Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. SmackDown PPV week this week, so there is the preview for Hell in a Cell, alongside all the other going so, including a big debut on NXT. Let’s get straight into it with RAW.
Nia Jax def Mickie James
Bayley and Sasha Banks def Alicia Fox and Emma
Two women’s matches on RAW this week, and they were both longer the three minutes. Things are looking up.
Alexa Bliss left ‘gifts’ in Mickie James dressing room this week – a walking frame and some adult nappies (diapers). Understandably, James was less than impressed. She hammered on Bliss’ dressing room door, which was answered by Nia Jax. Mickie James said she wanted a match with Bliss, Jax said Bliss thought James was too fragile. Alexa Bliss then appeared and said she didn’t want to be in the ring with a mature woman, but Nia Jax doesn’t have an issue with it. Mickie James accepted the match.
Nia Jax vs Mickie James
Alexa Bliss came down to stand at ringside for this match.
Unsurprisingly, Jax started strong. The story of every Nia Jax match is her opponent trying to overcome her power and size advantage, and this one was no different. In fairness, Mickie James did considerably better than most, both in terms of resilience and offence.
Everything she tried was ineffective for the majority of the match. Every offensive move she landed was shrugged off by Jax, and she was repeatedly worn down with submission attempts. It looked like James might run out of steam. Then came the fightback, short lived but determined, ending up with James sat on the top turnbuckle.
She caught Nia Jax with a tornado DDT, and was about to get the pin, when Alexa Bliss broke up the pin, disqualifying Nia Jax, but stopping her being defeated.
Bliss threw James out of the ring, and followed her to give her a beat down. James slapped her, kicked her to the floor, and waked away.
In a post-match backstage interview Mickie James said she’d ‘shown those girls what this old lady really can do’. Then she said there is nothing she’d like more than to represent the WWE universe as the new RAW Women’s Champion. Kurt Angle showed up, and told her she has a title match against Bliss at TLC.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs Emma and Alicia Fox
We got this match because Emma said it was Nia Jax fault she lost their last tag match. So, this week, she picked Alicia Fox, who is apparently thankful for the opportunity (That, I believe. Fox could definitely do with more in-ring tv time).
Emma started aggressively, then had to endure Sasha Banks and Bayley having some fun dominating her, before settling into a back and forth with Bayley.
The match was fun. At some point (possibly as a result of an Alicia Fox kick, but it’s not clear) Sasha Banks ended up bleeding from the mouth. It wasn’t bad enough to affect the match though. Fox and Emma worked well together for two people who don’t normally team up. Sasha Banks and Bayley are always good together – they’re even better as opponents, but we’ll get there.
At the end of a punishing couple of minutes, Banks managed to throw Fox into Emma, knocking Emma off the apron, and get to her corner to tag in Bayley. Bayley came in hard and fast, and knocked Fox around, until Fox managed to land a knee to the face and scrabbled for her corner.
She needn’t have bothered. Emma refused the tag, and walked off. Alicia Fox was still busy being outraged when Bayley grabbed her and delivered the Bayley to belly for the win.
After the match Bayley took care of a tearful Sasha Banks, who kept holding her face. Hopefully there isn’t any serious damage. I haven’t heard anything, so she’s probably fine.
Natalya and Carmella def Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch
During Natalya’s entrance they showed a video, from earlier in the day, showing Natalya warning Carmella not to even think about cashing in on her at Hell in a Cell, or she’d be sorry. Natalya will, of course, be defending her title for the first time on PPV at Hell in a Cell on Sunday, against Charlotte Flair.
James Ellsworth was, once again, on a lead and chained to the ringpost. I’m still not sure what to make of that. I’m mildly amused, I’m just not sure it’s ok, especially considering the outrage there would be if it were the other way round.
The match was ok. I struggled to get invested in yet another tag match with no storyline. I know the format allows the champ and challenger to build for the title match, without having them face each other directly. And Becky Lynch is trying to get back into the title picture. And Carmella has got the MITB thing going on. But it’s not enough. It’s not a cohesive storyline.
Anyway, Becky Lynch took some punishment, until Natalya got distracted by trash talking Charlotte Flair, giving Becky Lynch the opportunity to tag Flair in. So we got champion versus challenger for a while. Charlotte Flair had the edge for a little while. Then she got distracted by watching Carmella wallop Becky Lynch with the briefcase. Natalya capitalised by knocking her down from behind, and locking in the Sharpshooter. With Becky Lynch unable to make the save, Flair tapped.
Natalya picked up the win, and the momentum for her title defence on Sunday at Hell in a Cell.
Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross def Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
Kairi Sane def Aliyah
This week they announced the first qualifying match to face Kairi Sane in the four-way title match at TakeOver. Nikki Cross, Liv Morgan and Peyton Royce will take part in a triple-threat next week.
Peyton Royce and Billie Kay vs Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross
This match kicked off the show this week. Ruby Riot turned up by herself again. She was doing great at the start of the match, proving she was more than capable of taking on either of her opponents. Unfortunately, she couldn’t beat the odds forever. A lot of quick tags, and a few double teams, soon had her at a disadvantage.
Nikki Cross turned up when things started to look bad for Riot. It wasn’t immediately clear if she wanted to get involved. She took her time getting up on the apron, seeming happy to watch for a while. Eventually, she made her decision and got into position. Ruby Riot looked uncertain about tagging her in, but reluctantly did.
There’s no-one quite like Nikki Cross. The intense and wild aggression makes her look a lot more haphazard than she actually is. After her initial flurry of offence though, she was taken down and double teamed by Royce and Kay. Peyton Royce even knocked Ruby Riot off the apron to stop her making the save, so they could really work Cross over properly.
Riot paid Royce back a little later, by pulling her out of the ring. She tagged herself back in, unseen by Billie Kay, delivered a double dropkick to the ‘iconic’ duo, and pinned Billie Kay off the Pele kick.
While Riot was having her hand raised in victory, Cross sat on the edge of the ring laughing, then just walked away.
Kairi Sane vs Aliyah
This was the first NXT tv appearance for Kairi Sane, although she has been working live events. As the winner of the Mae Young Classic, Sane has already booked her place in the four-way title match at TakeOver, so this match was just to show her off to the NXT audience.
We haven’t seen Aliyah for a while. She’s improved a lot. She never seemed to have a coherent character before, she was still trying things out. Now, she seems a lot more well-rounded, and she looked pretty good in this short match.
It wasn’t about Aliyah though. She got enough offence in to look credible, but it was all about Kairi Sane. No-one was going to beat the Mae Young Classic winner on her debut. After a brief, but entertaining, contest, Kairi Sane dropped her famed elbow onto Aliyah for the win.
No women’s division action on Main Event this week.
Hell in a Cell – Preview and Prediction
Natalya (C) vs Charlotte Flair
There is a lot of history in this feud, just not in this leg of it. This match is a simple, number on contender versus champion, deal. But the rivalry between Natalya and Charlotte Flair goes back to NXT, and their families’ rivalry goes back decades. This is as much a battle for pride, as it is a title match.
That said, the SmackDown Women’s Championship is on the line. Natalya beating Naomi to become champion was a surprise to me, and I can’t see her being more than an interim champ. Not that she didn’t deserve another reign, just that I think they have bigger plans for Charlotte Flair.
I believe Flair is the next SmackDown women’s champion. And I think there is a good chance it will be tonight. I also don’t see Carmella cashing in this quickly. Unless they want the cash in out of the way before a lengthy reign for Flair, in which case Natalya may win, be cashed in on, and then Carmella can be beaten by Flair in the coming weeks. It’s a possibility.
I can’t pick both options though, I’m going for the simple option.
Prediction: Charlotte Flair
That all for this week. I’ll be back next week with the Hell in a Cell results, and all the usual stuff. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover, or anything you want to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.