Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Fairly standard week this week, but that doesn’t mean there was nothing going on. We had a title match on NXT, and some interesting dynamics on display on RAW, so let’s start there.
Bayley def Sasha Banks
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville def Mickie James and Alexa Bliss
Bayley vs Sasha Banks
Well, this was an interesting match. Great, obviously, but also interesting. WWE have been teasing us with a Sasha Banks heel turn for months, a look here, a few words there, a little more attitude in places. People have been screaming at them to get on with it. In WWE’s defence, I don’t think they can win. If they hurry it along they’re rushing, if they let it play out they’re making it drag. You can’t please all of the people etc. But NXT Sasha Banks was the best Sasha Banks character-wise.
They really teased it here. The match started friendly enough, all smiles and sportsmanship. But, as it went on, it got nastier. The smiles disappeared, the strikes looked stiffer and the moves got bigger. Bayley had come to the ring with tape on her previously injured shoulder, and Banks spent a lot of time working the area.
Bayley missed with the elbow drop and landed hard on the bad arm. Banks capitalised by locking in the Bank Statement, but Bayley managed to get to the ropes despite Banks efforts to stop her. They threw each other into turnbuckles and exchanged blows like mortal enemies rather than best friends. The end came when they were brawling in a corner. Banks pushed her down to the canvas, Bayley jumped back up and hit the Bayley to belly from the second turnbuckle to get the pin.
After Bayley’s celebrations we all waited to see if this was the moment we’d been waiting for. Would a loss to her best friend be the final trigger for Banks to turn? They stood face to face, both looking emotional and a hug or a punch looked equally likely. Then Nia Jax appeared and wiped them both out.
At the top of the ramp, Nia Jax was asked why she did it. She said that over the past few weeks both Bayley and Sasha Banks had taken Asuka to her limit, and she just destroyed them both in seconds. At Elimination Chamber, there is only one woman in WWE who can break Asuka’s streak, and it’s her. I wonder if Jax has forgotten the times Asuka has already beaten her, or just hopes we have. Granted, Jax is better than she was then, but still. I still have a grim feeling that Asuka’s streak will be a welcome gift to Ronda Rousey. I hope I’m wrong.
Mickie James and Alexa Bliss had a backstage segment in the lead in to their tag match. James asked Bliss what she was up to, why she’d helped her last week, and why they were tagging tonight. Bliss said she’d asked Angle to set the match because she’s sick of the newbies thinking they can run Monday Night RAW, and she thought James would want to get some payback for last week. Then she said she wanted to clear the air between them.
She admitted to saying some things that she didn’t mean. James ran through the list of mean things Bliss said and did, asking if it was any of them, and called her biscuit butt (they both smiled at that, I’m still not sure if they meant to). Alexa Bliss said she did those things out of jealousy because Mickie James is a six-time champion, and a mother, and still looks amazing.
Getting straight to the point, James asked her what she wants. Bliss feigned being hurt and said she was trying to apologise (the word sorry never left her mouth), then started to talk about Absolution. If they work together in the Elimination Chamber they’re all screwed because they’ll play keep away with the title.
Mickie James said she appreciated what Bliss did last week, and they could team tonight, but at Elimination Chamber she is coming for the title.
Mickie James and Alexa Bliss vs Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose
Alexa Bliss got Mickie James to start the match, and James did the majority of the work. Bliss did make and appearance. She tagged in to deliver a double team on Sonya Deville, showed off a few of her moves, then tagged out again having barely taken a blow (two punches to the midsection from Deville to be exact).
That was the last we saw of Bliss in the ring. Mickie James fought hard, but she took a lot of punishment when she got caught in the opposition corner. She was trying to crawl for the tag but Bliss was arguing with Paige and didn’t notice Sonya Deville come round to her side of the ring. Deville pulled Bliss off the apron and kept her down while Mandy Rose slammed Mickie James face-first into the mat and pinned her.
The Absolution beatdown started, and Bliss made it back into the ring to see them off.
Ronda Rousey has been confirmed as joining the RAW roster. She will sign her official WWE contract at Elimination Chamber.
Ivory has been named as one of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
Charlotte Flair def Sarah Logan
Charlotte Flair vs Sarah Logan
Unlike last week, when she fought Liv Morgan, Charlotte Flair didn’t come alone for this match. Becky Lynch and Naomi were both in her corner for the match. Sarah Logan was accompanied by Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan as usual.
Logan took control at the start of the match, and kept it for a while, but Flair soon took over and I expected that to be it. It wasn’t though. While dominance was passed back and forth frequently, Sarah Logan controlled the majority of the match. The whole thing looked to be set up to make Logan look strong.
There’s an argument to be made that it took too long for Flair to finish Logan off. I know they need to establish the new girls, but she got a lot of offence in considering her storyline (note I said storyline, she’s more experienced than she’s credited within the Riott Squad storyline, which was patently obvious in the match). There were a good few points in the match where Logan looked like she might pin the champ, and you’d have had to say she’d earned it.
Eventually, Charlotte Flair finished it with Natural Selection.
The presence of Becky Lynch and Naomi meant Riott squad didn’t attempt their usual post-match attack.
I guess that’s one way to make sure the crowds see the majority of the women’s roster. Here’s another – Give Them Storylines. A six-woman tag has already been announced for next week.
Shayna Baszler def Ember Moon – No title change
Slight bone to pick with NXT this week. Yes, there was a women’s match, and it was a title match, and it main evented the show. All good things. Unfortunately, it got six minutes (just under, I’m being generous). By contrast, the other title match on the show got closer to 20. I’d be less annoyed if the episode hadn’t been slightly shorter than usual as well, they had a little more time they could have played with. That said, it achieved what it needed to, it just felt like the women were a little short-changed, again.
Ember Moon (C) vs Shayna Baszler – NXT Women’s Championship match
Moon went hard on the offensive to start the match, as much to stay out of Baszler’s reach as anything else. She went for the Eclipse within a minute of the match start. Baszler caught on and rolled out of the ring. Moon wasn’t deterred, and went for a suicide dive, sending them both crashing into the announce desk and hurting herself more that Shayna Baszler (The NXT announce desk isn’t usually right at ringside, there really wasn’t room for it).
That was Baszler’s in to the match. She threw Moon back into the ring and started to inflict punishment on the injured arm. Moon managed to get to the ropes while locked in an armbar, and even tried to pin Baszler a couple of times. Then Baszler threw her into the corner, and she fell out of the ring.
On the outside, Baszler used the barricade to do more damage to Moon’s arm. She was about to use the stairs, when Kairi Sane appeared and launched herself at Shayna Baszler. Ember Moon was immediately disqualified, and Sane beat on Baszler for a while then speared her. That was enough for Shaya Baszler. She left the ring and Kairi Sane helped Moon to her feet.
No original women’s division action on Main Event this week.
Mixed Match Challenge
Lana and Rusev def Bayley and Elias
Bayley and Elias were both sat on stools with guitars to open the show. They didn’t get to do any more than play a few chords and introduce themselves before Lana and Rusev showed up for the match.
Bayley and Elias vs Lana and Rusev
People have really got behind Rusev recently. There were Rusev Day chants before the match, and he even managed to get a few people singing his Lana is the best’ song.
The women started the match, with Rusev very vocally coaching from the corner. Less comedy in this than in previous matches in the tournament, this was much more about Lana proving herself. That said, Lana did pick up Elias’ guitar and Rusev had to dissuade her from hitting anyone with it.
From there it was mostly Rusev and Elias. It was Elias who needed to make the tag, but Bayley barely had chance to get into the ring before Lana was on her. Bayley didn’t get chance to find her feet, Lana stayed on her. Eventually Bayley managed to power out of a submission and took over.
That should have been it. Bayley had Lana in the corner, but Lana slipped out under her legs, pulled Bayley face first into the turnbuckle, and managed to pin her. That was Lana’s first ever win in WWE.
Next week it’s Charlotte Flair and Bobby Roode versus Nia Jax and Apollo Crews
I’ll be back next week with another round up of the events in WWE’s women’s divisions, and the preview of the first ever women’s Elimination Chamber match. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover, or anything you want to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.