Welcome to another PPV free, but still action packed week. We’ll be back into the PPV cycle soon enough, and the events of this week are certainly gearing up to it. So let’s jump straight in.
Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair def Bayley and Sasha Banks
In a backstage segment, Bayley and Sasha Banks spoke about Banks’ distraction allowing Bayley to beat Nia Jax last week. Bayley asked about Banks’ knee, they talked about Bayley becoming the number one contender, then Banks suggested she would be the first in line if Bayley wins the title, and told Bayley she’d have her back if Charlotte tried any dirty tricks.
They were interrupted by Charlotte Flair, who reminded them she is unbeaten at PPV and plans to stay that way. Nia Jax then appeared and attacked Banks’ knee while Flair attacked Bayley. Once Banks and Bayley were both down, Jax slammed Flair against a crate and walked off.
A little later Bayley and Banks went to Stephanie McMahon’s office to demand a match against Jax and Flair next week. After belittling them for a while, McMahon agreed to the match, but set it for this week instead.
Charlotte Flair and Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks and Bayley
Sasha Banks chose to start the match, against Charlotte Flair. She was quickly limping on her injured leg and tagged in Bayley. Flair dominated Bayley, then tagged in Nia Jax for more of the same. Despite the uneasy alliance between Flair and Jax, they worked pretty well as a team. Jax knocked Banks from the apron, ending any chance of her coming to Bayley’s rescue. With the numbers against her, Bayley quickly succumbed and was pinned by Nia Jax.
It wasn’t a bad match, nothing spectacular, and I’m not sure exactly what it achieved. RAW’s women’s division just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. There is a limit to what can be achieved with an active roster of four.
I was going to go on a rant about the continued storyline between Cedric Alexander and Noam Dar which, while it’s created an interesting storyline for 205 live, has involved Alicia Fox being treated as little more than property. This week Fox seems to have regained some autonomy, not that it’s worded in her favour, so I’ll let it play out for another week.
Carmella def CJ Lunde
So, Nikki Bella and Natalya had a fight. There was no match here. There wasn’t a bell, and there was very little wrestling happening. Natalya attacked Nikki Bella backstage before they went to the ring, just as she did before Survivor Series. Bella leapt on her as soon as she got to the ring, then it was a brawl. There was hair pulling, and a lot of rolling around. Eventually they made it to the ring and the officials sort of separated them. They brawled to the outside again, and Natalya put Nikki Bella in the sharp-shooter before walking away.
Becky Lynch and Daniel Bryan were reviewing footage in his office and were joined by Alexa Bliss. After some arguments and whinging Daniel Bryan set another title defence for Alexa Bliss, against Becky Lynch, for next week’s SmackDown. To stop interference, and keep it fresh, the match will be contested in a steel cage.
The identity of La Luchadora is still unknown. I still think it’s Mickie James.
Carmella vs CJ Lunde
Carmella was accompanied to the ring by James Ellsworth. CJ Lunde (also known as Thunderkitty) gave Carmella a decent enough, if short, match. Sadly, the most notable thing about it was the commentary. The comments made about Lunde were completely unacceptable. I know JBL is supposed to say stupid things, but there is a line and he crossed it.
Carmella won the match with the Code of Silence.
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce def Sarah Bridges and Macey Evans
This was quite a big week for the NXT women’s division. The Episode started with Asuka being jumped and beaten up by Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, and a drink poured over her.
The tag team match was the first match of the night. Sarah Bridges (better known to indie wrestling fans as Crazy Mary Dobson) and Macey Evans (Macey Estrella) didn’t really get much of a chance to shine. Evans was dominated by Royce and Kay for a minute or so, until she managed to escape and tag Bridges. She had a little more offence than her partner, until Peyton Royce distracted the ref long enough for Billie Kay to rake her eyes. After that, Bridges was dispatched quickly and the real purpose of the segment began.
While Billie Kay and Peyton Royce were talking about how they run the division, Asuka staggered to the ring and tried to take them both on. The, clearly weakened, champion was quickly overwhelmed. Nikki Cross ran in to make the save and cleared the ring. As she was celebrating in the corner, up on the middle rope, Asuka got up and screamed at her. Cross responded by dropkicking Asuka in the face.
Backstage Nikki Cross stated she was going to take the NXT women’s championship. The sentiment was backed up, as Cross is likely to be, by Eric Young.
In the final segment of the show, set in William Regal’s office, Asuka demanded he set a women’s championship match for TakeOver. Regal asked her who she wanted the match against; a crying and dishevelled Asuka replied, ‘all of them’.
I think this is a great turn of events. NXT haven’t built the women’s division as quickly as they might have hoped and, with TakeOver just a couple of weeks away, their choices for an opponent for Asuka seemed limited at best. Having her compete in a fatal four-way match is the most reasonable chance to take the title from her. She doesn’t even need to be pinned. I’m not convinced they will have her lose though. Personally, I’d like to see them put the title on Nikki Cross.
Nothing again from Main Event. Disappointing, but not surprising.
And that’s it for another week. Next week I’ll be previewing TakeOver, and then we’ll be onto Royal Rumble. I know there are people who think there is too much wrestling on now, but happily I’m not one of them. As ever, if there is anything you want me to cover, or anything you’d like to discuss, drop me a tweet @manda_why.