Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. This week we’ve got the Great Balls of Fire PPV results, and the full line up for the Mae Young Classic, in addition to all the usual action. And all the shows managed a women’s division match this week. So let’s get straight into it.
Great Balls of Fire
Sasha Banks def Alexa Bliss – via count out, no title change.
Dana Brooke appeared on the kickoff show and talked about how much Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss dislike each other. She said they avoid each other in the locker room and it’s just a clash of personalities. Emma interrupted the interview looking worried and told Brooke she needed to talk to her immediately. Before Brooke excused herself to find out what was going on, she predicted a win for Banks, but said she’d find it easier to beat Bliss so maybe she should win.
Alexa Bliss (C) vs Sasha Banks – RAW Women’s Championship match
It’s actually fairly easy to believe these two don’t like each other, so if it’s just storyline then they’re doing a great job. Lots of pointed looks and eye rolling before the match started. Bliss pulled the double-jointed ‘dislocated’ elbow trick again, and it worked to her advantage, allowing her to get the upper hand on Banks for a while.
Bliss also seemed to be happy to go for a count out loss, she tried to walk out on the match, but Banks brought her back and bounced her off the ring apron a couple of times. When Banks tried to climb back into the ring, Bliss pulled her down by her foot and it looked very much like Banks legitimately bashed her head and back on the edge of the ring.
So, Bliss worked on Banks’ back for the rest of the match. Bliss seemed to have longer dominant periods than Banks through this one, although Sasha Banks got plenty in as well. Bliss barely managed to get to the ropes while locked in the Bank Statement, then she took a sabbatical on the outside. That was her strategy whenever Banks got some momentum, and it was how she retained her title. On one of her trips to the ringside area, she just allowed herself to be counted out. Banks was too busy trying to catch her breath and recover to break the count.
Sasha Banks won the match, but Alexa Bliss retained the title. A furious Banks chased Bliss up the ramp. They brawled on the stage. It looked like Bliss was going to DDT Banks through the announce desk, but Banks threw her off the desk to the floor in front of the stage and delivered her double knees to the champ.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax
I don’t understand why we got this match again. Bliss outsmarted Banks at Great Balls of Fire, by taking the count out loss, so I can see a reason for a rematch there. Bayley was taken out of last week’s match by Nia Jax, so I can see that match. But Sasha Banks beat Bliss and Jax singlehandedly last week, so why rerun the tag match?
Anyway, Banks and Bliss started it off, but in typical coward fashion Bliss tagged in Nia Jax at the first opportunity. Bayley tagged straight in and they went after their respective feuds for a few moments, leaving both Jax and Bliss on the outside.
Back from the ad break, it was Bliss versus Banks followed quickly by Bayley versus Jax again. It felt like RAW were doing both the singles matches we should have seen, but putting them both in the same slot. Alexa Bliss took the opportunity to punish Bayley a couple of times, but only when she thought Nia Jax had done all the hard work of breaking her down.
Bliss got a little complacent. After Jax threw Sasha Banks out of the ring, then took herself out on the barrier trying to crush Banks against it. Bliss went to set Bayley up for a DDT, got rolled up and pinned.
It was an ok match, but the RAW women’s division still feels like it’s lacking good storylines, so it’s all a bit directionless.
Tamina and Natalya def Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch
Naomi spoke to Shane McMahon in his office about who is going to be her opponent for Battleground. They were quickly joined by the rest of the division, at which point he announced a five way, number one contender’s match for Battleground. The match will feature Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Tamina and Lana.
Charlotte Flair asked why Lana was in the match. Tamina told her to back off, Natalya told her it shouldn’t matter who was in the match if she’s genetically superior, and accused her of riding on family coat tails. Becky Lynch said Natalya was one to talk. McMahon shut them all up by setting a tag match for later that night, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair versus Tamina and Natalya.
After they’d left Carmella appeared and gave Shane McMahon a letter from her attorney petitioning him to reinstate James Ellsworth. McMahon tore it up and gave it back, Carmella shrieked and stomped off.
Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch vs Natalya and Tamina
Ok, this was a good tag team match, but I’ve run out of things to say about SmackDown’s multi-person matches now. We are long overdue for some decent one on one feuds.
Lana came down to ringside halfway through the match and was, of course, involved in the result. She climbed up in the apron when it looked like Flair was going to pin Natalya. While Charlotte Flair was dealing with her Natalya tagged Tamina in then went back to laying in the centre of the ring. Flair didn’t see the tag so started to put the figure four on Natalya, at which point Tamina kicked her in the face and pinned her.
Vanessa Borne def Jayme Hachey – Mae Young Classic qualifier
I hope the matches in the tournament are longer than this qualifier was. It got three minutes or so. Vanessa Borne has appeared on NXT before under the name Danielle Kamela, Jayme Hachey, also known as Jayme Jameson has an eight year independent career behind her. There really isn’t much to tell about either woman based on this match, it was too short to be able to infer anything other than they’re both competent.
I’d like to see more of Hachey in NXT. Borne we will see more of in the Mae Young Classic as she won the match. She’s in the inexperienced side of the Mae Young Classic competitors, but surprises do happen in tournaments, so we’ll see how she does.
Mickie James def Emma
We got a women’s division match on Main Event this week. Mickie James versus Emma is a feud I could definitely get excited about, especially after this match. Emma hasn’t had much of a chance to make an impact since the brand extension due to injuries, and Mickie James has been underutilised since her transfer from SmackDown. The screen time is sorely needed by both of them.
It wasn’t the longest match, but it was longer than some of RAW’s recent offerings, and it was entertaining. I’d love to see a program between the two of them. Emma has a fabulous vicious streak, and her style mixed with Mickie James athleticism is a great combination.
Mickie James won the match with a DDT.
During the match, Dana Brooke was shown watching from backstage, and commentary mentioned Emma interrupting Brooke’s in the Great Balls of Fire kickoff show. Her reaction to the result was also shown. I’m looking forward to finding out what’s going on there.
Mae Young Classic
The tapings for the Mae Young Classic took place this week. The matches won’t be loaded onto network until next month, but you can view the introductions to the competitors on WWE’s YouTube channel from this link, which also links to details of the women involved. Unfortunately, because of the pre-taped format, spoilers are rife online, so it’s likely that most of us will know most of the first-round results well in advance of the airing. That said, I’m avoiding and/or ignoring as much as I can because I want to watch it the way it should be seen, unspoiled.
The competitors are a nice mix of established independent talents (many with changed names), and newer performers including some performance centre originals. The full list of women involved is as follows;
|Abbey Laith (Kimber Lee)||Candice LeRae||Sage Beckett (Rosie Lottalove)||Princesa Sugehit|
|Bianca Belair||Jazzy Gabert (Alpha Female)||Serena Deeb||Kay Lee Ray|
|Rachel Evers (Rachael Ellering)||Dakota Kai (Evie)||Toni Storm||Marti Belle|
|Tessa Blanchard||Santana Garrett||Mia Yim (Jade)||Taynara Conti|
|Vanessa Borne (Danielle Kamela)||Kairi Sane (Kairi Hojo)||Miranda Salinas||Kavita Devi|
|Sarah Logan (Crazy Mary Dobson)||Zeda (Julia Ho)||Mercedes Martinez||Rhea Ripley (Demi Bennett)|
|Piper Niven (Viper)||Shayna Baszler||Nicole Savoy||Xia Li (Zhao Xia)|
|Lacey Evans (Macey Estrella)||Reina Gonzales||Ayesha Raymond (The Amazon Ayesha Ray)||Renee Michelle|
Over the next couple of weeks I’ll look at the competitors in a bit more detail. Some I’m more familiar with than others, a couple I’ve been lucky enough to see live. I’ve got some research to do.
That’s it for another week. I’ll be back next week with all the goings on in WWE’s women’s divisions. In the meantime if there is anything you think I should cover, or anything you’d like to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.