Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. It’s PPV week again, for the RAW brand this time, the much talked about Great Balls of Fire. Somehow, even with the depth of talent on their roster, RAW has only managed to put one women’s match on the card. We’ll have a look at that, but let’s start with the rest of the week’s action.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss
We got a women’s tag match for the first match of the show this week. No real rhyme or reason to the match. I’d rather have seen the start of a proper feud for someone, but a tag match beats no match every time.
The match started with Nia Jax and Bayley to revisit the start of last week’s gauntlet match. Sasha Banks soon tagged in and managed to kick Jax out of the ring. As Jax started to climb back in she knocked Bayley off the apron into the barricade, then followed up by crushing her into it again.
With Bayley out of the match, thanks to Jax, it was down to Sasha Banks to fight on in a handicap match situation. By the time we got back from the obligatory ad break, during which Bayley was apparently escorted from ringside for medical attention, it was Banks versus Bliss. Alexa Bliss is a clever competitor, as soon as Banks got some momentum she tagged Jax back in to knock her down again. It’s a good strategy, but it didn’t work. Banks took a huge amount of punishment, good for Bliss with Sunday’s title match to consider, but she managed to kick Jax off the apron and get Alexa Bliss in the Bank Statement and make her tap out.
Alexa Bliss was asked if she was worried that Sasha Banks’ victory might foreshadow what will happen at Great Balls of Fire. Bliss asked if anyone had considered that she let Banks win to give her a false sense of security. She was quite insulting when the interviewer (Charley Caruso) said no-one believed that, and said that was why Caruso was holding a microphone and she was holding the RAW women’s championship. And she’d still be holding it on Sunday.
Naomi (C) def Lana – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
Carmella came out with James Ellsworth for a celebration (I will not call it a Carmellabration, I just can’t do it). After Ellsworth did a little bit by way of introduction, Carmella berated the crowd for not being happy about her win. She said she always gets what she wants, and now she has a whole year to decide when to beat Naomi.
Naomi, apparently, had something to say about that. Her music hit and she came down to the ring with her newly lit up title. She congratulated Carmella but reminded her that she is the SmackDown women’s champion. Carmella can cash in any time, but she’s always ready for her. Then she turned her attention to Ellsworth and told him that someone wanted to talk to him. That someone turned out to be Daniel Bryan.
Bryan barred Ellsworth from the arena, and when Ellsworth laughed he fined him ten thousand dollars and suspended him. When it still didn’t look like Ellsworth was taking him that seriously, Bryan said if he broke any of the rules he’d set out, Carmella would be stripped of the briefcase. At that point Carmella dragged Ellsworth from the arena while the crowd joined Daniel Bryan and Naomi in a ‘Yes’ chant.
Naomi vs Lana
This match made me very happy. Lana’s third attempt at a title match lasted about 20 seconds. I don’t normally do play by play, but this one was easy. Naomi kicked Lana in the stomach, flipped her over, got her in a submission hold, and Lana tapped.
After the match Tamina came down and escorted Lana backstage. Lana looked as confused at this as Naomi, and indeed the crowd, did. It appears that Tamina might be taking Lana under her wing. Lana has apparently been working with a bodyguard on NXT live shows, so it’s possible Tamina is destined for that role. I hope not. Tamina has just started to establish herself on SmackDown, and it seems counterproductive to reduce her to little more than a valet with muscle again (she was enforcer for AJ Lee a few years ago). It’s all speculation at the moment of course, we’ll have to wait and see what the SmackDown writers have planned. As long as Lana stays away from the title for a while, it’s all fine by me.
On Talking Smack Naomi talked about the difficulties of lighting up the title, James Ellsworth getting banned, and her rivalry with Lana. Apparently the belt has seven lighting settings at the moment, but Naomi is planning to get the back plate lit up as well. Naomi said she’s the best she’s ever been and thinks she is better than anyone else in the locker room right now. Daniel Bryan asked her who she would like to face at Battleground if she could choose anyone. Naomi picked Charlotte Flair, because she wants to prove herself against one of the best. Their last match was interrupted by The Welcoming Committee so they never got to find out who was the better woman. Bryan liked the idea, and it would be a great match, so we can look forward to seeing that on a PPV in the near future.
NXT didn’t manage an actual women’s match this week. We got a little storyline, and a fairly incidental appearance from Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, but that was it.
Ember Moon was interviewed about coming back from injury and her readiness to face Asuka. She said that coming back from injury was never easy, but she spent time studying Asuka, and she’s ready. Ruby Riot crashed the interview to say she, not Moon, was next in line to face Asuka. Moon has had her chance, Nikki Cross has had her chance, now it’s her turn. Moon said the end result for her is Asuka, but she’ll take on anyone who gets in her way.
WWE.com have published a nice Q&A with Ember Moon that is well worth a look if you get time.
Following her victory over Nikki Cross last week, Asuka has said she will not be back until a worthy opponent is found for her. NXT showed the tweet after recapping the last woman standing match
The ‘iconic duo’ Billie Kay and Peyton Royce were used in an interview segment. They were talking about Billie Kay’s birthday not being properly celebrated. The segment wasn’t actually about them though, it moved fairly rapidly to an argument Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas was having with Thea Trinidad.
The final segment featuring the women was a clip of Bianca BelAir (sp) beating Aliyah to qualify for the Mae Young Classic. I was a little annoyed because, especially as there was no women’s match this week, they could have shown the whole qualifier.
No women’s division action on Main Event again this week.
Great Balls of Fire – Preview and Prediction
Alexa Bliss (C) vs Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks earned this title shot by winning the gauntlet match. That’s the extent of the build for this really. She’s been disparaging about Bliss as champion from the start, but no more so than anyone else. Bliss hasn’t made any friends since arriving on RAW, in fact she’s alienated everyone by calling herself the ‘Goddess of WWE’ and generally looking down her nose at her competition.
It’s the only women’s match on the card so I’m hoping it gets a decent amount of time. This would, theoretically play to Sasha Banks’ strengths as the most experienced competitor. But Alexa Bliss has proved herself as ruthless and resourceful, and not above cheating if she has to.
The bottom line is, I can’t see a title change here. There is no logical reason to take the title from Alexa Bliss tonight, and no reason to put it on Sasha Banks again. That’s not to say it won’t happen, just that it doesn’t make sense to me given the build.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss
That’s your lot for this week. Enjoy Great Balls of Fire. I’ll be back next week with the fallout, and all the other action from WWE’s women’s divisions. I’ll start looking at some of the competitors for the Mae Young Classic in next week’s column as well. In the meantime if there is anything you think I should cover, or anything you’d like to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.