Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Relatively quiet week this week, all about the build up for Survivor Series and TakeOver. And it was UK tour week, so by the time we watched RAW and SmackDown most of us already knew the results. However, this will go down in post-women’s revolution history as the week WWE flirted with intergender wrestling… sort of. It was a toe in the water, and has been given a very careful build, but it’s something. Anyway, that’s for SmackDown, let’s start at the beginning, with RAW.
Asuka def Stacey Coates
Sasha Banks and Bayley def Alicia Fox and Nia Jax
Asuka vs Stacey Coates
The local talent for Asuka’s squash match, billed as Stacey Coates, was Isla Dawn. She was one of the wrestlers at the WWE UK tryouts. She got kicked around a bit, then slapped in the Asuka lock. It was all over in a couple of minutes.
After the match Alicia Fox added Asuka to the RAW women’s team for Survivor Series.
Bayley and Sasha Banks had a backstage interview before their tag match. They were asked about not yet being part of the Survivor Series team. Bayley said Fox might be different but she’s not different to leave them off the team, after all Bayley led the team to victory last year. The only hugs she’ll be giving out are hugs of consolation to the SmackDown team when they beat them. Sasha Banks said they want to be on the team, and should be. Bayley finished up by saying they were going to remind Alicia Fox that on the big stage, no-one shines brighter than Bayley and Sasha Banks.
Bayley and Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax and Alicia Fox
The entrances for this match were weird. Nia Jax was out first, then Sasha Banks, then Bayley, and Jax’ partner, Alicia Fox came out last. I guess it’s something to do with her being captain, but it was odd to have a tag team separated like that. There was a nice round of ‘Hey Bayley’ chants before the match, UK crowds either love singing that, or love Bayley – it’s not clear which, we do love a chant.
Decent match, the tour shows always seem to be just a little showier and more high energy. Nia Jax, especially, was enjoying playing off the crowd. It got a good amount of time as well, another perk of the tour show I think. The fact it was a London show is also why we got another tag (there are always a huge number of people on overseas shows).
Sasha Banks submitted Alicia Fox with the Bank Statement.
After the match Alicia Fox, somewhat reluctantly and shoutily, added Sasha Banks to the Survivor series team.
Alexa Bliss had a backstage interview about her Survivor Series match. She was addressing Natalya suggesting she had run Bliss off to RAW. Bliss said she doesn’t run anywhere. When it was pointed out that she ran away from the SmackDown invasion, she qualified it with, she doesn’t run anywhere she doesn’t want to. She said she’s going to run circles round Natalya at Survivor Series.
With a week to go, the RAW Women’s Survivor Series team just needs one more member. So far, we have Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Asuka and Sasha Banks. There is a choice of Mickie James, Bayley, or Dana Brooke for the last place. Or is there… The current dominant rumour is that Paige is heading to RAW and will be the fifth member of the team. She was initially rumoured to be heading to SmackDown, but the speculation is that Emma’s release has changed that. I’d be extremely happy to see Paige back, on either brand. She’s been out so long that there are a lot of new opportunities for her, and a lot of old foes to revisit, wherever she ends up.
Becky Lynch def James Ellsworth
I said last week it looked like SmackDown didn’t want the women’s division fighting until after Survivor Series, and it seems I might have been right. However, even though they’ve been hinting at it, and building to it, for months, I didn’t really expect them to allow Becky Lynch and James Ellsworth to have a match. They called it battle of the sexes, rather than inter-gender, and they’ve made Ellsworth look so weak and pathetic recently it hardly seemed like a challenge, but they let it happen and that’s something.
Before the match James Ellsworth tried to see Carmella, he asked Tamina to get her from the women’s locker room. Becky Lynch came out instead. Ellsworth spouted a lot of misogynistic rubbish, including saying the women’s revolution is a farce, the ring is no place for the softer sex, and he only lets Carmella compete because it makes her happy. Becky Lynch said they were some ballsy statements, it’s just a shame Ellsworth doesn’t have any. I’m so glad this match was allowed to happen.
Becky Lynch vs James Ellsworth
In the spirit of letting the international crowds get eyes on as many superstars, the entire women’s division stood around the ring to witness the match. Carmella accompanied James Ellsworth to the ring, she’d even let him off the leash for the night. Halfway down the ramp he put his arm out and made her walk behind him. I already wanted to see him get punched in the face by Becky Lynch, but every little helps.
Ellsworth started the match with some push ups, to a rousing ‘Becky’s gonna kill you’ chant. Lynch immediately put him in an armbar, but he got to the ropes. He seemed a bit surprised when she picked him up, put him on the turnbuckle and slapped him.
It was an actual match, I wasn’t sure if it would be played for pure comedy, and I’m glad it wasn’t like that. It was still funny in places, Ellsworth getting dropkicked in the face from the top turnbuckle was hilarious.
The women on the outside didn’t interfere as such, but they did stop Ellsworth walking out, and returned him to the ring when he’d had enough.
He got down on bended knee, kissed Becky Lynch’s hands, and went for a hug. Lynch forearmed him in the face and slapped on the Dis-Arm-Her (him). He tapped almost instantly.
After the match things went from bad to worse for him. Carmella superkicked him in the face and left him laid out on the mat.
Ellsworth has been getting his butt kicked by the entire SmackDown women’s division for the whole UK and European tour. It is rumoured that this is his final hoorah with WWE as he’s thought to have signed a one year contract which is nearly up. I can see that being true. Despite the fact the majority of WWE’s women could comfortably mix it up with most of the male roster, WWE does not paint them that way. Sadly, even the strongest and most talented of the women (with the possible exception of Nia Jax, and maybe Asuka over on RAW), are treated as ‘strong for women’ rather than just strong. Getting ‘beaten up by the girls’ has effectively ruined whatever limited shreds of credibility Ellsworth had previously been afforded.
Shane McMahon had a meeting with Charlotte Flair and Natalya, in his office. Natalya assumed he wanted her to take Flair’s place on the SmackDown women’s team, as well as doing the champion versus champion match against Alexa Bliss. Instead, and much to Natalya’s disgust, he told her she will defend her title against Charlotte Flair next week, with the winner going to face Bliss at Survivor Series.
With all due respect to Natalya, I’d much rather see Charlotte Flair versus Alexa Bliss at Survivor Series, and I know I’m not the only one. Presumably, Natalya will take Flair’s place on the women’s team if she loses the belt. I’ll be very surprised if Natalya now walks into Survivor Series as champion, but I’ve been wrong before.
Kairi Sane def Billie Kay
Ember Moon responded to Mercedes Martinez’ comment last week, that Moon couldn’t win the big one. She invited Martinez to meet her in the ring next week to see why Ember Moon is the biggest threat to the NXT women’s division.
Kairi Sane vs Billie Kay
Good to see Kairi Sane back in action. And I think it was an excellent idea to put her against someone as established as Billie Kay. The crowds have taken to Sane since her Mae Young Classic win, and NXT debut, but they haven’t seen enough of her. It’s important to have her on display regularly if they want the NXT universe invested for the long-term. Especially as there is a fair chance she’ll be champ after TakeOver.
Billie Kay tried to use her height and power advantage at the start of the match, and it worked for a little while. Peyton Royce’s involvement distracted Sane enough for Billie Kay to flatten her with a forearm. It gave Kay the upper hand temporarily, but it wasn’t enough.
Sane came back with a spear and was dominating Kay, when Royce interfered again. All that achieved was Peyton Royce getting kicked off the apron. One spinning backfist, to take Kay off her feet, later, Kairi Sane hit the Insane Elbow for the win.
No women’s division action on Main Event this week.
NXT TakeOver WarGames – Preview and Prediction
Kairi Sane vs Ember Moon vs Peyton Royce vs Nikki Cross – Fatal four-way for the vacant NXT Women’s Championship
I despise doing these predictions before the go home show has aired, but this is the last column before TakeOver, so it has to be done. The truth is, I have no idea.
Kairi Sane is the most obvious winner, almost too obvious. She won the Mae Young Classic, and hasn’t been defeated in her couple of matches on NXT. It feels like the logical conclusion to her story.
Nikki Cross is my preferred champion, but I can’t it at this time. Ember Moon has a redemption storyline to fulfil, she couldn’t beat Asuka, and she’s had injuries to contend with. I can see a situation where it all gets too much for her, resulting in a turn, but whether that causes her to get the title, or comes as a result of not getting it, I don’t know.
Peyton Royce is the final option. As of writing, Billie Kay has not been banned from ringside, so will be there as back up for Royce. But with three other competitors around to neutralise her, can she really make a difference to Royce’s chances. I don’t think there’s any point in putting the belt on Royce, unless they are planning to split the ‘iconic duo’ soon, and no seeds of that have been planted yet.
As things stand at the moment, I have to go with the obvious. But I reserve the option to change my mind after the go home show when I do the full predictions.
Prediction: Kairi Sane
Check here on Rear View Reviews on Thursday for the full TakeOver WarGames preview, and on Sunday for the review (and next week’s column).
That’s it for another week. Things are pretty good with WWE at the moment. There is plenty going on, and lots more in the build. There still a long way to go before the women have truly equal footing, but I feel like progress is being made. I’ll be back next week with the TakeOver results, the Survivor Series preview, all the other action from the week, and hopefully coverage of Paige’s return. In the meantime, if there is anything you want me to cover, or you just want to chat about wrestling, tweet me @manda_why.