NXT TakeOver: Back in Brooklyn
Billie Kay vs. Ember Moon
Look out, world, because Ember Moon might very well be the woman to defeat Asuka.
Earning acclaim on the independent scene as Athena before bringing her talents to NXT, Ember Moon is exactly the boost the NXT Women's Division needed to spring itself forward into the new era.
Ember Moon took early control of the match, evading and countering Kay's every move until the larger woman caught Moon in the Gory Special, earning cheers of respect from the Brooklyn crowd as she ruthlessly worked the newcomer's back. Moon escaped, hitting a flipping clothesline into the turnbuckle on Kay, letting out a guttural cry before hitting her stunning (pun very much intended) twisted stunner from the top rope on Kay for the pinfall.
Brooklyn was brought to its feet by Moon's finisher (previously known as the O-Face). From her entrance to her win, she looked like a star with both marketability and skill. Kay, as well, did her job and looked clean and polished int he ring. She sold Moon's offense well and her strikes were convincing.
Winner: Ember Moon
Asuka vs. Bayley (NXT Women's Championship match)
Asuka owned the match from the start, mocking Bayley and hitting her with a series of very stiff strikes. She was infused with a newfound arrogance, sauntering in with domineering swagger and smiling viciously at Bayley as they battled. But Bayley was not going to go down so easily, battling back with resilient fury only to be caught by a Shining Wizard from the champion.
Bayley fought back with a flying elbow drop, but Asuka remained alive, responding with a painful ankle lock. Bayley escaped, getting in Asuka's face, furious at the champion's seeming nonchalance and disregard for her own ability. She dared Asuka to hit her, and the champion did so, only to be caught in a rollup that she just barely escaped.
Bayley was caught in the Asuka Lock, the very hold that ended her title reign just months before, but clawed her way out of it, hitting Bayley-to-Belly on Asuka, but the champion kicked out to Bayley's dismay and shock. She locked Bayley in the Asuka Lock once more, but Bayley countered it into a pin, nearly outwitting the title from Asuka.
But three kicks to the head later, it was Asuka raising her arms in victory as a dejected Bayley sat on the mat, tears in her eyes. Asuka pulled Bayley up and the two embraced before Asuka left her opponent alone in the ring. Chants of gratitude rained down on the face of NXT, who exited the ring and hugged her fellow Horsewomen, all at ringside, before leaving her final NXT match.
Bayley was, as the commentators said, the heart and soul of NXT. She leaves a legacy there that can never truly be replicated. She and Asuka told a wonderful, heartbreaking story of your best sometimes simply not being enough. Asuka emerged looking truly dominant, and Bayley emerged looking brave. A stellar match between two talented athletes.
Sasha Banks vs. Charlote (WWE Women's Championship match)
With Dana Brooke banned from ringside, the odds looked to be completely in Sasha Banks' favor. That is, until the morning of SummerSlam when the betting odds shifted suddenly to favor the Nature Girl. And there was something in Sasha's eyes, too, that cast a shadow of doubt over everyone as she entered Barclays in red and white attire matching her title.
Sasha started off strong, unleashing her sharp offense on Charlotte, but then Charlotte, in a terrifying botch, dropped Sasha right on her neck from the ropes, taking control from there. The former champ targeted Banks' back viciously, though Banks managed to stay in the match, kicking out time and time again and even hitting a reversal from the ropes into a hurricanrana, but it was not enough.
Banks locked in the Banks Statement on Charlotte, getting her right in the center of the ring, but couldn't ground herself enough, as Charlotte rolled through, getting Sasha's shoulders on the mat for the three-count to win back the WWE Women's Championship from a dejected Banks.
The storytelling in this match was incredible. Banks was heartbreaking to watch as she fought through her pain, and Charlotte was unforgiving, looking even more threatening without Brooke by her side. It helped that this match was given 13 minutes to build. Hopefully this performance will convince WWE to keep giving its women the time they need to create something incredible.
It was later revealed that Banks lost the title to give her recovery time from a nagging back injury that will sideline her for 1-2 months. It's a sad ending to one of the most popular reigns in recent memory, despite the short length. Charlotte adds decent credibility to the title in the meantime, looking all the more vicious in storyline for not just beating Banks, but sidelining her as well. That being said, the botches early in the match looked quite careless, especially considering Banks was injured going into the match. Hopefully, Charlotte learned her lesson.
Becky Lynch, Carmella & Naomi vs. Natalya, Alexa Bliss & Nikki Bella
With Eva Marie's suspension leaving an open spot in the SmackDown roster's women's match, Twitter was abuzz with speculation of who the mystery partner would be. WWE did not disappoint, and the audience gave Nikki Bella a hero's welcome.
Naomi and Carmella started the babyface team off strong, victimizing Natalya until she managed to tag Nikki in. Bella took control quickly, striking Carmella again and again, working with Natalya to isolate the newcomer from her teammates. Carmella was able to tag Becky Lynch in, and the Lass Kicker traded blows with Natalya until all six women were brawling in the ring.
But when the chaos abated, Nikki Bella hit a TKO on Carmella for the victory.
SmackDown's women's division is stronger than it appears. It's stacked with strong characters and Nikki Bella's veteran presence will do wonders for the establishment of the brand. Bella looks better than ever in the ring, despite still selling very awkwardly. The other women performed with a surprising amount of fire as well. The future of SmackDown Live looks bright indeed.
Winner: Natalya, Alexa Bliss & Nikki Bella
WWE Monday Night RAW
Bayley vs. Dana Brooke
That's right, folks, Bayley has arrived on RAW to challenge Charlotte for the WWE Women's Championship. Her debut, though expected, was electric nonetheless, with Brooklyn coming unglued exactly one year after Bayley first won the NXT Women's Championship from Sasha Banks, whose mantle as RAW'S top female babyface Bayley must now (ironically) take up.
Bayley outclassed Brooke in every way, getting underneath her skin early on with her easy playfulness. Brooke, who didn't seem to have wanted to face Bayley to begin with, was Bayley's punching bag until Charlotte interfered, allowing her protege to take control of Bayley, pounding her into the turnbuckle viciously.
But Bayley, resilient as ever, refused to go down, eventually hitting the Bayley-to-Belly on Brooke for the pinfall.
Bayley's introduction by Mick Foley and perfectly characterized match did an excellent job of introducing her to the casual audience unfamiliar with her work. She was lauded by both Byron Saxton and Corey Graves on commentary, both of whom have seen her in action. Her likability shined through at once, and her excitement and relief were palpable. RAW is in good hands with her around.
Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss
Fresh off the announcement of the SmackDown Women's Championship, Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss once again did battle in a short but impressive bout. Both women looked strong, with Bliss displaying her telltale ferocity and Lynch her usual hard-hitting charisma.
Lynch got her revenge in the end, locking in her armbar for the victory by submission.
Bliss and Lynch, invigorated by the revelation of the gorgeous Women's Title, put on a fun match and both looked strong. WWE would be wise to use both as much as possible.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Carmella vs. Nikki Bella
What normally would have been a boring match was infused with electricity by a shocking double turn, with Carmella attacking Nikki Bella from behind and laying her out with a series of strikes to the back and neck.
The turn was a very good idea. It's difficult to present a returning star as a heel when audiences are aware of the work put in to return (*cough*SETHROLLINS*cough*). Additionally, Carmella was having trouble getting over with larger audiences as a babyface.
Carmella's not the best striker and Nikki is not the best seller, but the overall awkwardness of the spot was forgivable because of the swerve itself. Carmella has never been a heel before, so her character arc will be interesting to watch. Working with Bella will give her some exposure and the chance to prove herself.
Winner: No contest
TNA Impact Wrestling
Sienna vs. Jade vs. Madison Rayne vs. Marti Bell vs. Allie
TNA has a new Knockouts Champion. In a Fatal Five-Way match, most of the heavy work was done by Sienna, Jade, Rayne and Bell, with Allie looking bewildered at her situation and avoiding contact as much as possible with Maria watching from ringside.
Near the match's end, Bell pulled out her baton, looking to use it on Allie, knocking her on top of a fallen Rayne before being hit with a dropkick from Jade. Sienna was out at ringside. The ref counted to three, as Allie was inadvertently covering Rayne, making her the new Knockouts Champion.
The crowd seemed thrilled, and it was a creatively booked surprise. How this will effect her relationship with Maria, and how Gail Kim will respond, has yet to be seen.
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!
MATCH OF THE WEEK: Asuka vs. Bayley
WOMAN OF THE WEEK: Bayley