Women of the WWE – weekly round-up – November 18-24

Women of the WWE – weekly round-up – November 18-24

Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. What a busy week it’s been for WWE’s women. Survivor Series started us off, RAW and SmackDown both gave us three matches and some talking. NXT had a women’s division main event and NXT are running the tournament to crown their first women’s champion. Even Main Event gave us another match. You might want to get a cup of coffee and a biscuit before you read on.

 

 

Survivor Series

Team Raw def. Team SmackDown

Ronda Rousey def. Charlotte Flair

 

There were significant developments in the women’s elimination match teams during the Kickoff show. On the SmackDown side, Mandy Rose was named as the fifth team member (I was not happy, I wanted Nikki Cross), and Naomi is team captain. The rest of the team weren’t that happy to see Rose after she insulted every one of them. On the RAW side, Natalya and Ruby Riott had a scrap in the locker room after Riott made a comment about the sunglasses she destroyed, and Alexa Bliss kicked them both off the team. They were replaced by Bayley and Sasha Banks. Both Bayley and Banks made it clear they still have a problem with the rest of the team for what they did to them on Monday, but they’d put it aside for the sake of RAW. I’m not sure how much more harmonious either team is.

Charlotte Flair had a backstage interview on the Kickoff show as well. She talked about the night being about brand supremacy and about her being the most capable person to take Becky Lynch’s place against Ronda Rousey. She said she was going to make the baddest woman on the planet bow down to the queen.

 

Team SmackDown – Naomi (captain), Carmella, Asuka, Sonya Deville, and Mandy Rose vs Team RAW – Nia Jax, Tamina, Mickie James, Sasha Banks, and Bayley, with Alexa Bliss (captain) – Five on Five, Survivor Series Elimination match

The women’s elimination match opened the show. I’m still sulking that they didn’t use Nikki Cross to fill the spot, or at least someone different. Why have all the suspense of having a gap in the team for a week, only to fill it with someone deemed not good enough to make the team in the first pick? They wasted an opportunity.

Opening brawl of the Survivor Series Elimination match
Photo credits. wwe.com

Chaos broke out early and resulted in two quick eliminations. Naomi was superkicked and pinned by Tamina, who was then rolled up and pinned by Carmella. Two down in the first minute and a half. Carmella called a dance break and managed to complete it before coming face to face with Nia Jax.

That led into the ‘everyone gets a go’ portion of the match. Carmella quickly tagged Mandy Rose who managed to knock Jax down. Jax tagged Mickie James. Rose narrowly avoided being submitted before she tagged in Asuka. Asuka brought Sonya Deville in and Bayley tagged herself in when Mickie James bounced off the ropes nearby. They had a brief but tense stare out. James tagged herself back in soon after while Sasha Banks had Deville in the corner. There was some definite tension within the RAW team.

Mandy Rose eliminated Mickie James, by tagging herself in and capitalising on Sonya Deville’s running knee. Deville looked distinctly unimpressed.

Bayley and Carmella had a good exchange before Bayley eliminated her with a Bayley to Belly.

Mandy Rose was the star of the SmackDown team at this point. She’d done the lions share of the work, but her teammates weren’t’ impressed by the glory hunting. Neither of them tried to save her when Sasha Banks locked her in the Bank Statement and tapped her out.

Nia Jax broke up Deville’s pin attempt on Bayley and was sent into the ringpost when a charge on Deville went wrong. Jax was kicked out of the ring by Asuka who put the boot in a few more times to keep her down. Bayley and Deville eliminated each other in a double count out.

Asuka hip attacks Nia Jax off the apron

Sasha Banks and Asuka took things up, both looking overjoyed to be facing each other, until they started landing stuff anyway. Nia Jax pushed Banks off the turnbuckle when she went up for the frogsplash and Asuka locked in the Asuka lock. Sasha Banks tapped. All it took for Jax was three leg drops and a Samoan drop for the pin.

Nia Jax was the sole survivor having sabotaged her own teammate.

It seems that WWE are really trying to make Jax hated. They’re going full steam on capitalising on her causing Becky Lynch’s injury, she’s started calling herself #Facebreaker on social media and holding up her right fist a lot. She’s getting some impressive boos at the moment, but we’ll see if they last.

 

Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair

The hype package for this one was unusual because Charlotte Flair was hardly in it. Due to the circumstances of Becky Lynch’s injury, there has only been a twitter exchange or two to build this match at all. The crowd chanted ‘Becky’ at the start of the match. Not a fan of Rousey’s make-up again. I found it distractingly odd.

There was a long and complex feeling out process in the early stages, both testing what their opponent was capable of and trying to find a level. Charlotte Flair especially seemed to have brought the intensity for the match. Rousey started bleeding from the mouth quite early on, from an elbow to the face from Flair.

Ronda Rousey with Charlotte Flair in a triangle

Rousey hesitated too long on the top turnbuckle and got her leg kicked out from underneath her. After an awkward tussle involving Flair being pushed to the mat and dragged back to the corner,

They were wearing each other out. Rousey got out of a Boston crab, blocked a figure four and went straight for an armbar off Natural Selection. Flair rolled through and a backbreaker followed by a big boot put her in control. Rousey was down, and Flair took a few moments to recover before going up for the moonsault. It was a few moments too long because Rousey got her legs up.

A spear got Flair a close two-count, and she got Rousey in a figure four, but Rousey flipped them over. They rolled out of the ring to the floor still locked together. Rousey slammed Flair into the barricade then back into the ring and started to fire up. Flair retaliated with a series of chops. Another big boot from Flair got yet another two-count, and a ‘this is awesome’ chant, and another armbar from Rousey saw Flair trying to get out of the ring.

Rousey dragged her back in and put her across her shoulder for the move she’s now calling Piper’s Pit and went for another armbar. Flair fought out of it and rolled out of the ring. She got back in to break the count, rolled straight back out, and Rousey ran around the ring to retrieve her.

Then Charlotte Flair lost her mind. As Rousey ran towards her, Flair struck out with a kendo stick and got herself disqualified. And she didn’t stop there. She slung Rousey into the steps then destroyed the kendo stick across Rousey’s body with multiple shots. Then she grabbed another and broke that on Rousey’s body as well. Flair got a chair from the timekeeper’s area. The ref took it off her and she put her hands on him and squared up to him. He dropped the chair on the mat and yelled at her, and she got out of the ring.

Charlotte Flair destroys a second kendo stick on Ronda Rousey

There was rage on her face as she got back into the ring and hit Rousey with Natural Selection driving her face into the chair, then picked up the chair. Four more officials arrived and Flair took them all out before trapping Rousey’s neck in the chair and giving a ref a final push before she stamped on it.

The ring was suddenly full of medics and suits. The crowd chanted ‘Thank you Charlotte’ (which was a bit grim) and Flair finally left the ring.

 

 

 

RAW

Nia Jax and Tamina def. Sasha Banks and Bayley

Ronda Rousey (C) def. Mickie James

Natalya def. Ruby Riott

 

Sasha Banks and Bayley vs Nia Jax and Tamina

Alexa Bliss joined commentary for the match. That, obviously meant much of the action went unmentioned while Corey Graves fawned over her and Renee Young and Michael Cole tried to ask questions.

Sasha Banks and Nia Jax started things off, and Banks clearly wanted some revenge for Jax’ behaviour at Survivor Series. Banks and Bayley isolated Jax in the corner until Jax got fed up and shoved Bayley halfway across the ring. Tamina came in soon after and found herself isolated in Banks and Bayley’s corner while they tagged in and out.

Banks got another chance at Jax after the ads, but she was taken down on the outside by Tamina and found herself subjected to the same tactics she and Bayley had used on them earlier.

Sasha Banks uses Bayley as a step to Nia Jax

Bayley’s first action when she came in was to push Jax off the apron. It cost her though, she turned straight into a superkick from Tamina. Bayley tried to roll her up and launched into a flurry of offence culminating in a crossbody from the top. It wasn’t enough to keep Tamina down and Bayley had to fight down to avoid being Samoan dropped.

As Bayley struggled from Tamina’s shoulders Tamina staggered into the ref. In the moment of distraction, Nia Jax punched Bayley in the face. Tamina tagged Jax in and almost pinned her, but Sasha Banks broke it up. A headbutt from Jax got rid of Banks and Bayley was pinned from a Nia Jax Samoan drop.

 

Ronda Rousey addressed the WWE universe following the vicious attack by Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series. There were some Woos and boos in the crowd and a strong ‘we want Becky’ chant. She started by confirming she will face Nia Jax at TLC and said she knows how dangerous Jax is, just look at what she did to Becky’s face. But at TLC she’s going to tap out Nia Jax, and after she’s done the next chapter of Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte Flair is going to be written.

But she wasn’t there to hit her poses and play for sympathy and talk about fighting, she came to show what a true champion is. A true champion stands guard atop the mountain ready to throw down anyone who dares to approach. A true champion can’t pick and choose the most opportune time to fight. That’s a contender’s luxury. A true champion stands guard atop the mountain in sickness and in health, whether at one hundred percent or one percent. You have to be the best in the world on your worst day. A true champion can’t be a fairweather fighter. And if you can’t defend your position, you step aside. An impassioned speech to which the crowd chanted ‘Becky’.

Rousey removed her jacket and the bruising from the kendo stick shots was apparent. She said, ‘so this is me on my worst day, and if anyone knows me they know I refuse to step aside. So hit somebody’s music and send anyone out here to fight me because if I can’t defend this title tonight I don’t deserve to be champion.

Ronda Rousey offers Baron Corbin a fight

Baron Corbin came out instead. He told her that her request to defend the RAW Women’s Championship tonight had been denied. As Acting General Manager, soon to be permanent General Manager, he can’t in good conscience allow her to compete.

Rousey said she’s had seventeen fights and she’s never pulled out of one, never even postponed one when she’s had plenty of reason to. She never did because that’s what it takes to be the baddest bitch on the planet. So he can go back there and find her a challenger, or maybe he wants a shot at the champ.

The crowd liked that idea, Corbin didn’t. He warned Rousey she’d lose and went backstage to find someone.

Ronda Rousey (C) vs Mickie James – RAW Women’s Championship match

Always nice to get an impromptu title match on RAW.

Mickie James started hard after an initial flurry of punches from Rousey, with a superkick. A half-powered, Rousey was obviously the best title chance she’s likely to get for the foreseeable future. She took full advantage, using the welt and bruises as targets and had Rousey down for a good minute.

Mickie James controls Ronda Rousey

Once the minute was up, a series of arm-drag takedowns, three Piper’s Pit’s and an armbar, ended Mickie James’ title hopes for the night.

When Rousey got to the stage Nia Jax and Tamina came out so Jax could show Rousey her fist.

 

Natalya vs Ruby Riott

With the breaking of the sunglasses and the getting kicked off the Survivor Series team, this has become a serious grudge match. It was also the last match of the night (with only a Rollins and Ambrose segment after it), so I guess it was the main event.

Natalya was beating on Ruby Riott within seconds of the bell going and Riott got to the ropes to make the ref back her off.

It didn’t get any friendlier on either side. A Sharpshooter attempt saw Riott crawl to the ropes again and escape the ring. Natalya chased her back in and Sarah Logan got up on the apron to cause enough distraction to allow Riott to take control.

Ruby Riott kicks Natalya

A senton from the second rope was Ruby Riott’s best chance, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan were astounded when Natalya kicked out. When she went up again, Natalya launched her across the ring then levelled her with a discus clothesline.

Sarah Logan got on the apron again and got smashed in the face. Liv Morgan jumped down before Natalya could make contact. Natalya got the Sharpshooter on but Logan was distracting the ref and Morgan helped pull Riott out. Natalya dropkicked her and Ruby Riott went for a roll-up while Natalya was distracted. Natalya flipped them over and got the pin.

 

 

SmackDown

Charlotte Flair def Billie Kay

Charlotte Flair def. Peyton Royce

Asuka and Naomi def. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville

 

It was reasonable to assume the Charlotte Flair would be called upon to explain her Survivor Series actions, and sure enough, the show opened with a montage of her attack on Ronda Rousey and Flair’s music opened the show proper. She smiled at the Woos and ‘Thank you Charlotte’ chants. She said ‘This Sunday I put the baddest beating on the so-called baddest woman on the planet and I’m damned proud of it. Ronda, are you walking a little slower today? Are you looking at your bruises and your welts? Are you looking for an apology? Well, you know what, you’re not going to find one ‘cause I’m not sorry. I enjoyed every second of beating your ass.’

This Sunday was for SmackDown for her girls in the locker room and it was for the champ. She has spent half her career fighting against Becky Lynch, she has fought with Becky Lynch and on Sunday she fought for Becky Lynch. Becky told her to go out there and give Rousey the beating she would have, and Flair took that to heart and made it her mission. Mission accomplished. Because Ronda Rousey bowed down to the queen.

Paige came out and said Flair doesn’t have to apologise for what she did to Ronda, she thinks speaks for the WWE universe when she says they enjoyed it. She wanted to know if Flair heard what Rousey said about finding her and finishing what they started at Survivor Series.

Paige tells Charlotte Flair she is fining her $100,000

Flair asked when the next PPV was, established that it’s TLC, and said that if Rousey sticks her nose on her business she will put her head in another chair and stomp on it a zillion times. Because no-one is going to stop her.

That’s exactly why Paige is out there, Flair snapped, no-one could stop her, and she put her hands on five WWE officials. Flair said they were in her way and Paige said she gets it, the heat of the moment, but under no circumstance do you ever put your hands on five WWE officials. As SmackDown Live General Manager, she had no choice but to fine her one hundred thousand dollars.

Flair’s incredulity was interrupted by Peyton Royce and Billie Kay coming out with Peyton Royce doing a zombie-like impression of Charlotte Flair which she said was ‘blonde barbie doll goes psychotic’

They prattled on a bit more until Charlotte Flair asked which one of them was going to be the next Ronda Rousey because that was the future for one of them.

The IIconics looked terrified as Flair took off her robe and waited for a response.

 

Charlotte Flair vs Billie Kay

Billie Kay drew the short straw, and she didn’t fare too well.

Flair looked focused and… something else. I want to call it playfully dangerous, like a cat playing with a trapped mouse.

Eventually, Kay took a break to the outside and Charlotte Flair followed to retrieve her. Royce stood between her and Key and Flair told her to get out of the way. Royce wouldn’t budge so Charlotte Flair shoved her out of the way and caught a big boot from Kay.

Back in the ring, Kay built a little momentum and had a bit of help from Royce on the outside. It was short lived though.

Billie Kay gives Charlotte Flair a big boot

Flair just seemed to decide enough was enough. A fallaway slam put Billie Kay on the canvas, and Natural Selection won Flair the match.

After the match, she challenged Peyton Royce to step in for a fight. Billie Kay encouraged her, but Royce didn’t seem keen at all. Flair said she was going to ‘play Flair and square’, look out for that to crop up again and again. By the time we came back from the ads, the match was on.

 

Charlotte Flair vs Peyton Royce

Not only was Royce back in the ring when we came back, she was firmly in control of Flair.

Charlotte Flair kicks Peyton Royce

She stayed in control until just after Billie Kay got up on the apron, grabbed Flair by the hair and snapped her neck back against the top rope. When Royce looked to capitalise with a kick, Flair grabbed her leg and delivered a big boot.

Charlotte Flair picked Royse up and Billie Kay entered the ring and attacked her. Royce was disqualified, and they started the IIconic beatdown.

After throwing Flair from the ring, Royce and Kay tried to get a chair from the timekeeper’s area, but they wouldn’t give it to them. They turned away and a double spear took both IIconics down. That Survivor Series look was back on Charlotte Flair’s face when she stood up.

Flair picked Billie Kay up and repeatedly smashed her head into the announce desk, then she did the same to Royce, then to both at the same time. Billie Kay was launched into the barricade and Peyton Royce into the ringpost. Finally, Flair threw first Kay then Royce over the announce desk and stood posing on it to end the segment. First half hour of the show to the women’s division, and they weren’t done for the night.

Charlotte Flair smashes Peyton Royce and Billie Kay into the announce desk

 

Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville vs Asuka and Naomi

Considering this match was prefaced by a clip of Mandy Rose eliminating Sonya Deville from the battle royal at Evolution, it was fairly obvious that this match was going to be about Rose and Deville’s friendship. And if we didn’t get that not so subtle hint, commentary laboured the point during the entrances. Asuka and Naomi might be the most colourful team in WWE at the moment.

To enhance the effect, Naomi and Asuka were working in harmony. Early in the match they caught Rose and Deville on the apron together and nocked them both off with hip attacks.

There was some good teamwork from Rose and Deville, after all, they’re best friends and have been working together a while. Unfortunately, Rose threw Asuka into Deville and knocked her off the apron which meant Sonya Deville wasn’t there when Mandy Rose needed a tag. Rose took a lot of punishment as a result.

Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville almost clash

Deville tagged herself in when she got back on the apron and almost took a knee from Rose that Asuka ducked. They argued while Asuka came up behind Mandy Rose. Deville turned Rose around and moved her aside, and took the kick from Asuka herself. Naomi took Rose down with a Rear View. Asuka got the Asuka Lock on Sonya Deville and tapped her out

Rose and Deville left together but there’s a little more ammunition in the breakup. I’m quite glad they’re not rushing it, people could definitely be made to care more.

 

 

 

NXT

Nikki Cross def. Candice LeRae

 

Shayna Baszler got the backstage interview after the TakeOver match highlights package. Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir were present, and it sounds like they’re now a permanent fixture. One interesting point from the highlights package – there was apparently some controversy about whether Kairi Sane got her shoulder up before the final three-count. That wasn’t mentioned in the interview though.

Baszler made a statement instead of waiting for a question. She said she’s the most dominant woman the division has ever seen, the only two-time defending champion, then instructed the interviewer to ask her more about that if she wanted the interview. Baszler was asked if she walked out of WarGames confident, she said ‘yes, there’s no one that can stop us.’

 

Candice LeRae vs Nikki Cross

This match makes me happy. What makes me even happier is that they got to do it in front of the TakeOver crowd. Obviously, I’d rather they’d been on the main card, but they got the main event slot on this episode.

They took very different approaches to the start of the match. Candice LeRae has been waiting for revenge on Cross back for informing Aleister Black it was her husband who attacked him. Nikki Cross wanted to play and laughed at LeRae’s anger.

Nikki Cross laughs at Candice LeRae

It didn’t take long to flip Cross into action mode and LeRae soon found herself caught up in the ring skirt being pummelled. Candice LeRae took back the momentum with a kick to Cross’ head and a follow-up knee from the apron.

They settled into a decent match. LeRae hit an Unprettier but went for a moonsault instead of covering. Cross moved out of the way (not the first time LeRae has had that happen with that combo).

Nikki Cross hit The Purge and Candice LeRae became the first person to kick out of it.

Cross put LeRae on the turnbuckle and they brawled up there until LeRae managed to suplex her off it. She still couldn’t get the pin, but Nikki Cross looked dazed. Candice LeRae was checking her teeth were all in place when Nikki Cross started laughing. That snapped something in LeRae and She pounded on Cross in the corner before twisting her legs up then driving her face into the mat with her foot.

Candice LeRae jumps onto Nikki Cross

Candice LeRae got Nikki Cross in the Gargano Escape, but Cross wriggled around until she got her feet on the ropes. As LeRae charged for her next attack Nikki Cross sent her face first into the ropes, then picked her up and delivered a swinging neckbreaker with LeRae’s feet on the top rope. That was enough to keep LeRae down and hand Nikki Cross the win.

 

 

 

 

Main Event

Ember Moon def. Alicia Fox

 

Alicia Fox vs Ember Moon

We are indeed blessed, women’s division matches on Main Event two weeks running. This one was really good as well. It’s great to see Fox getting used more. She’s chronically underrated and deserves a lot more credit, and I’ve always got a soft spot for the crazy characters.

Alicia Fox fought herself into a position of dominance then tried to wear Moon down with sleeper holds. Moon had to flip them both over to break free.

Fox almost got the pin from a big boot, but a suplex out of the corner from Ember Moon put Fox in exactly the right position for the Eclipse. Moon hit it and Alicia Fox was pinned.

 

Main Event also covered Ronda Rousey’s speech on RAW, and Charlotte Flair’s speech and beatdown of the IIconics on SmackDown.

 

 

 

Mixed Match Challenge

Mahalicia def. Team Pawz

Fabulous Truth def. Ravishing Rusev Day

 

It was loser goes home week on Mixed Match Challenge this week. Last week was the battled of the undefeated teams. This week’s teams are yet to score a win in the competition, and this was their last chance.

In the opening pre-amble it was announced that, due to an injury sustained on RAW, Braun Strowman is out of Mixed Match Challenge. Ember Moon and her new partner will be in action next week. We’ll have to wait until then to find out who it is.

The biggest revelation in the opening segment was Bobby Roode telling Natalya he’s more of a dog person than a cat person. The main point of the opening section seemed to be to remind us that the winning team will enter their respective Royal Rumble matches at number 30, and win an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world. I’d be comfortable putting money on none of this week’s teams getting near that prize.

 

Team Pawz vs Mahalicia

Roode and Mahal started things off, and things were all very serious. No-one wants to be the first out of the competition.

Natalya and Alicia Fox kept up that intensity and Natalya may have had some aggression left over from her battle with Ruby Riott on RAW. She dominated Fox until Fox managed to drag Natalya’s throat onto the second rope.

Alicia Fox drags Natalya onto the ropes

Fox kept control and kept Natalya away from her partner, but even the northern lights suplex didn’t quite get the job done for her. Jinder Mahal’s coaching from the apron just seemed to distract and irritate her though. Eventually, Natalya dodged Fox’ kick into the corner and tagged in Bobby Roode while Fox was still hung up on the ropes.

A slap from Alicia Fox to Bobby Roode distracted him for a moment. Natalya came around to deal with Fox and Roode found himself having to deliver a spinebuster to a Singh brother. Jinder Mahal grabbed Roode from behind as soon as the Singh brother hit the canvas and delivered the Khallas.

Mahalicia go through. Team Pawz go home.

 

Ravishing Rusev Day vs Fabulous Truth

Lana and Rusev may have been the only team competing this week who are actually on the same page, mostly. Carmella and Truth would be if Truth was reading from the same book as everyone else, but at least they’re having a good time.

They started with a popularity contest. The crowd seemed happy to chant along with both of them so it was a bit of a stalemate. Then the crowd asked for a dance break and Rusev and Lana left the ring for it. R-Truth and Carmella should have known better, they got attacked by Lana and Rusev halfway through.

Lana and Carmella started things off and Lana was quickly and decisively in control. When Carmella went for the tag, Rusev pulled Truth off the apron. Lana superkicked Carmella out of the ring and tagged in Rusev so he could go and collect the already dazed Truth from the floor.

Lana kicks R-Truth

Rusev wasn’t messing around, and Truth took a lot of punishment. For some reason, Rusev chose to tag Lana in. Carmella was still laid out on the floor at ringside. Lana dragged her up and bounced her head off the announce desk, the off the apron. I’m not sure why, but Rusev was telling his wife that she’s Brock Lesnar… I’m not sure I want to know what that’s about. While he was firing her up, R-Truth came up behind him and punched him in the face when he turned around.

Lana kicked R-Truth in the face then got back in the ring, took a superkick from Carmella, and got pinned.

Fabulous Truth take the final place in the tournament.

 

The tournament moves to a knockout format next week. The next round of matches are:

  • Ember Moon and her new partner vs Mahalicia
  • Jeff Hardy (who has now replaced AJ Styles permanently) and Charlotte Flair vs Fabulous Truth
  • B ‘n’ B vs Country Dominance
  • Awe-ska vs Day One Glow

 

 

 

NXT UK

Rhea Ripley def. Xia Brookside

Toni Storm def. Isla Dawn

Rhea Ripley def. Dakota Kai

Toni Storm def. Jinny

 

This double episodes thing is a bit much alongside all the other WWE weekly programming. But, with the tournament to crown the first NXT UK women’s champion in full swing, we got four matches this week.

On the first episode, we got the last two quarterfinal matches.

 

Xia Brookside vs Rhea Ripley

Xia Brookside is very popular with the NXT UK crowd, Ripley is quickly becoming the top heel in the division. She made a good case for that in this one with the way she bullied Brookside around the ring.

Rhea Ripley tries to submit Xia Brookside

Brookside tried to use her speed to stay one step ahead of Ripley, but it didn’t really work for her and she found herself on the end of a power-based offence she had no answer to. She spent a long time in Ripley’s submission hold before managing to counter and send Ripley into the turnbuckle and develop some momentum of her own.

Rhea Ripley caught Xia Brookside as she came off the top rope and hit her Riptide finisher to advance to the semi-final.

 

Isla Dawn vs Toni Storm

I don’t think anyone gave Isla Dawn much of a chance in this match, Toni Storm is just on too much of a run of form. Isla Dawn may just have been the exception to that, and Storm may have been a touch complacent because Dawn started strong and quickly took control of the match. She stayed on top of Storm, quickly quelling any offence and kept Storm in a rings of Saturn submission for a long time before Storm managed to get to the ropes.

Isla Dawn controls Toni Storm

Breaking that hold was the turning point for Toni Storm. Isla Dawn started telling Storm this was her championship and Storm had had her chances, and that was enough for Toni Storm to switch gears.

It was a quick thing after that. Isla Dawn got a couple more kicks in but Toni Storm secured passage to the semi-final with Storm Zero.

There was a nice handshake from Storm to the distressed Dawn at the end of the match.

 

The semi-finals took place on the second episode.

 

Dakota Kai vs Rhea Ripley

They started this with a test of strength which quickly ended up with Kai on her back trying to avoid getting pinned. Dakota Kai jumped up to try to take Ripley down, but Rhea Ripley kept hold of her, sat her on the turnbuckle and patted her on the head then slapped her face. Kai kicked her in the face.

Rhea Ripley was looking to use her power advantage to keep Kai grounded and under control, but it’s just not that simple. Dakota Kai is incredibly fast and agile and she caught Ripley with a flurry of offence, doing enough damage that Ripley decided to take a break on the outside. Kai delivered two massive kicks to Ripley from the apron then rolled her back into the ring and went for a pin. She only got a two count.

Dakota Kai kicks Rhea Ripley

Kai launched herself into Ripley in the corner, Ripley caught her, lifted her above her head and dropped her face first on the mat. That only got her the two count, but it put Rhea Ripley firmly on control. Ripley put on a display of power and dominance for the next couple of minutes, Kai put on a display of resilience and fought her way back in, right up to delivering her closing sequence of kicks.

Ripley took another break outside and Kai tried to deliver another kick from the apron. Rhea Ripley caught her leg, twisted her onto her shoulders, and slammed her face first into the apron. It still wasn’t enough for the three count. Both women failed to land their finishers, and the frustration was showing for on both faces. Dakota Kai landed a few kicks to Ripley’s face, but Ripley caught hold of her and hit her Riptide finisher for the win.

 

Jinny vs Toni Storm

There is very little that can be said about these two in the ring together that hasn’t been said a hundred times. They’ve fought each other everywhere and the results are always great. Both women claim NXT UK is their division, and they both have a good claim. It’s generally pretty hard to look past Toni Storm for anything at the moment.

It’s a tough call for either of them to achieve any kind of dominance at this stage in their rivalry, they know every weapon in the other’s arsenal and how to counter or avoid it. As such, it was a very even, back and forth kind of match.

Toni Storm got Jinny in a submission that took Jinny a long time to inch to the ropes to break it. She recovered quickly and the battle for supremacy continued, getting more vicious with each round of offence until Toni Storm took them both down with a headbutt.

Jinny delivers a facebuster to Toni Storm from the second rope

They recovered themselves at around the same time and exchanged forearms until Storm broke that up with a suplex. She got Jinny in the corner and hit her with a hip attack followed by a fisherman’s suplex for a two count. Storm went to the top and Jinny kicked her in the face and followed her up. A facebuster brought Storm down to earth and earner Jinny another two count.

A rolling axe kick would have got Jinny the win if Storm hadn’t managed to get a foot on the ropes, and that was Jinny’s last chance. Toni Storm delivered Storm Zero for the win.

The final of the NXT UK Women’s Championship tournament will be Toni Storm versus Rhea Ripley.

Johnny Saint came to the stage to congratulate Storm. Rhea Ripley came out and it looked like we were going to get the traditional pose in front of the championship. Instead, Ripley pushed Storm and left.

 

 

 

I think that might be the busiest week WWE’s women’s division has had in the two years I’ve been writing this column. That’s a wonderful thing to be able to say, and long may it continue. I’ll be back next week to see if they’ve kept up the momentum.

In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover or anything you want to chat about, tweet me @manda_why.

 

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