WWE Monday Night Raw
Bayley vs. Dana Brooke (Arm Wrestling match)
Have we died and been transported back to the dark ages? No? Shame. This was a pathetic excuse for a match, even though Brooke and Bayley both did their best to make the most of the segment, but even Bayley couldn't prevent chants of "BORING!" from ringing out. Brooke cheap-shotted Bayley, but the babyface drove her away to stand tall at the segment's end.
I don't know what else to say about this other than it is astounding that WWE could manage to get "BORING" chanted in any segment involving Bayley. That is quite an accomplishment.
Winner: No contest
Sasha Banks & Charlotte Sign Up for Hell
Mick Foley lectured Banks and Charlotte about their historic Hell in a Cell match, warning them of the toll it has the potential to take ont heir bodies and minds. Charlotte remained unfazed, hellbent on reclaiming her title. Sasha Banks was also unafraid, eager to make history and prove why she's the boss of RAW's women's division. They signed their contract, and Sasha promised to see Charlotte in Hell.
There are many opinions around the internet about Foley's integral part in the segment. I, personally, thought it revolved far too much around him considering there were not any actual women's matches in the entire episode. But the women sold the intensity of their rivalry very well, and are sure to put on a fantastic match on Sunday no matter where in the card they are placed.
Becky Lynch Returns
Becky Lynch returned from a non-wrestling injury to a massive ovation from the SmackDown crowd, but barely got any words out before Alexa Bliss entered, mic in hand. Bliss called Lynch a con, insinuating her recent surgery was a scam to avoid having to face her.
Bliss then attacked Lynch, throwing her into a barricade at ringside before hitting a nasty DDT, standing tall after spraying Lynch's back with yellow paint.
Bliss and Lynch have developed a surprising, quick chemistry despite their limited interaction. Becky Lynch is easy to root for in any capacity, and Bliss carries herself with the kind of swagger any heel title challenger should have. Their match in Scotland should be everything their No Mercy match should have been and more.
Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
The the leadership of the SmackDown women's Survivor Series team on the line, Natalya and Nikki Bella but on a somewhat short but technically sound match that seems to be a staple of the blue brand now.
After Bella sent Natalya out of the ring with a basement dropkick, Natalya responded with a wicked clothesline at ringside to take control of the bout. Bella responded in the ring with a corner clothesline and spinning dropkick to regain control and forced Natalya to tap with the STF. After the match, Carmella ambushed bella and beat her down.
I'm not sure how SmackDown is going to work its women at Survivor Series. Becky Lynch should defend her title at the pay-per-view, and now that Natalya is off the team she is primed to challenge her, but that leaves SmackDown's team one woman short, unless Eva Marie decides to show back up in time to stir up trouble.
Nikki Bella is a good choice for captain. She brings a veteran presence and her in-ring skills are undeniable. It's slightly obnoxious that WWE chose to have her win with Cena's submission (and have Otunga make an annoying comment about it) but even with that in mind, she stands on her own two feet.
Winner: Nikki Bella
TNA Impact Wrestling
Laurel Van Ness vs. Allie
Allie's story has long been one of the most compelling ones in TNA. Seeing her constantly abused by so many for weeks and weeks on end has turned many in favor of her. That support was obvious as Allie bravely stood up to Van Ness in singles action.
After some shoving, Van Ness took control of the match, throwing Allie out of the ring and into the apron. But some showboating cost her, as Allie took advantage by dodging a hit into the ring stairs. Back in the ring, Allie nailed Van Ness with a spear into a roll-up, but Van Ness escaped and hit a curb stomp for the pinfall.
The many layers to this story are what make it so interesting. Allie is the victim we are all rooting for, and Van Ness also seems to have her eye on Allie's man. SO much is going on in Allie's story. It's hard to look away.
Winner: Laurel Van Ness
The Miracle Matt Bennett & Maria vs. Cody & Brandi Rhodes
Brandi did not even wait for the bell, storming past her husband to go after Maria, who imediately tagged her husband into the match. Cody suplexed Bennett and ended up getting slapped by Maria. A furious Brandi tried to enter the fight, but ended up distracting her husband.
As Cody was about to tag Brandi in, Maria pulled her off the apron. Miracle held Cody in place for Maria to hit a low blow, but Cody ducked away, and Maria hit her husband instead. Cody tagged in Brandi and the two locked in submissions for the win.
At this point, Brandi, as the fired up rookie, is almost more interesting than Cody, and that's saying something. Her lack of experience in the ring is covered up by her passion in spades. That being said, he strikes do need a lot of work, but that all comes with experience. It is curious, though, that they put her into action while she is so green.
Cody, too, looks creatively fulfilled in his new position at TNA. It's nice to see them doing great work together. Bennett and Maria, as always, did great work as well. Still can't say enough about how wonderfully Maria works her character.
Winners: Cody & Brandi Rhodes
Marty the Moth (w/ Mariposa) vs. Ivelisse
Ivelisse started out strong until Marty caught her in a powerslam, sending her right to Mariposa's jaws (literally) while he distracted the referee. He attempted to lock in a submission but she rolled up up for a near-pin. She hit a kick to the face and attempts a submission of her own, but he battled out. Finally, Marty hit a full-nelson slam for the pinfall.
Mariposa is absolutely terrifying. She has this manic presence about her that is absolutely wonderful. The match itself was fun. It got very physical and Ivelisse was perfect as a babyface in peril.
Winner: Marty the Moth
Sexy Star vs. Johnny Mundo (Gift of the Gods Championship match)
The match began evenly paced until Mundo utilized dirty tactics, poking Sexy Star int he eye to get an easy advantage. Mundo went for a moonsault but Sexy countered, giving her a chance to regain control of the match.
Sexy hit Mundo with a backstabber and Codebreaker, but neither kept him down for the count. Mundo picked her up and spun her, but knocked the referee. The Worldwide Underground emerged, superkicking Sexy and hitting a massive triple tag team move on her before a new referee came running out. The WU took him out as well.
PJ Black handed Mundo a steel chair, which he walloped Sexy on the neck with, before the Mack emerged with a stunner for everyone. Sexy hit a chair on Mundo in retaliation but he kicked out of her pin. The WU teamed up on Mack at ringside, distracting Sexy enough for him to take her down with brass knuckles for the victory.
Sexy Star is named Star for a reason. She fights with ferocity and grace and charisma seldom seen in others. She'll have gold in her hands in no time at all.
Winner: Johnny Mundo
Aliyah vs. Billie Kay
Kay controlled her younger and smaller opponent for a majority of the match until the young babyface began to fire back with a series of forearms and kicks, but even that couldn't keep Kay from taking the match back into her own hands. Liv Morgan ran out, attacking Peyton Royce at ringside, and the distraction was enough for Aliyah to pick up a victory. Enraged, the two heels beat down Morgan and her friend to end the segment.
Aliyah still needs polishing, but she improves tremendously every time she shows up on television. Kay's in-ring prowess shows no matter who she's in the ring with, and her power-based offense is very unique, especially when women in WWE typically employ technical or submission-based movesets.
I hope this leads to a Takeover match. kay and Royce are looking stronger every week and Morgan and Aliyah could use some more exposure to help them continue to build their personalities and connection with the crowd.
Asuka vs. Thea Trinidad
Asuka decimated the wrestler formerly known as Rosita in a squash match of surprising quickness, tearing her down with a German suplex and then finishing her off with an armbar.
Trinidad's time will come, but it was still surprising how quickly she was fed to Asuka. That, however, is all miniscule compared to the revelation after the match.
William Regal came out to announce Asuka's next challenger after a worldwide search, and the challenger is mind-boggling:
The crowd went absolutely nuts, and with good reason. mickie James was the right athlete at the wrong time for WWE. A skilled in-ring storyteller, James put on some stellar matches in her tenure with WWE. God only knows what she can do against an elite performer like Asuka, doubled with a fresh perception of women's wrestling.
Toronto will be fun. Very fun indeed.
WWE Total Bellas
Wow, okay, so before we get into this week's episode fully, let me get something off my chest. How in the world is a 2000 square foot, four bedroom home too small? Maybe it's because I grew up without a lot of money, but this entire episode, I couldn't help but be astonished at the Bella family's criticism of Brie and Bryan.
This week's episode was all about humility and how each member of the family perceives it. Throughout the episode, Brie in particular is struggling with it. Her sister and brother think she adapts to whoever she is in a relationship with and think being with Daniel Bryan has changed her too much. Why? Because apparently, she used to want a huge cottage, and now she only wants one with four bedrooms. Oh, the life of the rich and famous!
Nikki and Bryan get into a disagreement over whether or not Nikki is humble. Bryan later apologizes, but admits to not feeling comfortable sharing his opinions around the family. Nikki accepts his apology and tells him his opinions are welcome.
At dinner, JJ announces his wife Lauren is pregnant. Afterwards, the women plan a bachelorette party for Kathy, and Nikki is excited to see Brie let loose since Bryan won't be there, which bothers Brie. Elsewhere, John notices something is wrong with Bryan, and tells him to get some rest.
The next morning, Nikki notices Brie and Bryan talking, and Brie reveals that Bryan is having a very hard time after his retirement and that he has just gotten bad news from some doctors: he definitely cannot and will not be able to wrestle again.
At the bachelorette party, Nikki and Brie fight, and Brie reveals how hard Bryan's clinical depression has been not just for him but for her. Brie reveals that Bryan wants to move back to Washington for three months.
Total Bellas isn't afraid to delve into deeper issues. It's incredibly hard watching not only what Bryan has to go through following the whirlwind of his father's death and career-ending injuries, but the toll it takes on his wife as well. Nikki's concern for her sister and the struggle of whether or not Brie's changes are good for her or not is a very nuanced thing as well, and makes for good television.
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: Sexy Star vs. Johnny Mundo
WOMAN OF THE WEEK: Sasha Banks & Charlotte