Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. It’s a massive week for WWE. Last night (19th August) we had NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III, and tonight is SummerSlam. But before that there was the whole week of build up. With the SummerSlam preview and the TakeOver review, and the info on some of the Mae Young Classic competitors, it’s another bumper week. So let’s get into it.
Sasha Banks def Nia Jax
Mickie James def Emma
This week we had the match to decide who faces Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship at SummerSlam. We got a nice little bonus match as well.
Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax
Alexa Bliss came to ringside and sat on what looked like an old-fashioned lifeguards chair to watch the match.
Jax started the match by knocking Banks to the ground, then mimicking her trademark move. By the time we got back from the ad break they were well into the fight. They took it to the outside and Jax swung Sasha Banks into the barricade, seemingly with some force. It certainly looked brutal, she managed to kick out of the pin attempt a few moment later though.
Unsurprisingly, Nia Jax was dominant through the majority of the match. She threw everything at Sasha Banks, but Banks just wouldn’t stay down. Every time a pin attempt failed, Jax looked a little more shocked.
After Banks took a brief rest on the outside she started the fight back. It looked like a big boot had halted her momentum but, as Jax bent to pick her up from the mat Sasha Banks manged to get the Bank Statement on. Jax struggled against it. She tried to get to the ropes and even stood up, but Banks refused to let go. Sasha Banks shifted her bodyweight and DDT’d Jax to the mat, then locked the Bank Statement back in. Eventually, after enduring the Banks Statement for a long time, Nia Jax tapped out.
It will now be Sasha Banks vs Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam
Mickie James and Emma had a backstage segment to set up their match. Emma was complaining about social media blowing up over Sasha Banks victory. She said she was screwed over last week and she was sick of seeing everyone else get the chances she deserved, when she’s the one who started the women’s revolution. She even mentioned #GiveEmmaAChance. Mickie James said Emma was rewriting her own history. She wasn’t screwed, she tapped out. And the women’s revolution belonged to every woman who set foot in the ring. Then she challenged Emma to a match, and Emma accepted. – See, starting a feud is that easy. Ok, they’ve had a couple of matches on Main Event, but now we have the beginnings of a storyline. And about time too.
Mickie James vs Emma
They had a RAW standard three-minute match. Not bad, nothing special. They pair off well, and it will be good if they get a storyline we can invest in.
There’s not much more to say about this particular meeting. Mickie James won with the Mick-kick.
Natalya def Becky Lynch
Naomi joined commentary for the match. She got her full entrance, with Natalya looking annoyed through the whole thing. It was good to see Becky Lynch, she doesn’t seem to have much to do at the moment. I’d love to see Asuka come up after SummerSlam and work with her (although I suspect Asuka will be RAW-bound).
I enjoy watching these two fight, but the fact we’re seeing it again does highlight how much the women’s rosters on each brand need to be extended. There just aren’t enough women to keep things fresh. The match was their usual, mainly mat and submission based, and perfectly solid but nothing remarkable. A fairly standard tv match warm-up for Natalya ahead of SummerSlam.
Natalya looked directly at Naomi as she locked in the Sharpshooter. Becky Lynch tapped out, to give Natalya the win and a pre-SummerSlam boost.
After the match Natalya put the Sharpshooter back on and Naomi left the commentary desk and chased her out of the ring.
While they were still staring each other down, Carmella’s music hit. She came out to the stage and wished Naomi and Natalya luck about as falsely as possible. James Ellsworth said, ‘to whoever wins, you lose’, as Carmella held up the briefcase.
Lana and Tamina had another locker room segment. Tamina asked why she doesn’t have a match tonight, she thought that Lana was going to sort it out. Lana said Tamina’s not ready because they don’t fear her yet. But Lana is going to use her ravishing beauty and cunning to manipulate her way into helping Tamina become the most destructive force, and together they will become unstoppable. Then Tamina will be ready to become SmackDown Women’s Champion.
Ruby Riot def Billie Kay
Before signing, Ember Moon praised Asuka for her undefeated streak, mentioning her surpassing Goldberg’s streak and calling her one of the most dominant champions to set foot in WWE. She talked about Asuka having beaten some of the top names from RAW, SmackDown and NXT. Then she said there was only one woman Asuka had taken shortcuts to beat, and that was her. She had to shove a ref to beat her in Orlando, and injured her to keep her out of TakeOver Chicago. But Asuka made a mistake because Moon refuses to be a victim, and she’s stronger, faster and better than she’s ever been. It’s all because of Asuka’s shortcuts and by way of thanks, she’s going to end her undefeated streak and beat her for the championship at TakeOver (pretty sure Asuka would prefer flowers to be honest).
Asuka signed the contract and let William Regal declare the match official before grabbing a mix. She delivered an angry sounding torrent of Japanese and held the title belt up to Ember Moon.
Billie Kay vs Ruby Riot
Ruby Riot is over, the crowd love her. There were duelling chants at the start of the match, but the ‘let’s go Billie’ side were noticeably quieter. Peyton Royce was, of course, ringside for the match. I know it’s probably just me, but I can’t wait until Kay and Royce turn on each other. Maybe I’ll see the character depth in them then that I struggle to find now.
I liked the match. Billie Kay has the height and power advantage, Riot has the speed, and arguably the superior technique. They both like to kick. Riot used a kick to take Peyton Royce out of the equation, and to win the match. Billie Kay spent a little too long mocking her opponent and got a Pele kick to the head for her troubles.
Ruby Riot was bleeding a little from her elbow, and shaking her arm out a lot, after the match. Hopefully it’s just a knock and there’s no injury.
Peyton Royce said all Riot had done was prove that lightning strikes once, even for – more personal looks based insults – like her. She will never be iconic. I’m guessing this isn’t over and we’ll be seeing Ruby Riot vs Peyton Royce in the near future.
There was no women’s division action on Main Event this week.
Mae Young Classic
It was announced this week that the brackets for the tournament will be revealed after SummerSlam.
Xia Li: One of the first Chinese athletes to be brought into WWE, Li is a performance centre original with a martial arts background. She was previously called Zhao Xia. The Mae Young Classic is her in-ring debut. She doesn’t appear to have even had the handful of live show matches many of the more inexperienced competitors have been given.
Zeda: Previously known as Julia Ho, Zeda is another inexperienced competitor. She has a background in amateur wrestling and in MMA though, and trained with Brian Kendrick before joining the performance centre.
Mercedes Martinez: With 17 years experience backing her up, Martinez is one of the most experienced in the tournament. She’s held titles in Shimmer, Shine and Lucha Underground, amongst others, and competed all over the world. She’s looking to prove that she should already be at the top of the tree.
Sage Beckett: Previously known as Rosie Lottalove. Beckett has seven year experience, with a break due to ill health. She has trained at the Dudley Boyz 3D academy. At 5’11”, she’s one of the bigger competitors in the tournament.
Nicole Savoy: Savoy is a suplex specialist apparently. Also with seven years experience, she has held titles, and competed across the USA. She’s been picked as one to look out for by several tipsters.
Marti Belle: Best known for her time in Impact, Belle has nine years experience. She’s competed extensively across the USA, and has held both singles and tag team titles, including the Shine tag titles.
NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III – Review
Asuka (C) def Ember Moon – NXT Women’s Championship match
Ember Moon had exchanged her usual red contacts for some very striking green ones. Asuka’s wore a gold mask and headdress, presumably a nod to her dominance as champion, and the number of records she has now broken.
There were a lot of people on social media calling this the match of the night, on one of the strongest TakeOvers ever. It was certainly up there in the discussion. And the comparrisons to Sasha Banks and Bayley’s iconic TakeOver match were entirely fair. I believe it rivalled it in quality, although Bayley versus Banks had the emotional edge.
This was the closest match Asuka has had in a very long time. Ember Moon matched her blow for blow, and had a lot of her trademark moves scouted. But Asuka had done her homework as well, and the challenger also got away with very little. There were a lot of close calls and near falls, as you’d expect from a title match, but it didn’t look like there was a clear favourite for the majority of the match.
Asuka kicked out of an Eclipse, the first person to do so I believe, then tried to pin Ember Moon using a handful of trunks. The ref spotted that though, I’m glad it wasn’t a cheat that finished the match, it definitely deserved better.
The actual finish came when Moon appeared to have the champion rocked. Ember Moon looked to have an opportunity to cover Asuka following a superkick. Instead she bent to drag the champion to her feet, and was caught in the Asuka lock. Try as she might, she couldn’t get Asuka to release her grip and, after an epic contest, Moon tapped out.
SummerSlam -Preview and Prediction
Alexa Bliss (C) vs Sasha Banks – RAW Women’s Championship match
Naomi (C) vs Natalya – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
It is a little disappointing that in a spectacular such as SummerSlam, six hours of programming if you include the pre-show, there are only two women’s matches. But on the positive side, we have two, one on one, title matches and the possibility of a Money in the Bank cash in. It could be worse.
Neither of these matches are easy to predict. I ran twitter polls to get a consensus on who’s going to win the women’s championships at SummerSlam. Not many votes but the results were 88% Naomi – 12% Natalya, and 50% – 50% for Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss. I’ve agonised about it, I genuinely hate making predictions, but here’s what I think.
Alexa Bliss (C) vs Sasha Banks – RAW Women’s Championship match
It’s been a convoluted route to get to this one. Sasha Banks failed to qualify as number one contender, she lost out to Bayley. Then Bayley was injured and Banks got through a triple threat, and a match with Nia Jax to earn her place in the SummerSlam match against Alexa Bliss.
It’s no secret these two don’t like each other, on or off tv. They each think the other is full of themselves, and they may both have a point. Champions are rarely humble and self-effacing. Anyway, Bliss only retained her title against Banks at their last PPV match by taking the count out. And she has seemed less than thrilled to be facing her again. She was sure she could beat Bayley, she seems slightly less sure about Sasha Banks.
I’m quite surprised this hasn’t had a ‘no count out no DQ’ stipulation added to avoid Bliss pulling a similar trick to last time. I hope that won’t be the case, and I’m sure Banks will be ready for anything she tries. I can see the title changing hands here.
Prediction: Sasha Banks
Naomi (C) vs Natalya – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
I’m surprised the result of my poll was so overwhelmingly in Naomi’s favour. Not that I don’t think she’ll win it, but I thought it would be closer. Natalya is a veteran of the women’s division, she’s seen it through several phases of its evolution, and into its current evolution. As technically competent as she can be, and as good as her wrestling pedigree is, she’s never really felt like more than a mid-card player. I don’t really understand to be honest. WWE are known to enjoy their legacy talents, but Natalya has never had the big push you’d expect considering her heritage. I, personally, find her promo work grating, and I just don’t want to have to listen to the amount of mic time she would get as champion.
Naomi on the other hand, is the best she’s ever been by quite some distance. Since the brand split, she’s gone from strength to strength. She has her distinctive ‘glow’ look and her light up title, and she’s in tremendous shape. She may not have the range of submission moves in her arsenal the Natalya has, but she outclasses her in athleticism and speed. I think it will be a hard fought contest, but I think Naomi just has the edge.
Of course, the winner of the match doesn’t necessarily get to go home with the title. There is the ever present spectre of Carmella, with her Money in the Bank briefcase, and her.. her… whatever James Ellsworth is supposed to be. Id’ actually be surprised if the cash in was tonight. I think they’ll want to drag it out a bit longer. That said, you never know, and I’m sure it will be at least teased.
That’s everything for this week. And what a lot of everything it was. Enjoy SummerSlam, watch TakeOver if you didn’t get to see it live. I’ll be back next week with all the results and happenings in WWE’s women’s divisions. We’ll take a look at the brackets for the Mae Young Classic next week as well. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like to discuss, or anything you think I should cover, tweet me @manda_why.