WWE Monday Night Raw
Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax
It's easy to forget sometimes how dangerous wrestling can be. Audiences are used to seeing well-executed feats of strength and agility on a high level that leaves little room for significant error. That's why it's so jarring when botches happen. And I don't mean missed elbows or messy submissions. I mean drops.
In a clash of egos, Charlotte Flair and Nia Jax fought for dominance. Jax took control of the match early on despite several intense strikes from Flair. She dominated the entire match despite a baffled and frustrated Charlotte's attempts to knock her off her game. Even a Natural Selection from the former champion was not enough to keep Jax down for the count. Charlotte upped her game then, going for a moonsault, and was very nearly dropped on her head when something went wrong with the catch. A failed Figure-Four and avalanche later, and Jax cemented her dominant win.
There were some scary botches in this match. Jax is still a student of the game, but I hope the match serves as a lesson. Even the best wrestlers get too caught up in the heat of the match and mess up, but injuries can happen, so I hope this is the last time I ever have to speak of it. Other than that, I enjoyed the unique dynamic of the match. Charlotte is usually portrayed as the unstoppable force, so seeing her in a state of desperation was fascinating. Jax looked just as she should: like a monster.
Winner: Nia Jax
Looking to the future
Because of the Superstar Shake-Up, a lot of new stories and plot were put into motion. Dana Brooke was confronted by former partner in badness Emma, setting up (hopefully) a new midcard feud. But the biggest moment arrived alongside two new additions to Raw's roster: Alexa Bliss and Mickie James.
Alexa Bliss has long been rumored to be making the jump to the red brand. Her feud with Naomi has run its course and she already squared off with Becky Lynch. Now, with her new rival Mickie James joining her on Raw, she is sure to make a big impact. The Raw crowd was elated to see her, eating up every word she delivered in her brilliantly snobby promo to Bayley and Sasha Banks. Her reaction even eclipsed the excitement the crowd showed to Mickie James. Bliss will bring a fresh energy and opportunities for new match-ups to a women's division in desperate need of a reboot. Her energy and style matches up with Bayley well, and she has yet to go against Banks on a truly significant stage. I'm looking forward to seeing where these women take the division this year. And if that wasn't enough, the segment ended with Nia Jax demolishing everyone!
2017 is going to be a wild ride.
Welcome to the Queendom
Oddly enough, in an episode where SmackDown really hyped the importance of its women's division, the show featured no real women's matches.
Shane McMahon came out, bringing forth the remaining women on SmackDown's roster, and announced that in order to keep up the momentum their division gained since last year's draft, he has brought in the daughter of a legend...
Okay, okay, yes, it was a massive tease, as Charlotte was introduced soon after. But the way SmackDown treated her arrival was astounding. Who could have guessed even two years ago that the biggest acquisition in a draft would be a female superstar? Charlotte Flair's arrival was treated as a full event in and of itself. She will make a massive impact on SmackDown. And with the likes of Naomi and Becky Lynch ready to face her, the impact will be brutal and wildly entertaining.
TNA Impact Wrestling
Allie and Braxton Sutter vs. Sienna & KM
The women weren't in action until Sienna forced Allie's hand by trying to knock Sutter away from the apron to prevent a tag, but Allie managed to tag herself into the match swiftly, and went for a crossbody. However, Sienna caught her midair. But then (oh, Impact) she tripped on her own tag partner, dropping Allie on top of herself and letting Allie pick up a truly bizarre win for herself and Sutter.
After the match, Sienna attacked Allie and Laurel Van Ness came out and attacked poor Allie with her shoe to close the segment,
Winners: Allie and Braxton Sutter
Rosemary vs. Santana Garrett
Garrett got some early offense in, avoiding Rosemary's strikes with speed and agility, but Rosemary soon got things well under hand. A missed splash from the ropes allowed Garrett to briefly take the match back, but Rosemary hit Garrett with a wicked clothesline and caught her in a submission hold that nearly ended the match until Garrett desperately reached the ropes. Rosemary went for a Red Wedding, but Garrett escaped. However, her luck ran out as Rosemary soon hit her finisher for the victory.
Garrett is always impressive, whether she is working matches for NXT or bruising it up on the indies. She was a welcome opponent for the still-entrancingly demonic Rosemary, who is miles above many talents around the world with her dedication to her character. Certainly, Rosemary is the shining light on Impact's otherwise disappointing overall roster. She, like the talent employed by Impact, deserves better than the lackluster storytelling Impact has delivered lately.
Commentary is still grating to listen to, in case you were wondering.
Ruby Riot vs. Kimberly Frankele (Kimber Lee)
After cutting a promo on Nikki Cross, Ruby Riot faced the athlete formerly known as Kimber Lee and took early control of the match despite Nikki Cross' belligerent antics at ringside. Frankele managed to get some snappish offense in because of Riot's distraction, but it was Riot who soon prevailed with an enziguri.
Ruby Riot is clearly being groomed to be a top babyface in NXT, and with good reason. She has a fun look and plenty of charisma. Right now, all she lacks is proper writing. If she keeps saying, "we riot" in every promo, it will get old very quickly. However, she and Nikki Cross seem to be building a fun rivalry with their clashing personalities, and I look forward to seeing where they take it.
Winner: Ruby Riot
WWE Total Divas
This week's episode was all about getting what you want.
Trinity has an idea for a new entrance, an all-out character overhaul. She runs the "Feel the glow" idea by everyone's favorite stick in the mud Mark Carrano, and he says they need to get the idea approved before they can take it any further. Brie joins her husband on the road, wanting to spend more time with him and yes, get to making that baby they both want. Meanwhile, Renee Young and Dean Ambrose are on vacation. Renee Young hopes they get to do some romantic stuff, as one would. And Eva Marie and Maryse are...shopping. Eva likes Maryse because they don't have any beef. Yet.
Creative gives Naomi the go-ahead to try out her new entrance, and she really wants to get it right. She and Nattie discuss it. Eva Marie and Maryse...continue to shop. Really hard-hitting television. Elsewhere, Brie has trouble finding Wi-Fi in her and Bryan's hotel, and Nikki has to reschedule a conference call. Nikki thinks Brie spends too much time with her husband, because family first isn't a thing anymore, apparently. Maryse and Eva do a photoshoot themed after Baywatch (shout out to The Rock). However, they are both tired and begin to bicker, and Eva suggests they just leave and eat. Maryse is on a cleanse and the hunger is making her irritable. So, they eat. Huzzah!
Dean and Renee go out to a romantic dinner, but Renee can tell he is not having fun. The restaurant is very uppity, and they don't even serve whiskey. So, later on, she takes him to a dive bar so he can enjoy himself as well. Nikki and Brie talk and Brie tells Bryan she needs to focus on herself as well as him, and the sisters do a photoshoot.
At SmackDown, Naomi finally gets to test out her new entrance, and is nervous they won't like it. However, she is asked to run it again and again, and she hopes that means the idea will work. Spoiler alert: it does.
This section includes recaps of matches from around the world in various lesser-known independent promotions throughout the week.
Warriors of Wrestling
Match: Nikki Addams vs. Davienne (WOW Women's Title match)
Winner: Nikki Addams
Ring of Honor
Match: Karen Q vs. Kelly Klein
Winner: Karen Q
Match: Hiroyo Matsumoto & Jungle Kyona vs. HZK & Io Shirai (Goddesses of Stardom Title match)
Winner: Hiroyo Matsumoto & Jungle Kyona
Match: Martina vs. Ayesha Ray
MATCH OF THE WEEK:
Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax
Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax
Despite the botches, Flair and Jax told a compelling story of a dominating force finding out that she is in fact fallible. Flair's furious desperation as she realized Jax simply would not fall to her was enthralling to witness, and though she still has a long way to go, Jax's monstrous presence is a welcome addition to any division. She is hitting her stride on Raw, and will get a shot at gold sooner rather than later.
WOMEN OF THE WEEK:
Charlotte Flair/Alexa Bliss
Charlotte Flair/Alexa Bliss
The biggest pops of the Superstar Shake-Up belonged to Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair. The two former champions were treated like absolute stars when they made the switches to Raw and SmackDown, respectively, and were greeted by the crowds as such. Alexa Bliss was given an ovation and her promo had the crowd reacting to every word she said. Charlotte's entrance had SmackDown audiences salivating almost as much as the eager-faced Becky Lynch. The women, despite imperfect booking, are a real draw for crowds now. Let's hope WWE capitalizes accordingly.
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!