Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. It’s quite nice to have a standard week or two of just the weekly programming before we get busy again with Evolution, then TakeOver WarGames and Survivor Series, and finally TLC (There’s Crown Jewel as well, but that doesn’t include the women’s division). It might have been a standard week, but it was still a fairly busy one. No complaints here though.
Ronda Rousey and The Bella Twins def. The Riott Squad
Bayley and Finn Balor def. Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox
Ember Moon def. Nia Jax
Ronda Rousey and The Bella Twins vs The Riott Squad
A rematch from two days previously, there were a few rematches on RAW this week. Apparently, this one was demanded by The Riott Squad.
Brie Bella and Liv Morgan started things off, nose to nose. Morgan poked Brie’s nose then slapped her in the face. Brie Bella kicked her so Morgan fell to her knees in the right position for the Yes Kicks. This time, Liv Morgan ducked the kicks and launched herself onto Brie. They rolled around punching each other until they rolled out of the ring and had to be pulled apart by their teammates.
They both took a very sensible break from the action and let the match continue with the others. It was, however, Brie Bella who took the majority of the prolonged punishment for her team, which started with a slam on the outside from Ruby Riott.
Eventually, of course, Rousey came in and got Ruby Riott in the armbar while the Bellas kept Morgan and Logan out of the way. Riott tapped.
The real justification for the match came after the final bell. While Rousey and the Bellas were celebrating Nikki Bella attacked Rousey from behind and she and Brie began kicking her in the corner while Rousey curled against the onslaught looking betrayed and confused.
Rousey fought back and threw Brie out of the ring then faced up with Nikki Bella. When she was out of the ring as well, Rousey followed her. When Rousey went to grab Nikki Bella, Brie threw her into the post, then together they kicked Rousey against the baseboard of the ring and flung her into the steps while officials made ineffectual pleas for them to stop.
To add the final insult the Bella Twins threw Rousey into the barricade then dragged her into the ring by her hair and posed with one foot each on her prone body. Nikki Bella laid the title belt over Rousey’s torso as they were leaving.
Ronda Rousey versus Nikki Bella for the RAW Women’s Championship was later announced for Evolution.
Bayley and Finn Balor (B’n’B) vs Alicia Fox and Jinder Mahal (Mahalicia)
Bayley and Balor had been given a backstage interview slot earlier in the show. They were asked about whether they thought Mahal and Fox would be on the same page now and replied they weren’t sure they were on the same planet. They were explaining how good their own teamwork was when they were interrupted by Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley who took over with their agenda.
Team Mahalicia wanted this rematch, from last week’s Mixed Match Challenge, to prove they can win, or something. Balor and Bayley’s teamwork was clearly on display though, especially when Bayley’s first contribution to the match was Balor assisted dropkicks on Fox and Mahal, and a Balor assisted hurricanrana on Mahal.
The rest of the match was entertaining enough. Alicia Fox had another awkward looking fall through the ropes where she caught her feet on the way through, but she was up and about in time to break up Balor’s pin attempt on Mahal, so she’s hopefully undamaged.
Bayley dealt with Fox’ interference and took out Sunil Singh in the process as a happy accident. Finn Balor finished the match with a Coup de Grace on Jinder Mahal, so Mahalicia still haven’t won a match.
Nia Jax vs Ember Moon
This was a nice little match (little as in short), arranged between friends in the spirit of competition.
It started much as most Nia Jax matches do, with Jax outpowering her opponent. Moon fought her way back into it and managed to get Jax out of the ring. She landed a suicide dive, but just hit Jax and crashed to the floor, Jax barely stumbled back.
As Moon climbed back into the ring, presumably for another go, Jax grabbed her legs and pulled so she crashed face-first into the floor. Jax hoisted Moon onto her shoulders and lifted her above her head, but Ember Moon struggled down. Jax threw Moon towards the baseboard of the ring and charged her. Moon dodged and jumped back into the ring just in time for Jax to be counted out.
After the match, Nia Jax hugged Ember Moon and raised her hand in victory.
Trish Stratus made an appearance which ended up having interesting consequences for Evolution. She talked about making history in three weeks at Evolution then moved on to talking about Alexa Bliss. She dismissed Bliss’ ‘Moment of Bliss’ segment as a ‘Moment of BS’ and said she wanted to enlighten ‘Little Miss Brat’ with a ‘Moment of Stratusfaction’.
That was as far as she got before Alexa Bliss came out, with Mickie James in tow. Bliss questioned the creativity of the ‘Moment of Stratusfaction’ idea and told her no-one except the dullards in the crowd cared what she had to say anyway. Stratus made some ‘short’ jokes. Bliss made some ‘old’ jokes, including a string of backhanded compliments culminating in Bliss telling Stratus she can now finally tell her, woman to woman, she sucked. According to Bliss, Stratus was lucky Bliss wasn’t around in her day because she wouldn’t have been able to step in the ring with her let alone become a seven-time champion and Hall of Famer. Stratus would have been an afterthought who spent her whole career in Bliss’ shadow.
Bliss and James made their way to the ring at Stratus invitation for them to ‘do this right here in Chicago’. James stopped them fighting by telling Bliss the crowd don’t deserve it and telling Stratus they both know nothing good ever happens in Chicago.
Stratus told her to protect her little bestie and, since she knows first-hand, tell her what it’s like to be in the ring with a seven-time champ. At Evolution, they’re both going to find out what a hall of fame beatdown feels like.
Mickie James said she’d love to know what that feels like and suggested that, at Evolution, she and Bliss just team up.
Stratus pondered who her tag partner might be for a few moments, then brought out Lita.
The brawl broke out as soon as Lita hit the ring, with Bliss stomping on her and James going for Stratus. The Hall of Famers cleared the ring, well, Bliss actually pulled Mickie James to safety before Lita could deliver a moonsault, but it had the same effect.
Going into the segment, Alexa Bliss was facing Trish Stratus at Evolution and Mickie James was facing Lita. Shortly after the segment ended, it was confirmed that this has now been changed to Alexa Bliss and Mickie James versus Tish Stratus and Lita.
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair ended on a double count out
Just the one women’s division match on SmackDown this week. But it did take up the entire first half hour of the show and feature two, presumably jetlagged, superstars who had put on a brutal Super Show-Down match three days before.
Becky Lynch (C) vs Charlotte Flair – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
In a week of rematches, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch opened the show. The stipulation for the match was, if Becky Lynch is disqualified she loses the title.
Look, I love watching these two fight, I think they have great in-ring chemistry, and the dynamic from their in-depth knowledge of each other makes for entertaining matches. But… there is very little I can say about the majority of this match that I didn’t say about their match three days ago. There was a lot of hold for hold and counter for counter, and a fair bit of frustration induced big blows and kicks.
After spending some time in holds designed to weaken her arm, and failing to get Lynch in a Boston crab, Charlotte Flair sling-shotted Lynch into the corner. The move looked odd, but Lynch rolled out of the ring and Flair dived over the top rope onto her. By the time we got back from the ads, they were back in the ring.
It was a much slower paced match than their Super Show-Down contest. But they had spent the three days recovery time flying back from Australia, so I think that’s understandable. I know fatigue is played out over the course of any match, but you’ve got to assume the real thing was a factor in this one.
Lynch almost got disqualified later in the match. She kicked Flair face-first into the corner from a figure four attempt and decided she’d had enough. She grabbed the belt from the timekeeper’s area and started to leave. Flair dragged her back and threw her into the ring still holding the belt. Becky Lynch shoved Flair into the ref and picked up the belt, the ref saw her about to hit Flair with it and threatened to disqualify her. But, while they were arguing, Charlotte Flair tried to roll Becky Lynch up and, even though she rolled through and reversed it, he let the match continue.
Becky Lynch rolled out of the ring after Flair speared her, but got right out of the way of Charlotte Flair’s moonsault to the outside and Flair crashed hard to the floor. Lynch followed up with a Bex-ploder and it was questionable whether Flair would have made it into the ring within the ten count. As it was, Lynch broke the count at nine getting out of the ring.
They’d barely got back into the ring when Flair hit natural selection and Lynch rolled back out. Flair followed her, and they kept fighting.
In a finish which ensured another fight at Evolution, they both got counted out. They didn’t stop fighting though. They punched and kicked each other on the ramp until Lynch put Flair down with a kick to the face and walked away.
As Becky Lynch turned to look at Flair before she disappeared, Charlotte Flair speared her through the LED backboard. It looked like an ugly break of the scenery. Charlotte Flair stayed laying on Lynch until officials arrived. Becky Lynch appeared to hit her head hard where the boards separated, and Flair’s arm/hand was bleeding badly when she emerged. They were apparently both taken for medical treatment.
Later in the show, Paige announced Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair will face each other at Evolution in a Last Woman Standing match. She announced it as the first ever, and I’m not sure if she was referring to SmackDown or the main roster in general, but Nikki Cross and Asuka had an awesome Last Woman Standing match on NXT last year. That was a match of the year contender, hopefully, this will be too.
Aiden English showed the ‘director’s cut’ of One Night in Milwaukee. It turned out to be Lana telling English how much he meant to Rusev and how much they appreciated him. This time the video stopped with Lana looking coy and English stepping forward as if he was going to kiss her.
He called Rusev out and offered him a deal. He’ll destroy the video if Rusev kicks Lana to the curb and reunites Rusev Day as a team. Lana came out to plead with her husband. Rusev walked away from her and stood between them and asked English to play the full tape. He refused so Lana said she’d play it. He said she couldn’t, she revealed they’d hacked his password (IHeartRusev, apparently). She played the rest of the footage which showed English trying to kiss her and Lana telling him he’d got the wrong idea and leaving.
English said ok, they got him. But the offer is still on the table so when Lana gets tired of the boring Rusev days, she can treat herself to some Aiden nights.
Rusev chased English, caught him once and dragged him over the barrier but English got away.
There were no women’s division matches on NXT this week, which is a bit disappointing. That said, there were only two matches on this week’s show and one of them was almost half the broadcast.
However, that doesn’t mean the women’s division didn’t make an appearance. Nikki Cross was a presence in the opening segment between Tommaso Ciampa and Velveteen Dream.
They were busily arguing about whether one of them attacked Aleister Black when she interrupted them. Neither of them seemed quite sure how to deal with her. The crowd chanted triple-threat while Cross bounced and smiled. She got up in Ciampa’s face with a massive grin, then got briefly distracted by the tassels on Velveteen Dream’s jacket.
The crowd chanted ‘Nikki knows a secret’, which made her smile. She pawed at Velveteen Dream and said, ‘I know what you’ve done’, then went over to Ciampa, listened to the title belt for a moment and knocked the mic out of his hand when he tried to speak. She got down on the floor and said into the fallen mic, ‘I know what you did too’, and repeated I know. Cross chased Velveteen Dream out of the ring then kicked the mic away from Ciampa when he tried to pick it up and sang I know as she got slowly out of the ring and backed up the ramp.
Cross made an appearance later in the show as well, to tell Kassius Ohno she knows what he did too.
Next week Nikki Cross gets her rematch against Bianca Belair. It is being advertised as a double main event with the tag team title match. I’m sure it’s going to be an awesome match, their first one was brilliant, but the double main status does seem to indicate shenanigans.
We also got another promo package for Shayna Baszler’s pre-match training. And an interview with Kairi Sane. Shayna Baszler talked about becoming NXT women’s champion faster than anyone ever has. She called Brooklyn a misstep and said she was caught out because she was celebrating before she got the job done. Kairi Sane didn’t outsmart her or beat her, Baszler made an error. The thing that bothers her most is that people think Sane’s victory was about Sane being better not about Baszler messing up. She’s going to put that right at Evolution.
Kairi Sane said she’s very excited to be competing at Evolution, it’s a great opportunity for her. She was asked if she’s worried about Baszler’s new training tactic being a factor in the match. Sane said Baszler can train all she wants but she will beat her again.
Mae Young Classic
Io Shirai def. Zeuxis
Deonna Purrazzo def. Xia Li
Tegan Nox def. Nicole Matthews
Mia Yim def. Kaitlyn
This week was the conclusion of the second-round matches. Another very good show, the overall standard of matches this year has been great. Full details, including a list of quarter-final matches, can be found here.
Mixed Match Challenge
Monster Eclipse def. B ‘n’ B
Fenomenal Flair def. Fabulous Truth
In the opening blurb for the show, Kayla Braxton announced that Kevin Owens is out of Mixed Match Challenge due to injury (Owens has a knee injury and is potentially facing several months out of the ring). Natalya’s new partner has not yet been announced.
Bayley and Finn Balor (B ‘n’ B) vs Ember Moon and Braun Strowman (Monster Eclipse)
Bayley and Moon started things off they didn’t stay in long before Moon tagged out and Balor seemed a little reluctant to enter the ring. Apart from Balor assisting Bayley to deal with a bit of Ember Moon interference, there’s not much to report. Balor had some limited success in felling Strowman, until Strowman got annoyed and started throwing Balor around the ring. The object for Balor quickly became get to Bayley, and he eventually achieved it.
Ember Moon and Bayley could have some awesome matches. They had a great second stint. Bayley managed to pull Moon down from the corner, before she could hit the Eclipse, and delivered a Bayley to Belly. Braun Stroman reached into the ring and pulled Ember Moon out from underneath Bayley’s pin attempt.
Moon tagged out and Balor was in no state to face Strowman again. He managed to dodge a charge and send Strowman shoulder first into the post, then climb the turnbuckle for a double stomp to the back of Strowman’s neck. Strowman avoided the Coup de Grace by standing up. Bayley took out Moon on the outside, which meant she wasn’t there to break up the pin when Strowman hit the powerslam on Balor for the win.
Carmella and R-Truth (Fabulous Truth) vs Charlotte Flair and AJ Styles (Fenomenal Flair)
Considering Mixed Match Challenge takes place after SmackDown, there was a query as to the shape Flair would be in for the match. Commentary told up she was medically cleared but banged up. The only evidence of her earlier fight was a bit of strapping on her right wrist and elbow, but she was guarding it a bit.
There was a battle of ‘What’s up’ versus ‘Woo’ before Styles and Truth got the wrestling underway. They had a dance off, then a dance break with their partners. Charlotte Flair showed R-Truth and Carmella they weren’t the only ones who can do the splits. AJ Styles proved he couldn’t. Carmella got things back on track with a hurricanrana to Styles before she and Flair faced off.
Flair seemed initially reluctant to chop Carmella with the hurt arm, but she did it anyway they Carmella left the ring and Flair chased her around it a few times with Carmella screaming all the way. After trying to escape again, Carmella rolled Flair’s pin attempt over into the Code of Silence. Charlotte Flair had to stand up to break it.
Carmella tagged out after she and Flair took each other down, but both women came in to break up pins on their partners. When Flair did it she took a superkick from Carmella.
R-Truth was holding on to Carmella to stop himself getting rolled up, so Charlotte Flair pulled her off the apron and Styles got the pin.
Main Event showed brief highlights of Ronda Rousey and The Bella Twins match against the Riott Squad, with coverage of the post-match attack. There were also highlights of Becky Lynch versus Charlotte Flair on SmackDown, including the spear through the backboard. Unsurprisingly, the fact Flair was bleeding was omitted from the replay.
Next week is SmackDown’s 1000th episode so there should be some out of the ordinary stuff. I’ll be here to give you all the details of the women’s division side of things, alongside 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 discuss, tweet me @manda_why.