On this edition, gang warfare again takes over RAW in the Divas division, as Sasha Banks looks to make a Bank Statement against former Divas Champion Paige, before Charlotte and Becky Lynch combine to combat Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox. In NXT, Charlotte is again in action, as she is designated a stepping stone to the brash Dana Brooke, and Brooke defends her TNA Knockout's Championship opposite the Dollhouse's Marti Belle.
Alicia Fox suffers concussion on RAW
During the Divas tag team match on RAW, Alicia Fox landed awkwardly on the back of her head early on following a leg sweep by Charlotte. It was evident that the force of the landing was hard, and the impact left Fox with a concussion. With WWE especially protective of those who suffer concussions, as Christian and Daniel Bryan would attest to, they might be hesitant to place her back into the ring for at least a few months. This is dreadful news of Fox, who was in a good position as part of this three team battle in the Divas Revolution. This could derail any short-term plans going forward, leaving her place filled by another like Natalya or Cameron.
ROH Starting Women’s Division?
There are rumors circulating that Ring of Honor, which has been known for many years for an entirely male wrestling roster, might be adding some female wrestlers to their ranks very soon. Of course, they currently employ some occasional competitors like ODB, Maria Kanellis and Veda Scott, but they are more often employed as managers and valets due to the brevity of ROH episodes. Nevertheless, a recent tweet by former TNA Knockout Taeler Hendrix suggest she will be joining in the wake of a new division in Ring of Honor.
Layla retires from professional wrestling#WomenofHonor is coming to @ringofhonor -They know #Wrestling & now they'll get #REDHOT #WomensWrestling @DestAmerica pic.twitter.com/pqnK03eyja— Taeler Hendrix (@Taeler_Hendrix) July 29, 2015
Layla El retired from the ring to begin a new chapter in her life, and after being sparingly used in the past year. A former Divas Champion, Women’s Champion and member of the memorable Laycool tag team with Michelle McCool, Layla unlike many others transcended her Diva Search origins in 2006 to prove a remarkably successful competitor in her near-decade in WWE.
Her experience will be sorely miss, but with a new generation of Divas coming through, it seems the right time for her to move on, especially after getting engaged to Ricky Ortiz. Still, I will miss Layla, who demonstrated to everyone that she was more than simply the eye candy other Divas Search contestants would solely be, as she worked tremendously hard to improve in the ring, and was an extremely accomplished performer by the time of her departure. So, thank you Layla for the memories, and you will not be forgotten in a hurry.
Sasha Banks vs Paige
After being forced to tap out last week to Sasha Banks in a tag team match, the instigator of this Divas Revolution Paige would compete with the NXT Women’s Champion in singles action on this edition of RAW. Both former champs in NXT, this had all the makings of an excellent match-up on paper. And that proved to be the case, as from the outset you could feel that both women were buzzed at the opportunity to produce a strong showing in front of this Oklahoma audience.
The opening exchanges were tense and gradual, as both Banks and Paige exchanged some quick strikes and swift grapples. It was setting the scene rather than just flying headfirst into the meat of the bout, which is a good sign for Divas division matches going forward. Banks offers her hand after the close start, but Paige does not fall for the ploy and takes the initiative in the clash with headbutts and a fall-away slam. The Brit then kicks the Boss to through the ropes to the floor, before diving off the top rope onto the entirety of Team BAD.
When action returned from the break, the referee has sent the four Divas surrounding the ring to the back, which was an excellent move to ensure no screwy finish to this contest. Banks had gained control of her experienced opponent, dropping both knees across Paige with her hung over the ropes. Banks is tremendous at mocking her rival’s taunts, and the Anti-Diva was not immune to that treatment. This got the heat on her and built up the support for Paige within the arena, so when she burst into her comeback, the excitement in the crowd was strong.
Paige through all her best shots at Banks, including her repeated clotheslines, straight kick and a running knee to the face. Yet the Boss’ refusal to stay down left the former Divas Champion visibly frustrated. The Brit locked in a version of an STF, but Banks was too close to the ropes to force a tap out. However, the ropes were not there to support Paige when she was trapped in the dreaded Bank Statement, and for the second week running she was forced to submit. This was a very good contest, and another fair victory by Banks over an established Diva shows that backstage are very interested in pushing the NXT arrivals in this revolution.
Charlotte & Becky Lynch vs Nikki Bella & Alicia Fox
With Paige failing to build some momentum for her team in her clash with Sasha Banks, it was left to the recent Diva additions Charlotte and Becky Lynch to maintain their presence in this revolution. Whilst Charlotte has already stood out with her strong victories at Battleground and against Brie Bella on RAW, Lynch has been on the outside looking in for the most part, waiting for her opportunity to shine. And this was the chance, as the two newcomers to the main roster would compete opposite an experienced and championship-laden tandem of Divas Champ Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox.
It was intriguing to listen to the crowd reaction, considering this was a live show, and hear strong positive reactions for both teams from various sections of the audience. All four combatants engaged in some good, flowing chain wrestling to begin with, showcasing in particular the flexibility and technique of Charlotte and Lynch. Then, Fox was dropped on the back of her head, causing her concussion, but she battled through the issues with little fuss. Nikki and Fox would go on to isolate Charlotte in their ascendant stage of the contest, performing some strong suplexes and double team maneuvers to wear down the genetically superior athlete.
When the hot tag was made following some grueling punishment on Charlotte, Lynch exploded into the contest, showcasing some of the fire and intensity that made her a household name in NXT. She targeted the arm of Fox with an innovative suplex on that limb, before tossing her across the ring with a T-Bone Suplex. Nikki interrupted, but was speared out of the ring by Charlotte. With only Lynch and Fox left in the ring, Fox attempted to roll-up the Irishwoman, but it was reversed into Lynch’s signature submission the Dis-Arm-Her, to earn the victory. A solid contest, but lacking on the opening bout.
Becky Lynch vs Brie Bella
Fresh off the heels of her submission victory on RAW, Becky Lynch ran with a purpose into the ring on Main Event, looking to keep up her form in her first singles match on the main roster. Her opponent would be Brie Bella, the experienced, loyal sister of Divas Champion Nikki, who would have loved nothing more than to put one of the fresh rivals from NXT in their place. Yet it was the fiery Lass Kicker that took control early on, pinpointing her attack unsurprisingly on the arm of Brie. At numerous times she came close to applying one her many vicious submission holds, showing how dangerous Lynch can be from nearly any position.
Brie would assume the initiative by targeting that same limb of Lynch, after slamming the flame-haired Diva’s arm against the steel post. She was just as aggressive in singling out that extremity, wrenching it against the ropes and applying a cross-arm breaker stretch. Brie for the last few years has been extremely competent and collected in the ring, and especially of the previous twelve months has emerged as a true ring general. It was a great choice to have her be the anchor for Lynch’s first foray into singles competition on the main shows, and it proved worthwhile in the construction of this solid encounter.
The closing stages were back-and-forth, because as soon as Lynch would burst back into life with some hard clotheslines and suplexes, Brie was able to capitalize on the damage done to her adversary’s arm to stop that momentum dead in its tracks. The Irishwoman resiliently carried on, surviving a missile dropkick from Brie, until eventually countering a pin attempt into the Dis-Arm-Her, forcing her second member of Team Bella to submit in two days. There were evidently some slip-ups throughout the match, but nothing to take away from the overall positive impression left by both Divas.
Ivelisse, Angelico & Son of Havoc vs The Disciples of Death (Trios Championship)
After an eventful title reign that has been heavily steeped in drama and excitement, Ivelisse, Angelico & Son of Havoc placed their Trios Championships on the line against the Disciples of Death, led by their devilish manager Catrina. Unfortunately, throughout this tenure with the belts, Ivelisse has been carrying a significant ankle injury, and this contest proved no exception to that rule. Simply put she is not match fit, and hasn’t been throughout her reign, making it difficult to review her performances in these matches.
Ivelisse spent most of her time recuperating at ringside, occasionally stepping between the ropes to be pummeled by her opponents. She found herself trapped in an over-the-shoulder Boston Crab, but survived the pain of the hold long enough for her partners Son of Havoc and Angelico save her from the precarious situation. Ivelisse almost rescued the belts once more by assaulting Catrina and pushing away the stone that powers the Disciples of Death. But, the sultry Catrina turned the tide, smashing Ivelisse in the face with the magical rock, resulting in her being pinned and losing the titles.
Charlotte vs Dana Brooke
NXT losing three of their biggest female stars to the main roster in the last couple of weeks, it is the perfect time for the remaining members of the roster to rise to the challenge of replacing them in the developmental territory. Bayley took up that task last week in beating Emma, and using that springboard to challenge Charlotte to prove she has what it takes to be the NXT Women’s Champion. However, the Nature Girl was already faced with another contender, as Dana Brooke desired to prove that she was the Total Diva, and illustrate once and for all that she is an improvement on Charlotte.
Of course, in previous months Brooke has failed to impress me with her versatility and ring awareness, and this clash demonstrated those problems perfectly. She is a grating heel character who is extraordinarily self-absorbed and believing in her dominance. The platinum blonde gets that side of the business down well, but the flak that she takes from the NXT crowd is partly due to her heel nature, and the other actual distaste for her performances in the squared circle.
Sadly, whilst watching this bout the gap in quality between both ladies was unbelievably clear to see, and Charlotte would be brought down to Brooke’s level rather than elevate her brash rival up to her usually impeccable standard. It wasn’t a dreadful match, and there are unquestionably signs of improvement by Brooke. However, with the bar set so high over the last twelve months with Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Bayley, Brooke cannot hope to match the kind of showing they were producing on a nightly basis. With Charlotte’s victory, hopefully this leads to Bayley and her pursuit of glory beginning with the genetically superior one.
Brooke Tessmacher vs Marti Belle (Knockout’s Championship)
Following her win two weeks earlier to claim her third reign with the Knockout’s Championship, Brooke Tessmacher put her gold on the line for the first time against Marti Belle of the Dollhouse. At first I was a little bemused about this booking decision, as whilst a defense against one of the other member of Taryn Terrell’s deranged faction makes sense, Jade has displayed far stronger wrestling acumen than Marti. Marti has been more noted for her personality and performance on the sidelines that any accolades for her in-ring work.
Although, when you’re facing, you’re never just fighting one woman, as Brooke attempted to preemptively strike out at all of the Dollhouse members, until an assault from behind by Marti kept her away from Terrell. Marti in control of the course of action, as expected, was nothing particularly special. Her range of moves are pretty basic, relying on stomps and facebusters into the canvas, as she attempted to make Brooke’s reign a short one.
The champion fought back, soaring off the top rope with a flying clothesline to end Marti’s dominance in her risk-taking style. Brooke, who has also proven somewhat hit and miss with her performances between the ropes throughout her TNA career, was definitely the standout success of this encounter with her ferocious offense. Yet again, her flow was disrupted by the interference of Terrell and Jade. This led to an interruption that has become a familiar and unwelcome occurrence for the Dollhouse, with Gail Kim’s theme music playing. However, she didn’t show herself, this distraction causing Jade to lose focus and get caught in a Brooke facebuster, with the champ retaining.
Magnus & Mickie James vs James Storm & Serena
A bitterly personal feud months in the making, James Storm had been for the longest time been attempting to recruit Mickie James to his Revolution as his love interest. James, in a real life relationship with Magnus with a young son, refused his overtures, resulting in him pushing her out of a window in a small building. This segment sent Magnus over the edge, producing some incredibly brutal and vindictive encounters between the pair. And, when Storm finally did find his right-hand woman in the form of the despicable Serena, who was previously in CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society, this mixed tag team match was always on the horizon.
Storm and Magnus were the legal pair throughout the match, with James’ involvement limited to Storm taunting her on the ring apron when he was beating down her love. After both collided in a cross body in the middle of the ring, they reached their female partners, with James unleashing a flurry of offense onto Serena, and looking a crisp as the day she departed the company last. A Lou Thesz Press off the top rope leads to a pin attempt, which Storm interrupts with a handful of James’ hair.
She slapped her counterpart away, but James was then caught in Serena’s gutbuster. The match descended into chaos, with James launched into the steel steps, and Khoya’s attempted interference inadvertently hitting Storm instead of Magnus. Magnus took advantage of this madness, throwing Serena off his back, and allowing James to connect with her jumping DDT for the emotional win. James would hit another on Storm for good measure after the bell, and it was a fitting ending for Magnus and James, who left TNA soon after this taping.
So there you have it, the breakdown for the week in women's wrestling. What were some of your favorite and least favorite moments from these women? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!