Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Quite a reasonable amount to report in the women’s division this week. Both RAW and SmackDown featured the women in three separate segments, with two in each show being matches. Best of all, three out of four were single’s matches.
Ember Moon def Alexa Bliss
Natalya def Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, and Dana Brooke
Alexa Bliss, with Mickie James vs Ember Moon
Bliss had a pre-match interview. She was asked if she was bothered by the fact Ember Moon holds a tag team win over her. In answer, Bliss told a story the point of which was the only reason Moon beat her last time was the element of surprise, which made it not a fair fight. Tonight she’s had time to prepare so it will be a fair fight and she will win.
How fair a fight it was going to be was questionable. Mickie James accompanied Bliss to the ring as usual, and it was obvious she was going to get involved. The match was great. Ember Moon has arrived on RAW looking every inch the Superstar. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see her win the Money in the Bank briefcase.
It wasn’t long before Bliss took a break on the outside. Moon joined her and found herself caught between Bliss and James. She dealt with Bliss and turned to James. That distraction gave Bliss the opportunity grab Moon by the arm and send her shoulder first into the barricade.
That gave Bliss a weakness to work on for the rest of the match, and Moon was clearly guarding the arm even when on the offensive.
Mickie James got caught by the ref trying to get involved again. She was stood in the ring holding one shoe. While the ref was ordering her to the back Moon came along and just punched her out of the ring. Unfortunately, that meant she was distracted, and Bliss rolled her up for a two count.
They tussled around the roped with Moon on the apron and, when Bliss tried to bounce the bad arm off the ropes, Moon managed to kick her in the head. That sent Bliss staggering back a couple of places, perfectly positioning her for Ember Moon to climb to the top turnbuckle and hit the Eclipse.
Not the longest match, but very good while it lasted.
Stephanie McMahon presided over the contract signing between Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey, for the RAW Women’s Championship match at Money in the Bank. She had announced she would be doing it in the opening segment of the show while verbally emasculating Kurt Angle.
McMahon brought Nia Jax out first and congratulated her on winning the RAW Women’s Championship, and on the way she dealt with the personal nature of Bliss’ attacks.
When Ronda Rousey came out McMahon was less sweet. She almost seemed nervous when Rousey asked her how her arm was and ushered them to their seats before starting proceedings.
She started by asking Ronda Rousey how it feels to leapfrog the entire women’s division when she has said herself that there are many women far more deserving of the opportunity. Rousey said she knew what Stephanie McMahon was trying to do and, yes other women were more deserving but Jax challenged her not them.
Stephanie McMahon asked her why she thought that was and hypothesised that Nia Jax is trying to make a name for her at Rousey’s expense. Rousey did great at WrestleMania, but she’s never had a singles match. And the whole world knows Rousey doesn’t like losing very much. There’s a good chance that if Jax beats her at Money in the Bank Rousey will leave WWE, thus making Nia Jax the baddest woman on the planet.
She moved on to stirring it in the opposite direction and pointed out it took Jax 15-20 minutes to beat Bliss and it’s taken her a while to reach this point in her career (it really hasn’t). She suggested to Jax that Rousey might think Jax relies too much on her power and size, and maybe Jax is lazy. And if she is lazy, how long will it take Rousey get her in the armbar, if she can even get her in the armbar.
Nia Jax had heard enough. She stood up and said Rousey can’t get the armbar on her. She’s sick and tired of hearing the lazy crap. The truth is she will make a name for herself, by beating Rousey at Money in the Bank.
They signed the contract then Rousey moved the table aside for the handshake. Before offering her hand, Rousey said she was really happy the truth came out and it’s ok. With their hands clasped she looked at Nia Jax’ arm and added, ‘because I’m going to take your title, and your arm’.
Sarah Logan vs Liv Morgan vs Natalya vs Dana Brooke – Fatal four-way, Money in the Bank Qualifying match
It was clear from the outset that Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan would be trying to work together. They did at every opportunity. There was a moment where they were alone in the centre of the ring. They looked up at the briefcases and it seemed like they might fight, then they laughed and went for Natalya instead.
Natalya was the star of this match, she was involved in the majority of the meaningful action. She took a huge amount of punishment from Morgan and Logan working together and had good spells with both of them separately.
Dana Brooke featured relatively little. She and Morgan took each other out with a double clothesline on the outside at one point and Natalya almost got the Sharpshooter on Sarah Logan. Ruby Riott got up on the apron to distract Natalya. It worked and resulted in Dana Brooke having to break up Logan’s pin attempt. Logan repaid her for that by shoving her into the ringpost so hard she fell out of the ring.
Logan turned round in time to get knocked to the mat by Natalya and put straight into the Sharpshooter. Logan tapped.
After the match, Natalya was asked if she feels like her experience is going to be an advantage heading into her third Money in the Bank ladder match. She said of course, but she’s also got the baddest women on the planet, Ronda Rousey, as her training partner. After Money in the Bank they’ll have new nicknames. Rousey will be RAW Women’s Champion and she will be Miss Money in the Bank.
Next week there will be a last chance gauntlet match for the final place in the Money in the Bank match. The match will feature, Sasha Banks, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, Mickie James, Bayley, and Dana Brooke.
Lana def Billie Kay
Naomi def Sonya Deville
Billie Kay, with Peyton Royce vs Lana
Aiden English gave Lana a musical introduction. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce sang a duet in response. Well, that’s what they said it was.
The match itself was extremely short.
Aiden English was carrying a sign around ringside saying Lana Day so Billie Kay started berating him for it and Peyton Royce slapped him. While Kay was busy screaming at him, Lana was taking out Peyton Royce. She grabbed her, slapped her, and slammed her into the barricade. By the time Kay noticed, Royce was out of it.
Billie Kay threw Lana into the ring. Lana landed a kick as soon as Kay followed her in, hit her finisher and pinned her.
This was Lana’s first one on one victory in WWE. The only other match she’s won was during Mixed Match Challenge. Lana is now in the Money in the Bank match.
Carmella had a backstage interview. She started it wearing Asuka’s mask. She was asked how she felt about her Mellabration being ruined by finding out she would be facing Asuka, and how she plans to tackle someone as dominant as Asuka. After faking an acknowledgement that her title reign now has an expiration date she said that everyone is waiting for her to slip and fall, but she won’t. Everyone is afraid of Asuka, but she isn’t. The Asuka myth was shattered at WrestleMania by Charlotte Flair, and she’s beaten Charlotte Flair twice, so she’s twice as good as Asuka. If anything, Asuka should be afraid of her.
Naomi vs Sonya Deville
Sonya Deville has already had one opportunity to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match. No explanation was given as to why she was given a second one and Mandy Rose wasn’t. Nevertheless, Mandy Rose accompanied Deville to the ring. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair were shown watching from backstage during the match
Another brief match, but this one was long enough to be intriguingly good. Naomi’s athleticism is often cited, but her power is underrated. She got out of Deville’s submission attempt by standing up with her on her back and backing Deville into the corner.
Deville is a legitimate powerhouse and Naomi more than held her own. After a measly four minutes, Naomi got the pin to qualify for Money in the Bank.
The SmackDown side of the Money in the Bank ladder match is now complete – Lana, Naomi, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch. On the RAW side, there is one more spot to join Alexa Bliss, Ember Moon, and Natalya. That will be decided in the gauntlet match.
Lacey Evans def Kairi Sane
There was a hype package for Bianca Belair this week advertising an in-depth feature on her, which starts next week. I any confirmation of Belair’s rising star, marked out for big things, status was needed then this is it.
Kairi Sane vs Lacey Evans
It was all-business Kairi Sane this week. The smile vanished as soon as Evans’ music hit and she started things off with a dropkick on the bell.
It’s not an unusual position for Sane to be giving up height and power in her matches, but maybe Lacey Evans is on the extreme side for power at least.
Short match, but decent. Kairi Sane is well established as one of the top talents of NXT’s women’s division and this was an opportunity for Evans to prove she is on her level. In fact, Evans had the majority of the offence in the match.
There came the point where Sane started running through the well-defined moveset that leads to the InSane elbow. Lacey Evans tried to stop the momentum by rolling out of the ring, only to take an elbow from the apron. Kairi Sane rolled her back into the ring and climbed to the top turnbuckle to deliver her finisher. As she launched herself off, Lacey Evans punched her out of the air with the Woman’s Right and pinned her.
TakeOver is getting close and it hardly seems to have been mentioned, especially in comparison to Money in the Bank, which is being plugged at every opportunity. There’s no obvious build to a match for Shayna Baszler, although Dakota Kai has a title match next week which might lead us closer to an announcement. The title match seems to be a bit out of the blue, have I missed something by way of number one contender’s selection? Kai has been terrified of Baszler, was that enough to earn her a title match?
Anyway, Kai had another interview this week where she was asked how she was mentally preparing. Kai said this was something she’d been dreaming about for a long time. But it’s against Shayna Baszler, the biggest bully she’s ever met and someone she’s allowed to get in her head.
Obviously, at this point, Baszler turned up. She told Kai it isn’t going to be her dream come true or her fairy-tale and taunted her about having nothing to say. When she asked Kai if she realised she didn’t stand a chance, Kai said, ‘we’ll see about that’, and walked off.
Candice LeRae also featured this week, but in her capacity as Johnny Gargano’s wife. LeRae got hurt at the end of the segment when Ciampa sent Gargano crashing into her off the apron. Gargano and Ciampa are set to have a street fight at NXT TakeOver Chicago. Hopefully that will somehow finish their feud and LeRae will be able to focus on working towards the women’s championship. I have no issue with her being used in support of her husband, it would be weird if she’d just stayed out of it, but she’s so much more than Johnny Gargano’s wife and I want to see that too.
The women’s Money in the Bank qualifiers were rounded up in this week’s Main Event. They showed some highlights of RAW’s four-way, and Naomi versus Sonya Deville, and the whole of Lana versus Billie Kay (there is no way to show highlights of a two move match). They also showed highlights of Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey’s contract signing.
I’ll be back next week with the final line up for the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match 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.