Welcome to this week’s round up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. We’re back in the PPV cycle and that means a busy week. I might well be in a small minority, but I’ve really missed PPVs during the break and I love the Royal Rumble. The ‘go home’ shows before a PPV usually provide plenty of talking points, and this week was no exception. We also have last night’s NXT TakeOver result to discuss, and we’ll be taking a look at tonight’s Royal Rumble matches. Honestly, you might want to grab a coffee and a couple of biscuits, we’ve got a lot to get through.
Nia Jax def Ray Lyn
Bayley was interviewed by Corey Graves about her title match against Charlotte Flair at the Royal Rumble. She talked about being a lifelong fan and her love of what she does. She used a lot of the same wording Flair tried to use against her to show that what Flair perceives as her biggest weakness is actually what motivates and fuels her.
In Charlotte Flair’s interview she talked about watching her dad win the rumble match, and about her privilege growing up as a Flair. She admitted her dad got her into the company but said it doesn’t matter because she is the greatest athlete, male or female, of all time. She is upset the Bayley dared to consider she might be anywhere near on her level, and she is going to punish her at the rumble.
Nia Jax vs Ray Lyn
The ‘match’ was a 30 seconds or less squash match. Ray Lyn got rammed into the corner a few times and that was it.
She dedicated her victory to the recently deceased career of Sasha Banks. While she was commenting on Banks speedy fall from grace Sasha Banks came to the ring, using a crutch and hit Nia Jax with it from outside the ring, climbed in and hit her a few more times with it. She tipped Jax out of the ring and delivered double knees from the apron.
This shouldn’t need to be said, but two short interviews and a squash match does not represent a fair share of a three hour show. RAW really need to do better.
After a recap of the women’s championship match from last week, it was finally time to hear from Mickie James. She explained to Renee Young that she is a five time women’s champion, and former diva’s champion. She may have been away for a while, but she never stopped watching. She talked about the wrestlers involved in the current women’s revolution as not respecting the contribution she made.
On the subject of Alexa Bliss she said, Bliss has been fighting the self-righteousness of the women’s revolution since day one. It appears that Bliss won Mickie James over with flattery, by remembering all of her accomplishments.
She started to talk about Becky Lynch, and like rubbing a genie’s lamp Lynch’s music hit and she stomped down to the ring and flew at James. When Mickie James escaped the ring and went to climb over the barricade Lynch followed. As Lynch went to climb over the barricade, Alexa Bliss popped up and attacked her. Bliss and James dragged Becky Lynch into the ring and gave her a beat down.
Nikki Bella was shown being interviewed as she was arriving for RAW, and being attacked by Natalya while she was talking. Nikki Bella returned the favour when Natalya was on her way out to her match with Naomi (good to see her back on tv).
Naomi was understandably upset about this and demanded an opponent. Instead she got Alexa Bliss, not to fight, to tell her how irrelevant she has become. Naomi declared her desire for a title shot, Bliss stepped onto the apron, jumped back down and told Naomi she isn’t worth her time.
Ember Moon def Liv Morgan
Liv Morgan asked Ember Moon for this match on last week’s show. She’s anxious to show how much she’s improved since being beaten by Asuka in a matter of seconds. She also suggested it would prove to the four women in the title match at TakeOver that there is plenty of competition within the division. She has improved, hugely. But it wasn’t enough this time. She kept pace with Ember Moon initially, and they had some good exchanges. But the match ended like all Ember Moon’s matches have so far, with her delivering the Eclipse and getting the win.
The final segment of the show was an in-ring face-off between the competitors in the fatal four-way. They had apparently promised William Regal that there would be no physicality. They lied. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay were introduced first and were the very model of confidence, until Nikki Cross was announced. When Cross got to the ring the pair looked wary. When Asuka arrived and ran straight at them, they left the ring and waited until Cross and Asuka were occupied with each other before coming back in to attack. Royce and Kay soon found themselves outside the ring again, and security stepped in to separate Nikki Cross and Asuka. Between them, Asuka and Cross took out the whole security team, then Nikki Cross took a dive from the top turnbuckle and levelled everyone, while Royce and Kay looked on horrified.
Alicia Fox def Dana Brooke
A feud on Main Event, has this happened before? I’m not sure, but I like it. This week was a rematch between Dana Brooke and Alicia Fox. It’s great that these two are being given the chance to develop a dynamic and a story. The matches so far seem to be Dana Brooke relying heavily on her fitness background and displaying those attributes, while Alicia Fox shows off her wrestling skills. With Fox being a veteran and Brooke a relative newbie, that’s exactly how it should be.
Dana Brooke still has a lot to prove, she’s been someone’s sidekick for too long. By having decent matches with a veteran like Alicia Fox she improves her credibility week on week. By losing them she helps Fox re-establish herself as a serious contender in the division. It all makes perfect sense.
This match got a good amount of time and was really decent. I’d like to see how this feud develops. Alicia Fox got the win for the second week in a row with a scissor kick, but I hope that’s not the end of it.
NXT TakeOver San Antonio
Asuka def Peyton Royce, Billie Kay and Nikki Cross to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
I feel like this match lived up to its promise, even if the result did surprise me. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay managed to work together as a team for the entire match, not that it did them any good. They started the match by leaving the ring, only coming back in to attack when Nikki Cross and Asuka were focused on each other.
The stand out story from this match was how good Nikki Cross is. She looked to be a good match for Asuka, right up until Peyton Royce and Billie Kay took her out of the match, by putting her through a table. I’m really hoping for an Asuka Nikki Cross feud as a result of this match.
Royce and Kay proved they can’t beat Asuka, even working together. Once Cross was out of the match, they threw everything they had at Asuka, and still ended up getting kicked in the head. Peyton Royce took the pin for Asuka to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
Royal Rumble Preview and Prediction
Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax – Kick-off show
Charlotte Flair vs Bayley – RAW Women’s Championship match
Becky Lynch, Naomi and Nikki Bella vs Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and Natalya – Kick-off show
Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax
This has been building for a couple of weeks, since Banks distracted Jax during her number one contender’s match with Bayley. Jax keeps attacking Banks and trying to reinjure her knee. It’s difficult to see how Banks can be going into this match 100% fit, but her attack on Jax on RAW suggests the knee isn’t bothering her too much.
The result is going to depend on whether they want to break Sasha Banks down before building her back up again. My gut feeling is that they’ll go for a feel good start to the PPV and Sasha Banks will pick up the win.
Prediction: Sasha Banks
Charlotte Flair vs Bayley – RAW Women’s Championship match
I really like the way this feud has been built. Flair objects to Bayley’s ordinariness, and thinks it means Bayley is not a worthy contender for her title. Bayley considers the fact she is ‘just Bayley to be her biggest strength. She is looking to prove to Charlotte Flair that genetics and privilege won’t outdo hard work and passion.
Charlotte Flair has a flawless PPV record, but it can’t last forever. But I don’t think it’s time for it to end yet. The title switched back and forth between Flair and Banks a lot, and it needs a period of stability. I think Flair will win, probably by foul means, to escalate the feud.
Prediction: Charlotte Flair to retain.
Becky Lynch, Naomi and Nikki Bella vs Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and Natalya
This should be a nice showcase match, but it’s anybody’s guess who will come out on top. There is plenty of bad feelings between the teams. Expect to see Natalya and Nikki Bella slug it out for a while, and Becky Lynch try to take down both Alexa Bliss and Mickie James.
It’s a shame it’s now happening on the kick-off show but, as it’s the first PPV of the year, I’m going to go with the feel good result.
Prediction: Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella and Naomi
All done. TakeOver was a great start to the year’s PPVs and Royal Rumble looks to build on that. Whatever happens, enjoy it. I’ll be back next week to round up all the results and the fallout from the shows. In the meantime, if there is anything you want me to cover, or anything you’d like to discuss, tweet me @manda_why.