Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. What a week it has been. It was always going to be busy, as the go home for a TakeOver and PPV weekend. But the events on Monday night had serious implications for both Survivor Series women’s division matches. You’d have to have been offline and not watched anything all week to have not heard Becky Lynch is injured, so let’s get straight into RAW to see what happened and the implications.
Tamina def. Ember Moon
Sasha Banks vs Bayley – No Contest due to interference
Ronda Rousey appeared in the first segment of RAW. She interrupted Stephanie McMahon and Braun Strowman talking about Strowman’s conditions of participation at Survivor Series. Her first action was to snatch the microphone from McMahon while she was trying to introduce her. She told her to save the pep talk because there is nothing she could say and nothing she could offer her that would make her more motivated than she already is. She’s been waiting for a challenge like Becky Lynch since she came to WWE and she’s tired of hearing ‘the man’ threaten to rip her arm off, she can’t wait to show her how it’s really done.
Eyeing Stephanie McMahon, she said maybe she doesn’t have to wait and started to advance. Baron Corbin appeared before she could do anything more than stare. He had a little motivational pep talk of his own, during which he leaned into Rousey while talking about not getting overconfident. She responded with a judo throw that put Corbin on his ass, and left the ring.
Rousey also had an interview segment later in the show. She was asked for a response to Becky Lynch’s promo last week and talked about how she wasn’t trying to offend Lynch last week, but it’s ridiculous that she has to point out that she was learning armbars while Lynch was doing all that stuff. Then it got a bit odd and she compared Becky Lynch to a millennial man (they’re around the same age) with a bubble wrapped ego and a porcelain self-perception. Someone needs to tell ‘the man’ that Rousey isn’t Charlotte Flair, RAW is not SmackDown, and being offended doesn’t make you right. Lynch is not Oliver Twist and Rousey is not some trust fund baby golden child. And Rousey didn’t pour her heart and soul into changing the meaning of ‘fight like a girl’, so the leader of the women’s evolution could call herself ‘the man’.
Nia Jax and Tamina appeared at the end of the interview to wish Rousey luck for Survivor Series, but they managed to make it sound like a threat.
Tamina vs Ember Moon
This was a response the Tamina and Nia Jax attacking Ember Moon last week after her match with Jax. Obviously, Ember Moon is by far the superior wrestler in that ring, but she does give up some power to Tamina, which was a factor. A far bigger factor was Nia Jax on the outside. She distracted Moon fairly early in the match to hand the advantage to Tamina. She also took a suicide dive from Moon while she was standing ringside minding her own business. Unfortunately for Ember Moon, Jax barely flinched, I’m not sure she even took a full step back.
Nia Jax was also instrumental in the result. She started to get up on the apron when Moon went up for the Eclipse and when Moon looked at her she took a superkick from Tamina. Tamina followed up with a splash from the top turnbuckle and got the win. Post-match, Nia Jax attacked Ember Moon as well.
Ruby Riott Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan came to the ring ahead of what was supposed to be a match, for Riott to talk about her breaking Natalya’s dad’s sunglasses last week. She was subdued and, after showing the footage, she said she’d had a week to think about her actions and she understands the backlash she’s received. Jim Neidhart was a future hall of famer and a badass powerhouse with the most infectious laugh, and in a moment, she took all of those happy memories and turned them into nightmares. Not only that, she humiliated Natalya in front of a worldwide audience… and she enjoyed every minute of it. She didn’t take it too far, she didn’t take it far enough. She, Morgan, and Logan have had to scratch and claw for everything they’ve ever gotten. And last week she wanted Natalya to feel real emotion, to bawl like a baby, and that’s exactly what she did. And in that moment, it all made sense, it clicked as to why Neidhart wore the sunglasses. It was because he was ashamed to look at his own daughter.
Natalya’s music cut in at that point and Logan and Morgan went to intercept. Natalya attacked Riott from behind and got some good shot in before the others made it back to the ring and she was overcome by the numbers. After beating Natalya down, The Riott Squad finished her off with a Hart Attack.
Grim promo content-wise, but put Ruby Riott in the title picture immediately. She’s got everything she needs.
Alexa Bliss arrived for her big announcement with Mickie James, Nia Jax, and Tamina in tow. She introduced them as the first members of the team and said the fourth member is Natalya, but she’s had an emotional night so Bliss sent her home.
That leaves one position open. She said she’d thought long and hard about who truly deserves to be on the team, who will win no matter what, will do anything to win, will risk anything to win, even friendship. Baron Corbin agreed with her and they set a match to decide the final team member.
Sasha Banks vs Bayley
It was kind of obvious, once Sasha Banks’ music hit, who was going to be her opponent. Not a problem, Banks and Bayley are great together whether their fighting as a team or as opponents. This was great. They have no need to hold back with each other and the levels of trust are obvious.
Sadly, the match was a ruse. Mickie James, Tamina, and Nia Jax attacked both women, and the match was thrown out.
Alexa Bliss said since Bayley didn’t win the match, and Sasha didn’t win the match, neither of them would get the place. She brought out Ruby Riott as the fifth member.
While they were celebrating, the cameras cut to backstage where they found Ronda Rousey locked in Becky Lynch’s Dis-Arm-Her and screaming the place down. Officials persuaded Lynch to let go and, a few moments later, her music hit and she appeared on the ramp.
Becky Lynch stood on the ramp giving the assembled RAW women the come and have a go look, and the rest of the SmackDown women’s roster attacked them from behind. Shortly after the brawl started, the rest of RAW’s women ran down to help and it was chaos.
In the melee, Becky Lynch caught a punch from Nia Jax and was busted open. Social media started playing the blame game immediately, with Dana Brooke getting the blame initially, but fan footage from a different angle confirmed the blow came from Jax. Exactly what went wrong, we may never know but Lynch was bleeding heavily from her nose, her left eye started to bruise immediately, and she had a cut just below it by the side of her nose. Wrestling is dangerous, sometimes this stuff happens. It barely slowed her, if anything it fired her up.
Lynch slipped out of the ring as Ronda Rousey barrelled down to help, still holding her arm. She wasn’t trying to escape, she went to get a chair to hit Rousey with, and she did, repeatedly, while covered in her own blood and with her face already swelling.
When all the RAW roster was down, except for Alexa Bliss who ran away, the SmackDown women departed through the crowd. Becky Lynch stood at the top of the stairs and held out her arms as her music played.
The show closed out with Ronda Rousey glowering at the place Becky Lynch had been standing.
It was an awesome and impactful, if gruesome, end to Monday Night RAW. But we were left waiting with bated breath for news on Becky Lynch’s fitness for Survivor Series
In the hours leading up to SmackDown Live, rumours started to circulate that Becky Lynch was out of Survivor Series due to a concussion and broken nose. By the time SmackDown aired it was confirmed, and SmackDown became unmissable in order to find out what was going to happen next.
They didn’t keep us waiting. The show opened with a recap of the invasion and confirmation Becky Lynch is out with a facial fracture and severe concussion. They even showed a close up slo-mo shot of Nia Jax making contact. They left it until later in the show to tell us how they were going to proceed though.
Paige invited the entire women’s division to the ring and introduced them one by one (except the IIconics who came out together). Once they were all there, she said that Becky Lynch would be hand-picking her replacement for Survivor Series and brought her out.
Lynch came out with her face a mass of bruises. She said she was angry as hell, and she looked it. She took a good beating last night but that’s never stopped her before. Unfortunately, the medical team won’t clear her and despite spending the day knocking on doors to get someone to let her fight, she’s out of time. Last night when they invaded raw she got a taste of blood when she beat the hell out of half their women’s locker room. And when she had Ronda Rousey in screaming in pain in her armbar that was just a taste of what she was going to do to her at Survivor Series. And take her word even with a severe concussion and a broken face she could still kick Ronda’s arse.
She’s sorry she can’t finish what she started, yet. Because Rousey isn’t the baddest bitch on the planet, she’s the luckiest. But now she has to pick her replacement for Survivor Series, someone she knows can get the job done.
She walked down the line and stared at each of her colleagues then went back to Charlotte Flair and said, ‘Go and beat Ronda the way I was going to beat Ronda, you make her tap out like I was going to tap her out’. They shook hands then Becky Lynch stepped forward and hugged her. She said something into her ear that clearly wasn’t for the camera’s benefit, then Becky Lynch left the ring barely holding back the tears.
There was a lot of debate about the hug, in light of what the two of them have put each other through, but I think I get it. They have been the best of friends and the worst of enemies, but when it came right down to it there was no-one Becky Lynch could trust more than Charlotte Flair to finish what she started. It was an emotional moment and even the hard-hearted Becky Lynch we’ve had recently can explain it away as an acknowledgement of their shared history and the faith she is putting in her. It is the job of the champion to protect the brand. She picked the person she thinks has the best chance of doing that. I just glad they haven’t made Lynch relinquish the championship. There is literally no-one who’s coming close to what Becky Lynch is doing at the moment. It also gives me good hope she won’t be out for too long. Of course, they could just take it off her next week, but let’s not think about that.
Charlotte Flair was interview backstage afterwards. She was asked to put the moment into words and said she’s spent half her career fighting against Becky, last night she fought with Becky, and this Sunday she will fight for Becky. And it’s going to be her honour at Survivor Series then the Queen beats Ronda Rousey and proves the SmackDown is the superior brand.
Of course, that leaves the Survivor Series team one short. Sadly, they couldn’t fit an announcement of the fifth member into this week’s show, or a women’s division match, again. They could have had a quick scramble match for select the final participant, and killed two birds with one stone, but no…
Bianca Belair def. Mia Yim
Lacey Evans def. Karissa Rivera
Bianca Belair vs Mia Yim
Bit of an interesting match with Belair being undefeated and Mia Yim newly arrived but far more experienced. They’ve both got a ton of attitude though, albeit Yim is slightly more understated about it, and they both seem to enjoy the trash talk.
Great match and it was given a little time to develop as well. Belair’s tendency to posture cost her control of the match on a couple of occasions, but she dominated Yim for the majority.
Mia Yim wasn’t embarrassed by any stretch of the imagination. Belair might have had the majority of the control, but she struggled to keep Yim down. Towards the end of the match, Yim really started to build momentum. She was ready to deliver the Seoul Food finisher, but Bianca Belair countered with a forearm.
Belair hoisted Mia Yim onto her shoulders for the torture rack into facebuster finisher she is now calling K.O.D. That was enough to win her the match.
Karissa Rivera vs Lacey Evans
Another squash match where I honestly don’t understand what it was supposed to achieve.
After the match finished and she’d kicked Rivera from the ring, Evans said, ‘NXT is full of a bunch of classless nasties. These girls forget what it means to carry themselves with sophistication. But I will lead by example because it is my responsibility as the lady of NXT. And if they don’t adhere to my standards, I will teach every one of them a lesson in class and manners with the Woman’s Right.’
The Hype package for Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane’s two out of three falls match contained some new interview footage from Sane. She said she lost and her treasure chest is empty now. It wasn’t fair that Baszler’s friends attacked her. But at TakeOver WarGames Baszler won’t have her friends and she can’t beat her twice. That’s great in theory, but there’s nothing in the stipulation banning Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke from ringside.
Of all the week’s for Main Event to have a women’s division match, they had to pick on when the amount of stuff going on is already threatening to turn this column into a novella. No real complaints, I’d much rather have too much to cover than nothing to talk about. And, as I’ve said before, I genuinely think the Main Event match spots are good ones. Main Event also showed highlights of the SmackDown invasion of RAW and Becky Lynch picking Charlotte Flair as her replacement.
Dana Brooke vs Alicia Fox
Both these women have suffered a bit from ‘shiny new toy syndrome’ in relation to their positioning in the women’s division, although Fox had been utilised better recently with Mixed Match Challenge and her having to sub in for Alexa Bliss. It’s good to see them getting some one on one time though. And it was an enjoyable match.
Brooke hasn’t been wasting her time away from the spotlight, she’s looking considerably more fluid and put together than she has in the past. And I don’t think Fox has ever been better. They’re a good pairing too. Alicia Fox is the perfect opponent for Brooke to showcase the more athletic side of her game.
Dana Brooke picked up the win this time, by flipping Fox over when Fox had her in a small package.
Mixed Match Challenge
Monster Eclipse def. Country Dominance
Fenomenal Flair (sort of) def. Awe-ska
The grand prize for the Mixed Match Challenge winners has been announced. The winners will enter their Royal Rumble matches at number 30, and they get a free trip to anywhere they want to go. They also explained that next week’s matches will be Loser Goes Home. The matches are Team Pawz vs Mahalicia and Fabulous Truth vs Ravishing Rusev Day and the losers will be the first to be eliminated from the competition.
Country Dominance vs Monster Eclipse
Mickie James and Ember Moon started things off with no messing about. They looked to be having a good tussle when the cameras cut to Paige telling Charlotte Flair that Styles was being replaced, but they were still going when we cut back and tagged out shortly after having reached a stalemate.
Lashley and Strowman was fun. Lashley has clearly been believing his hype man and he was extremely unimpressed that he couldn’t manhandle Strowman the way he has everyone else. Speaking of Lio Rush, he got too annoying so Ember Moon chased him. Mickie James, who had just received a tag from Lashley, intercepted her by throwing herself off the apron then rolling Moon back into the ring. Strowman took up the chase and the planned ambush by Lashley backfired when Strowman flattened him.
Meanwhile, Mickie James launched herself off the top turnbuckle, straight into a superkick from Moon. Ember Moon hit the Eclipse, and Country Dominance is undefeated no more.
Fenomenal Flair vs Awe-ska
AJ Styles was unable to compete in this week’s Mixed Match Challenge. He lost his WWE Championship and got kicked in the balls, so he probably deserved the rest of the night off. Styles’ replacement for the night was Jeff Hardy, who looked thrilled to be there.
Miz insisted on starting the match, but his arrogant posturing was short lived thanks to Hardy smashing his face repeatedly into the turnbuckle. Flair and Asuka came in shortly after.
This was the most competitive Mixed Match Challenge so far. Whether it was the prize announcement, or the pride of being undefeated, or both, everyone got serious this week.
Miz took a boot in the face from Charlotte Flair, but she distracted herself and got caught by a hip attack. Flair and Asuka seem to enjoy fighting each other just for the pleasure of seeing who’s better. I think we’ll call that particular contest a draw, and a fun one to watch.
Jeff Hardy was anxious to make his Mixed Match Challenge debut a success, but Miz and Asuka have never been beaten as a team and Miz wasn’t going to let that go lightly. Miz almost pinned Hardy but Flair broke it up and Asuka came in to throw her out of the ring.
Miz nearly hit Asuka when Hardy ducked and got rolled up while he was apologising. Asuka broke up the pin by punching Hardy in the face.
Asuka tagged in and they went for tandem It Kicks. Miz got overconfident and took a Twist of Fate. Flair and Asuka were legal though. Charlotte Flair nailed Asuka with a spear and get the Figure Eight locked in. Asuka tapped out for the first time ever on Mixed Match Challenge.
Dakota Kai def. Nina Samuels
Another two-episode week. The first show opened with an announcement, by Triple H and Johnny Saint, of a tournament to decide the first NXT UK women’s champion and the unveiling of the championship belt. I quite like it, it’s white so it kind of looks like a cross between the UK title and the IC title. The eight superstars in the tournament were on the stage for the announcement. They are, Rhea Ripley, Jinny, Nina Samuels, Toni Storm, Dakota Kai, Isla Dawn, Millie McKenzie, and Xia Brookside.
There was no other women’s division action on that episode but the brackets were announced later in the show, along with the competitor’s stats, and the tournament started on the next one.
The Brackets for the tournament are:
Dakota Kai vs Nina Samuels
Rhea Ripley vs Xia Brookside
Millie McKenzie vs Jinny
Toni Storm vs Isla Dawn
Dakota Kai vs Nina Samuels
The first match of the tournament and it was a good one, if not a long one. Dakota Kai is really making her case as a mainstay of the NXT and NXT UK rosters. She gave up a lot of power to Nina Samuels and was thoroughly manhandled for most of the match.
As soon as Kai built some momentum, it was all her. She finished Samuels with the Kairopractor to advance to the next round.
Millie McKenzie vs Jinny
This one was so much fun. They’re both great and neither is afraid to make it look like it hurts. McKenzie likes a suplex, she got to show Jinny a few during the match, along with why she’s one of the fastest rising talents in the UK scene. In return, Jinny got to she McKenzie why she’s top dog right now.
Experience won out over youth, this time. Jinny pinned McKenzie after a rolling axe kick to the head.
NXT TakeOver WarGames
Shayna Baszler def. Kairi Sane
I’m prepared to admit this might be a little lazy, but the match review below was copy/pasted from my review of NXT TakeOver WarGames. The full review can be found here. It was technically the second match of the night, but the first of the advertised card, and it was really very good. TakeOvers never disappoint.
Shayna Baszler (C) vs Kairi Sane – NXT Women’s Championship, two out of three falls, match
Kairi Sane started hard, attack is the best form of defence after all. She got Baszler out of the ring and landed an elbow from the apron.
Baszler got back in the ring holding her mouthpiece and asked for the ref’s help. As soon as he was suitably distracted, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir attacked Kairi Sane and slammed her into the ringpost then tossed her back into the ring, Baszler got the Kirifuda Clutch on, and Sane had to tap. First fall to Shayna Baszler.
With the momentum on Baszler’s side, she tried hard to get the second fall straight away, going for pin attempts and getting the Kirifuda Clutch back on. This time Sane got to the ropes with a foot. Submission hold after submission hold wasn’t enough to wear Sane down. She fought back and built momentum with a couple of pin attempts of her own.
Sane turned the table in her favour, sort of, by countering Baszler’s attempt to suplex her on the apron into a DDT, spiking Baszler’s head into the apron. While Baszler was still recovering Jessamyn Duke aimed a kick at Kairi Sane’s head and got her leg hooked up on the ringpost. Sane sent Marina Shafir into the steps when she charged at her. Then Kairi Sane went to the top turnbuckle and launched herself onto all three women.
Sane rolled Baszler back into the ring and went to the top again for an Insane elbow to even the score. Second fall to Kairi Sane.
This time Sane had the momentum and delivered three spears to Baszler, but Baszler was back on her feet before Sane could hit another InSane Elbow. They punched it out on the top turnbuckle until Sane got a sunset flip powerbomb which resulted in a two-count.
Jessamyn Duke got up on the apron to distract the ref while Marina Shafir pushed Sane back down off the turnbuckle. Dakota Kai ran down and hit Shafir from behind then kicked Duke in the face. They piled onto Kai and Io Shirai came to make the save with a spectacularly beautiful moonsault.
As Kairi Sane landed another InSane elbow Baszler grabbed her around the neck and rolled her shoulders onto the mat for the three count. Shayna Baszler took the decisive fall to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
Survivor Series – Preview and Predictions
Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair
Team RAW – Mickie James, Nia Jax, Tamina, Natalya, and Ruby Riott vs Team SmackDown – Asuka, Naomi, Carmella, Sonya Deville, and one other
Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair
This is not the match we were hoping for but, due to Becky Lynch’s injury, it is the match we’re getting. I might have been excited about Ronda Rousey versus Charlotte Flair if that’s what had been built, it should be a really good match. But Becky Lynch versus Ronda Rousey was going to be the match of the night by quite some distance and I’m not sure this will have quite the same impact.
It will be a very different match and it’s a shame it didn’t get the respectful build it deserves, but needs must. They were doing a confidence crisis thing with Flair after the feud with Becky Lynch and I think that gives her more scope for taking the loss. It would be a nice story to tell for Flair to win it for her fallen former friend, but I don’t see it being worthy of derailing Rousey’s momentum. This is a big test for where Rousey’s development is. Charlotte Flair is easily her best opponent to date. And it should be a fabulous match, but I think RAW is taking this one.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey
Team RAW – Mickie James, Nia Jax, Tamina, Natalya, and Ruby Riott vs Team SmackDown – Asuka, Naomi, Carmella, Sonya Deville, and one other
The idea that the final, unnamed, SmackDown member might be Nikki Cross came to me during the week and now I will not be satisfied with anyone else. It would be amazing if it was a new signing or a call-up, the loser of Shayna Baszler versus Kairi Sane at TakeOver, or Io Shirai or Meiko Satomura… but I want it to be Nikki Cross. I’m going to be very disappointed if it turns out to be Mandy Rose or one of the IIconics.
As for a winner, toss a coin. SmackDown seem to have the mental advantage, not only did they leave the RAW roster reeling, but there are significant get along problems within the RAW women’s team as well. Just how happy is Natalya going to be to be working with Ruby Riott? On that basis, and the fact they have a mystery person, I’m giving this one to SmackDown.
I’ll be back next week with the SmackDown results and the rest of the women’s division action. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover or anything you want to chat about, tweet me @manda_why.