Alexa Bliss, Mickie James & Natalya vs. Becky Lynch, Naomi & Nikki Bella
After Natalya taunted Nikki Bella, Bliss started the match off for the heel tandem. The heels looked to be in control at first, but Lynch, Naomi and Bella gained momentum with a triple suplex on the heels that sent them out of the ring, followed by a double dropkick by Bella and Lynch and a crossbody out of the ring by Naomi.
Becky Lynch kept the women's momentum going until Mickie James attacked her while Natalya recovered out of the ring. Bliss tagged in, and James got another cheap shot in, but when Natalya tagged in her taunting to Bella let Becky roll her up for a near-fall. Lynch remained in peril until Naomi tagged in hot, hitting her quick kicks, getting a near-fall on Bliss which was broken up by James. As Bella speared Natalya, Naomi managed to hit her split-legged moonsault on Bliss for the pin.
This match was well-paced and fun, and Naomi seems to finally be getting a long-deserved push. The SmackDown women made the most out of being put on the pre-show, serving as an excellent opening match to the San Antonio crowd.
Winners: Becky Lynch, Naomi & Nikki Bella
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
Jax started off strong and kept control of the match throughout. Though Sasha showed signs of fire with a daring double knees from the ropes after Jax powered out of a Banks Statement, Jax kept her focus on Banks' knees, getting a quick win with a Samoan Drop.
There is little more heartbreaking than an impossible fight for a brave hero. Sasha Banks did everything right, working with ferocity and passion, but sometimes even your best isn't enough. They told a story in a short amount of time, especially Nia Jax. Back in NXT, she seemed to have trouble truly committing to her monster role, but she's embraced it fully on the main roster. Her facial expressions were spot-on and she looked crisp in the ring.
Winner: Nia Jax
Charlotte vs. Bayley (Raw Women's Championship match)
Bayley began the match with energy, catching Charlotte by surprise with a wicked headscissors through the ropes followed by a crossbody out of the ring for a two-count once she managed to get Flair back in the ring. Back in the ring, Charlotte's dominant side began to show as she hit Bayley with a running boot for a near-fall.
Charlotte showed no mercy, pounding Bayley into the mat with a series of vicious scissors. Bayley began to make a comeback with a flying crossbody and series of forearm strikes followed by a massive flying elbow Macho Man style. But Charlotte came back by trapping Bayley in a Figure Four, which Bayley turned in her favor. Flair reversed it into a Figure Eight, using the ropes for leverage, but was caught by the referee. Unfazed, she hit Natural Selection to retain her title.
It seems odd to have Charlotte pin Bayley clean, with no shenanigans involved in the match's actual ending, but aside from that, Bayley looked impressive in her first major title shot. The crowd was hot for the match, and Charlotte looked every bit as dominant as she always has. This is undoubtedly only the beginning of Bayley's journey to the Raw Women's title, and it only looks to get better.
WWE Monday Night Raw
Bayley, Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Charlotte & The Club
Bayley looked to start off the match with Charlotte, but the champion tagged out, electing to have Karl Anderson start the match against Cesaro. The women stayed out of the match until the middle of the match, when a distraction by Charlotte allowed Gallows to regain momentum for the heels.
At the match's end, Charlotte broke up swings from Cesaro by tagging in, but was caught by surprise by Bayley, who hit Bayley-to-Belly for the victory for her team.
This was a fun mixing of storylines. Intergender matches are a unique occurrence on WWE television, and these pairings made a lot of sense. Cesaro wearing Bayley's streamers was a highlight.
Winners: Bayley, Cesaro & Sheamus
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
Banks started off strong with a dropkick, letting Jax's own strength be used against her after she dodged Jax, allowing the bigger Superstar to slam shoulder first into the turnbuckle. However, Jax caught Banks in a full nelson outside the ring, slamming Banks' injured knee into the ring post twice. Back in the ring, Jax kept Banks grounded, twisting Banks' knee back until the bell rang, before the refereee could even call the match. After the match was confirmed over, Jax continued assaulting Banks until Bayley made the save.
Banks is turning to the dark side. It showed in her frustration throughout the match, the desperation in her eyes. Her interaction with Bayley before the match only strengthened that, setting up future conflict with Bayley coming to Sasha's aid.
Winner: Nia Jax
Carmella vs. Delilah Dawson
Not much to say about the match itself, except once again Ellsworth's assistance helped Carmella to a victory. Apparently, she's his "boo." How...cute.
Naomi & Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James
Old rivals Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch started off, keeping the match evenly paced to start, with no one person being able to get a distinct edge over the other. However, Naomi tagged in, immediately hitting a sunset flip on Bliss, and took control. Mickie James looked to even the odds with a double-team while the referee wasn't looking, but Lynch attacked James, allowing Naomi to hit her split-legged moonsault for the victory.
Later, on Talking Smack, she was announced to be Bliss' challenger for Elimination Chamber. Naomi's joy was palpable, and aside from a few minor botches here and there, is as on top of her game as ever. Though it's unclear if her push will last through WrestleMania, it looks as if it will keep her in a top spot as WWE inches towards April's big show.
Winners: Naomi & Becky Lynch
TNA Impact Wrestling
Sienna vs. Brooke Adams
With Maria by her side, Sienna challenged newly returned Brooke Adams in one-on-one action. Brooke took control early on, getting a near-fall with a facebuster. However, Maria jumped on the apron in an attempt to distract Brooke, who chased after her. Sienna took advantage, sending brooke flinging into the steel steps at ringside, where Maria stomped her to the ground.
Sienna kept control of the match, powering out of a chinlock by Brooke that nearly ended the match then and there, and hit the Silencer for the pinfall after Maria pushed Brooke off the ropes.
Ember Moon vs. Aliyah
Aliyah got some quick offense in to start off the match, but nothing could keep Ember Moon grounded for longer than a second. Moon took command of the match with a suplex, applying an odd new standing submission. Aliyah fought back with a few uppercuts, but Moon took the match back with a flying crossbody and set up for a powerbomb, but ALyah reversed it into a headscissors takedown.
Moon finally grounded Aliyah for good with a shot to the mouth, hitting the Eclipse stunnder for the victory.
Winner: Ember Moon
WWE Main Event
Alicia Fox vs. Dana Brooke
Following a fairly even match, Alicia Fox defeated Dana Brooke with a Northern Lights Suplex into a scissor kick.
It baffles me that WWE has time for a multitude of dull filler plots on Raw but cannot seem to find a way to book any of these plots into its three entire hours of programming. Alicia Fox is as good as she has ever been, and Dana Brooke approves every time she steps into the ring.
Winner: Alicia Fox
This section includes recaps of matches from around the world in various lesser-known independent promotions throughout the week.
Match: Bea Priestley vs. Little Miss Roxxy
Winner: Bea Priestley
MATCH OF THE WEEK:
Charlotte vs. Bayley
Charlotte vs. Bayley
For some odd reason, WWE put this match in the Royal Rumble's opening slot, but the match was so engaging that I think it could have been just as successful near the show's end. Charlotte was a smug, domineering monster. She hit stiff and was almost feral in her methodical assault of Bayley. Bayley, in contrast, proved how perfect of an underdog she really is. Clad in a "Just Bayley" jacket and with enthusiastic determination, she put up an impressive fight against Charlotte featuring a very fun homage to Macho Man Randy Savage.
WOMAN OF THE WEEK:
Naomi has been so close to a major push for years. Long heralded as one of the most athletic women in WWE an full of undeniable chemistry, Naomi always felt like a victim of WWE's lack of dedication to its underrated women. Now, with the brand split and one of the best entrances in all of WWE, she is finally getting her chance to shine.
Or, rather, glow.
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!