Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. It’s PPV week. Extreme Rules has two women’s division matches, both brand titles are on the line. But before that, there’s a whole week of build to get through, and plenty going on in NXT which is lovely to see.
Nia Jax and Natalya def Alexa Bliss and Mickie James
Ember Moon def Liv Morgan
The tag match was introduced via a promo from Alexa Bliss and Mickie James. They were shown watching the opening brawl between Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns. Mickie James said it was pure pandemonium, the pain the destruction, it was crazy. Bliss said it’s nothing compared to the pain and destruction they’re going to bring on Natalya and Nia Jax. They both laughed, and the match was announced.
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James vs Nia Jax and Natalya
This served as part of the build for Nia Jax’ rematch for the RAW Women’s Championship, taking place at Extreme Rules in an extreme rules match. It’s entirely conceivable that James and/or Natalya could play a part in that match as well, there’s nothing to stop them doing so anyway.
Natalya took Bliss and James out with a baseball slide early in the match after Bliss took a break on the outside. She followed up by throwing Bliss into the barricade and clotheslining Mickie James before rolling Bliss back into the ring.
Of course, by the time we got back from the ads everything had changed and Mickie James was firmly in control of Natalya. When Alexa Bliss tagged in she took a moment to taunt Nia Jax before getting back to Natalya.
Annoyingly, there was another whole chunk of the match reduced to a small box in the corner of the screen to accommodate an Extreme Rules ad.
Eventually, Natalya got to Nia Jax and tagged her in. All the frustration of watching the punishment inflicted on Natalya and the enmity between Jax and Bliss and James had Jax fired right up. Mickie James didn’t stand a chance.
Nia Jax lifted James above her head and dropped her face first to the mat, then followed up with a leg drop for the win.
The second the bell went Bliss hit Jax from behind with a kendo stick. Before Jax could get up Bliss hit Natalya as well to stop her coming to the rescue, then she went back to beating on Jax with the stick. On the fourth strike, Jax caught the kendo stick and ripped it from Bliss’ hands. Alexa Bliss made a run for it with Mickie James as Jax broke the kendo stick in half and threw it after them. They sprinted up the ramp when Nia Jax stepped through the ropes but Jax stood on the apron until they’d gone backstage then stalked up the ramp to the stage.
Backstage Nia Jax was asked about the attack and all the other things Alexa Bliss has done to her. She stopped Charly Caruso before she could get through the whole list and said, it’s just a reminder that Bliss will try anything to wear her down but it won’t work, she can’t break her. But she’ can break Bliss. On Sunday she’s going to use Bliss like the kendo stick and break her in half. Anything goes in an extreme rules match. She’s not going to forget all the things Bliss has done to her. She’s going to pay them all back, inch by crushing inch and take back her RAW Women’s Championship.
The next instalment of the Bayley and Sasha Banks saga occurred this week. They were still having counselling but with a different counsellor, no Dr Shelby. There wasn’t a huge amount shown. In the first visit, Bayley was explaining how she’s supported Sasha Banks since NXT and wouldn’t let anything come between them. But Banks stabs her in the back at every opportunity and she’s tired of being taken advantage of and lied to, and thinking Banks will ever change. Sasha Banks will only ever care about Sasha Banks. Banks looked annoyed and didn’t say anything.
In the second, we couldn’t hear what was going on, but Sasha Banks was talking and Bayley looked annoyed. The last clip was also low volume, but they were clearly arguing.
Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan ran into Tyler Breeze on their way to the ring. He told them they clearly need his help but luckily fashion is his thing. He tried to give them t-shirts but they laughed and said they don’t do fashion, they riot. Then they tore up the shirts and walked away with Logan giving Morgan a piggyback.
Alexa Bliss got the final word in promos ahead of the Extreme Rules title match. She said she thought being RAW women’s champion was the biggest joy in her life but nothing is more exhilarating than hearing a kendo stick hitting Nia Jax’ flesh over and over again. That was just a small taste of pain because she’ saving the rest for Sunday and what even better is that ‘overhyped rookie’ Ronda Rousey will be front and centre to watch her end Jax for good. Nia Jax can say whatever she wants about her but after Sunday she will call her extreme women’s champion.
Ember Moon vs Liv Morgan
Liv Morgan demanded the rematch after Ember Moon beat her last week. Moon looked determined to make her regret it from the off and Morgan ended up taking a break to the outside. Moon followed her but was caught between Morgan and Logan was we went to the ads.
By the time we came back, Liv Morgan was in control courtesy of a Stratusfaction type move (according to commentary) that happened during the break and we got a brief replay of.
Once Moon turned the tables and got into her stride Liv Morgan was quickly in trouble. Sarah Logan got up on the apron for the distraction. Moon punched her down and almost got rolled up. Ember Moon rolled through and pinned her with a jackknife cover.
Asuka def James Ellsworth
Backstage, James Ellsworth was shown trying to do push ups and sit ups. Carmella walked over and told him he’d better take care of Asuka tonight. He said ‘don’t worry, babe, I’ve got it’, and winked at her. She told him if he ever winked at her again she’ll give him a beating way worse than the one she’s going to give Asuka on Sunday, and he better not let her down.
Asuka vs James Ellsworth – Battle of the Sexes II
Ellsworth decided to make a pre-match speech. He took his shirt off and told the lumberjacks that he knows it must be tempting for them but try to show some restraint and not kiss him. Then he said that none of them were ready for Asuka but he is, so bring her out.
As soon as Asuka went for a spinning backfist Ellsworth was out of the ring and returned, much too gently, by Becky Lynch and Naomi. Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, the IIconics, and Lana were less gentle after a hip attack sent him to the outside again.
One thing that strikes me about this match, there aren’t enough women in the division to make an effective lumberjack surround. Charlotte Flair was absent, but her presence wouldn’t have helped enough. It just doesn’t look right without the ringside area properly covered.
They all banded together to stop Ellsworth escaping over the barricade but started fighting amongst themselves and he crawled away. Becky Lynch retrieved him from part way up the ramp and everyone piled in to help. They started scrapping instead of putting Ellsworth back in the ring and Asuka launched herself off the top turnbuckle and laid everyone flat. Everyone that is, except Carmella who didn’t get involved in any of the antics of her colleagues.
James Ellsworth got back into the ring first and crawled toward Carmella who was trying to hand him something. She succeeded and when Asuka spun him around he tried to spray something in her face. She ducked, kicked Ellsworth in the gut and had a shouting match with Carmella. Asuka kicked Ellsworth into Carmella, knocking her off the apron, then slapped him in the Asuka Lock. James Ellsworth tapped almost immediately.
Ellsworth sprayed whatever it was in Asuka’s eyes then held onto her leg while Carmella kicked her in the face. That was the most aggressive thing he did to her all match.
Backstage after the match, Carmella was telling Ellsworth that he got the job done and that’s all that matters. Paige approached them, and he asked her if she saw what he did to Asuka. He also told her she was the exception to the no kissing rule and puckered up.
Paige politely declined and said she had seen it. And, to make sure that he was not able to interfere on Sunday to help Carmella win, he is going to be suspended above the ring in a shark cage. James Ellsworth looked terrified.
Slightly annoying that Ellsworth vs Asuka was the only women’s division action on SmackDown this week. I know the entire division was out there, but that doesn’t make it count.
An interesting little snippet. Nikki Cross made a live event appearance, tagging with Becky Lynch against the IIconics. It’s too soon to infer anything from this, it’s just a live show appearance and she wasn’t with SAnitY this week, but a call-up for her would be a great thing for her and the SmackDown women’s roster. It would be an incredible loss for NXT though, that’s a division that really can’t afford to lose any more talent.
Kairi Sane def Vanessa Borne
The first of three women’s division segments was a walking interview with Candice Le Rae. She was barely into answering the first question when they came across Shayna Baszler. LeRae told Baszler she’d heard what she said about her. Baszler said ‘why don’t you just stick to being the cute little sidekick. LeRae slapped her across the face and they brawled until they were pulled apart.
Dakota Kai had a backstage interview where she was asked for her thoughts on Shayna Baszler’s comments. Kai said she’s well aware of what Baszler said but she’ll be seeing her again really soon. At the moment she’s working her way back up through the women’s division and she’s going to get another shot at the championship.
Lacey Evans arrived and told Kai nobody cares and if she ever got her dirty paws on the women’s championship she would do nothing but bring it down. What the women’s division needs is a lady with class, confidence and sophistication to bring it up where it deserves to be, and Kai doesn’t have those strengths.
Dakota Kai said first Evans talks trash online, now she’s talking trash to her face. How about next week she kicks the class off her face? Kai stormed off leaving Lacey Evans looking like she’d smelled something bad.
Kairi Sane vs Vanessa Borne
Like most of Kairi Sane’s opponents, Borne has the size and power advantage and she made full use of that. Also like most of Sane’s opponents, she loses out to Sane in terms of skill and experience.
Vanessa Borne focused much of her offence on Sane’s back and utilised the ropes to the extent of the five count. It worked well to keep her on top, until she got overconfident.
Borne got up on the turnbuckle and told the crowd to cheer for her. They didn’t and it gave Sane enough time to move out of the way when Borne came crashing down on her.
It was almost all Kairi Sane from that moment, but it wasn’t the InSane elbow that ended the match this time. Sane got Vanessa Borne locked in a beautiful bridging submission, apparently called the Anchor, and Borne tapped out.
After the match, Kairi Sane said, ‘Shayna Baszler, I know you are strong, but I beat you before. I’m going to do it again (she got the crowd chanting again). I’m coming for the treasure, the NT Women’s Championship. Ahoy’.
Next week there will be a fatal four-way to decide the number one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship. Nikki Cross, Candice LeRae, Bianca Belair, and Kairi Sane will fight it out for the chance to face Baszler.
This week, Main Event showed highlights of the RAW tag match, focusing in on Alexa Bliss’ attack on Nia Jax at the end.
Extreme Rules – Preview and Prediction
Carmella (C) vs Asuka – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
Alexa Bliss (C) vs Nia Jax – RAW Women’s Championship Extreme Rules match
Carmella (C) vs Asuka – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
Paige made this interesting on Tuesday by deciding James Ellsworth will spend this match above the ring in a steel cage.
Removing Ellsworth as a threat should tip the odds massively in Asuka’s favour. Carmella is good, but she’s not Asuka good. I wouldn’t rule out some kind of Ellsworth assistance though, he wouldn’t be the first who has managed to interfere in a match while suspended above the ring.
Carmella has done a good job as SmackDown women’s champion. To be honest, she’s been far better than I expected, and I’ve always been a fan of hers. However, Asuka is the champion I want to see going forward. I have a slight concern as to how they position Carmella once she’s no longer champion, but I think the title reign has done her standing the world of good. It’s just time to move on now.
I’m not particularly confident in the prediction. Carmella has been a sneaky and resourceful champion. But I do think Asuka is the right decision for SmackDown women’s champion.
Alexa Bliss (C) vs Nia Jax – Extreme Rules match for the RAW Women’s Championship
First things first, this needs to be the final instalment of this feud. I haven’t enjoyed any of the vicious nastiness of it, but I acknowledge that a lot of that is just my own aversion to bullying as a storytelling device. An extreme rules match is an interesting way to end it, but it does need to end it.
Ronda Rousey is going to be a presence in the match because she’ll be sitting at ringside. That’s been mentioned way too many times not to be a significant factor in the match. Commentary talked about Rousey for the whole of the first section of the tag match on RAW and she’s mentioned almost every time the match is brought up. I’m not sure how she’ll affect things, but she definitely will.
And Rousey isn’t the only potential for interference. Mickie James could well play a part for Bliss, but Natalya may be around to neutralise that threat. An extreme rules stipulation makes the possibilities pretty much endless.
The extreme rules stipulation plays in Bliss’ favour, I think. The right weapon used wisely could counteract an awful lot of the height and power. That said, Jax can use the props herself and that’s bad news for Bliss.
I’m torn on how I want this one to go. On one hand, I’d like to see Nia Jax take the title back and put the bully down once and for all. On the other, Bliss is a great champion. We never really got to see what kind of champion Jax would be without the ever-present shadow of Alexa Bliss.
On balance, I think I’d rather see Nia Jax take the victory, but I don’t believe it’s her night. Bliss is too shrewd, too sneaky, and is likely to be much more creative with the stipulation.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss
WWE have started to announce the participants for this year’s Mae Young Classic. So far Kaitlyn, Rhea Ripley, Io Shirai, Jonny, Kacey Catanzaro, and Nicole Matthews have been announced.
Enjoy Extreme Rules, it looks like a potentially good show and another long one. I’ll be back next week with all the results from the PPV and all the other goings-on in WWE’s women’s divisions. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover or anything you want to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.