Welcome to this week’s round-up of WWE’s women’s divisions. Another week closer to WrestleMania week, and the build has really started in earnest now. Last Sunday saw the final PPV before ‘Mania, the RAW branded, Fastlane. Which seems like a good place to start.
Sasha Banks def Nia Jax
Bayley def Charlotte Flair to retain the RAW Women’s Championship
Well, once again I got both my predictions wrong. I really don’t hate being wrong though, it’s nice to be surprised.
In an interview segment Bayley said Flair had the advantage, not her, going into the match, and suggested that if Charlotte Flair is the (ex)champion she says she is then she should leave Dana Brooke in the locker room and see who the better woman was. Nia Jax interrupted and told her that when she’d finished ripping Sasha Banks to shreds, if Flair hadn’t taken the title from Bayley, she would.
Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks
This match was basically everything you would have anticipated. Lots of Nia Jax throwing Sasha Banks around, interspersed with Banks’ brief and ill-fated comeback attempts. It had every hallmark of producing the same result as their last PPV match, until Sasha Banks managed to roll Jax up when she slipped out of a Samoan drop set up. A three count later and Sasha Banks was declared the winner.
It might have technically been a loss for Nia Jax, but it didn’t weaken her in any way, she was definitely the dominant force throughout, just as she should have been.
Bayley (C) vs Charlotte Flair – RAW Women’s Championship match
Another great match from these two. Their in-ring chemistry works for me, and they worked their butts off. It’s not that long ago that women’s matches were mere card fillers, this was a battle. Both women dominated for significant periods, with Flair perhaps having the edge overall. With a 16-0 PPV streak coming into the match, it was difficult to see Flair losing it on a B PPV, but it happened.
Unfortunately, the match didn’t finish without controversy. I say unfortunately, I always prefer a clean finish, especially to matches like this, but I’m not naïve enough to expect it. Storylines have to come from somewhere after all. Sasha Banks ran in, attacked Flair and caused enough of a distraction for Bayley to hit a Bayley to belly on the outside. While Flair was distracted, shouting at Banks on the outside, Bayley attempted a roll-up then grabbed her for the Bayley to belly and got the pin.
As things stand, Bayley will head into WrestleMania as RAW Women’s Champion.
Sasha Banks def Bayley
Mick Foley hosted the main women’s segment this week. He brought Bayley out to the ring, with footage of the controversy surrounding her Fastlane win playing over her entrance, and congratulated her. She said she wished she felt like a champion but she didn’t. She’d made a point of challenging Charlotte Flair to leave Dana Brooke in the locker room, then Sasha Banks interfered on her behalf. But, she just needs to get her head around it and move on to WrestleMania. She talked about how, growing up, her year began and ended with ‘Mania. And about watching last year as Lita unveiled the new women’s championship belt, then as the three other horsewomen made history in the triple threat match. She said she swore that it would be her next year, but it doesn’t feel right.
Foley tried to reassure her that it doesn’t matter how she got there, she’s there now, and the only question was who she’d be facing. Cue Sasha Banks.
Banks sauntered down the ramp talking about how she and Bayley always talked about tearing it up on the grand stage, and now they could make it happen. Foley said he liked the idea and asked the crowd, who agreed. Cue Charlotte Flair.
Flair came out, with Dana Brooke in tow, to say it was now clear what Sasha Banks plan had been all along. She knew she wasn’t allowed a title shot while Flair was champ, because she lost at Roadblock so she had to make sure Flair wasn’t champion any more. She didn’t think Bayley was good enough on her own. But last night they robbed flair of her title and PPV streak. Then she accused Foley of not caring as long as his favourites were going to WrestleMania.
Stephanie McMahon was the last to join the party. She dealt beautifully with the CM Punk chants, then got to business. First she agreed with Charlotte Flair about Sasha Banks’ manipulation tactics, then said Bayley wouldn’t be champion without Banks’ help. McMahon made the match between Bayley and Charlotte Flair official for WrestleMania. Foley objected and suggested adding Banks into the mix by making Banks and Flair fight next week to see who got the shot. Stephanie McMahon took the idea but decided Banks would fight Bayley, immediately, for the chance to make the match a triple threat.
Bayley vs Sasha Banks
Charlotte Flair joined commentary for the match, with Brooke stood behind, at least until she got annoyed and went to ringside. The match itself was good enough. It still annoys me when commentary pay so little attention to most of it. Flair was the difference maker. While Bayley was struggling to the ropes, trapped in the Bank statement, Flair got on the apron as if to interfere. Banks kicked her off and in the process managed to move Bayley back to the centre of the ring where Bayley tapped out.
Charlotte Flair then kicked them both in the face, held the title aloft, and that was that. Triple threat for the RAW Women’s Championship confirmed for WrestleMania.
Nikki Bella and John Cena def Carmella and James Ellsworth
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James def Becky Lynch and Natalya
Mixed tag action to start for the women on this week’s SmackDown. Carmella and Nikki Bella started things off. Miz and Maryse made an entrance, to join commentary, as the match was getting started. Carmella took advantage of Nikki Bella’s distraction, and superkicked her in the face.
A minute or so of the women, then Bella threw Carmella out of the ring and tagged in Cena. Strangely enough James Ellsworth seemed reluctant to face Cena one on one. Carmella forced him, then berated Cena for picking on him. When she pushed him Nikki Bella forearmed her in the face. There was a twee little segment with stereo five knuckle shuffle’s and finishers, then James Ellsworth broke some speed records for tapping out.
After the bell, Miz and Maryse attacked Nikki Bella and John Cena, then told the crowd that Bella and Cena were disrespecting true love, that their relationship is a lie and a marketing strategy. They brought up the contract Cena made Bella sign before she moved in to his house, made some personal comments about them and said they are putting a stop to it.
Later in the show was the Blissertation. Alexa Bliss came to the ring and rattled off a list of the women who will not be facing her at WrestleMania and why. While she was still being mean about Becky Lynch, Lynch appeared to say she had an announcement of her own, which was that it was her intention to beat Bliss at WrestleMania for the title.
They were then joined by Natalya, who appeared to be under the impression she an Alexa had agreed that she would be the one to get a title shot at ‘Mania. Bliss called her ‘the worst there is, the worst there was and the worst there ever will be’. Micki James interjected and told them they were all being rude, and they should listen while Bliss announced that she would be the one to face Bliss.
Alexa Bliss didn’t seem convinced, despite Mickie James assertions that they had a deal. An argument broke out and Daniel Bryan appeared to sort it out. He said that, as Bliss thinks she’s the best woman on the roster, she will defend her title against every available woman on the SmackDown women’s roster. Interesting wording, which led to lots of speculation about an Eva Marie return on social media. He then set a tag match to start immediately,
Natalya and Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss and Mickie James.
Decent enough match with lots of little nuances in the inter-play within, and between, the teams. SmackDown are still doing a great job of using all their women, but it’s getting towards time for some new blood in the rosters. There are only so many combinations of matches you can makes with rosters this small before you start to feel like you’ve seen it all before. Still, it was solid, entertaining, and not too short.
The finish came after Natalya suplexed her own partner and left her laying in the ring. Mickie James was about to pin the prone Lynch when Bliss tagged herself in and stole the glory. The move earned her a Mick-kick and the end of a beautiful friendship.
On Talking Smack, Alexa Bliss said she had mixed feelings about the WrestleMania match and had a very teenage style argument with Daniel Bryan. They discussed Mickie James and Bliss said she’s upset because she’s the reason James came back to WWE, she was almost forgotten before she brought her back. James is now her first target in the WrestleMania match.
The Miz and Maryse also appeared on Talking Smack. Miz accused Daniel Bryan of allowing John Cena to set his own matches, before adding to the comments they made in the ring about them being fake and a marketing ploy.
Ember Moon def Billie Kay
Ahead of the match there was a video segment with Billie Kay and Peyton Royce looking for somewhere to put their NXT Breakout Star of the Year award. While wandering around the performance centre searching for the perfect place, they saw Ember Moon putting in some extra training. They taunted her from the other side of the glass wall, then ran away when she came after them. It was a silly little segment, which is not a criticism. It’s actually really good to see some character development in segments like this, rather than just the matches and ultra-short interviews we’ve been getting recently.
Billie Kay vs Ember Moon
The cutesy ‘best friend’ stuff between Billie Kay and Peyton Royce while waiting for Ember Moon’s entrance, leads me to think the break-up is coming soon. Friends this close should be able to have a vicious and bitter feud, and both women are well established enough in NXT now for the Full Sail crowd to invest.
Anyway, Peyton Royce was a factor early in the match when she caused a distraction allowing Billie Kay to bounce Ember Moon’s throat off the ropes. It turned into a decent, if short, match. Billie Kay is good, but Ember Moon is different class. Towards the end of the match Royce went to pull Moon from the turnbuckle to prevent the Eclipse, but backed off when Moon spotted her approach. Her shouted warning to Billie Kay did no good, and the Eclipse finished the match in another win for Ember Moon.
After the match medics tended to Billie Kay in the ring. She appeared to be experiencing some neck pain following the Eclipse but, after a period of time and a few checks, walked from the ring under her own steam.
William Regal announced that Ember Moon will be the one to take on Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver Orlando. We’ve been waiting so long for this match now it really does have a lot to live up to. I think it probably will though.
No women’s action again on Main Event this week.
Well, that was a talk spot heavy week. Personally, I’m a little disappointed that both main roster titles are due to be defended in multi-woman matches at WrestleMania. I would have preferred at least one of them to be one on one. Maybe that’s just me though.
I’ll be back next week with the next lot of build up for WrestleMania, and everything else that goes on in the WWE’s women’s divisions. In the meantime, if there is anything you’d like me to cover, or anything you’d like to discuss, drop me a tweet @manda_why.