Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action in the WWE women’s division. It’s another PPV week, and this one comes with a historic match, the first women’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Let’s get straight on with the happenings on RAW.
Alexa Bliss came to the ring for another talk segment – they seem to be every week at the moment. This week it was a pity party for having to defend her title two days running. She started to talk about something else, but was quickly joined in the ring by Nia Jax.
Jax objected to Bliss saying she was forced to defend her title against her. Bliss backtracked and said she was thrilled to defend against her, but that she’d wanted them to have a classic title match. Then blamed Mickie James and Dana Brooke for the match being short and uninspiring. Now, mentioning someone’s name in a WWE ring is like summoning a genie by rubbing a lamp, so James and Brooke joined Bliss and Jax in the ring.
Mickie James threw the fact she is a six time women’s champion in Bliss’ face, then reminded her that she said Jax didn’t deserve the title shot and had said they all had a Nia Jax problem. Bliss chucked some insults at James and Brooke, then it was time for the next person’s music to hit.
Emma appeared next. I’d heard she’d been back at house shows, it’s good to see her injury wasn’t severe and she’s fit and well again. She’ said she’s back and she’s ready to take her place at the top of the women’s division.
Of course, Sasha Banks couldn’t be left out of the party. Banks is definitely the most over with the live crowd, she had to ask them to quiet down so she could be heard. After accusing Bliss of just wanting to talk instead of defending her title. She said there was a ring full of women ready to throw it down. Finally, someone threw a punch. Banks said she’d show Bliss how a boss throws a party, then she hit her and a full on brawl broke out.
Sasha Banks Mickie James and Dana Brooke vs Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax and Emma
As soon as the brawl started there was a commercial and, hey presto, we came back to a six-woman tag match.
It was ok, nothing special. Emma and Dana Brooke had a good spell. There is an obvious feud there, but Emma’s injury stopped it in its tracks, hopefully it will be picked up again now she’s back. Brooke tagged in Banks, and Emma started to lose ground.
As Emma moved to tag Alexa Bliss, Bliss jumped off the apron and walked away up the ramp. Jax had to break up the pin to stop Emma losing. Mickie James took care of Jax, tipping her out of the ring and launching herself at her from the top turnbuckle.
Emma tried to roll Sasha Banks up, but Banks countered into the Bank Statement and Emma tapped out as Alexa Bliss watched from the stage.
The match was longer than three minutes. It was four (4.11 to be precise, thanks to @makeitloud for the timings). RAW still needs to do better.
Bayley had an exclusive interview with Corey Graves. She asked her about her hesitation and subsequent loss at Extreme Rules. Bayley said she wasn’t here to put bruises on people’s backs or to send people to hospital, she was there to put smiles on people’s faces. She knows she’s not going to defeat anyone with hugs but she didn’t get where she is by trying to be something she’s not. She’s going to be 100% Bayley. Graves asked her what the future holds and Bayley responded by saying she wants to recapture the title and walk into next year’s WrestleMania as champion to show anyone with a dream that they can do it their way. They ended the interview with the world’s most awkward hug.
I have some questions. Where the hell did NXT Bayley go? The one who beat Nia Jax, who took Asuka to the limit? The one who toughened herself up? Where did this childlike, uncertain and weak creature come from? Have RAW’s writers not seen NXT? Did they not follow Bayley’s evolution? At this point, I almost wish they’d send her back. At least there is stuff going on over there now.
Naomi def Tamina
Charlotte Flair def Natalya
Naomi vs Tamina
Lana was at ringside for the match, scouting her Money in the Bank opponent. Tamina has, arguably, benefitted most from the recent spate of multi-woman matches. She hasn’t been seen since the brand split due to injury, and wasn’t widely used before, so this has given her a chance to establish herself within the SmackDown women’s division.
Not a bad match, a simple tale of power versus athleticism. And a little longer that RAW’s offerings of late (although not by much). Naomi picked up the win off a moonsault.
Post-match Lana attacked Naomi from behind. It didn’t look great to be honest, but I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and say that the long dress got in her way and made it awkward. Reports from the performance centre and the NXT live events say she’s been working hard. I guess we find out on Sunday whether she’s up to the required standard. I’ve got a lot of time for Naomi, but I’m not sure she’s ready to carry the match if Lana can’t cut it.
Charlotte Flair vs Natalya
These two may play off their famous family legacies for heat, but they can both back it up in the ring. They’ve got a history together going back to NXT, and have already had a few really good matches. Based on this one, I’d like to see more.
They’re clearly comfortable enough with each other not to be cagey. It was hard hitting and competitive, technical and brutal in places.
Charlotte Flair got the win via Natural Selection.
In a backstage interview Lana said she’s going to shock the world on Sunday when she crushes Naomi and becomes the first ravishing SmackDown women’s champion.
Asuka vs Nikki Cross vs Ruby Riot – declared no contest
This week NXT might just have stolen the show as far as women’s division action goes. The main event of the week was the triple threat elimination match, for the NXT Women’s Championship, where Asuka took on Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross.
It was a good triple threat match, up until Nikki Cross eliminated Ruby Riot with a spinning neckbreaker. After that it all got out of hand. Asuka and Cross brawled their way out of the arena, at which point the ref called a no contest. That didn’t stop. They continued to fight outside, where they bounced each other off a metal shutter, then back through the backstage area, taking in a cooler full of ice and water and water bottles. Eventually they ended up back in the arena, with the commentary desk and the sound stage providing settings for their brawl.
The show finished with Nikki Cross sending herself and Asuka off the sound area and through a table with a crossbody. The noise the crowd made as they crashed down through the table is worth watching this week’s NXT for all by itself.
As a result of the brawl WWE.com announced that Asuka will face Nikki Cross for the title again on June 28th, this time in a last woman standing match.
Also this week was the announcement of Ember Moon’s first match back from injury. She takes on Peyton Royce next week. We also got a promo video for Sonya Deville, along with a promise that she will be appearing next week. I’m hopeful that this is a sign she will be joining the regular NXT women’s roster, but we’ll have to wait and see.
No women’s division action again on Main Event this week.
Money in the Bank – Preview and Prediction
Naomi vs Lana – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair vs Natalya vs Carmella vs Tamina – Money in the Bank Ladder match
Before I get into the proper breakdown I’m going to lay out the way I fear it will be handled. It all depends on the order of the card. My concern is that the women’s ladder match will take place before the title match, and the winner will cash the briefcase in straight away. While it would undoubtedly be a dramatic end to the PPV, it would be a tremendous anti-climax to the historic nature of the match, and the potential storylines arising from it.
The intrigue is enhanced by a tweet WWE put out (but apparently later deleted) stating six women will compete in the money in the bank match. If the women’s championship match takes place before the women’s ladder match then I can see Lana cheating Naomi out of the title, and Naomi being added to the match as compensation. If not then we may be in for a surprise entrant. Or it could have been a mistake.
Naomi vs Lana
I have a horrible feeling Lana is winning this. I don’t think it will be a clean victory, but I think she might find a way. I really don’t want her to. Apart from the fact she is unproven in the ring, she has no history with the rest of the roster. It would all have to be built from scratch for her. That said, she may be cashed in on immediately if the card order plays out that way.
I’m enjoying Naomi’s run as champion, and I’d like it to continue, But I just can’t see it happening.
Charlotte Flair vs Natalya, vs Becky Lynch vs Carmella vs Tamina – Money in the Bank ladder match
Let’s face it, this is a difficult one to call. Ellsworth could be instrumental in helping Carmella win, Charlotte Flair could continue her run of making history – she has an amazing PPV record after all. Natalya is fighting to prove she’s the best there is etc… Becky Lynch has had a lot of firsts on SmackDown, and would obviously like to continue. Tamina just needs to mark her place in the division.
I’m torn between Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair for the win. I could make a good case for both, but I can only pick one and I can’t go against Flair’s PPV record. I think she’ll probably finish the night as champion as well, much as I think that’s too soon.
Prediction: Charlotte Flair
Names have started to be announced for the Mae Young Classic which takes place in August. The first four official names are Toni Storm, Sarah Logan, Lacey Evans and Princesa Sugehit. Other names, which are thought to be a virtual certainty are; Danielle Kamala, Julia Ho, Taynara Melo, Bianca Blair, Kimberley Frankele, Victoria Gonzales, Zhao Xia and Mary Kate. I will be giving a little background information on the competitors as the tournament draws closer. And I’ll be covering the tournament itself for Rear View Reviews, with full results also in this column. I also joined to Rear View Reviews podcast this week to talk about the tournament. Give it a listen.
All done for another week. I’ll be back next week with all the results from Money in the Bank, and all the other action from WWE’s women’s divisions. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover, or anything you want to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.