WWE Monday Night Raw
Sasha Banks vs. Dana Brooke
Blink, and you would have missed this match. Banks took this one with quick-paced offense and a reversal out of a fireman's carry to gain a victory over Brooke. Following the match, an infuriated Charlotte berated Brooke, but Brooke finally snapped and attacked her mentor, throwing her out of the ring and brawling until Charlotte fled.
This adds an interesting wrinkle to the women's title picture at WrestleMania. Charlotte is already reeling from her first ever pay-per-view loss, so adding a motivated and angry thorn in her side to the mix could spell doom for the self-proclaimed queen.
Meanwhile, Sasha Banks
Winner: Sasha Banks
Bayley vs. Nia Jax
Jax controlled the match early on, stopping all of Bayley's attempts at offense before they could even land. It took a jawbreaker from a battered Bayley to give her some space to recover. She took advantage with a dropkick, sending Jax out of the ring. Jax responded by disdainfully throwing Bayley into the turnbuckle back in the ring. Bayley went for a chokehold, which got her a victory over Jax in their first meeting, but Jax escaped. Jax only got more aggressive from there, kicking Bayley viciously and ignoring warnings from the referee until she was disqualified.
Well, this is interesting. Jax was dominant without question. Perhaps WWE plans to insert her into the RAW title picture for WrestleMania. Or perhaps they're simply trying to further Bayley's underdog status and save Jax for a later date. Either way, she looked incredibly strong and will certainly be someone to watch in the final lead-in to WrestleMania.
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
Becky took an early lead in the match with a dropkick, but Natalya escaped to the ropes. When Lynch went on the attack again, Natalya asked for a timeout. Unfortunately for her, that's not a thing. Lynch went for another submission, and Natalya evaded once more. Lynch kept control until Natalya hit a Michinoku driver at ringside. The pair exchanged blows back in the ring and Natalya won out, but Lynch managed to trap Natalya in the Dis-Arm Her for the victory. Following the match, Carmella ambushed both women and left them laying.
This was a well-paced match given proper time to be entertaining. Lynch and Natalya thrive in technical, submission-based matches, so this was a no-brainer. Though it lacked any real sense of story, it did well to further the narrative of the depth of SmackDown's women's division.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss
James and Bliss exchanged control quickly early on, each dishing out intense strikes and kicks. Bliss utilized the reopes to try and keep control, but James threw her over the ropes to ringside. She went to attack, but Bliss reversed, throwing James into the ringpost. Back in the ring, james went for a half-crab, but Bliss escaped to the ropes. The two attempted pins, but it was James who managed to snag a hard-fought victory with the Mick Kick.
Bliss and James have a complimentary kind of ferocity that make both women very enjoyable to watch as rivals. Bliss is all ice and youth and ambition, while James is fiery rage and cunning. They have great chemistry and will without a doubt be a focal point of SmackDown going into WrestleMania.
Winner: Mickie James
Maryse and Nikki's conflict from Total Divas took center stage curing Miz TV. It's a bit complicated, involving contract disputes and a ton of reality-style drama, but Maryse sold the conflict well and with great intensity. Maryse promised to expose Bella, and the woman in question and Cena emerged to confront the couple. Bella ripped into her former friend, calling her a lying money-sucker. The Miz threatened to cut off the segment, but Daniel Bryan came out, and officially set Cena/Bella vs. Miz/Maryse for WrestleMania.
As much as I detest Total Divas angles being used to fuel wrestling feuds, it actually works here. This feud is fueled by the blurring line between kayfabe and reality. The talent sell it well, so the show should indeed be well worth watching.
TNA Impact Wrestling
No full women's matches on this week's episode, but Rosemary attacked Kayei Quinn and Brandi Rhodes was mistreated by her jerk of a husband. So...there's that.
Brandi Rhodes was about to have her first singles match, but Rhodes told her she wouldn't be competing and forced her to leave with him.
Macey Estrella vs. Nikki Cross
Macey Estrella got in a slight bit of offense against Cross' relentless assault, but that's about all she can brag about in regards to this. Despite a brave effort, she was no match for the maniacal Nikki Cross, who defeated her handily within minutes. Following the match, Tye Dillinger and No Way Jose attacked SAnitY, but Killian Dain laid the pair out.
Nikki Cross remains as unpredictably exciting and freaky as ever. If Ember Moon wins the NXT Women's Championship, Cross will without a doubt be one of the first in line to challenge NXT's self-proclaimed war goddess.
Winner: Nikki Cross
This section includes recaps of matches from around the world in various lesser-known independent promotions throughout the week.
X Wrestling Alliance
Match: Rhia O'Reilly vs. Sammii Jayne (Pro Wrestling Eve Title match)
Winner: Rhia O'Reilly
Association les Professionnels du Catch
Match: Morganne Leigh vs. Pauline
Winner: Morganne Leigh
Pro Wrestling Eclipse
Match: Leah Vaughan vs. Xandra Bale
Winner: Leah Vaughan
MATCH OF THE WEEK:
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
In a week where women's wrestling was limited at best, Natalya and Becky Lynch put on a wonderful, submission-based match. Lynch has put on brilliant submission matches before (see her classic against Sasha Banks in NXT) and Natalya is always reliable, but as excitement for WrestleMania builds, it is hard to truly stand out. They did.
WOMAN OF THE WEEK:
I may have my issues with Dana Brooke's in-ring skills, but oh boy, was it sweet to see her finally stand up for herself. Dana Brooke has the ability to be a good example of female empowerment for young girls. She is muscular and confident (see her Arnold Classic performance) and despite her green nature in the ring, she has exceptional potential. Here's hoping this face turn leads to more progress for the rookie.
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!