacks as well. It really wouldn’t surprise me if they were the next three NXT Women’s Champions… but in what order?
At this stage, I’m leaning towards Io Shirai, but maybe the go home show on Wednesday, when Bianca Belair and Kairi Sane have a match, might change that. I’d be happy with any of them, although I’d really like to see Bianca Belair rewarded for her hard work, I just feel like Shirai maybe has the momentum.
Prediction: Io Shirai
I’ll be back next week with the need to know information from the go home shows, the NXT TakeOver New York result, and the WrestleMania previews. 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.