Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. TLC is upon us, and there are three – yes, three – women’s matches. We’ll get to those later, let’s start with Monday night.
Sasha Banks def Alicia Fox
Mickie James and Bayley def Alexa Bliss and Emma
After another Asuka hype video, Emma had a backstage interview to talk about their match at TLC. Emma is apparently sick of everyone talking about Asuka, when they should be talking about her. Alexa Bliss joined the interview, to tell Emma she was right, Asuka has done nothing. But Bliss had her own agenda. She complained again about Mickie James and said the younger women were the future of the division. Then she asked Emma to team with her against Mickie James and an unnamed teammate.
Alicia Fox vs Sasha Banks
We got this match again because Fox said she wasn’t tapping out in the last match, she was scratching her nose. I know a lot of people don’t like the ‘crazy’ Fox character, but I think she does it very well, and it enables her to bring in some brutality. Crazy for female heels is fairly well established for WWE.
Anyway, the match was short and sweet. They work really well together. Sasha Banks ended up bleeding from the nose at some point. Fox looked like a credible opponent. Sasha Banks won with the Bank Statement, and Alicia Fox had a tantrum in the ring.
After the match Sasha Banks was being interviewed backstage and Alicia Fox attacked her from behind. She threw her into packing crates, then pushed over the ref who tried to intervene. She was chased away by two other officials, leaving Sasha Banks on the floor holding her head.
Later, WWE announced Alicia Fox had been fined for putting her hands on an official. Then they announced that Alicia Fox and Sasha Banks will have a match on the TLC kickoff show. This is quite exciting. Not only is it a genuine non-title related feud in the women’s division, it also means there are three women’s matches on a single brand PPV.
Alexa Bliss and Emma vs Mickie James and Bayley
Yep, Bayley turned out to be Mickie James’ unnamed opponent. Why? Why not? It would have made more sense to have Dana Brooke, that way they could have reignited the storyline between Brooke and Emma.
Bliss seemed keen to avoid her TLC opponent, but James insisted they start things off. Bliss lasted one lock up before tagging Emma in. It was a scrappy kind of match, but fun. Bayley and Mickie James were in completely control of Emma for lot of the match. Emma managed to turn it around, and threw Bayley to the outside, then kicked her into the barricade.
Of course, Alexa Bliss wanted to come in when it looked like Bayley was nearly finished. And, of course, Bayley managed to fight back to tag Mickie James in. James came in hard and fast, and dominated Bliss for a while.
Emma broke up a pin attempt. Bayley kicked Emma out of the ring, Bliss got distracted by kicking Bayley out of the ring, and turned around into the Mick-kick. Mickie James pinned the champ, and takes a win with her to TLC.
After the match Mickie James had a backstage interview. She said Bliss’ words had hurt her, but she’s proud of who she is and what she’s achieved. She talked about her three year old son waiting for her at home, and how much she wants to take the title home to him.
Charlotte Flair, Naomi and Becky Lynch def Lana Natalya and Tamina
This week we got the six-woman tag set up by the backstage brawl last week. Carmella joined commentary, with Ellsworth on his lead as usual. We now live in a world where keeping a man on a lead is a normal thing to do, apparently. I can’t help being annoyed with SmackDown at the moment. Their women’s roster is so talented, and for a while SmackDown were miles ahead of RAW in giving the women time. Not anymore. We still see most of the women most weeks, but they’re not doing anything with them. Instead of proper storylines we get endless multi-woman matches, with the only story being centred around the title. It’s very one dimensional.
Commentary were more interested in Carmella for the most part, but the match was ok. The first half was good, the second half was a bit Lana heavy for me. Lana is still not there yet, I think that’s fair. Character-wise, she’s fine, but she still looks clunky and clumsy in the ring.
Charlotte Flair dominated pretty consistently for the second half of the match. Natalya saved her from being pinned once, which led to everyone in the match getting involved. But Natalya wasn’t there the second time, and Flair locked Lana in the Figure Eight for the win.
After the match Natalya attacked Flair again. She threw her into the announce table, and grabbed a chair to hit her with. Charlotte Flair was ready, and kicked Natalya over then chased her with the chair until Natalya escaped through the crowd.
Ember Moon def Ruby Riot and Sonya Deville
This was another qualifying match for the fatal four-way title match at TakeOver. Kairi Sane and Peyton Royce have already qualified. I was a bit disappointed by the announcement of this one, but only because I’d hoped for more than one of these women in the title match.
The match opened the show, and it was a good way to kick things off. For a lot of the time they kept it one on one by making sure the third person was outside the ring and uninvolved. They kept switching it round though, and it kept a really interesting flow to the match. Sonya Deville looked great. Ruby Riot and Ember Moon are massively more experienced than she is, but she didn’t look out of place at all. I really think she has a bright future with WWE.
Ruby Riot injured her ankle on a dive to the outside. Sonya Deville tried to capitalise with an ankle lock, which might have worked, except for Ember Moon. Neither of them saw Moon climb to the top turnbuckle. She hit the Eclipse on Deville, but Deville rolled out of the ring. Ruby Riot was too hurt, and too slow, to get away, so Ember Moon pinned her.
Just one more place left in the four-way match now. William Regal was being interviewed about that when he was interrupted by Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. Kay wanted to make sure she was in the final qualifier. Regal confirmed that she was, but that it would be a battle royal. Sixteen women will compete next week for that final place, Billie Kay, Aliyah, and what appears to be fourteen of the Mae Young Classic competitors.
No women’s division action on Main Event this week.
Alexa Bliss vs Mickie James – RAW Women’s Championship match
Asuka vs Emma
Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox – Kickoff show
This year’s TLC PPV has turned into one of the strangest WWE PPVs on record. If having three women’s matches on a single brand PPV wasn’t unusual enough (has that ever happened before?), there are also two cruiserweight matches. If that wasn’t enough, illness has struck the RAW roster, and necessitated personnel changes (Kurt Angle stepping in to the main event for Roman Reigns, and AJ Styles taking Bray Wyatt’s place against Finn Balor). Luckily, the illness doesn’t appear to have reached the women. Three matches on one PPV is something to celebrate, even if one of them is on the kickoff show. RAW’s women have the opportunity to prove this is how it should always be.
Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox – Kickoff show
This one was added to the card on Monday, after Fox attacked Banks backstage after their match. It’s a tough one to call. Sasha Banks should win, just like she has on their previous two meetings, but that just seems too simple. Alicia Fox really could do with a win, but a loss might actually progress her storyline quicker. It seems they are having her go down the “crazy” route, so losing might tip her over the edge. Alternatively, the crazy might just give her the extra power to beat ‘The Boss’. I’m not going to overthink it, I’ll go with the obvious.
Prediction: Sasha Banks
Asuka vs Emma
Emma won the opportunity to face Asuka, in Asuka’s debut match, by winning the five-way elimination match. I’m hoping for a truly excellent match here, but it may well just be a squash. Emma and Asuka have faced each other before, at TakeOver London. Asuka was the winner then, and she will be tonight. The only real question is whether Emma will end up looking good or bad in the process. Asuka was undefeated in NXT, and held the championship for 523 days, she’s not coming to RAW to be defeated on her debut by Emma. If they pull a swerve on this one, I’ll never forgive them.
Alexa Bliss (C) vs Mickie James – RAW Women’s Championship match
Bliss has been running a mean girl campaign against Mickie James for a while now. This is Mickie James chance for revenge, and I think she’ll get it. I don’t think she’ll get the title though.
My best guess is that Alexa Bliss will take enough of a beating to teach her a lesson, but will cheat to retain her title. I’d like to see Mickie James get a run with it, but I can’t see anyone but Asuka taking the title off Bliss at the moment.
This has the potential to be an excellent match, as long as it’s given enough time. Mickie James hasn’t been given much of a shot since she arrived in RAW, but her match with Asuka at TakeOver was excellent.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss
That’s it for another week. I’ll be back next week with all the results and fallout from TLC, and all the usual stuff. In the meantime, if there is anything you think I should cover, anything you’d like to discuss, or you just want to have a chat about wrestling, tweet me @manda_why.