Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Another busy week, starting with the first of the new style co-branded PPVs, Backlash, with three women’s division matches on the card. There’s no time to dwell on anything with a WWE schedule though, so there’s exciting news for the next PPV as well. Let’s get stuck in.
Ruby Riott def Bayley
Peyton Royce and Billie Kay crashed the Kickoff show to tell them they are better than Asuka and mimic and ridicule Peter Rosenberg.
Bayley and Sasha Banks had an argument in the locker room before Bayley’s match against Ruby Riott. Bayley had requested they meet to talk and asked Banks to be in her corner. Sasha Banks was angry because Bayley hasn’t spoken to her for weeks and didn’t show up to help her when she was being beaten up by the Riott Squad last week. Bayley said Banks was full of herself and she doesn’t need her. She can handle Ruby Riott just like she’s handled Sasha Banks in the past. Banks reminded Bayley that she was about to tap out when the Riott Squad interrupted their match. Bayley to told her to forget it and said she was trying to give her the opportunity to get back at Riott Squad. Sasha Banks said she can spin it any way she wants, but she’s still on her own tonight.
Bayley vs Ruby Riott
This was a good match, that might have been great without the Riott Squad interference. Bayley and Ruby Riott seem like a good pairing, It was a lively and entertaining contest until Sarah Logan caused a distraction by getting too close while Bayley was on the apron. Bayley aimed a kick at her then got back in the ring where Riott was waiting to take advantage.
I’d really like to see this match properly one-on-one. WWE have got a spare shark cage hanging around. Logan got involved again grabbed Bayley’s leg, but Bayley turned it into a hurricanrana, Riott tried to capitalise, but Bayley bounced her off the middle rope and delivered the elbow from the top turnbuckle. She only got a two count though.
Liv Morgan was instrumental in the result. She got up on the apron and caught Bayley’s attention. Bayley knocked her down but if gave Riott the chance to kick Bayley in the head.
Ruby Riott followed up with the Riott kick, and Bayley was done.
Sasha Banks was shown a couple of times through the match watching from backstage.
Nia Jax (C) vs Alexa Bliss – RAW Women’s Championship match
Please let this be the last of this feud. Bizarrely, Alexa Bliss came out alone, no Mickie James. Tough spot for the match really. They were on second, but the opening match was a match of the year candidate.
Not a bad match. It felt flat in places, but that probably had at least a little to do with the positioning. Bliss focused on trying to take Jax’ legs out from under her, and kicking her when she was down. She utilised the five-count on the ropes and was generally crafty, scheming and vicious. But every time she looked to be in control Nia Jax recovered enough to flatten her or throw her around.
I’m a fan of Nia Jax, I think she’s great at what she does, but her offence felt repetitive in this match.
Bliss’ best chance came after she tipped Jax out of the ring, followed her out and bounced her head off the steps. Trouble was, she couldn’t get Jax back into the ring. By the time they were both back in the cover was only worth a two-count.
Nia Jax caught Alexa Bliss as she dived off the top turnbuckle for Twisted Bliss and (somewhat awkwardly) turned her round on her shoulders to deliver a Samoan drop and retain the RAW Women’s Championship.
After the match, Renee Young interviewed Jax in the ring. She asked Jax what this means to her and Jax replied with an ‘inspirational message’. She said it means everything. It means Alexa’s moment of Bliss is over. This is for anyone who has been bullied or is being bullied, in school, at work, or on social media. It’s ok to be different Your uniqueness is what makes you special and that’s beautiful. You are good enough. You should never change for a friend or a boyfriend or anyone. Be who you are, be a star. And, in the end, a bully always gets her ass kicked. – I left some of it out but that’s the gist. It was long and very sweet. A fitting way to end a feud that must now be over and done with.
Carmella (C) vs Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair looked calm and confident at the start of the match, possibly too confident. Carmella veers between arrogant entitlement and looking like she can’t quite believe she’s there. It’s actually quite endearing in a strange way.
The match started with Carmella mimicking the Flair strut, and Flair kicking her in the face. Carmella rolled out of the ring then collected her title from the timekeeper’s area and attempted to leave. Charlotte Flair cut her off, and the match started properly.
For some reason, as soon as they got into it, they went into a period of Carmella attempting to submit Flair, which went on too long, lost the crowd, and got intensely dull. They picked them back up a bit when Flair powered out and delivered a series of chops rounded off with a Flair strut.
Carmella has a vicious streak and she really brought it out to play against Flair. She slammed her back first onto the apron by pulling her hair. She stretched Flair around the post, and every burst of punches and kicks had a vicious and frantic intensity.
Carmella locked on the Code of Silence, and it could have been game over, but Flair powered out. It looked like Flair was going for a piledriver, but Carmella countered into a pin attempt. That only got two, as did the big boot Flair delivered after kicking out.
The finish was odd. Charlotte Flair did the moonsault from the top rope but landed on her feet when Carmella moved, and tweaked her knee. Carmella kicked her in the damaged leg, rolled her up and pinned her.
On the post-show Carmella seemed extremely surprised that she’d successfully defended her title. She kept repeating, ‘I beat Charlotte Flair’ and laughing hysterically like she was trying to make it sink in. She made a big deal of getting a drink of water and they got very little else out of her. There was some gloating about taking Flair’s leg out to stop her getting the Figure Eight. And she moonwalked back and forth in front of the camera while Renee Young and Peter Rosenberg talked about her. She was very excited.
Ember Moon def Ruby Riott and Sasha Banks
With Backlash over, RAW moved straight on to the next PPV build – Money in the Bank. Last year it was a SmackDown PPV, this year it will be the second dual-branded event. Two MITB ladder matches were announced by Kurt Angle in the opening segment of RAW, one for the women and one for the men, but it’s expected that a tag team ladder match will be announced in the coming weeks. The single’s matches will each have eight participants, four from RAW and four from SmackDown, and the first qualifying matches were this week. In separate promo’s Bayley, Alexa Bliss, and Natalya announced their intention to qualify for the match.
Sasha Banks vs Ruby Riott vs Ember Moon – Money in the Bank qualifying match
Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan accompanied Ruby Riott to the ring, and they played a part at several points in the match. Fantastic match from all three women. Ember Moon looked incredible. She’s settled into the main roster like she was made for it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Ruby Riott and she looks completely at home on the main roster, but Moon is looking like a superstar in the ascendency.
Honestly, I usually try to give highlights and high spots overview of the matches, but I wouldn’t know where to start with this one. If they weren’t throwing themselves and each other around or launching themselves off various bits of the ring, they were breaking up pin attempts to save the match.
Ruby Riott hit a hurricanrana from the top turnbuckle on Sasha Banks. Banks rolled through and Logan and Morgan had to rush the ring to break up the pin. They rolled Banks out of the ring and started kicking at her. Bayley had clearly seen enough and ran down to the ring to rescue Sasha Banks.
She got them off Banks temporarily, but they threw her aside and went back to their task. Bayley launched herself feet first under the bottom rope, through the corner and knocked Logan and Morgan down enough for Banks to get back into the ring.
Banks and Riott went back to it but, as Banks looked to be setting Riott up for the backstabber, Ember Moon appeared on the top turnbuckle and Eclipsed them both. Sasha Banks rolled out of the ring and Ember Moon pinned Ruby Riott to become the first woman to qualify for Money in the Bank. She’ll be amazing in that ladder match.
Banks and Bayley looked at each other as Ember Moon celebrated. Nothing was addressed between them after the match or at any other point in the show. I know it’s a slow burn on the feud, but there is a slow burn and then there is dragging it out. I’m usually quite patient with storylines, but I’m starting to run out on this one. It’s been building for so long, they’ve already come to blows a few times, and they had the match with no finish thanks to the Riott Squad. It feels like it’s time to let them go for it.
Ember Moon was interviewed backstage. She said people have tried to put limits on her for her entire life, but she’s proved them wrong and risen to the challenge every time. Tonight she seized the opportunity and proved she’s skill honour and heart. This is only the beginning she’s going to rise… and grab that Money in the Banks contract.
Carmella did a pre-recorded promo to say she wasn’t there tonight but she’s throwing a huge ‘Mellabration’ when SmackDown visits London next week. She said it’s going to be bigger than the royal wedding.
Charlotte Flair vs Peyton Royce, with Billie Kay
The IIconics couldn’t resist rubbing Charlotte Flair’s Backlash defeat in her face before they got to the ring. They put a graphic of the look on Flair’s face at the end of the match up on the screen and used that as the basis of their tormenting. Charlotte Flair’s reaction to it all is great. She keeps a very calm, almost regal air of composure and looks mildly amused by the whole thing.
It started as you’d probably expect, with Charlotte Flair throwing Peyton Royce around to establish dominance, then tossing her out of the ring as we went for an ad break. By the time we came back, Flair was on the floor having followed her out and been thrown into the post.
Peyton Royce rolled her back into the ring and took control of the match. Flair got back into it by kicking Royce in the face after being bounced off the ropes. It’s clear to see Flair has the edge on skill and strength when they’re going toe to toe, and Billie Kay soon pulled Royce out of the ring for a breather.
Venturing outside the ring when your opponent has back up is never a good plan. Flair should know this, but she jumped over the top rope on the IIconics anyway. Billie Kay took the fall on the and Peyton Royce caught Flair with a neckbreaker on the outside.
Back in the ring, Kay interfered again by bouncing Flair backwards off the ropes and allowing Royce to deliver a kick that earned her a two count. There were more two counts from both of them as they tried desperately to put each other away. Royce got knees up on Flair’s moonsault (sort of) Flair kicked out of the knee to the face, Royce kicked out of the spear.
It was all leading up to one moment though. Charlotte Flair got the figure four locked in, bridged it, and Peyton Royce tapped out to the Figure Eight.
Charlotte Flair now joins Ember Moon in the women’s MITB match.
Naomi and Asuka declared their intention to compete in the Money in the Bank ladder match.
Becky Lynch vs Mandy Rose
Before Mandy Rose could come to the ring, Paige caught her and Sonya Deville backstage. She asked in Deville thought she was going to the ring with Rose and reminded them that Absolution is dead. They said nothing was going to split them up, so Paige banned Deville from ringside.
Rose looked awkward coming out by herself, but it must be odd being by herself for the first time on the main roster. It looked like it was supposed to be sultry, but it looked stilted and forced. I’m assuming that was the intention in order to show Deville being removed had thrown her, but who knows.
The match itself was decent enough, although a little short at under three minutes. Mandy Rose might not have the experience of Becky Lynch, but she held her own. She got to the rope while in the Dis-Arm-Her, took a Bex-ploder, then caught Becky Lynch in a roll-up and got the pin.
Becky Lynch looked shocked, and she wasn’t the only one. I don’t think anyone was expecting that. Hopefully, there is a good payoff for Lynch down the line. I can’t understand why she’s not among the dominant forces in the division right now.
Dakota Kai def Vanessa Borne
Vanessa Borne vs Dakota Kai
This was set up during Vanessa Borne’s interruption of Dakota Kai’s interview last week. It’s an interesting time for NXT’s women’s division. Every match tells us a little bit more about the standing of each of the women within the division.
From this short match, we learned that Vanessa Borne is nearly, but not quite as high up the rankings as Dakota Kai. Borne had the early offence, a mixture of power and arrogance, but once Kai got control it was all her.
A few moments of showing the crowd why she’s the captain of team kick, then Dakota Kai pinned Vanessa Borne of a modified backstabber.
Kai didn’t get chance to celebrate because Shayna Baszler came to the ring. Dakota Kai cowered in the corner as Baszler advanced on her, but Baszler didn’t lay a finger on her. Instead, she held Kai’s stare as she locked Vanessa Borne in the Kirifuda Clutch. Kai couldn’t look away, but she backed out of the ring looking terrified and ran backstage.
While Kai was being interviewed backstage, Baszler appeared and got in her face again. She challenged her to do something then walked away. As Kai was left on her own creepy laughter started from behind her. That turned out to be Nikki Cross, clinging to a scaffold and laughing to herself. I’m so ready for Cross vs Baszler.
Main Event showed highlights of both the Money in the Bank qualifying matches. In the footage of the RAW match between Ember Moon, Sasha Banks, and Ruby Riott, they heavily focused on Bayley’s intervention during the Riott Squad beatdown of Sasha Banks.
I’ll be back next week with the results of the next round of Money in the Bank qualifiers, and all the action from the UK shows – they always produce something interesting. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover or anything you want to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.