Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the goings on in WWE’s women’s divisions. This week we’ve got all the fall-out from WrestleMania to look at, and some intriguing news which will change the WWE landscape once again in the coming weeks. But let’s start with the big event itself.
Bayley def Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax
John Cena and Nikki Bella def Miz and Maryse
Naomi def Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Mickie James and Carmella
Bayley (C) vs Sasha Banks vs Charlotte Flair vs Nia Jax – Fatal four-way Elimination match for the RAW Women’s Championship
The RAW women were the first of the women to make their way down the 80-yard (73-metre) ramp, coming in at match three on the card. The video introduction package was excellent as usual, to be honest I think we can take that as read at this point.
Sensibly, Bayley, Flair and Banks banded together to take Nia Jax out of the equation first. She didn’t make it easy for them though, and she had a good few minutes of beating up all three at once before the three of them slammed her to the mat from the second rope and all piled on top to keep her down for the three.
Charlotte Flair, briefly left Bayley and Sasha Banks to fight it out before pulling Bayley outside so she and Banks could get a little flight into proceedings. Bayley remained on the outside and we got a few minutes of Banks vs Flair rerunning some of the highlights of their series of matches. Flair partially removed a turnbuckle pad and managed to push Banks head-first into it while kicking out of a roll-up. A three count later and we were down to Charlotte Flair vs Bayley for the title.
I’m not sure why they didn’t have this as the title match in the first place, and leave Flair’s PPV streak intact until now. Maybe it was just considered too predictable, or maybe they wanted to give more of the women chance to be on the WrestleMania card. We’ll almost certainly never know the reasoning. Anyway, once it was one on one, they had a brief but intense battle. Flair missed with a moonsault, Bayley got to the ropes on the figure four before Flair managed to bridge to the figure eight. Bayley was hung upside down from the corner to take some punishment, but managed to throw Flair to the mat. After untangling herself, Bayley climbed to the top rope, dropped a ‘Macho Man elbow’ and pinned Charlotte Flair to retain the title.
John Cena and Nikki Bella vs Miz and Maryse
I’m not going to lie, I’m glad to see the end of this personal and unpleasant feud. Both Nikki Bella and John Cena are due to take some time off after WrestleMania, so this forms their goodbye for now as well as their ‘Mania moment together.
It looked like the women were going to start things off but, after circling each other for a few moments, Maryse tagged out and mixed tag rules dictate that automatically put Cena in for Nikki Bella.
Maryse brought herself into play during Miz’ period of dominance, by pulling Nikki Bella off the apron to prevent Cena making the tag, but it was late in the short match when the women took their turn in the ring. Cena tagged in Nikki and speared Maryse to the mat before raining blows on her. Maryse escaped to the outside, Bella took out Miz with a suicide dive and threw Maryse back into the ring. One right hand later Maryse was laying on the canvas, Cena planted Miz next to her and the tandem five knuckle shuffle followed by the Rack attack 2.0 AA combo finished the match.
After the match, John Cena revealed that he’d asked Nikki, just before she went into surgery, if she knew he would marry her one day, and she’d said yes. Then he proposed. There were many tears in the arena, and amongst the viewers at home judging by my twitter feed. It was definitely one hell of a WrestleMania moment. I wish them every happiness for the future.
SmackDown Women’s Championship match – Whole roster free for all
After nearly ending up on the pre-show, the SmackDown women were second from last on the card. Naomi got the hometown hero’s entrance for this match, last in and the only one who got the ramp to herself.
The match itself was a series of highlights crammed together. Ellsworth took a Bex-ploder, which amused me. It was really rushed in feel, but WrestleMania was overrunning as expected by then, and that’s the price paid for a move to the main card. It came across like all the big spots were kept in, but the links and transitions were cut out. Some moves clearly didn’t go quite right, and the whole thing felt like there was a timer countdown the rest of us couldn’t see.
Naomi submitted Alexa Bliss to become the new SmackDown Women’s Champion
Bayley, Sasha Banks and Dana Brooke def Charlotte Flair, Nia Jax and Emma
Vince McMahon led RAW this week as Stephanie McMahon was apparently still recovering from going through a table at WrestleMania the night before. He revealed that next week there will be a Superstar shake-up, a kind of mini-draft, which will see some movement of Superstars between brands. This is great news, especially for the women’s divisions. With the rosters being so small, we’ve seen just about every possible match pairing several times, and the swapping of even one or two superstars will make a huge difference. It is also possible that additional names will be brought in from NXT, although I’m not sure who they could take from there other than Asuka.
Bayley, Sasha Banks and Dana Brooke vs Charlotte Flair, Nia Jax and Emma
So, Emma’s back. And, apparently, the best way for her return to be marked was with another multi-woman match. No complaints really, it was a fun match, a good way to immediately position Emma within the division and, in light of the superstar shake-up, there is no point in building storylines until after next week.
Emma started things off against Dana Brooke, but quickly motioned for Brooke to tag in Bayley – making her championship aspirations clear from the outset. After the usual back and forth, with a touch of chaos, of any multi-person match, the finish came down to Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair. With one of them almost certainly off to SmackDown next week, you have to assume this really is the last time they’ll face off for a while. Flair hit Natural Selection, Banks managed to spin out of it into the Bank Statement, and Flair tapped out.
After the match Flair turned on her teammates. She shoved Emma, and then Nia Jax. Jax shoved back, and Emma made herself scarce as Jax made it very clear she wasn’t going to be pushed around by anyone, and left Charlotte Flair laying in the middle of the ring.
Naomi def Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss cashed in her contractual rematch for the SmackDown Women’s Championship this week, just two days after losing it at WrestleMania. She started the match looking like she meant business, but Naomi proved more than up for the challenge.
There have been a few accusations levelled at Alexa Bliss recently that she’s missed a few spots, and has maybe progressed a little too fast. And Naomi’s ability seems to split opinion fairly evenly as to whether she has anything other than athleticism going for her. Unsurprisingly, I like them both (I like most things, I’m quite an easily pleased fan). Neither are perfect, but who is, and they had an entertaining match. Alexa Bliss is one of the names heavily predicted to be switching brands in the shake-up, so it is possible this will be the last time we see this pairing for a while. There’s definite chemistry in the match up, so that’s a shame, but it’ll be nice to see some new matches.
Naomi retained the title via submission.
On Talking Smack Naomi talked about the experience of winning the title back at WrestleMania, calling it surreal. She said she didn’t have the confidence even to imagine this a year ago.
Peyton Royce def Aliyah
Aliyah is still suffering from absence of character development. She’s doing a decent job in the ring, and she had a good match with Peyton Royce this week – as much as you can in such a short time frame anyway – but there is no reason I can see to invest in her.
Billie Kay made her presence felt in the match as well. Her interference caused enough of a distraction to allow Royce to get the upper hand, after that it was just a matter of time. Peyton Royce finished the match with her bridging fisherman’s suplex.
There is a lot of talent flooding into NXT’s women’s division in the coming months. Both through the performance centre, and courtesy of the newly announced women’s tournament this summer. It worries me that there is a distinct lack of character development and storyline for them in the current set up. But, NXT is constantly evolving, so hopefully it’s just a matter of time.
No women’s division action on Main Event this week.
That’s it for another week. I’ll be back next week to round up all the usual action, and see who lands where in the superstar shake-up. In the meantime, if there is anything you think I’ should cover, or anything you’d like to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.