Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. After the excitement of the last few weeks, things have started to calm down a bit. This is traditionally a bit of a lull period focused on putting in place the building blocks for the stories that will take us into Royal Rumble, and onto the road to WrestleMania. There’s still enough going on to keep things interesting though, as all three brands are trying to adapt to recent changes.
Asuka def Dana Brooke
Sasha Banks, Mickie James, and Bayley, vs Paige, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose
Well, this didn’t quite happen. Paige, Deville and Rose attacked Mickie James and Bayley backstage before the match, leaving Sasha Banks on her own. We weren’t shown the attacks themselves, just footage of the aftermath. Paige and friends played it from the stage when they came out for the match.
After showing the footage Paige declared it must now be a handicap match. Before getting to the ring she said people had been asking her to explain her actions of last week. She said that last year she was the woman single-handedly responsible for removing the word Diva from the WWE dictionary, the matriarch of the WWE evolution. Last week was a statement, she’s back.
Alexa Bliss had joined commentary for the match, but she scarpered rather than help Sasha Banks. Expected cowardice, but sensible. She didn’t exactly fare too well at the hands of the trio last week.
Paige said the group is called Absolution. She reintroduced Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose, then let them have the mic.
Rose said people have forgotten that before there was a Boss, or a Goddess etc, there was Paige. Deville said nothing would have been elevated without Paige. The crowd ‘What’ chanted Deville after every sentence, which was ridiculous and downright rude. Ok, so neither Rose nor Deville lit up the place with their very first promo on the main roster. But it was their first promo on the main roster, give them a chance, let them settle, let them grow into it. Don’t write them off before they’ve had a bit of time. The RAW roster needs more women, now they have some, let’s see what they’ve got.
Paige got back on the mic, at least the crowd behaved for her, and gave Sasha Banks an ultimatum, join them or suffer the same fate at Bayley and Mickie James. With them or against them.
Banks took a few moments, then attacked Paige and knocked her off the apron. She was jumped by the other two and, despite trying to fight back, was quickly overwhelmed. Paige joined her friends, and Sasha Banks took all three of their finishers.
Absolution stood over the prone body of Banks to end the segment.
Note: Sasha Banks vs Paige has already been announced for Monday’s RAW.
Asuka vs Dana Brooke
In the video shown over her entrance, Dana Brooke said that she’d definitely found Asuka’s weakness this time, she’s a slow starter. It was over in about 5 seconds, Asuka leapt at Brooke, grabbed her in an armbar, and Dana Brook tapped.
While Asuka was celebrating Absolution came out and surrounded the ring, Shield style. The made no move to get in the ring, just stood there for the stand off. Asuka held her ground in the middle of the ring, and eventually Absolution stepped back a few paces, and Asuka backed out of the ring and up the ramp.
Ruby Riott* Sarah Logan and Live Morgan def Charlotte Flair, Naomi and Natalya
Ok, so SmackDown essentially booked their version of the match RAW were supposed to have last night, but what else could they do. At least they handled it slightly differently.
While showing footage of Riott, Morgan and Logan attacking Naomi, Becky Lynch, Natalya and Charlotte Flair last week, commentary confirmed that Becky Lynch will be out for some time (as long as it takes to film the new Marine movie) as a result of the attacks. That left the other three to face their attackers.
Flair and Naomi spent their locker room segment talking about getting some payback, and bigging themselves and each other up, until Natalya arrived. Natalya said Flair should be thanking them for interrupting the match and allowing her to keep her title. Flair suggested Natalya sit this tag match out. Natalya said she was willing to put their differences aside to show the new girls they are bottom of the food chain. It wasn’t a good promo segment for any of them unfortunately, they are all capable of better.
Riot, Morgan and Logan had a backstage interview. Ruby Riot did the majority of the talking. She reintroduced them, and said that collectively they are called the Riott Squad. They’re not there to make friends or audition for Total Divas, they’re there to turn the women’s division upside down. Morgan and Logan’s contributions were limited to short points of emphasis. Riott called Liv Morgan a firecracker, and Logan a southern belle. Logan added that she comes from a family of hunters. It all helps to build a picture.
Charlotte Flair, Naomi and Natalya vs Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan and Live Morgan
Ruby Riott and Natalya started things off, briefly. Riott tagged in Logan, and Natalya quickly tagged in Charlotte Flair. As soon as she tagged out Natalya left screaming that she didn’t want anything to do with any of them.
Flair and Naomi carried on regardless, with Flair taking most of the punishment. She did ok for a while, but couldn’t get to her corner when she needed to and was isolated while the Riott Squad made frequent tags.
When Charlotte Flair go close to tagging out, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan attacked Naomi on the outside, throwing her into steps, then laying her under them and catapulting her into them. Naomi was taken from the arena on a stretcher.
That essentially sealed Charlotte Flair’s fate. She did try for a comeback, but it was short lived. Ruby Riott finished her with the Pele kick.
* Nope, that’s not a typo, unless WWE has repeatedly made the same one, Ruby Riot has gained an extra ‘t’ to become Ruby Riott.
Note: On Wednesday WWE confirmed that Naomi sustained injuries to her shoulder, back and face during the match. These are presumed to be storyline injuries. There is no indication she’s actually hurt, although she did very little in the match, so maybe she needs some time to rest and recuperate from existing issues.
Kairi Sane def Peyton Royce
Peyton Royce had Billie Kay with her as ever, which usually creates an unfair advantage over her opponents. But, happily she wasn’t much of a factor in this match.
Kairi Sane was kept undefeated between her Mae Young Classic win and the four-way at TakeOver, but since she failed to capture the title, all bets are off. With Asuka gone, and Ember Moon the new champ, it’s time to find out who stands where in the pecking order of the NXT women’s division. Everyone needs to step up.
This was a good start. Kairi Sane is the complete package, the NXT universe have really taken to her. And, in my humble opinion, there is no-one on the NXT roster who has improved more in the last year than Peyton Royce. A very good match which showed that the NXT women’s division has a bright future, and a decent present. I can’t wait to see who gets added to the mix.
Billie Kay’s attempt at interference resulted in her being shoulder barged off the apron, just before Sane went to the top rope and delivered the Insane Elbow to Royce for the win.
It was also announced this week, that Ruby Riott and Sonya Deville will have a No Holds Barred match next week. I’ve heard that Deville has been on NXT live shows since her call up as well, so it looks like they might be working both NXT and the main roster for the foreseeable. Hopefully that will please the people who have been complaining that Deville is too green for the main roster.
This week’s Main Event covered the highlights of the women’s division action on RAW and SmackDown. They showed the fact Bayley and Mickie James were attacked before the RAW match had a chance to start, and the beatdown of Sasha Banks after she went for Paige, but didn’t include Paige inviting Banks to join up with them. They also showed highlights of the SmackDown women’s match, including the ringside attack which left Naomi injured.
There we have it, short and sweet this week. I’ll be back next week with another round up of all the action from WWE’s women. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover, or anything you want to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.