6-Pack Challenge Elimination Match for the SmackDown Women's Championship
Backlash began with the inaugural SmackDown Women's Championship match, a six pack challenge elimination bout between Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Alexa Bliss, Naomi, and Natalya. Out of the gate, Nikki and Carmella were attacking each other, while Alexa played an opportunistic strategy picking the bones of spot after spot.
The match carried on for several minutes with no eliminations and spilled out to the outside area multiple times. Becky showed early signs of what was to come, with a beautiful slide out of a pin, deadly kicks, and high energy. Carmella showed off her newfound aggression, but took a Spear and Alabama Slam from Nikki. After a big spot left Nikki, Carmella, and Natalya down, Alexa got near-fall after near fall, displaying a character that was both aggressive and easily frustrated. Naomi crashes into all 5 of her opponents off a springboard.
After each woman had a chance to shine in the nonstop first minutes of the match, Naomi and Natalya teamed up to eliminate Alexa off of a Super Blockbuster Powerbomb. Even though she was the first eliminated, Alexa managed to be a stand out by telling a well crafted story and showing serious wrestling chops. Natalya and Naomi had an awkward spot on the apron, but it was saved by Natalya locking in the Sharp Shooter and eliminating Naomi.
Natalya, who was working smarter in this match than we usually see, baits Carmella into helping her beat up on a down and out Nikki. She turns on Carmella, but it doesn't help much, as Nikki comes at her with the Bella Hammer and eliminates her off of an Argentine Backbreaker. Carmella takes the opportunity to grab Nikki by the hair and roll her up to a surprise elimination. It was an unceremonious way for the longest reigning Diva's Champion to go, but it'll keep their feud red hot, especially since Nikki got one last slap in.
Finally it came down to Carmella and Becky, with the crowd vocally behind the later. Carmella tried to take the fight to Becky, which had been her MO for the whole match, but Becky isn't so easily beaten. Becky catches her, slamming her into a Bex-plex no less then three times. A big boot from Carmella gives her one last chance, but Becky seems to play possum and slides into the Dis-Arm-Her. Carmella taps quickly and Becky Lynch is crowned the first ever SmackDown Women's Champion with a fantastic promo afterwards.
It was a little on the messy side, but six women in the ring at once was bound to be that way. Every single competitor had their own moment to show character and impressive spots. Two years ago, an NXT crowd sang Becky's song to her after a loss to Sasha Banks, and this week a much larger crowd chanted "you deserve it" as she held up the title. There couldn't have been a better moment to end that match.
Winner: Becky Lynch
WWE Monday Night Raw
Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Dana Brooke No.1 Contender Match with Charlotte on Commentary
At the start of Raw, Mick Foley welcomed Women's Champion Charlotte and her assistant Dana Brooke to the ring. Sasha interrupts their conversation, demanding her rematch, and is followed by Bayley who points out that she pinned Charlotte last week. Dana tries to instigate a best of 7 series, but Mick loses his patience and makes a no.1 contender match for tonight. Charlotte yells at Dana, and Dana also loses it, slapping her across the face. That move seems to earn her Mick's respect and a spot in the match.
Charlotte joins commentary to watch the match while Sasha, Dana and Bayley fight for the no.1 contender spot. Dana showed some early offense, though her nerves do continue to come through. Sasha's ribs were tapped up and she sold them well while still managing to look strong for the most part. She gets knocked off the apron, giving her time to rest while Bayley and Dana fight it out. Bayley showcased her aggression again, slamming Dana's head into each of the ring posts and locking her in an Arm Bar. It felt a bit like Sasha and Bayley were holding back, possibly because Sasha is still working through nagging pain or because Dana is still struggling to keep up. From commentary Charlotte says she would prefer to fight Sasha since she's beaten her before and can do it again, and later congratulates Becky Lynch on becoming the SmackDown Women's Champion.
With Sasha back in the ring, her and Bayley teamed up on Dana and then turned towards each other when Dana was down and out. They play up the friends turned to opponents angle better than just about anyone, telling an entire story through their expressions. Dana regained some control, targeting Sasha's back, and it's difficult to tell if Sasha isn't 100% or if she's selling it incredibly well. Sasha unsuccessfully tried to sneak in a roll up and then tied Dana and Bayley both up in the corner for the double knees. Bayley managed to roll out, so Sasha focuses on getting the Bank Statement on Dana. Again, Bayley broke it up and tried to pin Dana herself, but Sasha launches herself at both of them and gets Bayley into a roll up, winning the no.1 contendership.
However, watching the footage back we can see both shoulders were on the mat, so we'll have to see if Bayley brings this up next Monday to earn herself a spot in the match at Clash of Champions
Winner: Sasha Banks
Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox
Nia Jax has her first serious opponent in 10 year veteran and former Divas Champion Alicia Fox. Video of Alicia's freak out from last week reminded us of the circumstances of the match, with Nia beating up Alicia's friend Ann. Nia says backstage she's not intimidated by Alicia's unstable nature.
From the bell, Nia was in control of the match, pushing Alicia down and ramming her into a ring post. Alicia is the first person to get some offense on Nia with a nasty forearm, but she's pushed out of the ring quickly. On the outside a big boot sent Nia back, but seems to only make her angrier. She takes out that aggression by slinging Alicia back and forth into the barricade like she weighs nothing, and Alicia rag dolled to make the move look particularly devastating. Alicia stumbled away and was met with a spear through the barricade, where she is left reeling until the ref calls it off. It was a solid progression of Nia's story, but if Alicia had been able to put on more offense, a continuation of the feud would be more believable.
Winner: Nia Jax
Fatal 5-way No.1 Contenders Match with Becky Lynch on Commentary
On the heels of Becky Lynch's victory at Backlash a fatal 5-way is announced. She came down to the commentary desk with the blue belt around her waist to watch Nikki Bella, Alexa Bliss, Naomi, Carmella, and Natalya fight for the no.1 contender spot. Unlike the previous night's match, this one was not elimination style, so first pinfall or submission wins.
Nikki and Carmella were at it again following Carmella's elimination of Nikki on Sunday. Although Nikki may be seen as a favorite given her history and the performances she's put on since returning, she took a lot of spots from the likes of Natalya and Carmella. Natalya had a few moments of cleaning house, suplexing or driving every other competitor into the mat. A pin on Naomi was broken up by Nikki, who then tried a pin of her own on Natalya, broken up by Carmella. The near falls were well paced and there was a constant sense of stakes in this match, though like the one at Backlash it feels a bit messy. Nikki steps to Carmella again, a moment where their feud gets to shine, and Carmella rolls out of the ring. Unfortunately for her, Nikki is on her tail and attacks her on the outside off the steps, knocking both of them down.
Similarly to Sunday, each woman had a few moments of their own in this match. Naomi's came mostly through impressive spots rather than story building, while Natalya played the seasoned veteran who knows the pitfalls of this match style. Alexa is opportunistic though inexperienced, and Carmella and Nikki put their own issues ahead of the goal of the match. With an Enziguri to Alexa on the top rope, Naomi drove her into the mat and Natlaya took advantage, drop kicking them both. Nikki went for a Bella Buster on Natalya and almost got the victory, as did Naomi when she got the Rear View on Nikki. In the end, Nikki's Argentine Backbreaker is thwarted by a super kick from Carmella and Alexa took advantage by pulling Carmella off and pinning Nikki herself for the no.1 contender spot.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
TNA Impact Wrestling
No. 1 Contender Gauntlet Match
Knockouts Champion Maria says backstage she's eager to learn her opponent for Bound For Glory, as several knockouts will compete in a gauntlet match to determine the number 1 contender. She also announces Gail Kim's induction into the TNA Hall of Fame will happen tonight instead of at Bound For Glory.
In the ring, Maria invited Gail to come for her induction ceremony and airs a video package of all the times Maria has attacked Gail. She tells Gail she wrote her a speech: "Hi I'm Gail Kin, Maria Kanellis-Bennett is better than me," and stomped on the gift Allie tries to give her. It was a little awkward, but cheeky and fun. Dixie Carter announces that Gail Kim will get a proper induction at Bound For Glory and also be in the Knockout Gauntlet.
To start the match, Allie was replaced by Laurel Van Ness who squared off with Jade. They're evenly matched though Jade seems to take her light at first. Sienna is the next competitor to enter, and she teamed up with Laurel until Gail enters the octagon. She fought with Sienna while Laurel attempted to choke Jade in the corner. Martie Bell entered, with no eliminations as of yet. Laurel tries to help stomp on Gail with Martie, but Martie wants to be the only one beating up Kim. Raquel entered and takes down Sienna, followed by Madison Rayne who hit the Enzguri not once but twice on Sienna.
With everyone in the ring, eliminations started to come. Madison is eliminated by Laurel, Jade is eliminated from being kicked off the top rope by Bell. Sienna eliminated both Martie and Raquel. Ordered by Maria to get into the ring, Allie attempted to get up on the apron but ended up pulling the rope down for Laurel to be eliminated. The one on one between Sienna and Gail is evenly matched for a few minutes with a near fall by Gail. A Silencer is reversed into Eat d'feet, and Gail picks up the victory. Maria is horrified and clutches her Knockouts Championship
Winner: Gail Kim
Liv Morgan vs. Rachel Fazio
Liv Morgan has been on a bit of a streak lately since Carmella, Alexa Bliss, and Nia Jax were called up to the main roster. She took on Rachel Fazio, the daughter of Paul Ellering, in a one on one match up. They locked up and Liv went for an early roll up which was countered by Rachel. Liv tied Rachel up and rolled her around the ring into another cover and a kick out. They chain wrestle, and Liv showed off some acrobatic moves, taunting Rachel. She regains control, driving Liv into the corner and punching her. When Liv manages to get out of the position, she runs the ropes and hits Rachel with a drop kick into two reversals back to back. She got Rachel in a submission move and Rachel taps.
After the match Liv cuts a promo, the first we've seen of her on television. She says that she disagrees that the NXT women's division has been cleaned out and challenges Auska for her title. She understands most people will think she has a death wish, which she probably does, but she is not afraid of Auska.
As is the pattern with the division, it was a fine match that felt a little slow and weak compared to the hard hitting we've come to expect from NXT. However, Liv showed a lot of potential and will soon come into her own as a wrestler. Rachel Fazio has not officially signed yet, but hopefully we'll see more of her.
Winner: Liv Morgan
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: 6-Pack Challenge Elimination Match for the SmackDown Women's Championship
WOMAN OF THE WEEK: Becky Lynch (Honorable mention: Alexa Bliss)