WWE Monday Night Raw
Iron Sharpens Iron
Is there a chance we could see the second female main event of a pay-per-view in six months? Based on the video package for Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair at Roadblock: End of the Line, it's looking more and more like a possibility. The fierce rivals' Ironman match is set for tomorrow and the story is clear: iron sharpens iron. Two of the greatest competitors of a generation are making history and pushing the envelope, pushing each other to their best each and every time they meet.
I know, I know, we're all tired of this, and with good reason. According to some counts, Sasha and Charlotte have been involved in a match together nearly 70 times just this year. This time, however, it is final, as it was later announced that there is no rematch clause. Although I'm eager for other stories, have Bayley enter the title scene and see Emma's return, this video package was incredibly effective at making me want to see this just one more time. It was a great reminder that this will likely be a fantastic match and why that matters.
Alicia Fox vs. Bayley
Alicia Fox is a heel, I think. After last week's drama involving Cedric Alexander, Alicia's boyfriend, these two match up again to settle their differences. Bayley seems to have no interest in Cedric, but her proximity to him is enough to make Alicia challenge her to this match over him. Apparently, it's 2013. I really thought we were past these kinds of storylines, but still, the wrestling was solid.
After some chain holds, Bayley gains advantage with a Suplex, she runs the ropes hits and elbows Alicia. She responds by hitting a big Scissor Kick for a cover and Bayley kicks out. Alicia isn't done, however, as she ties Bayley up in the ropes to cut off her breathing and then gets her into a Scissor Headlock. Bayley manages to roll through, but Alicia hits the most beautiful Northern Lights Suplex, which alone is a testament to the fact that she can go in the ring. However, Alicia's over-confidence gives Bayley an opening to reverse and hit the Bayley to Belly for the pin. There's nothing particularly wrong with this match, but considering how much Alicia is capable of and the fact that Bayley is among the best in the company, it just felt lightweight.
Natalya vs. Carmella with Nikki Bella on Commentary
In an effort to clear her good name, Natalya decided fighting Carmella one on one was the best solution, while Nikki Bella watched on at commentary. Before the match, Natalya gets on the mic to tell Nikki one last time that it wasn't her who attacked Nikki prior to the Survivor Series match. She says that Nikki isn't taking her calls and that this is the only way, but she is interrupted by the Princess of Staten Island. As they lock up, Natalya immediately takes her down. Over on commentary, Nikki says she's not sure what to think and needs to work it out. Carmella rolls out but Natalya quickly drags her back into the ring, and it does feel very personal.
Carmella slaps Natalya across the face to gain the upper hand, grounding and pounding on her. She hits a Snap Suplex but Natalya regains her momentum and picks her up, ramming her right into the corner of the ring. She shouts "I didn't do it!" Soon Carmella is able to get back on offense, hitting a quite nice Hurricarana into a Clothesline and goes for a pin. Natalya kicks out. She hits a Bronco Buster and locks in a body hold but Natayla's veteran know-how comes into play and she's able to turn it around and a Guillotine. She uses her strength to stand up with the hold and drives Carmella into the mat. Though she tries to lock in the Sharp Shooter, Carmella manages to roll out. On the outside, Nikki decides now is a good time to discuss the matter, and Carmella takes advantage of the distraction. Natalya manages to see it coming but she shoves Nikki out of the way as she strikes Carmella and throws her back in the ring. Distracted once more, Natalya is rolled up by Carmella for the victory. This story is getting stale quick, and the storytelling was a little off this week. Still, the ring-work was solid and Carmella's improvements are impressive.
Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch for the SmackDown Women's Championship
Becky Lynch was awarded her rematch against Alexa Bliss for the SmackDown Women's Championship, but that wasn't the match that was scheduled. Originally, Alexa was set to take on NXT's Deonna Purrazzo. However, the champion came to the ring and announced that she was offended at the idea that Deonna in any way deserved a match against her. She blindsided the newcomer, sucker punching her and unloading. Becky Lynch interrupted the encounter and said it was wrong of her to surprise Alexa with her request last week, but now they're both prepared to fight. Although Alexa tried to walk away, Shane McMahon came out and set the match.
Out of the gate, it was a fast-paced match. The two hardly ever paused in rest holds, and Becky even went for her finisher, the Dis-Arm-Her early. They chain wrestled back in forth, with neither really able to get the upper hand for more than a few moments at a time. That was a good strategy to show that Alexa could hang. There were also several left and right Arm Drags as Becky started to pick up momentum. She hits a nasty Spring-Board Kick but Alexa reverses it by kicking her in the stomach as she goes for a second. Using those old school heel tactics, Alexa steps on Becky's hair and goes for an Insult to Injury, but Becky manages to roll away.
With her newfound momentum, Becky hits a Rolling Crucifix, a Clothesline, and locks in the Dis-Arm-Her. Alexa manages to get her foot on the rope and rolls out of the ring. She starts to sell a knee injury, which eventually gets her counted out to retain her title. After the bell, however, a frustrated Becky attacks Alexa and suddenly her knee is fine. The two tussle and a Hip toss by Becky forces her out of the ring once again, where she continues to sell the fake injury. As far as a championship match goes, it was a little on the underwhelming side, but the fast pace suited this feud, and Alexa's storytelling is fantastic as always.
Winner: Becky Lynch but no title change
Tribute to the Troops
Bayley vs. Dana Brooke
Bayley seemed to spend most of her night with a future service dog named Charlie, which is adorable. As she was playing with her new friend backstage, Charlotte and Dana Brooke walked up to cause trouble. Bayley got an uncharacteristically mean jab about how she and Charlotte both like to hang out with dogs. Dana took offense and said that she would find out that her bite is worse than her bark in their match tonight.
With Charlie at ringside to watch, Bayley locked up with Dana Brooke and they pushed back and forth. Dana elbowed Bayley down and then hit a Springboard Splash into a submission. In order to get out of the hold, Bayley kicks Dana in the face. She ducks a Suplex and takes Dana down. Ramming her into the corner, she rolls through, taunts and hits an elbow. Seeing Dana in trouble, Charlotte pulls her out but ends up hurting more than helping as Bayley chases Dana and throws her into Charlotte. Back in the ring, she hits a Bayley to Belly and gets a pin. Even ignoring the recycling of this storyline, it really feels like Bayley doesn't have anything to sink her teeth into. There's potential here that was never tapped, just like earlier in the week.
TNA Impact Wrestling
ODB vs. Sienna
Sienna calls out Rosemary, saying she's not here because she's scared to face Sienna. As such, she makes herself number one contender for the title. That is, she issues an open challenge for the number one contendership to anyone. Naturally, Vanguard 1 shows up. The ref doesn't allow the match to take place because, you know, he's a drone. Sienna issues the challenge again, this time to any person who will step to her. Former Knockout Champion ODB takes her up and rushes to the ring.
ODB gets a lot of offense on Sienna out of the gate, being one of the few who can really out-muscle her. That's a bit overshadowed by ODB's constant sexually implicit moves. They might've been just fine back when she was Knockouts Champion, but now it just makes the whole match feel stuck in the past. Sienna lifts her up on her shoulders and TKOs her to the mat. There's a quick cover and a kick out as ODB regains momentum by slamming her into the corner. From the top rope, she drives Sienna down and sits on her shoulders to pin. Sienna manages to roll her off, and after a few back and forths, Sienna accidentally takes down the referee and super kicks ODB. With a chair in hand, she swings at her opponent, but ODB counters and knocks her down for a pin. The referee is still down, however, so the match continues. Vanguard 1 to the rescue, he begins to make a count, but the ref pulls him out and scolds him for overstepping. Distracted by this, ODB turns her back on Sienna and is soon hit with the chair again. She hits the Silencer on ODB and pins her for a number one contender victory. ODB takes it upon herself to motorboat Vanguard 1 to a "system overload," because nothing says the rise of women's wrestling like a gimmick that is literally boobs. That aside, this match was over before it even begun, there was no real character or story building. Though ODB's spot from the top rope was impressive and the Silencer is always a great spot, that was just about it in terms of technicality. It's a real shame considering how good Sienna is and the in-ring ability ODB actually has beyond her gimmick. What happened to you Knockouts division, what happened to you?
Killshot vs. Dante Fox vs. Mariposa vs. Jeremiah Crane in Battle of the Bulls first-round match
The inter-gendered matches of Lucha Underground are one its appeals, so it was great to see Mariposa competing in a first-round match of the Battle of the Bulls tournament. Immediately, however, a nasty kick takes her down. She hits a Drop Kick of her own from the top rope and pushes down all three boys in a row. Dante Fox hits a Drop Kick that grounds her for a moment, but she returns the favor from the top rope and hits a cross body on Killshot. Mariposa gets involved with a massive Tower of Doom spot, helping to drive her three opponents into a bunch of chairs that were set up by Jeremiah. She feels like a credible threat. The crowd chants her name and she hits chair shot after chair shot on the men. Jeremiah ends her rampage, however, and Dante Fox pushes her to the outside along with him. She's able to break up a submission on Killshot, but Jeremiah locks it in on her and again she proves she's not just a pretty face- er, mask- by rolling him up and almost getting a pin. While fighting Killshot, she gets him in a Butterfly Effect on the steel chair and gets this close to a championship opportunity. She chops Dante Fox, but is taken out when him, and Jeremiah turn their attention to each other and Jeremiah gets the pin. Though she wasn't the focus of the match, Mariposa didn't let herself get outshined and the Butterfly Effect might be among the prettiest moves in wrestling right now.
Winner: Jeremiah Crane
Kobra Moon vs. Drago
Stemming off of some previous tension from all the way back at Aztec warfare, Kobra Moon takes on Drago one on one. They dance around each other before locking up. They go back and forth with holds, but eventually, Kobra Moon gets a Hurricaranna on him. He responds by ducking her and drop kicking her down. There's a kick to the gut and a clothesline in the corner that takes momentum out of Kobra Moon. He grounds her and she taunts him, but he hits a Trapped Arm Back Bracker before pulling her up and slamming her into the mat. She gets hit with a giant kick and he says it's over, but an outside interference causes a DQ. The man beats up on Drago until Fenix and Aerostar come to his rescue. Kobra Moon summons a new challenger, a large man in another mask who beats all three of them up. He hits a Tombstone on Drago and makes Kobra Moon's true intentions clear.
Winner: Drago by DQ
WWE Total Divas
This week Total Divas focused on three of the power couples of WWE, Renee Young and Dean Ambrose, Rusev and Lana, and Mayrse and Mike. There was not a lot of emphasis on their weekly shows, possibly because at this point we know WWE was particularly focused on Charlotte, Becky and Sasha. Instead, it was all about their personal lives. Renee and Dean hosted the Bella Twins and Daniel Bryan. She talks about how since she moved to Las Vegas with Dean, they haven't had a chance to make friends and wanted the weekend to go perfectly. Their BBQ goes less than that, and then when they go to an ATV course, she realizes that Nicole can't participate because of her neck. Renee has a conversation with Brie where she admits she feels bad about the whole thing and Brie decides they all need to just relax and stop stressing. The three girls spend the day by the pool and everyone is happy.
Meanwhile, Maryse is freaked out because a man tried to break into their home while they were away at Raw. With Mike off to shoot the Marine 5 in Vancouver, she talks to Eva Marie about how she wants to buy a gun. Mike is not in favor of it, but Maryse hasn't seemed to be bothered by it. Eva takes her to a shooting range so that she can learn about guns and try it out. She ends up buying it and has a very uncomfortable Facetime conversation with Mike.
We also get to learn more about Lana and Rusev's life. Although we all know that the Russian shtick is fake, Lana did actually grow up in the former Soviet Union as a missionary kid with her pastor father. Since the languages are similar she can communicate and understand parts of what Rusev and his mother are saying when they speak Bulgarian. What they're talking about, however, is the fact that Rusev and his mom want a traditional Bulgarian wedding and Lana and her family want a beach wedding in the states. It's a constant point of struggle that doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon, though we know the resolution was to have two wedding ceremony because, hey, WWE pays okay. Jokes aside, it's actually a nice look at their relationship and what they've had to work through.
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: Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss for the SmackDown Women's Championship
WOMAN OF THE WEEK: Mariposa