Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. Bit of a long one this week, with three matches from the TLC PPV, and a huge battle royal on NXT. But it’s been an interesting week, so let’s dive in.
Big News. – On Sunday October 29 WWE announced the release of Summer Rae and Emma (Darren Young was also released). No information about what led to the releases has been made public. Emma tweeted a broken heart emoji in reaction to the news. Summer Rae hasn’t been used since before the brand extension. She was injured for a long time, and was never brought back. It’s less of a surprise that she has been released. But Emma was given Asuka’s PPV and TV debuts, then released the same week. I’m sure more details will emerge eventually, and I’ll report them here when they do, but I find the decision baffling.
Sasha Banks def Alicia Fox
Asuka def Emma
Alexa Bliss def Mickie James
Emma was interviewed on kickoff, kind of. She ranted about the number of vignettes Asuka has had, and the social media buzz around her debut. She said that after their match the hashtag would be #EmmaBeatsAsuka. – Self-belief is good. Not a single person on the kickoff panel picked her to win though. No-one did, anywhere.
The kickoff panel were split on the result of Mickie James and Alexa Bliss
Mickie James was in the social media lounge on the Kickoff show. She was asked if she thinks age is catching up to her. She pointed out that she’s not actually old compared to most of the rest of the women’s roster, and that many of the men on the roster are older than her. I’m glad she’s finally said that.
Alicia Fox vs Sasha Banks
I thoroughly enjoyed this match. I like the ‘crazy’ Fox character, although I’m sure it has the capacity to irritate, and I think she’s doing a great job. It’s fantastic that the women have a non-title storyline, and that needs to be celebrated.
The match started with hair pulling and wild swinging, until Fox got out of the ring. To be honest, the amount of hair pulling in this match I’m surprised either of them had any left. It was a fiery match. Banks driven by the fire of fury over being attacked, and Fox with the fire that comes from being mad as a hatter.
Alicia Fox did make me laugh when she tried to get the audience to do the ref’s job and count Banks out. And let’s not forget how beautiful that Northern Lights suplex is. I’m definitely in the ‘Alicia Fox is massively underrated’ camp. They had a very competitive match, but Sasha Banks locked into the Bank Statement, and Fox had to tap out.
Asuka vs Emma
This opened the show. A bit of a surprise considering the rest of the card. I would have put the cruiserweight tag on first, but what do I know. Nice pop for Asuka, but you were left with the impression there was a significant proportion of the crowd who didn’t know anything about her.
The match drew a lot of controversy online. It was given around ten minutes, and that was too much for a lot of people. They wanted Asuka to come out and destroy Emma in a squash. I completely disagree. The match was excellent. What would be the point of a sub-three-minute debut for someone they’ve been building for weeks? Ok, it would show her dominance, against someone in the solid mid-card, but what does that achieve long term. It was far more important to show some of her personality, her style, and the substance of her work. This way, the crowd got to see so much more of what Asuka can do. And Emma got to look pretty good in the process.
Of course, it was still Asuka’s long-awaited debut, and no-one was going to spoil it. After a fun, and tough-looking, match Emma tapped out to the Asuka Lock.
Alexa Bliss (C) vs Mickie James – RAW Women’s Championship match.
In her pre-match interview Alexa Bliss talked about Mickie James calling her ‘biscuit butt’ and said she liked her butt, it’s cute. I just want to say – thanks for that ten minutes on twitter Alexa, an awful lot of people felt the need to agree. The rest of it was about Mickie’s age, again.
Mickie James, and the crowd, were very amused by James smacking Bliss’ butt early in the match, Bliss, less so. Still, it fired her up and got them into the match proper. The match worked great. Both women were trying to teach each other a lesson. James, that Bliss is just an upstart, and experience is greater than youth. And Bliss that James’ time has passed. Of course, Mickie James clearly wanted a modicum of revenge on Bliss for all those jibes about her age as well.
She got that. It looked very much like they weren’t afraid to hurt each other. And James got her periods of dominance, enough to make her feel vindicated. It wasn’t enough to get her the title though. After a few near falls and close calls, Bliss got lucky. She pulled James headfirst into a turnbuckle while James was trying to pull her out of the corner, then followed up with a DDT to retain the title.
In a post-match interview Mickie James thanked the WWE universe for their support. She said she was disappointed, but that she was proud of her performance and she hoped she’d done enough to prove she was
Three women’s matches on the card, and they were still all done by the end of the first hour. The three matches combined got a comparable length of time to the main event. So, let’s celebrate that RAW’s women were given three matches, and that all three were strong. But let’s also acknowledge that there is still a long way to go
Asuka def Emma
Alicia Fox def Sasha Banks and Bayley
Asuka vs Emma
I think it was a mistake to do this match again so quickly. Apparently, Emma asked for the rematch so she could regain the spotlight that she believes should be on her. If they had to do it again, it should have been shorter. They’ve been building Asuka up as almost unstoppable, but she took too much punishment from Emma. She looked good, but not the irresistible force she’s been built as. On the flipside, Emma looked came out of it looking strong, despite two losses.
Regardless of what could, or should, have happened, they had a decent five-minute match, which ended with Emma tapping to the Asuka Lock again.
Alexa Bliss had an in-ring segment. She said she’s put Mickie James in the past, where she belongs. Then acknowledged her Survivor Series match against Natalya, saying she’s going to remind her, and everyone else, that there’s only one goddess. Next she told off the crowd. Apparently she feels very underappreciated, so she tried to start a ‘You deserve it’ chant.
Unsurprisingly, it failed. Mickie James took pity of the audience at that point, she calmly walked down to the ring, kicked Bliss in the stomach delivered a Mick-DDT and said, ‘Alexa, you do deserve it’, before leaving.
In Kurt Angle’s office Bayley and Sasha Banks were about to be made co-captains of the RAW women’s team, or be put in a match, it doesn’t matter because Alicia Fox interrupted and demanded she should be captain. She’s been there the longest, and she’s the smartest. She’s also turned the ‘crazy’ character up to eleven. Angle turned whatever was supposed to happen into a triple threat, winner becomes captain.
Sasha Banks vs Bayley vs Alicia Fox
Alicia Fox was the aggressor from the outset. She’s clearly determined that the women’s division isn’t going to be about Sasha Banks and Bayley any more. But Bayley and Banks managed to throw her out of the ring, and kept her out for quite a while by kicking her off the apron.
There were teases of the Bayley versus Banks feud everyone is waiting for, but the majority of the action in the match revolved around Alicia Fox. Bayley did implement the obligatory tower of doom spot though, can’t forget that.
At one point, while Fox had Bayley down inside the ring, and Banks down at ringside, she decided she’d had enough. She climbed out of the ring screaming ‘I don’t want to play this game’, grabbed to bell, and started ringing it. Obviously, that failed to finish the match, but it did apparently wake up Sasha Banks, who stood up, and got kicked in the face for her troubles. That distracted Fox enough for Bayley to hit a Bayley to belly, but Banks broke the pin.
We got a bit more Banks versus Bayley, Alicia Fox giving Bayley a Bayley to belly, and Fox managing to get out of the Bank Statement. But the finish came from Fox throwing Banks into Bayley, causing Banks to roll out of the ring, and Bayley to fall into it. Fox pinned Bayley to become RAW’s Survivor Series team captain.
It was actually a really good fun and well put together match. No-one was harmed by the loss, everyone looked pretty good. The same could be said for all the matches from the RAW women over the last two days. Interesting that RAW are suddenly making all their women look strong, what with Survivor Series coming up and all.
Speaking of Survivor Series, there was a interesting development at the end of RAW. The SmackDown Live roster invaded the closing segment. They came down through the crowd, led by Shane McMahon, then stormed the backstage area trashing stuff and beating people up.
The women were involved in the invasion. Becky Lynch, Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina came over from SmackDown. Dana Brooke was spotted running for her life along with some of the make-up artists. Mickie James, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox were taken out in the beatdown – by the SmackDown women, WWE haven’t gone intergender, don’t worry.
#UnderSiege has begun.
Becky Lynch def Carmella, Naomi, Tamina and Charlotte Flair
A backstage segment started with Becky Lynch telling Charlotte Flair about the invasion of RAW, with Naomi, Lana and Tamina laughing along. Carmella interrupted, with an empty leash and collar, she’d lost Ellsworth. No-one had seen him. Daniel Bryan appeared and said they would all be on the Survivor Series team. Lana pointed out there were six of them, and Bryan told her she wasn’t included. Lana glared at him for the rest of the segment. He went on to say they needed a strong captain, everyone started arguing and Bryan announced they would have a fatal five-way to determine the captain.
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair vs Carmella vs Naomi vs Tamina
In case anyone was wondering, Carmella got Ellsworth back, she had to rescue him from Breezango and The Ascension, and he was chained to the ringpost as normal. Before the match started they introduced Natalya, for no reason whatsoever.
A large part of this match was a chaotic brawl on the outside. Naomi was slammed into a barricade, Charlotte Flair was thrown over one. It seems an odd decision to have your entire team try to murder each other for the privilege of being captain, but whatever.
They made in into the ring eventually, much to the delight of anyone in the arena who wasn’t in the first two rows and was hoping to watch the match. Naomi and Becky Lynch tried to pin each other for a for moments before Carmella threw Naomi into the ringpost, and onto the floor outside. Carmella then got a two count on Becky Lynch, and in the distracted tantrum that followed, found herself in the Dis-Arm-Her. She tapped out. Becky Lynch is the captain of the SmackDown Women’s team at Survivor Series.
Nikki Cross won the battle royal to qualify for the fatal four-way title match at TakeOver
Ok, confession time. The battle royal was fun as can be to watch, but covering it was a nightmare. I cover NXT for Rear View Reviews as well, and this is directly from my NXT review. Way too much happened to type it all up twice.
Nikki Cross vs Billie Kay vs Aliyah vs Rhea Ripley vs Dakota Kai vs Vanessa Borne vs Candice LeRae vs Taynara Conti vs Santana Garrett vs Bianca Belair vs Abbey Laith vs Reina González vs Zeda vs Lacey Evans vs Sage Beckett vs Sarah Logan vs Mercedes Martinez
Nikki Cross was added to the match By William Real as her first opportunity to qualify was ruined by Taynara Conti. This was a very bad sign for Conti, as she was also in the match.
Seventeen women in the ring made it look very crowded. We didn’t get to see all the entrances, but Candice LeRae got the biggest pop of the ones that were shown, and that makes me very happy. Nikki Cross was last to the ring, immediately went for Taynara Conti, and managed to eliminate her. Conti then pulled Cross out of the ring, under the ropes, threw her into the barricade and left her there. Peyton Royce followed up by throwing Cross into the steps. Importantly, Cross was not eliminated, just outside the ring.
Rhea Ripley was next out, closely followed by Zeda, both eliminated by Bianca Belair. With Belair using Zeda as a weapon to take out Ripley. Dakota Kai went next, courtesy of Sage Beckett, who also eliminated Aliyah a little later. Nikki Cross made it back to the ring and flattened everyone before eliminating Vanessa Bourne, Sage Beckett, Santana Garrett and Abbey Laith. Mercedes Martinez eliminated Sarah Logan, Lacey Evans was knocked off the apron by Candice LeRae. Reina Gonzales went out at some point, I don’t remember seeing her to be honest.
The final five were Billie Kay, Nikki Cross, Candice LeRae, Bianca Belair and Mercedes Martinez. Candice LeRae was picked up overhead, and literally thrown over the top rope by Bianca Belair, right onto Sarah Logan and Sage Beckett. Belair almost eliminated Billie Kay, but Kay grabbed Belair’s plait and pulled herself back in. She paid for that by finding out the power of the braid first hand. Kay and Cross spilled out through the ropes (not eliminated) to give Mercedes Martinez and Bianca Belair chance to fight it out. Nikki Cross knocked them both while they were fighting on the apron, having both gone over the top rope.
Nikki Cross won the match, and the place in the title match, by toppling Billie Kay over the top, after Kay hooked her leg on the rope in a failed attempt to hit her Shades of Kay kick.
William Regal appeared in the ring with the title belt, just to show it off apparently. Peyton Royce and Nikki Cross were busy screaming at each other, when Ember Moon came out, followed by Kairi Sane to complete the foursome. William Regal was wagging his finger sternly at all of them, trying to keep the peace. That match is going to be amazing.
No women’s division action on Main Event this week.
That it for another week. I’ll be back new week with all the action, and hopefully another instalment of #UnderSeige. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover, or anything you want to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.