Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Lots to get through this week. It’s PPV week again. This time it’s SmackDown’s turn with Battleground, and another multi-woman match. Also this week, as promised, I’ll provide a few facts and stats on some of the competitors in the upcoming Mae Young Classic (with the rest to follow next week). There’s all the usual action to get through as well, so let’s get straight into it.
Bayley def Alexa Bliss
It looked like we might get a one on one match on RAW this week. We got the start of one. Bayley and Alexa Bliss had been fighting for less than a minute when Nia Jax made her way to ringside. She didn’t do anything other than shout encouragement to Bliss to start with, so the match continued, for a while at least.
Bliss had a dominant period, and Bayley’s fight back was well in progress. Bliss escaped to the outside, Jax prevented Bayley from following and distracted her long enough for Bliss to attack her. Once they were back in the ring, Sasha Banks appeared and took out Nia Jax. That distracted Alexa Bliss long enough for Bayley to attempt a roll-up, then hit the Bayley to belly and pin the champion.
Later, in Kurt Angle’s office Bayley and Sasha Banks asked Angle to choose who should face Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam. Both stated their case, then Angle set a match between the two of them. The winner will be Alexa Bliss’ opponent for the championship match at SummerSlam. Hopefully this means I will be a one on one title match, but I can still see interference making it a triple threat.
Becky Lynch def Charlotte Flair
In a segment in Shane McMahon’s office he told the participants of Sunday’s elimination match that he was trying to decide who would be provide a competitive match for SmackDown. Charlotte Flair, Natalya and Becky Lynch all said they wanted to fight Lana. Tamina said no-one was going to be fighting Lana that night. Natalya suggested Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch have a match. Flair said no because it wouldn’t be competitive as she always beats Lynch. Becky Lynch, unsurprisingly, took offence at that statement and started to argue. At that point Shane McMahon made the match.
Natalya joined commentary for the match. She mentioned how happy she was to get a chance to stir the pot, talked about Tamina and Lana, talked about herself, and cast doubt on whether Flair and Lynch were actually friends at all. In the meantime there was a decent match going largely ignored in the ring.
A program between these two would be an excellent thing. I’ve said it many times, but matches between two wrestlers who know each other well make for the best matches, and these two know each other really well. They have a history going back to NXT and a genuine friendship, they’ve trained together and worked together extensively. They seem fairly evenly matched now, Lynch countered the Natural Selection, Flair countered several Dis-Arm-Her’s.
The decisive moment was Charlotte Flair missing with the moonsault. While Flair was still winded, Lynch got the Dis-Arm-Her on and didn’t let go despite Flair’s attempts to get out. Eventually Charlotte Flair tapped out.
After the match Lynch and Flair shook hands, just as Tamina’s music hit. While they were staring up the ramp, waiting for Tamina and Lana to get to the ring, Natalya jumped Lynch from behind. A full-scale brawl broke out which left Tamina and Lana standing tall. Tamina gave Lana a long look before leaving the ring. She might be her protector now, but it is every woman for herself on Sunday.
Naomi had been shown watching the match and was interviewed afterwards. She said although she isn’t defending on Sunday she will be the first to congratulate the winner. She’s ready for whoever she’ll face at SummerSlam because she wants every match to be her biggest challenge. Carmella butted in and reminded her that everywhere Naomi goes, Carmella and the contact go so she’d see her at Battleground. Commentary then reminded us that Carmella can cash in at any time, teasing a Battleground cash in. It’s possible I guess. If the winner of the number one contender match attacks and injures Naomi, that could set up a match. Outside of that scenario though, it seems an unlikely cash in point. SummerSlam is much more likely (although I doubt it will be that soon).
Ember Moon def Ruby Riot
This match kicked off this week’s NXT. I was glad about that, first matches on NXT usually get a reasonable amount of time, and this was no exception. There’s a small amount of history to the match, but no major animosity between Riot and Moon, just a healthy competition and a desire to be the next to face Asuka for the championship.
I loved this match, and the crowd were into it as well. Ruby Riot and Ember moon looked like they were having a fantastic time, just two wrestlers trying to see who’s the best. They both started by trying to get a quick pin, but that didn’t work out so they touched hands and got into some serious competition.
There were plenty of opportunities for both Riot and Moon to get the win. They seem very evenly matched, and they had each other well scouted for countering. I feel like they both cemented their place at the top end of the NXT women’s division, a division which could get quite busy post Mae Young Classic (we can hope can’t we).
I hope we’ll get to see them face each other a lot more in the future because this was a very enjoyable match. On this occasion Ember Moon won, with the Eclipse. While it wasn’t billed as a number one contender’s match you’d have to suspect it puts Moon at the top of the list of opponents for Asuka at TakeOver Brooklyn III. The only other option I can see is that they bring an outsider in to face Asuka, and once was enough for that.
No women’s division action on Main Event this week. I know it’s used mainly as a RAW recap show (and I know there was a women’s match on last week), but with the majority of the women on the RAW roster getting little or no screen time, I feel it could be being used better.
Battleground – Preview and predictions
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair vs Natalya vs Tamina vs Lana – Number One Contender’s Elimination match.
Seemingly endless multi-woman matches on SmackDown recently have culminated in this one. I have been vocal in my support of how well SmackDown utilise the women’s roster, but these multi-woman matches have to stop. Give us some proper feuds, something to invest in on a weekly basis. Anyway, rant over, an elimination match is what we’ve got and I’m sure it will be great.
I find these matches impossible to call. There isn’t a history for a feud to call on, and anyone could come out on top on the night. I would hope that Lana is eliminated early on, she’s had enough chances at the SmackDown women’s championship already. I don’t think that will be a problem, most of the other women seem to be gunning for her. The exception, of course, is Tamina. I can see her apparent working relationship with Lana being thrown away in this match, it is every woman for herself after all, but I think it might also be her downfall. I don’t see Tamina coming out on top.
That leaves Natalya, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. I think Natalya will be tripped by her own deluded arrogance, she just doesn’t seem to have the required focus. Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch as the final two would be perfect. I don’t mind which one wins it, but I would like it to be one of those two. Naomi has expressed a desire to face Flair, as their last match was interrupted. I’d also like to see that match, so my prediction is based purely on that. But I’d like to go on record as being just as happy if Becky Lynch wins.
Prediction: Charlotte Flair.
Mae Young Classic Competitors
As promised, this week I’ll start throwing out a few facts on each of the competitors in the upcoming Mae Young Classic. I was originally planning to do the whole lot over two weeks, but there are too many, and we’ve still got a few weeks before they first matches are up so it makes sense to spread it out a bit. Anyway, let’s start with some of the performance centre trained athletes, those without experience on the independent circuit.
Vanessa Borne: Previously competed in NXT as Danielle Kamela, where she took a loss against Payton Royce, and a win over Nikki Cross due to a referee reversing the decision because Cross wouldn’t stop beating on her. She has previously been a sports reporter, dancer, and cheerleader. She has received some training from Gangrel and Rikishi.
Bianca Belair: She’s been working the NXT live circuit for quite a while now, and seems to be very popular with fans. Her background in in track and field, powerlifting and crossfit. It appears she uses her long plaited hair as a whip on opponents.
Taynara Conti: Has been at the performance centre for a while, and has appeared on NXT as Taynara Melo. She’s one of the younger competitors, at 22, and has a background in judo.
Sorry, for the slow start, more next week.
That’s all for another week. Enjoy Battleground, and the rest of the week’s programming. I’ll be back next week with the results, and all the usual goings on in WWE’s women’s divisions, plus some more Mae Young Classic competitors. In the meantime if there is anything you’d like me to cover, or anything you want to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.