Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. An extra long week this week, with the Super Show-Down network special rounding it off in style (hopefully). But before we get to that, there’s all the build-up to go through. Let’s get straight into it.
Ronda Rousey def. Ruby Riott
Bayley def. Alicia Fox
WWE have finally started to promote Evolution. There was an advert and a ‘Moment of Bliss’ segment. I thought we’d seen the last of those, but apparently not. The theme of this one was Never Meet Your Heroes, and it was aimed at her Evolution opponent, Trish Stratus.
She made up a story about meeting Stratus and asking for an autograph. Fictional Stratus burped in seven-year-old Alexa’s face, demanded fifty dollars for an autograph, ripped up the autograph book and stepped on her foot. Fictional Alexa cried all night. I… I… Nope, I’ve got nothing.
Ronda Rousey vs Ruby Riott
It was good to see Liv Morgan with Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan. She played no part in the match, but she was at ringside. She has pink hair now. The Bella Twins accompanied Rousey to the ring, presenting a united front ahead of their Super Show-Down match.
Rousey started hard enough to make Riott take a quick breather on the outside with her teammates. When she got back in she landed a couple of blows, got thrown, and rolled back out.
This time Rousey followed her out and it was a big mistake. Riott kicked her back out of the ring as she got back in, then slammed her arm around the ringpost before throwing her into the barricade.
Back in the ring, Ruby Riott was in control. She used her experience (and a handful of Rousey’s hair to drag Rousey’s neck over the top rope) to stop Rousey getting back into it.
When she threw Rousey out in the direction of the rest of the Riott Squad, the Bella Twins were there to make sure nothing happened.
It turned into a dominant performance from Riott. Ruby Riott looked great and Rousey looked to be in trouble. Then Rousey caught Riott as she went for the Riott kick, and everything changed.
Rousey threw Riott over her head, her expression hardened, and she tore her crop top in half a la Hogan. Sarah Logan tried to distract her after she slammed Riott to the canvas. Rousey kicked her through the ropes and Riott tried to roll her up off the distraction. It got a two count, but one throw later Ruby Riott found herself trapped in the armbar and tapped out.
Bayley vs Alicia Fox
Bayley and Finn Balor have been friends for a long time. They were adorable in NXT, and they are clearly thrilled to be working together. He accompanied her to the ring and Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh were with Alicia Fox.
Decent match, just not very long. Alicia Fox still has by far the prettiest Northern Light’s suplex of anyone. In this match, it only got her a two count though.
Jinder Mahal tried to grab Bayley’s foot, revenge for her doing it to him last week in his match against Balor. He paid for it with a dropkick through the ropes from Bayley and a slingblade from Balor.
Alicia Fox attempted to capitalise on the distraction with a big boot, but Bayley caught her and delivered the Bayley to Belly for the win.
Carmella and R-Truth def. Zelina Vega and Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas
Asuka def. Peyton Royce
Carmella and R-Truth vs Zelina Vega and Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas
Well, the question, what will they do with Carmella post title reign, has been answered for now. It looks like hanging out with her Mixed Match Challenge partner, R-Truth, is an ongoing thing and they’re both having fun. They seem to be doing that a lot more with this year’s Mixed Match Challenge. I think it’s nice.
This week’s Fabulous Truth match came about after Zelina Vega made a comment on twitter about Truth TV being cancelled and Carmella took offence.
It was Vega and Carmella who started the match. I’m loving that Vega actually gets to wrestle on SmackDown. She got some good stuff in on Carmella before Carmella tagged R-Truth in.
Almas and Vega’s ‘Tranquillo’ pose was countered by Carmella and Truth both doing the splits, and the brief moment all four were in the ring came to nothing.
R-Truth tagged Carmella in at the end of their stint and it was all Carmella from then. She would have pinned Vega quickly, off a bronco-buster and flatliner, if Almas hadn’t pulled her off the cover. She tried to superkick him, but he caught her foot. Before he could do anything else, Truth punched him in the face and tipped him out of the ring. Then R-Truth leapt over the top rope onto Almas to keep him out of the way.
Carmella was busy watching and Vega tried to roll her up, but Carmella kept hold of the ropes. Vega tackled Carmella and flipped over her into a pin attempt. Carmella rolled them over and locked on the Code of Silence. Zelina Vega tapped out immediately.
Carmella really isn’t given enough credit for her improvement since she got called up. She looked great in that match.
There was a development in the Lana/Rusev/Aiden English storyline, kind of. English is implying that something happened between him and Lana in Milwaukee. This week he produced a video showing Lana coming to his hotel room. He paused it as Lana said, ‘I want you’, but she was clearly in the middle of a sentence and he refused to show any more.
Asuka vs Peyton Royce
Naomi was with Asuka for the match, actually, Naomi was already in the ring as she’d just finished presenting the Susan G. Komen segment. Billie Kay and their pre-match promo was pre-recorded. It was fine, it was just about how excited they are for Super Show-Down.
The match wasn’t particularly long, and it was a half and half kind of deal. Peyton Royce had all the early going, including a couple of close pin attempts.
Asuka hit a dropkick out of the corner then it was her turn to run things. She got Royce in a submission hold, but Royce got to the ropes with a little help from Billie Kay. Naomi kicked Kay away and Asuka renewed the hold. Royce tapped out.
Becky Lynch closed the show with a long rant.
Six weeks ago, at SummerSlam, she finally stopped waiting and started taking. And since then she’s been the best thing about SmackDown. And since she ran through the locker room and toppled the queen she now runs this division, and she has made it the most relevant thing in WWE.
She’s learned that being kind and patient get you nothing but stabbed in the back and treated like a fool. But not anymore. Now she’s relentless now she strikes first, and she strikes often.
She showed a narrated montage of all the times she’s attacked Flair from Flair winning the title at SummerSlam onwards.
When it finished she said she could watch it all day, and the crowd chanted her name. Then she launched back into her rant. Time and time again she has proven that she owns Charlotte Flair, but the more things change the more they stay the same. Because still, the champ can’t get the respect that she deserves. Where are her magazine covers, where’s the new action figure of her holding the title? Instead, she has to suffer the indignity of seeing the woman she beat pose for photographs for future covers and press releases.
On Saturday she’ll prove it’s her face, the champs face, that deserves to be on the magazine covers, on the billboard and the PPV posters. It’s her face that is the face of this company, and if no-one’s going to give it to her she’ll do it herself.
In fact, she’d gone to the trouble of designing a new poster for Super Show-Down. She asked for a drumroll and unveiled it. It was a picture of the stadium, with the picture of her standing over Charlotte Flair holding the title aloft that she made the photographer take after the attack last week.
Charlotte Flair stormed down to the ring and they brawled. Flair speared her then suplexed her into the poster. She followed that up with a figure four dangling off the edge of the ring then kicked her in the face when she got back in the ring. Lynch was left laying in the ring clutching the belt after Flair Woo’d in her face and walked away.
Lacey Evans def. Candice LeRae
Nikki Cross opened the show this week from somewhere backstage. She was talking to the camera/us/Bianca Belair/herself possibly, I’m not sure it matters. She said games are fun, especially games you can play with other people. She had fun playing with Bianca last time, they had fun playing their little game and they’re going to get to do it again. She hopes Belair isn’t scared, because they didn’t behave themselves last time. And speaking of bad behaviour, she knows. She finished by repeating ‘I know’ over and over ending up right against the camera.
Lacey Evans vs Candice LeRae
I’m not a fan of Lacey Evan’s 1950’s Good Housekeeping routine. Honestly, I’m not sure it’s a healthy message to be putting out there. I was going to do a whole big spiel about why, and maybe I will, on a quieter week with less going on. The weirdest thing about it is, from what I have seen in interviews, her real life would make for a much more interesting wrestling persona than the current stuff.
I do, however, like watching her wrestle and Candice LeRae is one of my favourite wrestlers, so I liked this match. Evans’ power advantage caught up with LeRae in this one, as did her vicious streak.
Evans was sneaky as well. She had LeRae in a submission hold, but she kept her body between LeRae and the ref, so he couldn’t see she had a handful of hair.
LeRae turned it around when she got out of the way of Evans’ leap over the top rope. She had a close two-count but failed to get the Unprettier when Lacey Evans shoved her into the corner then threw her into the centre of the ring.
Evans screamed that LeRae was a loser, just like her husband, and Candice LeRae lost it. Twice, she dived onto Evans, in the corner, and only stopped for the ref’s five count. When she went back for a third attempt, she walked straight into the Women’s Right and got pinned.
The official confirmation that Kairi Sane will defend the NXT Women’s Championship at Evolution against Shayna Baszler came after they showed the footage of Sane giving Baszler the match last week. That fed into a short video package about Baszler’s preparations for the fight. She’s gone to a training camp to get into the right headspace and make sure she’s got everything from the basics up, just right. She said the world has evolved, women’s wrestling has evolved, and she has evolved.
Bianca Belair got an interview to address Nikki Cross’ promo. She refused to give Cathy Kelley a response to whether she accepted Cross’ rematch until she called her Miss Belair. She said, first of all, she’s not here to play. And second of all, she doesn’t care about what Cross wants it’s about what she wants and she’s still un-def-eat-ed. And that’s not changing anytime soon. Nikki had her chance to walk away but she’s got no sense so, not only is she going to have to beat her, she’s going to have to embarrass her and remain un-def-eat-ed.
Bianca Belair versus Nikki Cross will take place in two weeks.
Mae Young Classic
Toni Storm def. Hiroyo Matsumoto
Rhea Ripley def. Kacy Catanzaro
Lacey Lane def. Taynara Conti
Meiko Satomura def. Mercedes Martinez
This week saw the first half of the second-round matches. Overall, the tournament so far has been excellent. There will always be a couple of matches that miss the mark in a tournament like this, but there haven’t been many. If you only have time to check out one match this week, make it the Meiko Satomura versus Mercedes Martinez one. I really enjoyed Toni Storm versus Hiroyo Matsumoto as well. Full details can be found here.
Mixed Match Challenge
Bayley and Finn Balor (B n B) def. Alicia Fox and Jinder Mahal (Mahalicia)
Naomi and Jimmy Uso (Day One Glow)
Bayley and Finn Balor (B n B) vs Alicia Fox and Jinder Mahal (Mahalicia)
Bayley and Bayley came out wearing each other’s jackets and it was all hugs and smiles. Renee Young mentioned that Bayley and Balor did each other’s entrances back in NXT. I think that footage is still around somewhere, seek it out if you can, it’s funny and sweet. There was considerably less unity in the other team, with Fox taking offence at Sunil Singh wearing her hat, despite her giving it to him.
Fox argued that she wanted to start so Mahal let her, then she tried to argue that she wanted to fight Balor instead of Bayley. She took a couple of swipes at Balor while calling him chicken and nearly got rolled up for it. Bayley kept on her and she quickly decided she’d had enough and tagged out.
Mahal didn’t fair much better than Fox did and was soon tagging back out for his own preservation.
Fox tipped Bayley over the top rope and knocked her off the apron, straight into Sunil Singh’s arms. Bayley protested that he’s not her partner, but he seemed more interested in finding out if she wanted to Bollywood dance. Fox screamed at him to put her down and when he did she sent Bayley face first into the post.
We missed half of the rest of their stint because the cameras cut away to Team Pawz on social media, and Ravishing Rusev Day, but Fox had the best of the offence and it was Bayley who needed to tag out.
Finn Balor climbed to the top turnbuckle to hit the Coup de Grace, but Alicia Fox wobbled to top rope until Balor crotched himself on the corner. For some reason, Mahal chose to tag out rather than capitalise. Balor was still on the mat holding himself when Bayley came flying in.
Fox ended up outside the ring with Sunil Singh talking to her. He saw Bayley coming for the baseball slide and got out of the way, allowing Fox to take the whole thing. She chased him around the ring and he dived in to escape from her. It worked, but he took a Bayley to Belly for it. Fox tried to ambush her, and Bayley threw her out of the ring. Luckily Fox got out of the way before Balor launched himself off the top rope onto Mahal and Singh.
Fox stood up, turned around, and took a Bayley to Belly to give her team their second loss.
Lana and Rusev (Ravishing Rusev Day) vs Naomi and Jimmy Uso (Day One Glow)
There was definitely some awkwardness and conflict in the Ravishing Rusev Day camp. In their pre-match promo, Rusev said they were going to forget about it and focus, but walked off as soon as they’d finished, leaving Lana looking unhappy. Naomi and Jimmy Uso looked to be having as much fun as usual. In the battle of the married couples of SmackDown, Day One Glow definitely got a point for harmony.
The ‘match’ was fun. Naomi and Lana started it off, but Naomi seemed to want to go back to their dance-off rather than fight. Lana clearly had some aggression to work out but she joined in with the dancing as well, and Jimmy Uso called for a dance-off. Music and lights were put on, and there was indeed a dance-off. They can both dance, nothing was resolved except their husband’s arguing about who was best. The crowd seemed to come down on Naomi’s side.
Rusev and Jimmy Uso got in the ring and Uso wanted them to have a dance off too. He danced, Rusev looked like he was going to, Jimmy Uso put sunglasses on him like Too Cool did on his dad, but Rusev kicked him in the stomach and spoiled the fun.
With all that going on there wasn’t much time for actual wrestling. The women came back in after a quick exchange between Rusev and Uso, and Rusev had to break up Naomi’s cover on Lana. Jimmy Uso came in to deal with him, Rusev threw him out of the ring. When he followed him, he got superkicked in the face.
Lana was about to pin Naomi and Uso got up on the apron with a microphone and asked her what she’s so mad about, what’s up with Milwaukee. She slapped him off the apron and Naomi rolled her up and pinned her.
Next week B n B face Monster Eclipse, and Fenomenal Flair take on Fabulous Truth.
Main Event showed highlights of Ronda Rousey versus Ruby Riott from RAW this week, and highlights of Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair’s segment from SmackDown.
Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair
The IIconics def. Asuka and Naomi
The Bella Twins and Ronda Rousey
Becky Lynch (C) vs Charlotte Flair – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
This was the second match on the card, which was a bit of a surprise.
Becky Lynch wasn’t playing. She started by trying to take Flair’s legs out, then the rage just poured out of both of them. The early parts of the match had a real grudge match feel.
The first real chance of the night was for Becky Lynch, with an armbar, but Flair managed to get out of it, twice. Flair’s closest early chance was from a big boot. There was a lot of the match that went almost move for move and counter for counter. But that’s what happens when long-standing friends and rivals fight.
A spear from Charlotte Flair nearly got her the title, but not close enough. She took much too long going up for the moonsault and Lynch got her knees up. Becky Lynch could have gone for a cover after landing an enziguri but, despite seeming very unsteady, chose to climb the turnbuckle instead. She went for a leg drop, missed, and ended up in a Boston crab via a kick in the face. She made it to the ropes and the hold was broken.
Lynch had had enough. She grabbed the championship belt from the timekeeper’s area and started to walk away. Flair slammed her into the barricade and rolled her into the ring.
Flair hit Becky Lynch with a spear then locked in the figure four and bridged into the Figure Eight. There was no way for Lynch to reach the ropes, but she reached the title belt, swung it into Flair’s stomach and got disqualified.
The lack of a finish wasn’t a surprise. As Lynch walked away Flair followed her, slammed her backwards onto the ramp by her hair, and dragged her back to the ring. Becky Lynch slipped out the other side and when Flair came around she floored her, delivered a Bex-ploder on the floor, went back for one more knee to the head, and walked away.
The IIconics vs Naomi and Asuka
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce kept their spiel short of the way to the ring, which was ironic because it was a long ramp and they were still walking down it when Asuka’s music hit. They kept it to how pleased they were to be home. They didn’t insult anyone, they even called Naomi and Asuka ‘not too shabby’, which is a positively glowing compliment for them.
Naomi and Peyton Royce got the match underway and it was fine. A two on two spot saw the IIconics take synchronised kicks and hip attacks.
Honestly, I don’t have much more to say about it. Royce and Kay played up to the crowd, who weren’t going to boo the hometown girls anyway, but they weren’t going to boo Asuka and Naomi either. The result was a quiet match.
While Peyton Royce was legal, Billie Kay pulled Naomi off the apron to stop her diving over the top rope onto Royce. Asuka appeared to help out and Kay flung her into the barricade then got into the ring to double team Naomi so Royce could pin her.
It was sweet, and Royce and Kay were emotional about their victory, and it was all very lovely. It might have worked more as a match if Royce and Kay hadn’t been heeling it up right up to the match.
The Riott Squad vs Ronda Rousey and The Bella Twins
When a six-woman tag gets the billing over a title match and the hometown heroes match, I guess that’s indicative of just how big the names we’re dealing with are. It’s still slightly annoying that all three women’s division matches were over by half way through the show.
There was a moment at the start of the match where Nikki Bella and Ronda Rousey seemed unable to agree who would start things off. Eventually, they agreed Nikki Bella would start, and she kicked things off against Ruby Riott.
Liv Morgan did take part in the match. She announced her presence by kicking Brie Bella in the face while Ruby Riott held her still. For some reason, Brie Bella grabbed Morgan’s tongue when she stuck it out at her. I’m not sure what she was trying to achieve, but Morgan punched her in the face and she let go.
It was all the Bella Twins (mainly Nikki) and the Riott Squad until close to the end of the match. Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan stopped Nikki Bella tagging out once, with Riott pulling Brie Bella off the apron from the outside and Liv Morgan entering the ring and shoving Rousey off. It didn’t take Rousey long to get back up though and, finally, Nikki Bella tagged her in.
Rousey came in and arm-dragged Sarah Logan around the ring until Morgan and Logan came in to save her, then they got thrown around a bit too. The Bellas had to come in to prevent more interference from Logan and Morgan and it broke down on the outside.
Liv Morgan sent Brie Bella crashing into the steps and ringpost. Ruby Riott shoved Nikki into the barricade, took a kick and ended up in the barricade herself.
Rousey was about to lock the armbar in on Sarah Logan when Liv Morgan reappeared and broke it up by smacking Rousey on the back. They started trying to double team her but spent too long on the trash-talk. Ronda Rousey flipped them both over then got Morgan and Logan in a double-armbar and they both tapped.
I’ve got to say, as a UK fan, watching a live event at 10am was very weird. Still, it makes a change downing coffee to wake up rather than to stay awake after a long day.
A Saturday network special made for a long day, but it was a fun show. Hopefully, next week will see more build up to Evolution. It’s really not long now and Super Show-Down has taken almost all the hype time. I will, of course, be back next week to give you all the developments in the women’s divisions of WWE.
In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover or anything you want to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.