WWE Monday Night Raw
Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte & Nia Jax
Charlotte came out to the ring with Dana Brooke (who is still her protege, apparently) and wasted little time in calling Bayley a cheater and a one-hit wonder. Bayley didn't take her words sitting down, entering and pointing out that she had pinned Charlotte three times. Sasha Banks came out next to back her up, and Charlotte revealed that her partner wasn't Dana Brooke, but Nia Jax.
Banks took a brunt of the punishment early on in the match, starting off against Nia Jax and being thrown handily into the turnbuckle before Jax tossed her to Bayley, daring the champ to enter the match before promptly powerslamming said champ into the mat. Bayley managed to escape from a vertical suplex and throw Jax into her corner, striking her deftly. Banks tagged in, but Jax used her power to regain momentum. Charlotte tagged in next, and Banks picked up momentum with a hurricanrana into a dropkick. Dana Brooke attempted to interfere, but fell to a Bayley-to-Belly out of the ring. The faces kept control against Charlotte until Jax tagged herself back in, throwing Banks into Bayley and getting the pinfall with a leg drop.
This was a cookie-cutter match, with each woman dolling out their usual bag of tricks, but it worked. Jax looked deliciously dominant, and the other three worked very well together. The match itself was quick-paced, with each participant putting excellent work into it. It just, at this point, lacks a proper story. Once Fastlane is out of the way, everything should fall into place pretty simply.
Winners: Charlotte & Nia Jax
"I'm gonna break you..."
After a wildly fun war of words between The Miz and John Cena, Maryse slapped Cena, who told her she'd just made the biggest mistake of her life. Nikki hit the ring, and told a fleeing Maryse that she would break her.
Bella's threat drew a huge pop from the delighted crowd, and not without reason. Despite early concerns over Cena being wasted in such a feud, he and Nikki Bella looked great together in the ring. If both maintain their intensity, this match could surprise even the most determined doubters.
Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James (2 Out of 3 Falls Match)
Looking to (maybe?) settle their differences, Becky Lynch and Mickie James stepped into the squared circle one more time. They started off chain wrestling before Lynch sent both of them out of the ring with a baseball slide. Back int he ring, James worked Lynch over, hitting her with a kick in the back. Lynch took control back with a series of forearms, but James threw Lynch into the turnbuckle and hit a DDT, scoring the first fall. James looked to take to the air, but Lynch rolled out of the way and rolled James up for the second fall. The two brawled some more, and then Alexa Bliss emerged, distracting the referee while Lynch made a cover. James then went for a Mick Kick on Lynch, but hit Bliss instead, and got caught in the Dis-Arm Her, tapping out to Lynch.
This was a fun match, even if we have seen these two square off a lot recently. Planting the seeds for cracks in James and Bliss' partnership is a smart move. At this point, it looks like the SmackDown Women's Championship will be a multi-woman affair, so weaving in several layers of storylines is a wise move.
Winner: Becky Lynch
TNA Impact Wrestling
Rosemary vs. Jade (Last Knockout Standing Knockouts Championship match)
The fight started on the entrance ramp , escalating to attempted finishers before the two women even got to the ring. Jade hit a series of suplexes, but Rosemary stayed alive. The two brawl in the ring, and Rosemary goes for weapons, powerbombing Jade into a trashcan for a 9-count. She mists Jade next and hits Red Wedding, but Jade manages to just beat the 10-count once more. Jade fights back with a kendo stick, but Rosemary hits another Red Wedding for another 9-count. Back on her feet, Jade "misted" Rosemary with some water of her own and powerbombed her onto the steel steps. Brawling onto the ramp, Rosemary hit an astonishing THIRD Red Wedding, and got up at nine. Jade, however, did not, and Rosemary retained her title.
An incredibly put-together brawl spelled the end of an era for the Knockouts division, as this could very well have been Jade's final match with the company after the mass talent exodus this week. I love Jade, so her exit is disappointing to me, but she has a bright career ahead of her without a doubt. Rosemary amazed as well, looking like an absolute beast as she punished Jade without remorse. I know glorified spot-fests like this aren't everyone's cup of tea, but the raw physicality displayed by both women in this match made it incredible.
Asuka vs. Peyton Royce (NXT Women's Championship match)
Peyton Royce showed a surprising amount of wile and speed as she took on NXT's Goldberg: Asuka. Emerging with a quick, strike-centered offense, Royce cleverly managed to evade some of Asuka's fiercer strike attempts. However, a kick out of nowhere from Asuka kept the title around the Japanse Superstar's waist. After the match, Billie Kay joined Royce to beat Asuka down, but Ember Moon emerged to make the save. She and Asuka then stared each other down challengingly to end the segment.
Peyton Royce looked incredible in this match. Her facial expressions were entertaining, her strikes were crisp and she moved with stunning grace. She worked well with the strength-centered Asuka. But what everyone is really talking about is that staredown. It felt electric. Asuka and Ember Moon's energies clash wonderfully, and they carry themselves with a great intensity. Their match could not come quickly enough.
This section includes recaps of matches from around the world in various lesser-known independent promotions throughout the week.
Match: Tonami & Yoko Bito vs. Toni Storm & Zoe Lucas
Winner: Tonami & Yoko Bito
Match: Lady Lee vs. Vulcan
Winner: Lady Lee
Match: Kyoko Inoue vs. Kaoru Ito (World Women Diana Pro-Wrestling Title match)
Winner: Kyoko Inoue
MATCH OF THE WEEK:
Rosemary vs. Jade
Rosemary vs. Jade
The Knockouts have long been ahead of their time, but their all-out brawl this week showed that even with WWE stepping up its game and Lucha Underground stepping into the spotlight, they still have something to offer. Going into a new era of Impact Wrestling without Maria and Jade, Impact will have a lot to prove as the year progresses.
WOMAN OF THE WEEK:
The Glamazon is now taking her rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame. Beth Phoenix was a domineering athlete in an era where WWE didn't give its female talents the chance to be proper athletes, a standout Diva in an era of two-minute matches. And though many are questioning why she's being inducted so soon and before the likes of Chyna (who I think should HEADLINE a Hall of Fame), her contributions to perceptions of women's wrestling cannot be denied. Beth Phoenix deserves her place in history. Congratulations!
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!