Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. A mixed bag of a week this week. But plenty going on, so let’s get straight into it with the Hell in a Cell results.
Hell in a Cell
Charlotte Flair def Natalya – no title change
Charlotte Flair was in the social media lounge on the kickoff show. She pointed out that she has beaten Natalya for every title, and while she’s looking forward to being the first woman to hold the NXT, Diva’s, RAW, and SmackDown titles, she just wants to concentrate on winning the SmackDown title. She talked a bit about the threat of Carmella. Then finished with a message to Natalya, ‘Flairs are always better than Harts’.
There was plenty of discussion on the kickoff show, bigging up the importance of the match – saying it was going to be a classic. They also talked about the potential for a Carmella cash-in. The panel predictions went two to one on favour of Natalya.
Natalya (C) vs Charlotte Flair – SmackDown Women’s Championship match
The pre-match video package leaned heavily on their most recent interaction, specifically Flair’s return after her dad’s health scare, and Natalya’s celebration of women – of herself anyway. There were brief flashes of their rich history together, but I thought they’d have played that up more, commentary certainly did. Apparently, Natalya now hold the record for most PPV matches for a female superstar at 40. It’s a nice record, but wow that’s low.
It would have been difficult for these two to have a bad match. They know each other so well, having trained and worked together extensively, and it’s no secret they enjoy working together. That said, I’m not sure it was the classic the kickoff panel predicted. I think they’ve had better matches. Maybe it’s the reversal of heel/face from their previous matches which has thrown the dynamic for me. It’s still good, but not amazing.
With Natalya being all about the submissions, and Flair being more than capable of playing that game, it was a slower paced match. Natalya spent a lot of time working Flair’s knee. They almost lost the crowd in places because it was a bit ponderous, but they pulled them back again.
Charlotte Flair managed to reverse a Sharpshooter, sending Natalya flying into the corner. She wasn’t able to hit the moonsault from the top rope to capitalise because Natalya rolled out of the ring. So Flair went to the nearest corner, and delivered the moonsault to the outside.
Apparently, Natalya had taken enough. She grabbed a chair and laid Charlotte Flair out with it, giving Flair the win, but not the title.
Disappointing ending to a match which I, sadly, found a little underwhelming. Not bad, just underwhelming.
Emma def Sasha Banks, Alicia Fox, Bayley and Dana Brooke
Mickie James came out to address her issues with Alexa Bliss. She talked about feeling like she doesn’t belong at RAW, and realising it’s all down to Alexa Bliss. She talked about the pranks and nasty comments, and the fact Bliss stopped her pinning Nia Jax. As she was claiming that she is going to beat Bliss at TLC, and become seven-time champion, Bliss came out.
To the uninitiated it looked like an apology was coming. But, of course, it was more age-related humour, this time in the form of an old-style video. After a bit more back and forth, Bliss walked down to the ring, tried to walk away, was dragged back into it by James, beaten on a bit, then escaped.
We got another multi-woman match this week, but it’s ok because this one had a purpose. The set up came in Kurt Angle’s office. Bayley and Sasha Banks were both trying to convince him they should be the one to face Asuka in her debut match. Alicia Fox came in and shouted like a toddler having a tantrum about being there a decade, never having a t-shirt, and asking what she has to do to get opportunities (update, she got a shirt this week, the general consensus is – it’s awful). Dana Brooke in next, she feels like she doesn’t exist. Finally, Emma with social media blah, started the women’s revolution blah.
Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox vs Dana Brooke vs Bayley vs Emma
There was some confusion over the type of match this was supposed to be. Angle described it as a fatal five-way, commentary said the first woman to get a pinfall or submission would go through to face Asuka (they said it twice). Then the first pinfall happened and it turned into an elimination match.
The first elimination was Dana Brooke, by Bayley. Then, after a quick scrap with Sasha Banks, Bayley got on the wrong end of an axe kick from Alicia Fox and was eliminated. Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox battled it out next. Banks had thrown Fox into Emma, and Emma rolled out of the ring leaving them alone. Alicia Fox was eliminated, via submission, with the Bank Statement. Within seconds, Emma rolled up Sasha Banks, and pinned her for the win.
Emma will now face Asuka at TLC. They had a good match last time, I hope it’s the same this time.
Good match, with everyone playing their part to make it entertaining. But it still wasn’t the longest match on the show, despite having five competitors, and being in elimination format. It could have been given just a bit more time.
Becky Lynch def Carmella
In the talking segment, Natalya was backstage being possessive and weird with the title belt. Lana told her that it would look better on Tamina, Natalya said she used to fantasize about winning too, before the belt was hers. Carmella appeared, with the briefcase, and said her fantasies were a little more realistic. Natalya said Carmella was being funny, but they can all agree that they all deserved to be champion more than Charlotte Flair.
Of course, that was Flair’s cue to arrive. Natalya asked Flair if she had a long booboo face because she broke her pathetic father’s heart again, and the brawl broke out. Naomi and Becky Lynch appeared from nowhere to back Flair up, and chased away Carmella, Lana and Tamina, leaving Flair to pound on Natalya until officials pulled her away.
Becky Lynch vs Carmella
Ellsworth is still on a lead, and still getting involved. Carmella hid behind him in this match, then kicked out Becky Lynch’s legs, by kicking through his.
Bell to bell, this one went three minutes. Becky Lynch was very aggressive. Carmella spent the first part of it screaming and trying to run away, then turned on the aggression after her Ellsworth assisted advantage. They did the best they could with the allotted time.
For the finish, Carmella tapped out to the Dis-Arm-Her.
Good to see Becky Lynch a singles win. I feel like we haven’t seen much of her recently. Disappointed in these three-minute matches creeping back in. SmackDown’s women are crying out for decent storylines.
Peyton Royce def Nikki Cross and Liv Morgan
This was the opening match of the show, and the first qualifying match for a place in the four-way title match at TakeOver.
Surprisingly, it started with Nikki Cross and Liv Morgan teaming up to knock Peyton Royce out of the ring. They turned on each other immediately though, so equilibrium was restored.
It was a really good triple-threat. All the usual stuff, including a tower of doom spot. Nikki Cross looked to have the edge on her competitors, although Royce and Morgan looked great in this match. But it didn’t get to finish clean.
Undisputed Era appeared on the stage, with Taynara Conti. They sent Conti down to the ring to take out Nikki Cross. For those who don’t watch NXT, Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish) are feuding with SAnitY – Nikki Cross’ stable. Conti’s first attempt at distraction ended with Cross getting rolled up by Royce for a two-count. They carried on with the match, right up until Cross was about to pin Liv Morgan.
Taynara Conti dragged Nikki Cross out of the ring, looked immediately like she regretted it, and ran. Unfortunately for Cross, when she chased Conti through the ring she got hit by a kick from Peyton Royce. Royce followed it up with the bridging fisherman’s suplex, and pinned Nikki Cross, to qualify for the title match.
I’m sad that Nikki Cross isn’t going into the title fight, but if they are starting a non-title feud between Cross and Conti I’m very happy with that.
The next qualifying match was announced, for next week. Ember Moon, Ruby Riot and Sonya Deville will compete for the next spot. I’m personally a bit annoyed that we’re only going to get one of those three in the match.
No women’s division action on Main Event this week.
That’s it for another week. I’ll be back next week with the TLC preview, and all the usual stuff. In the meantime, if there is anything you want me to cover, or anything you’d like to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.