Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. It’s been a big week for the women’s division with two title matches on PPV and the NXT ladies dominating this week’s show. It’s another week where there’s quite a lot to get through, so let’s get on with it.
Carmella def Asuka
Alexa Bliss def Nia Jax
There was a lot of talk on the kickoff show about Ronda Rousey potentially getting involved in the RAW Women’s Championship match. They even did a confirmation that she had arrived in the building, complete with footage.
Carmella (C) vs Asuka – SmackDown Women’s Championship match – James Ellsworth locked in a shark cage above the ring
Ellsworth had scarves wrapped around the bottom of his trouser legs when he came out and no-one seemed to question it. He really wasn’t happy about being raised above the ring in the cage.
Inside the first minute Carmella motioned for Ellsworth to throw something down to her, he dropped a chain into the ring but Asuka stood on it before she could grab it. The ref eventually got rid of it when Carmella went for it again and Ellsworth used the opportunity to drop the spray can they used last week down to her. Asuka is wise to that now. She ducked out of the path of the spray and hit Carmella with a spinning backfist.
Asuka got the Asuka Lock on but Carmella got to the ropes.
James Ellsworth was shown picking the lock to the cage while Asuka punished Carmella on the outside – Carmella having exited the ring to draw the ref’s focus from Ellsworth. He escaped but one of his scarves got caught (it’s a real shame you could see the safety thing clipping him to the cage) and he ended up hanging upside down from the cage.
Asuka got a few good kicks in on Ellsworth, even throwing out the officials who were trying to put him back in the cage so she could get to him, and left him dangling with his legs spread wide. As she geared up to take advantage of his positioning with a massive kick, Carmella grabbed her from behind and shoved her face first into the cage. Asuka was knocked out and Carmella got the pin.
After the match, Asuka took her frustrations out on the officials, then beat the hell out of Ellsworth. She slapped him in the Asuka Lock and let him tap for a good half minute before she let him go.
Honestly, it wasn’t a great match. Neither Carmella or Asuka did anything fundamentally wrong, but they barely got any of the focus. All the attention was on James Ellsworth. That might be ok for a whacky one-off on a quiet episode of SmackDown, but this was supposed to be a SmackDown Women’s Championship match. I’m sure there must have been people who enjoyed it, but I felt like both Asuka and Carmella were short-changed.
Carmella was on the post-show gloating about beating Asuka twice, Charlotte Flair twice, and winning the Money in the Bank ladder match twice. She also accused Paige of abusing her power as general manager and throwing out title opportunities to anyone. She denied James Ellsworth had anything to do with any of the victories and was entirely unconcerned about his wellbeing after the beating Asuka handed him.
Alexa Bliss (C) vs Nia Jax – RAW Women’s Championship, extreme rules, match
As expected, Alexa Bliss had Mickie James with her and Nia Jax was accompanied by Natalya.
The trouble with the extreme rules stipulation is it doesn’t really work for anyone who watched WWE pre-PG, or that watches any amount of indie wrestling. If you’ve never seen an Attitude Era match or watched a CZW Tournament of Death (to use an extreme example for extreme rules), or even a regular indie deathmatch, then I’m sure the addition of a few toys is thrilling. However, if you know what can and does happen in these matches outside of the sanitised environment of WWE, it’s all very tame.
Bliss really wanted to play with the toys from the outset, but Jax just wanted to get her hands on Bliss. Mickie James kept trying to hand Bliss a kendo stick and Jax was blocking her.
Bliss got to use the stick a couple of times when they stepped outside the ring, but Jax took it off her and snapped it in half. Mickie James handed Bliss a succession of toys, trash cans, chairs, a trash can lid. Bliss tried to hit Jax with each one and Jax took them off her and threw them into the ring.
Once they were back in the ring the toys came into effect. Jax dropped Bliss belly first onto a trash can, Bliss used a trash can lid to beat Nia Jax off her feet. Alexa Bliss sent Jax face first into a chair propped between the ropes.
Mickie James got up on the apron to try to hand Bliss another trash can lid, but Natalya ran round and pulled her down before Bliss could take it, then hit her with it.
Bliss took a moment out of the match to help James, and the two of them threw Natalya into the barricade. Of course, Ronda Rousey got involved. She lasted until Mickie James started beating on Natalya then hopped the barricade herself and went after James. Rousey threw her into the barricade, to the floor, into the ring, then hoisted her onto her shoulders and dumped her on the mat. James crawled out of the other side of the ring and Rousey followed and threw her over an announce desk.
Turning her attention to Bliss, Rousey chased her and caught her as she tried to escape over the barricade. She was pulling her back when Mickie James attacked from behind with a kendo stick.
There was still, theoretically, and match going on. Alexa Bliss got back in the ring and went to the top turnbuckle, but Jax caught her and set up for the Samoan drop. Mickie James his Jax with a steel chair. Bliss did the same then delivered a DDT on a chair to get the pin and retain the RAW Women’s Championship.
Ronda Rousey jumped back in the ring and Bliss and James scarpered up the ramp.
So, two women’s championship matches, both with interference as the focus. As far as WWE extreme rules matches go, it was ok. Unfortunately, it was all set up around the Ronda Rousey interference that everyone was waiting for. Another match where the women competing for the title got overshadowed. Shame.
Bayley and Sasha Banks
Bayley and Kurt Angle had a conversation in Angle’s office after Angle told her Sasha Banks was holed up in the locker room. He asked how the friendship counselling went and Bayley said not so well. She tried and she thinks Sasha Banks tired too, but it didn’t work and she doesn’t think she and Banks will ever be friends again. Angle said he thinks they will, he’s just been going about things the wrong way. They settle things in the ring on RAW so Bayley and Sasha Banks will team up later to fight Dana Brooke and Alicia Fox. Bayley tried to tell him it was a bad idea but he told her that she and Banks are valuable together but if they can’t get along them one of them will be traded to SmackDown.
When they were shown backstage on their way to the ring, they couldn’t even look at each other.
Bayley and Sasha Banks vs Dana Brooke and Alicia Fox
Can we just take a moment to appreciate how good it is to see Alicia Fox back from injury, and combining her return with a rare sighting of Dana Brooke was just lovely. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, the match was in no way about either of them. They didn’t even get a proper entrance, they were brought out in the ad break. Fox still looked absolutely thrilled to be there though.
Sasha Banks didn’t get into the short match. Bayley and Fox started things off and Dana Brooke came in after Fox had failed to keep Bayley down for more than two from a big boot. Brooke knocked Banks off the apron when Bayley was reaching for a tag but the distraction allowed Bayley to fight back and return the favour by knocking Fox to the floor.
Dana Brooke threw Bayley out of the ring and distracted the ref while Alicia Fox started beating on her. Sasha Banks ran around the ring to help Bayley. She tore Fox away by the hair then flipped Brooke off the apron over her head and slammed her into the barricade. When she launched herself off the apron onto Fox and Brooke despite the ref’s protests, he disqualified them.
Sasha Banks gave Bayley a long look then stalked to the back leaving Bayley looking confused.
In the locker room, Sasha Banks was packing when Bayley caught up and asked her what that was all about. Banks said that it’s one thing for her to beat her up but she’s damned if anyone else is going to. Bayley said that means she cares, Banks said yes she cares, she’s always cared. She hates talking about her feelings, but Bayley always pushes. She loves that Bayley is a good person and that she wants to be friend with everyone. She loves that little girls look up to Bayley and that Bayley is always there for her even when she doesn’t ask her to be and she always knows when something is wrong. So she doesn’t understand why she doesn’t get it. She loves her, she always has, and she always will.
Banks walked out and left Bayley alone looking shocked. Just as the camera cut away, Bayley started to smile.
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James came to the ring for Bliss to talk about her victory. She gloated a lot then said that last night she wrote the final chapter of Alexa Bliss and the Nia Jax story. And it ended how all good stories should with the big bad bully staring up at the lights and the one true goddess standing victorious. She has dominated the women’s division for so long because her strongest muscle is her brain. She has outsmarted every single one of her opponents. Outsmarting Nia Jax wasn’t that hard. And now she can officially say she’s beaten every single woman in the locker room.
The crowd chanted Ronda Rousey and Bliss said she doesn’t count because she’s suspended and after last night she should be suspended indefinitely.
Just as she was getting into a tirade about Rousey there was a commotion in the crowd because Rousey was coming through. Bliss and James tried to leave, with Bliss saying that’s all she’s got to say, drive safe, goodnight. Rousey headed them off at the stage and chased them back to the ring. Bliss was too quick, but Rousey caught Mickie James by the leg, hoisted her up, slammed her to the mat then tried to get an armbar on.
Officials appeared and helped Alexa Bliss drag James from the ring. Ronda Rousey followed them up the ramp and jumped on all of them, sending them over like skittles. She dragged Bliss back to the ring by her hair and got her in an armbar. Kurt Angle came out to stop her breaking her arm.
Baron Corbin came to the stage to stir the pot. With Bliss and James either side of him agreeing with his points he said Rousey should face consequences for her actions. Angle reluctantly agreed and extended Rousey’s suspension for an extra week.
Corbin protested and said Stephanie McMahon wouldn’t be happy, so he was going to call her straight away. He checked every pocket but couldn’t find his phone so told Angle he’d left it in the office and went to find it.
Angle waited until Corbin had left then pulled Corbin’s phone out of his pocket and said, ‘I think he’s looking for this’. He told Rousey that when her suspension is done he’ll give her a match with Alexa Bliss, and not just any match. He’s going to give her a championship match at SummerSlam.
It’s an interesting concept. Break your suspension, get rewarded with a title match at the biggest show of the summer.
Sarah Logan was giving Liv Morgan a piggyback through the backstage area when they encountered No Way Jose’s conga line. Logan knocked someone’s hat off and Morgan stole someone’s sunglasses, then it was announced that Logan was to face Ember Moon to see if she could do what Liv Morgan has been unable to.
Ember Moon vs Sarah Logan
I’m really pleased they’re using Logan and Morgan so much while Ruby Riott is out injured.
Sarah Logan’s character was a bit odd when she first arrived, but commentary spent the match telling us she is of Viking descent and that informs her current style.
This was a very good match, and a decent length one too. Logan is a completely different style of wrestler to Liv Morgan, much more physical and hard-hitting, not so much of the athletically flashy stuff.
Liv Morgan got up on the apron when Logan was in trouble and Ember Moon nearly got rolled up as a result of dealing with her.
Morgan was also instrumental in the result. She got up on the apron again when Moon climbed the turnbuckle for the Eclipse. The distraction allowed Sarah Logan to take Moon’s legs from under her. When she Ember Moon fell to the mat, Logan pinned her.
That was unexpected. Ember Moon has been in the ascendency since her arrival on RAW. I’m surprised to see her taking a loss to Sarah Logan. It was also Logan’s first singles win on the main roster.
Becky Lynch def Mandy Rose
Becky Lynch vs Mandy Rose
Mandy Rose was accompanied by Sonya Deville as usual. Commentary spent a lot of the pre-match talking about the incredible run Becky Lynch has been on recently.
Decent match but very short. Sonya Deville tried to distract Lynch very early in the match but that was her only involvement, which is very nice to see. Mandy Rose had some good chances in the early part of the match, including a couple of near falls. She’s looking more complete as a performer on every outing. It wasn’t her night though and she succumbed to the Dis-Arm-Her just like everyone else Lynch has fought recently.
After the match, Becky Lynch thanked the crowd and said winning feels great. She has been patiently, and not so patiently, waiting. She’s been biding her time and she never stopped working as hard as she possibly can for the fans and so she can rack up victory after victory but she’s just getting started. Staring into the camera she said ‘do you hear that Carmella, straight fire is coming for you.’ It’s time Becky Balboa became SmackDown women’s champion again.
Mandy Rose tapped out to the Dis-Arm-Her. Becky Lynch’s winning streak continues.
In Paige’s office, Carmella interrupted Paige watching Lynch’s post-match speech. Paige asked her where her boyfriend, James Ellsworth, is, and Carmella looked disgusted and told her he’s not her boyfriend. She said she beat Charlotte Flair twice and now she’s beaten Asuka twice, so she deserves another Mellabration.
Paige said she’ll throw Carmella the Mellabration as long as she wins her match against Becky Lynch next week. Carmella said she’s not defending her title next week, she just defended against Asuka. Paige said no, of course not, it will be a non-title match. However, if Becky Lynch wins then she gets a title shot at SummerSlam.
Lacey Evans def Dakota Kai
Kairi Sane def Candice LeRae and Nikki Cross
It was ladies’ night on NXT this week. The women’s division opened and main evented the show. It’s been a long time since there were two women’s division matches on an episode of NXT.
Dakota Kai vs Lacey Evans
This match opened the show. Evan started things off by mocking Dakota Kai’s kicks and Kai responded with a pin attempt.
After the initial flurry, Evans dodged a kick from Kai in the corner and Dakota Kai got hung up on the top turnbuckle. Lacey Evans secured her in the tree of woe by tying her bootlaces to the corner, then delivered a broncobuster.
Evans likes to trash-talk while she’s fighting, she also has a vicious streak which she evidenced on Kai in this match. There were some submission attempts, but they looked more designed to hurt Kai than a serious bid make her quit.
Dakota Kai did fight her way back into it after she got out of the way of Evans’ moonsault. She ran through a lot of her arsenal, took some punishing counters, then got caught with the Woman’s Right and pinned. After the match, Evans knelt over Dakota Kai and trash-talked some more.
Nikki Cross vs Candice LeRae vs Kairi Sane – Number one contender’s match
This was supposed to be a fatal four-way but Bianca Belair is injured and was not medically cleared to compete.
Shayna Baszler joined commentary and proved that it is possible to have a guest on commentary without the entire being ignored. They did talk to Baszler, mainly about who she’d prefer to face next and her previous title defence against Nikki Cross, but the match got the majority of their attention.
It deserved it too because it was brilliant. Normally I’d do a highlights and highspots type report on a match this length (ten minutes or thereabouts), but it would be pages long and I’d still miss stuff. If you can find the time then go and check it out.
Nikki Cross was the woman of the match, for me anyway. She just seemed to be everywhere.
There was the compulsory tower of doom spot when Candice LeRae got underneath Cross and Sane while they were fighting on the turnbuckle
Candice LeRae almost pinned Kairi Sane but Nikki Cross pulled her out of the ring by her hair and delivered a swinging neckbreaker to the outside while LeRae’s feet were on the apron. LeRae got back in the ring in time to stop Cross delivering the move to Sane with Sane’s legs on the top turnbuckle.
Candice LeRae had a good pin attempt on Cross, but Kairi Sane dropped the InSane Elbow on the back of LeRae’s head to break it up. Cross rolled away and Candice LeRae was pinned.
Kairi Sane will be Shayna Baszler’s challenger at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn.
This week’s Main Event showed highlights of the RAW segment with Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Ronda Rousey, but not original women’s division action.
There are rumours of an exciting announcement coming up over the next week. It has been confirmed that Stephanie McMahon will appear on RAW, and the speculation is that she’ll announce either women’s tag titles, an all-female PPV, or both. Whether that will happen remains to be seen, but I’ll be back next week with any announcements and all the other action from WWE’s women’s division. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover or anything you want to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.