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By Amanda Why
Welcome to the first weekly round-up of the action and news from the WWE women’s divisions. Each week I’ll look at the TV coverage the women have received in RAW, Smackdown, Main Event, Superstars and NXT, and of course any PPVs. We’ll deal with any big news, major issues points of interest and along the way we’ll discuss how the divisions are progressing. I’m aiming for a positive, life affirming, kind of a feel, but I have a feeling it may not always be that easy.
RAW: As there was no main roster PPV this week, we start with the WWE flagship show. As we entered the final hour I started to wonder if the ladies had been given a collective night off. Eventually, the women’s champion, Charlotte appeared with Ric Flair’s younger, better looking, female, replacement Dana Brooke. After a quick recap of Charlotte telling daddy to get out of her ring, she launched into a weird apology where she tried to say that all the talk of Flair abandoning her as a child and never being there wasn’t personal after all, it was just a professional issue. Thankfully, just as she was talking about being daddy’s little girl, Becky Lynch and Natalya appeared, traded insults and tried to convince Dana Brooke that Charlotte was no good. Predictably, Dana and Charlotte attacked Natalya and Becky, with Brooke showing her power against Becky Lynch and Charlotte putting Natalya into a submission hold. And that was that for the women on RAW. Total screen time 8 minutes, with no match, just the set up for Becky Lynch versus Dana Brooke on Smackdown. A quick point of comparison for you. Also on RAW were video packages in lieu of appearances by Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Each video came in around the 6 minute mark. Make of that what you will.
Smackdown: Becky Lynch, accompanied by Natalya, versus Dana Brooke accompanied by Charlotte. I enjoyed the match, or at least there was potential in it. After just two minutes there was involvement from outside, started by Dana slapping Natalya outside the ring, and culminating in Charlotte and Natalya being ejected from ringside. Dana attempted a roll up off the distraction but Becky made her tap to the dis-arm-her. I think there’s potential in this pairing for some really good matches, but the total time of approximately three and a half minutes (the combined entrances and RAW recap were longer) means it’s a little soon to judge.
NXT: The highlight of the week in the WWE women’s divisions came from NXT Takeover. NXT went to great lengths to make both the women in their championship match look strong. The build up to this match proved that WWE do know how to build a strong match for their women. Pre-match clips showed the women warming up for the match, and the video introduction concentrated on the relative strengths of the women in the ring. I really liked the video build up, I don’t remember seeing anything before which has concentrated on making the women look quite so dangerous. Asuka was largely shown kicking people in the head, while Nia Jax’s section concentrated on her brutalising Bayley.
A quick word on Bayley and the future storyline for NXT. Even during Takeover NXT were adding to their storyline, reminding the fans that Bayley will be back. She was shown wishing Asuka luck and offering a respectful handshake, then, during the entrances, a tweet was shown on the screen from her simply saying ‘Disappointed… but curious’.
On to the match. Nia Jax is clearly not on the same level as Asuka skills-wise. Triple H said, in his post Takeover interview, Asuka has 10 years plus experience and Nia Jax a little over a year and, to be honest, at times it showed. But the match was worked to play to both their strengths with lots of submission attempts and fast kicks from Asuka, and some brutal looking power moves from Jax. The match ran to almost 10 minutes, which felt like it did it justice. Both women came out looking stronger than when they went in. Asuka picked up the win, to retain the title, with the ‘kick her in the head until she stops moving then cover her’ method. I become a bigger Asuka every time I watch her, and Nia Jax is improving match on match. I’m looking forward to seeing what she achieves in the next few months.
Main Event: I had to hit the online reports for this due to technical issues (apparently TiVo regards series links as a suggestion). Luckily, according to the reports I read, I missed nothing. No matches, no promos, nothing.
Superstars: Again, nothing. Not a mention.
Other news: Triple H has alluded to a new women’s talent being about to enter NXT, The women’s division is about to get really interesting really fast. He was very complimentary about the women’s championship match at Takeover and came across as genuinely excited by the division. It’s certainly the case that the women get a better deal on NXT at the moment so it will be interesting to see how this develops.
So that’s it for this week. I wish there was more to say, but sadly that really was all there was. Five shows, two matches, and one eight minute promo. Happy new era of women’s wrestling in WWE. Maybe, I’m being unfair and it was just a quiet week. Make sure you read next week to find out.