By Amanda Why. Catch her on Twitter @Manda_Why.
Welcome to another weekly round-up for WWE’s women’s divisions. A slightly calmer week this week. But, with SummerSlam and Takeover only a couple of weeks away, I’m guessing it’s the calm before the storm. That said, there is still plenty to unpick from this week’s programming, so let’s get straight into it.
Charlotte and Chris Jericho defeated Sasha Banks and Enzo Amore
Nia Jax defeated Aerial Monroe (local/indie talent)
Sasha Banks came out, for the opening segment of RAW, to ‘you deserve it’ chants, and talked about her match with Bayley at Takeover Brooklyn last year. They didn’t just steal the show they owned the show, and this year will be no different when she defends against Charlotte at SummerSlam. Charlotte interrupted, as expected, to ‘you tapped out’ chants. Charlotte told Banks she doesn’t need anyone else to beat her. The insults got personal and fairly base, but not hugely imaginative. It was a bit of a relief when they were interrupted again.
Chris Jericho wandered to the ring shouting for quiet. Apparently, Jericho is a big Charlotte fan, seriously – huge fan. He called her royalty, said she was better than her father and then turned his attention to Sasha Banks. He’s clearly not a Sasha Banks fan however as he declared her ‘not a boss but a brat’. This was apparently too much for Enzo Amore, as he was the next to join the party. Now, I thought Chris Jericho’s sycophantic diatribe about Charlotte was uncomfortable, but the flirting between Enzo Amore and Sasha Banks was ‘turn the TV off’ cringe-worthy. It all went a bit schoolyard stand-off after that, with insults and point scoring on both sides.
Mick Foley finally shut them up, by cutting a promo for Holy Foley. After achieving this ‘primary objective’, he set a mixed tag match, Charlotte and Chris Jericho versus Sasha Banks and Enzo Amore. All in all, it was a fun segment, mostly. But like many of the opening segments of RAW, it just went on too long for me.
The match itself was fun too. Not that you would have known that from the commentary. Kevin Owens joined the team and the match was ignored to an even greater extent than usual. Jericho’s first tag to Charlotte was weird. He crawled across the ring on his knees and wrapped his arms round her waist until she tagged herself in. There’s a strange dynamic there. There was a double, if out of synch, dive to the outside from Amore and Banks, who then celebrated by doing each other’s dance moves.
Dana Brooke’s cameo attempt at interference resulted in a failed roll up from Charlotte on Sasha Banks. But, after Banks slapped Chris Jericho, when he climbed into the ring, Charlotte hit the Natural Selection and pinned her for the three count.
Post-match Jericho attacked Amore while he was checking on Banks, Big Cass ran in to chase him away, and we’ll just gloss over the ref trying to give the title belt to Charlotte.
Nia Jax was given another indie talent to squash this week. I like the way they are building Jax, and she looked a lot less nervous this week. It was what it was. Jax displayed an array of her power moves, then pinned Monroe with a foot on the chest, following a huge slam. She then kicked her in the side after the bell. After the match she was asked how it’s been, competing in a WWE ring. Jax walked away, slammed Monroe into the corner, watched her hit the floor, and told Saxton to ‘ask her how it feels’. Since the purpose of a squash match, from the perspective of the person being squashed, is, presumably, to raise their profile, here are a (very) few details about Aerial Monroe. She’s trained by George South, Cedric Alexander (her partner), and Caleb Konley. She’s only been wrestling a couple of years, so there’s not a lot of footage out there, but she has a lot of attitude and a lot of ambition. She seems like she can hold her own on a mic, and she certainly has a lot of style. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of her further down the line (sorry, that’s pretty much all I could find).
Well, this week SmackDown went down a different route. Instead of using the matches to tell us a story, they decide to skip matches altogether. There were two scheduled matches for the women’s division, Becky Lynch vs Eva Marie, and Carmella vs Natalya. Neither actually made it to the first bell.
Becky Lynch and Eva Marie made their entrances. Eva Marie’s entrance is brilliant, her heel character is honed to perfection. But, she feigned a leg injury and the match was called off. Judging by the number of conversation I’ve seen on twitter, she’s doing a great job. People are talking about her, she’s getting reactions in a way few superstars, especially female superstars, do. I have no problem with this, for now, but it’s a time-limited game. They can keep Eva Marie out of the ring for a time, but there has to be a payoff in the end. When she finally steps into the ring to fight, she has to be good, I mean really good. If she can pull that off she will become a great, and enduring, heel. If she can’t, she needs to go away. I hope she can pull it off, time will tell.
Carmella was being interviewed by Renee Young, but was quickly interrupted by Natalya. Natalya was apparently offended she wasn’t the one being interviewed. She namedropped her uncle Bret, bigged herself up – she’s carried the division, she’s strong, brave etc.. Carmella told her to go and put her ‘crazy cat lady’ outfit on and she’d show her why she’s the most fabulous chick on the roster. Natalya responded that Carmella needs a lesson in humility and she’d be happy to do it. And that sets up the second match. Carmella’s mic skills have improved immensely; I’m enjoying watching her develop. It will be good to see her in the ring a bit more in the coming months.
‘Match’ two then. Carmella made her way towards the ring, got half-way through her, brand new, spiel, and was jumped from behind by Natalya. After knocking Carmella over, throwing her into a barrier, and suplexing her, Natalya put her in the sharpshooter, and kept it locked in until forced to break by officials. Natalya was sent to the back, and that’s it from SmackDown’s women.
It’s early days, and they are building slowly on SmackDown. Daniel Bryan has announced, in interviews, that there will be a women’s title, in some form, coming to SmackDown, but that the details haven’t been decided yet. While I have no problem with either of the angles used this week, I question the sense in putting them both on the same show. I would rather have seen one match and one non-starter, and saved the other angle for next week. I just feel the women deserved slightly better representation this week.
Asuka defeated Aliyah
This week NXT injected life into the women’s title feud. Bayley has invoked her contractual rematch, and will attempt to regain the NXT Women’s Championship at Takeover Brooklyn on August 20. This is, more than likely, Bayley’s final run in NXT before the main roster, finally, snaps her up. She hasn’t been on TV much recently, and with the draft, and Bayley’s appearance on Battleground, the title match build-up has been a little lacklustre so far. it almost seems to have been lost in the shuffle. That changed this week.
In a backstage interview segment, Bayley talked about how she has changed since losing the title. She said she’s been in NXT for a while and it’s time for her to adapt. It’s a mental thing for her now. She needs to prepare mentally for big matches, so she’s been watching Asuka’s matches and studying her, and she’s ready. Asuka appeared and delivered her single line: ‘You think you’re ready, come watch.’ Devastatingly simple and perfectly delivered. A small smile from Bayley, and she said she’d go and see for herself.
Initially Bayley joined the commentary desk as Aliyah and Askua made their entrances. Before the match started, Asuka placed a chair in the centre of the ramp, close to the ring, and gestured for Bayley to sit there. Bayley threw the chair aside to stand at ringside.
Aliyah is one of the names in the long term mid-card picture, but this wasn’t her opportunity to shine. Asuka barely took her eyes of Bayley as she systematically destroyed Aliyah, showcasing some of her extensive repertoire for her challenger. Bayley might have been preparing, but clearly Asuka has too, her moves looked stiffer than ever, and her attitude appears to have hardened. She covered Aliyah but pulled her up by the hair, at two, and delivered another series of knees and kicks, before applying the Asuka lock. Despite Aliyah’s instant submission, it took Bayley entering the ring for Asuka to break the hold. Message sent. Contract signing next week. It took NXT approximately 10 minutes to make me a whole lot more interested in this rematch.
A teaser was shown for the debut of Ember Moon, who will apparently appear at Takeover. I’d heard some of the buzz from recent live events about this signing, but I have to admit I wasn’t really familiar with her. But that’s not good enough so, a little research later, here’s a few initial impressions. Fighting as Athena, on the independent circuit, Ember Moon has been wrestling since 2007 for multiple promotions. In the matches I watched, I saw a good all-rounder. She has the power moves, the submissions, the high flying, she seems pretty much fearless, and she can talk. Basically, she’s awesome. Recently she appears to have been fighting Asuka on house shows. This makes sense, she’s clearly not coming in at anything other than the top level of NXT. I think we’ve found the answer to the question of who takes Bayley’s position on the roster, and it’s a good answer.
The Bella twins won the teen choice awards best female athletes. Nikki Bella has also been posting clips of her training ahead of her potential, although not confirmed, return to the ring. She was very complimentary about the talents of Billie Kay, who has apparently been helping her train.
That’s it for another week. Hopefully next week will bring more action on SmackDown, and maybe even another women’s match for the SummerSlam card, but we’ll have to wait and see. Feel free to tweet me if you spot anything you think needs addressing, and I’ll be back next week to make sure you don’t miss anything from the women of WWE.