By Amanda Why
Welcome to another week of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. There’s a PPV to review and all the usual action, but we’re going to start with the other news because things have gotten a little messy for one of our female superstars this week.
On October 10 WWE.com announced that Paige has been suspended for a period of 60 days for her second wellness policy violation. The speculation over the cause had barely begun to accumulate before Paige and her family made their comments. Paige put out this tweet implying she was suspended for prescription medication https://twitter.com/RealPaigeWWE/status/785511161341046784. Her brothers, Zak and Roy Bevis, commented on Facebook as did her father. All claimed that Paige was suspended for using prescription painkillers, from her doctor, to treat a serious injury which they allege has not been properly dealt with by WWE. It is extremely unusual for WWE to comment on these matters other than to announce the suspension. On this occasion, however, a statement was given to the New York Post confirming the she had tested positive for an illegal substance rather than a prescription drug, and firmly stating that she was being provided with world class medical care for her injuries. There have also been some conflicting reports over whether Paige’s injuries require surgery, and it seems this saga is a long way from any kind of resolution.
Everyone has their own opinion on Paige’s situation. I feel it’s just sad. There’s no excuse for violating the wellness policy, but there is clearly a breakdown in the relationship between Paige and WWE which needs to be addressed. Paige was very young when she was signed and maybe needed more guidance to handle the pressure of life under the spotlight. She looks unwell in recent photos and it’s worrying, but all we can do is wait and see how it plays out.
In NXT news, WWE announced this week that Mickie James will be Asuka’s opponent for NXT TakeOver Toronto.
— WWE (@WWE) October 14, 2016
Nikki Bella def Carmella
Naomi def Alexa Bliss
On the No Mercy pre-show Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon confirmed the news that Becky Lynch was unable to compete due to medical issues unrelated to in-ring activity. This had been leaked earlier in the day but they used a segment with Alexa Bliss to make it official. Bliss demanded that, as she had signed a contract for a title match and Becky Lynch was not there, she be crowned the new SmackDown women’s champion. Daniel Bryan told her championships are earned not given and she would get her title shot in Glasgow on November 8. She was infomed she would have a match that night but the identity of her opponent was not revealed.
Becky Lynch sent this tweet, apparently from a hospital bed, to say she was watching closely and would be back soon.
Nikki Bella was a guest on the pre-show panel. They talked about Total Bellas a lot. Lita got them back on track to talk about how Bella overcoming her injury means that she is stronger than ever and more aware of exactly how far she can push herself. Nikki Bella said Carmella reminds her of herself before the injury and is trying to make a name for herself at Nikki Bella’s expense. There is a passion behind Nikki Bella’s words as she talks about all the things she had to overcome to get herself back into the ring after her surgery, she gives a genuine impression of being there to prove she can cut it in the new era.
Carmella versus Nikki Bella
This was the second match on the main card, both women’s matches made it onto the main card for this PPV. Considering it’s been a short feud they have built it up well, you don’t doubt that these two don’t like each other. Carmella had the best of the offence early in the match, working Nikki Bella’s neck relentlessly. Now, we all know Carmella still looks a little green at times, and there were some shoddy looking moments, but she is clearly trusted to be safe or there is no way she’d be allowed to work with Nikki Bella on her return from such a serious injury. They have built a decent chemistry as adversaries and delivered a decent match. Carmella got frustrated after Bella forced her to break the Code of Silence by getting to the ropes. She let the frustration distract her and Nikki Bella hit her with the newly christened Rack Attack 2.0 finished the match.
Alexa Bliss vs Naomi
Alexa Bliss told the crowd that the real reason Becky Lynch wasn’t there was because she was scared to lose her title to her. She was in the middle of saying there was no-one on her level when Naomi’s music started and on went the blue lights for her entrance.
I really enjoyed this match. I’m a big fan of both women and I’ve been saying for a while that Naomi should be given more of a chance. There was no pressure on them with it being a substitute match but, nevertheless, they clearly wanted to make the most of the opportunity and it was a solid display. Bliss is probably the closest to Naomi in terms of athleticism and I thought they both looked pretty good here. It’s tough to sell a match with no real storyline behind it, there isn’t even a history between them to fall back on. In the end Naomi reversed a cross arm-breaker to press Bliss’ shoulders against the mat for the pin.
After the match Alexa Bliss threw a tantrum in the centre of the ring that any three-year-old would have been proud of.
I’ve seen a lot of people questioning why you would have your number one contender lose at PPV to someone not in the title picture. It’s a fair question and arguably it diminishes Bliss’ momentum somewhat, but it potentially sets up a short program between Naomi and Bliss to keep her visible until Becky Lynch is recovered.
Bayley def Cami Fields
Sasha Banks and Roman Reigns def Charlotte and Rusev
The opening segment of RAW saw women’s champion Sasha Banks take to the ring to talk about her victory over Charlotte last week. She talked about growing up as a fan and about her hero Eddie Guerrero (it would have been his birthday that day). After talking about becoming two-time champion, in the main event of RAW last week, she suggested that Charlotte’s rematch at the Hell in a Cell PPV should take place inside the cell so they can make history again.
Charlotte made her way out to answer but her entrance was interrupted by Rusev storming to the ring with Lana. He started to tell them no-one cares about the women’s revolution, but Charlotte snatched the mic out of his hand and told him off for being disrespectful before accepting Sasha Banks’ challenge. Rusev tried again but this time Banks knocked the mic out of his hands. Lana tried to tell them that Hell in a Cell is for real men, Charlotte and Banks kicked them both out of the ring. As Rusev climbed back into the ring Roman Reigns appeared and essentially stared at him until he went away. So that set up the mixed tag match, Sasha Banks and Roman Reigns versus Charlotte and Rusev. Ok, it’s a bit of a logic jump to team Charlotte and Rusev, I’m not sure how they got there, but that’s what we got.
Bayley vs Cami Fields
Bayley had another slightly odd squash match. Odd in that her opponent got way more offence than you would generally expect in this situation. It was much the same in her last outing. It feels like super-nice Bayley agreed to have a match with a local talent and wants to make them look good before she beats them because she is so nice. This is better than the other possible interpretation that the former NXT women’s champion is having trouble putting away lower level competitors. Her opponent this week was named as Cami Fields. She normally wrestles in face paint as Holidead according to Squared Circle Sirens.
As Bayley celebrated Dana Brooke appeared from the back and attacked her.
Prior to the mixed tag match Mick Foley confirmed that Sasha Banks and Charlotte will have their rematch inside the cell. It will be WWE’s first women’s Hell in a Cell match.
Backstage Lana and Charlotte had a verbal altercation, Reigns and Banks gave each other a pep talk.
Sasha Banks and Roman Reigns vs Charlotte and Rusev
I’m not a fan of mixed tag matches, I don’t mind intergender (although I don’t think WWE is ready to go there just yet, let’s have a consistently respected women’s division first shall we), but mixed tag often feels like two separate matches going on at the same time. Still, it is something different, and it stopped us having to sit through Sasha Banks versus either Charlotte or Dana Brooke again. So we had ‘tweener champs’ vs ‘heel challengers’ for the main RAW ‘women’s match’.
It was ok. Reigns and Rusev started the match with Sasha Banks doing her best to get the crowd to chant for Reigns (she succeeded in getting a ‘we want Sasha’ chant). Charlotte attempted to interfere from the outside by grabbing Reigns’ leg, Banks ran round and dealt with her. Reigns clotheslined Rusev out of the ring and the champions stood together in the ring as RAW cut to the ads.
Eventually Charlotte tagged herself in and the women fought for a couple of minutes. The match finished with Charlotte tapping out to the Bank Statement as Roman Reigns jumped over the women to deliver a beautiful spear to Rusev to stop him breaking up the hold.
Summer Rae is still missing, Nia Jax and Alicia Fox seem to have disappeared again now as well. But RAW advertised the rebranding of Emma as Emmalina and announced she will be premiering soon.
Naomi def Carmella
Renee Young was shown interviewing Nikki Bella backstage about Total Bellas. After the interview concluded Carmella attacked Nikki Bella and told her that one day her career would be over.
Naomi vs Carmella
Carmella didn’t wait for the bell before attacking Naomi. Her character is definitely developing now, she’s even getting some heat from the crowd. She had the upper hand for most of the match but the appearance of Nikki Bella striding to the ring distracted her long enough for Naomi to roll her up for the three count.
Nikki Bella chased Carmella around and through the ring until Carmella escaped into the crowd.
Alexa Bliss was then interviewed backstage about her loss to Naomi at No Mercy. She claimed that the only reason she lost was she has prepared for a different opponent, and she could beat Naomi any day of the week. Daniel Bryan appeared and told her she would face Naomi on next week’s show.
Nikki Bella appeared on Talking Smack. She discussed the possibility of facing Carmella in a no DQ match and the women’s survivor series match against RAW. Bella said she thinks the no DQ is necessary to make sure Carmella gets the message but she would be able to work with her if they end up on the same team for survivor series.
Billie Kay def Liv Morgan
Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are the confirmed mean girls of NXT. They were interviewed backstage and used the time to deliver a bitchy character assassination of Liv Morgan. Peyton Royce accompanied Billie Kay to the ring for her match against Morgan (Kay was ringside last week for Royce’s match)
The match itself was very similar to last week’s. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce have similar styles both focused very much on elegance and strength. It’s great to see the same faces starting to build the division again, but I’m still not being given a reason to care about them. I’m still confident that will change but it’s taking too long. Crowd reactions are slowly improving though.
The matched served its purpose, furthering the storyline between Morgan and the mean girls and reconfirming the character and style of the women (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce and elegant and strong, Liv Morgan is fast, feisty and athletic – just in case you needed reminding, again). Peyton Royce distracted Liv Morgan, by grabbing her leg from outside the ring, allowing Billie Kay to deliver the big boot finisher.
The other great news from NXT is Nikki Cross (Nikki Storm) was revealed as a member of the new faction SAnitY. She could have quite an impact on the NXT women’s division if used correctly, I can’t wait to see what they do with her.
Main Event and Superstars
Both Main Event and Superstars showed edited highlights of the opening segment of RAW and resulting mixed tag match.
And we’re done for another week. There is no PPV to review or preview next week so I’m going to take a quick look at the first couple of episodes of Total Bellas, and have a very brief look at the career of Mickie James for those newer fans who may be unfamiliar with her. In the meantime, if there is anything you want me to cover, or if you want to discuss something we’ve covered here, then tweet me @manda_why.