Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. A historic week in the evolution of the WWE’s women’s division, with WWE Evolution starting us off. It was a complete success, but the week that followed, while it contained lots of flashback recaps of Evolution, was very oriented towards Crown Jewel. Of course, the women’s roster were not welcome at that event, Renee Young did get to commentate, and even that was progress. Anyway, it made for a bit of a quiet week for WWE’s women after the PPV, but there’s still plenty to talk about.
Lita and Trish Stratus def. Mickie James and Alicia Fox, with Alexa Bliss
Nia Jax won the Battle Royal
Toni Storm def. Kairi Sane
Natalya, Sasha Banks, and Bayley def. The Riott Squad
Shayna Baszler def. Kairi Sane
Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair
Ronda Rousey def. Nikki Bella, with Brie Bella
I covered Evolution for Rear View Reviews, and I’m not doing it twice, much as I enjoyed the show overall. My full show review can be found here.
Lita, Trish Stratus, Natalya, Sasha Banks, and Bayley def. The Riott Squad, Mickie James, and Alicia Fox, with Alexa Bliss
Nia Jax def. Ember Moon
We saw footage of Ronda Rousey’s post-match interview after Evolution being interrupted by Becky Lynch. They called each other champ a lot and said they’d be seeing each other soon. It was… odd.
I feel like I must have missed that announcement somewhere. They mentioned it in the run-up to showing the segment, but that was the first I’d heard of it. It’s entirely possible I just missed it, I haven’t been as attentive to news as I usually am, but there’s also a chance that was the announcement. Either way, it’s happening, and it should be fantastic.
Lita, Trish Stratus, Sasha Banks, Natalya, and Bayley vs The Riott Squad, Mickie James, and Alicia Fox, with Alexa Bliss
The night after the successful Evolution PPV, RAW decided the best way to celebrate was with a ten-woman tag, apparently. I get it, it was their last chance to use Stratus and Lita, and it’s nice for the other women to work with the hall of famers. It just felt a bit of a lazy way to get the women’s division representation in.
The match itself was ok. Trish Stratus and Bayley spent some time in the ring with the Riott Squad. Banks and Bayley came in after Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott pulled Liv Morgan out of the path of a Lita-sault and took them all out with tandem baseball slides, then launched themselves onto Fox and James. Trish Stratus did Banks’ pose with her before they double teamed Alicia Fox.
Mickie James turned things in her team’s favour from outside the ring, grabbing Banks’ ankle giving Fox the opening to kick her in the face. Sasha Banks stayed isolated for a long time after that, with Fox, James, Logan, and Riott all taking a turn to inflict punishment on her.
It might have stayed that way if Ruby Riott hadn’t distracted herself with Banks’ teammates and with mocking Sasha Banks. As it was, Banks recovered her senses enough to dodge out of the way of Riott’s charge into her own corner and Ruby Riott took out her Riott Squad teammates on impact.
Alicia Fox tagged in and managed to knock Stratus and Bayley off the apron (Lita was already down thanks to Riott), but Banks managed to tag in Natalya who came in hard and almost got the pin on Fox but Sarah Logan broke it up.
It all got a bit chaotic after that, and Bayley got to do tandem Twist of Fate’s with Lita. Lita assisted Natalya with a Hart Attack on Fox. Alicia Fox managed to kick out after that, but not the Sharpshooter that followed it.
Nia Jax had a backstage interview to talk about the Evolution Battle Royal. After confirming only that she’ll challenge Rousey sometime after Survivor Series, Ember Moon was added to the interview. Moon eliminated five people in the battle royal, one more than Jax. Moon talked about the match as catching lightning in a bottle. Jax got uppity, reminded Moon that she won, and tried to turn the interview back to her.
Ember Moon said she hasn’t forgotten that she debuted on RAW as Jax’ tag team partner (which is good because it really wasn’t that long ago). She’s thankful for the guidance Jax has given her and respects her, and hope the respect is mutual. But maybe she’d respect her more if she challenged her to a match.
Jax said Moon should know she respects her and granted her the match, then offered one more piece of guidance. At Evolution, when Moon ‘caught lightning in a bottle’ Jax still beat her, and she’ll do it again.
Nia Jax vs Ember Moon
This was a fun match, I get the impression a full feud between Moon and Jax could be a very good thing. We certainly didn’t get a conclusive finish to this one. They nearly incurred a double count-out after Moon threw herself off the turnbuckle onto Jax on the outside but Jax threw Moon back in at eight.
As soon as they were back in the ring Tamina’s music started up. They both watched Tamina walk towards the ring, then Jax knocked Moon to the mat and pinned her with a leg drop.
Tamina got into the ring, had a stare down with Jax, smiled, and left.
For the third week in a row, SmackDown didn’t have a women’s division match. One brief backstage segment and a Becky Lynch promo was the sum total of the women’s division contribution. I’m trying to think who is crying out to be Becky Lynch’s next title challenger, after Survivor Series, but there has been so little singles competition in recent months that no-one jumps out as the obvious choice. That’s not to say no-one deserves the shot, but there is no pre-built challenger in waiting. It’s not good enough. Here’s what SmackDown fitted into the two-hour post-Evolution show.
Paige asked Charlotte Flair to be the captain of the SmackDown women’s team at Survivor Series. Flair told her she doesn’t think she’s the right person for the job. Paige reminded Flair of something she’d apparently told her – Don’t let success get to your head and don’t let failure get to your heart – and asked her to think about it.
Becky Lynch said she won she was folded up like an accordion on a stack of chairs, beaten with a kendo stick, put through a table, but she got up again. She is the last woman standing. And when Evolution was over, and all was said and done, there was only one woman that was the rightful man event and that was her.
Beating Charlotte Flair, the most decorated woman in WWE history, proves she is ‘the man’. And that goes for the SmackDown locker room and the RAW locker room too. If she has to go over there and slap the heads off every single one of them she will.
But what’s next for the biggest superstar in all of WWE, the champ, Becky Lynch. Someone I the crowd chanted ‘we want Ronda’ and Lynch picked up on it with ‘you want the infamous Ronda Rousey?’ Rousey calls herself the baddest woman on the planet, but what planet. Every women’s Rousey’s ever stepped in the ring with was beaten before the opening bell. But that’s not how Lynch is built. She’s travelled the world to smash people like Rousey. She didn’t come to cosplay or talk about a reality tv show. She’s walking into survivor series to rip her arm off.
Nikki Cross def. Mercedes Martinez
Nikki Cross vs Mercedes Martinez
I was worried when I looked at the preview that it was going to be a squash for Cross, but this was great. Martinez is a tough and experienced competitor, a win against her actually means something for Cross’ status.
It wasn’t an easy match for Nikki Cross either. Martinez had control for much of it. The trouble with Nikki Cross, for her competitors at least, is she doesn’t seem to mind if it hurts and she won’t stay down. By halfway through the match, after delivering a crossbody from the top turnbuckle, Nikki Cross was bleeding from the nose, but she didn’t miss a step.
Martinez delivered a spinebuster but couldn’t capitalise. Two backdrop drivers, a German suplex, and a knee to the face might have been enough, but we’ll never know. Martinez went for a fisherman buster instead of covering and Nikki Cross resisted and hit her with a neckbreaker.
Cross recovered first and caught Martinez with a DDT followed by The Purge for the win.
The two came face to face on all fours and glared at each other until Nikki Cross broke into a grin repeating, ‘that was fun’.
As soon as Martinez left the ring, Candice LeRae stormed down to yell at Nikki Cross. She asked her why she told Aleister Black that it was her husband who attacked him. Cross laughed and unhurriedly left the ring.
When Cross got to the stage she started backing away and Aleister Black appeared. It’s fascinating the effect he appears to have on Cross, she backed right across the stage without ever taking her eyes from his face.
Black got in the ring and asked LeRae where Gargano was. She told him he wasn’t there. Some other stuff was said but no-one mic’ed them up so we had to rely on commentary telling us Black said Gargano’s future in NXT was gone.
There was a quick recap of Shayna Baszler’s win over Kairi Sane at Evolution, followed by her post-match interview. Baszler had Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir with her, but they didn’t get involved. She was asked if the win was redemption for Kairi Sane beating her in Brooklyn, and said it proved what she said all along. Sane didn’t beat her, she lost it for herself.
Kairi Sane stumbled down the corridor screaming ‘Shayna’. Baszler held the title up and told Sane she’s not champion any more. Kairi Sane was ushered away to a medic.
All the coverage the women’s division got on this week’s Main Event was the confrontation between Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch.
Mixed Match Challenge
Monster Eclipse def. Mahalicia
Fenomenal Flair def. Ravishing Rusev Day
Mahalicia vs Monster Eclipse
Mahalicia had an argument backstage during their interview time. Alicia Fox scared Jinder Mahal by revealing he’s been boasting all week that he’s going to embarrass Braun Strowman, and suggested they get rid of the dead wood of the Singh brothers. Mahal seemed very anxious to make it clear he hadn’t said anything of the sort. Coming into the match, Mahalicia were yet to win a match, and Monster Eclipse were undefeated.
It was Mahal and Strowman who started the match, and Mahal’s breathing techniques didn’t seem to have a particularly calming effect on Strowman. For reasons best known to himself, Jinder Mahal requested a test of strength and promptly lost. He quickly had enough of being bounced around the ring and tagged in Fox.
Fox and Moon started oddly, with Fox finishing their initial lockup by running the ropes until she needed a drink. Moon stood by looking nonplussed then kicked her in the face when she’d finished. Fox rolled out of the ring and Moon followed via a suicide dive that the Singh Brothers narrowly avoided (and may have made sure Fox took all of).
Back in the ring, Fox took advantage of Moon still being distracted by the Singh brothers and got control of the match. Mahal get increasingly worried as Moon fought her way back and when she tipped Fox out of the ring so she could make a tag, Mahal panicked. He tried to get Fox back in the ring, and when that didn’t work he got in himself and grabbed Ember Moon’s foot. She kicked him in the head and tagged Strowman.
The Singh brothers rescued Mahal from the ring and Strowman chased them around the ring. He didn’t catch them, Ember Moon took them out by launching herself off the apron and Strowman turned his attention back to Mahal.
Just as Strowman was ready to finish Mahal off, Alicia Fox got in his face and asked him who he thinks he is and chest bumping him. He reacted by stealing her hat and telling her he’s the captain now. She was still staring at him when Ember Moon came flying off the top turnbuckle for the Eclipse. Strowman finished Mahal with a powerslam and that was it. Mahalicia are now 0-3 and Monster Eclipse 3-0.
Fenomenal Flair vs Ravishing Rusev Day
It was pointed out in the show’s opening blurb that neither of Fenomenal Flair were at one hundred percent going in. Flair’s head is not in the right place after losing the Last Woman Standing match at Evolution to Becky Lynch, and AJ Styles had a WWE Championship match just a couple of hours before, after which he got beaten up by Samoa Joe. However, Ravishing Rusev Day weren’t exactly in top form in the competition, as they haven’t won a match yet.
Rusev and Lana requested that the match start with a chop-off. Lana’s first attempt wasn’t bad, but they got increasingly dodgy and Charlotte Flair ended up laughing, especially when Lana hit her a little lower than she should have, and Lana resorted to slapping at her. Flair got her revenge, with a chop that brought Lana to her knees. Styles had to show Flair the handprint Rusev left on him, but we missed his return shot because the cameras were on R-Truth ordering pizza in the social media lounge. Once again, Lana found it impossible to stick to the one chop at a time rule, and Flair’s return shot knocked her to her back. Rusev did the same to Styles. Charlotte Flair insisted the final chops be her and Rusev, he was up for it and he took three like a champ before Lana attacked Flair from behind to start the match.
Except it didn’t, Charlotte Flair did the worm, Lana got annoyed, and kicked Flair in the stomach, then they started the match.
After all that faffing, it was a short thing. A minute or two for Lana and Flair, the same for the guys, then Flair tagged back in. Lana got in the ring first and took AJ Styles down, Charlotte Flair kicked her in the face. That only kept Lana down for two, so Flair went up for the moonsault. She hit it, but on Rusev because he pushed Lana out of the way.
Lana attempted a roll-up but Flair kicked out and slapped on the figure four. Lana tapped out a few seconds after Flair bridged into the Figure Eight.
Fenomenal Flair are now 3-0 and Ravishing Rusev Day are 0-3.
I love how much fun Mixed Match Challenge is. Next week will be B ‘n’ B versus Country Dominance, and Fabulous Truth versus Day One Glow. It’s a tour show, from Manchester, England, so it should be extra fun.
The new NXT UK brand started a couple of weeks ago, so this is a bit of a catch up before adding it as a regular section. We’ve got four episodes to catch up on because, for no apparent reason, there were two this week. There will be a women’s championship, but it didn’t appear in these first few episodes. Being a new brand, most of the early episodes will be focused on establishing the roster. I’m going to keep this really brief.
Episode 1: Nina Samuels vs Toni Storm – Samuels had a pre-match interview before she came out, just to put across her arrogance and entitlement for anyone who wasn’t previously familiar with her. Although her wrestling style would have achieved the same thing, she’s a big fan of the derisive offence. I think most of the WWE universe know who Toni Storm is by now. Strong start for NXT UK’s women’s division. Toni Storm won with Storm Zero.
Episode 2: Killer Kelly vs Dakota Kai – It’s not completely clear whether Dakota Kai gets to flip back and forth between NXT and NXT UK. This one had the potential for a good opening feud for the pair of them. There are enough similarities in their styles to make it entertaining, and enough differences to make it interesting. Still very much an establishing match though. Dakota Kai got the win with her modified backstabber finisher. Kai got a post-match in-ring interview and was asked how she was feeling after her win. Breathless seemed to be the answer. She said it feels pretty good. She’s performed all over the world but nothing compares to the UK crowds. She’s been told there’s the possibility of an NXT UK Women’s Championship. And it doesn’t matter if it’s NXT or NXT UK if there’s a chance of a prestigious title, she wants in and she’s not afraid to kick anyone’s head off who gets in her way.
Episode 3: Contained a promo package for Jinny.
Episode 4: There was another package for Jinny on episode 4. And Isla Dawn vs Nina Samuels. Isla Dawn had been given an intro video before the match, and we’re still in brand establishment territory here. Even looking match but Isla Dawn got the win, leaving Samuels 0-2 on NXT UK. There was some talk about GM Johnny Saint having to make some difficult decisions about the women’s division, so hopefully, the announcement of the title is coming. Toni Storm versus Dakota Kai has been announced for two weeks’ time, that should be great.
I’ll be back next week with all the usual stuff and anything interesting that happens in WWE women’s division. It’s tour week next week which always changes things a little, so it could be an interesting week. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover or anything you want to chat about, tweet me @manda_why.