Women's Wrestling Weekly Recap & Review: 6/11/2017 | Smark Out Moment

Women's Wrestling Weekly Recap & Review: 6/11/2017

Posted by Callum Wiggins Sunday, June 11, 2017
Welcome to another edition of WOMEN'S WRESTLING WEEKLY—a rundown of the events which have transpired in the world of women's professional wrestling over the past several days not just with the Superstars on WWE programming, but with TNA's Knockouts, Lucha Underground's luchadoras, and even a glimpse at the women on the independent circuit.

logo for Divas Debrief Women Wrestlers weekly rundown

WWE Extreme Rules

Sasha Banks & Rich Swann vs. Alicia Fox & Noam Dar

Admittedly, this mixed tag team match at Extreme Rules had been built up effectively, just in feuds nobody cares too much about. Don't get me wrong, it's great to see Sasha Banks back on PPV after weeks in the wilderness following WrestleMania 33, but it is quite clear from her on-off feud with Alicia Fox that the company have no major plans for her at the moment. If nothing else, both performers added some much-needed variety to a Rich Swann/Noam Dar feud that has been stretched wafer thin at this point.

The match was decent, but won't live long in the memory. Highlights included the adorably sickening hug tags between Dar and Fox, Fox demonstrating why she remains one of the most underrated performers in either women's division, and Banks with a diving double knee drop to Dar from the top rope to the floor. No matter the importance of the match, you can't seem to stop Banks from taking high-risk spots, although I do wonder why women are allowed to attack men in mixed tag matches when the reverse is illegal?

Hometown boy Swann picked up the pinfall with a picture perfect Phoenix Splash, as he and Banks celebrated with some post-match dancing. Inoffensive match, kept the crowd engaged and had a satisfying conclusion, which is more than I can say for the other women's match on this show...

Winner: Sasha Banks & Rich Swann
Rating: 2.5/5


WWE Women's Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley

I guess it is fitting that undoubtedly the worst segment in WWE this year was immediately followed by arguably the worst match in WWE this year. The horrendous 'Bayley: This Is Your Life' trainwreck took all the life out of a rivalry that had been building quite nicely up to that point. And in the end, this match was another stake in the heart of Bayley's character - it can't be long until last rites are required. If you want to read more about my thoughts on Bayley's disastrous decline in the last year, click here.

Before covering this match, I can't neglect the terrible promo Bayley cut prior to it. A WWE microphone clearly isn't the hugging type, because whenever Bayley goes near one it lashes out. This corny drivel about watching tapes of Tommy Dreamer and Steve Blackman to learn how to use a kendo stick (maybe she should have watched Alexa Bliss caning her ass week after week on Raw instead?) and how seeing Wonder Woman reminded her why she became a wrestler was just awful. The audible boos from a section of the audience was a stark display of how far Bayley has fallen in the eyes of many fans.

The historic 'Kendo Stick on a Pole' match was bad even by item on a pole match standards, which don't exactly have the best track record for classic encounters. The story of the match essentially surrounded Bliss goading Bayley into climbing for the stick before putting her down, both women fighting over the stick (no euphemism I assure you) in the first few minutes before Bayley grabbed hold of the weapon.

With the fallen champion in the corner and Bayley in full control of the kendo stick, she savored the moment… and savored it… and savored it some more… before Bliss got up, speared her, and then beat Bayley black and blue with the weapon. Despite a brief reprieve with a Bayley-To-Belly, Bliss quickly recovered with more caning, hit a DDT and scored the easy, definitive victory.

A downright terrible match that accomplished nothing but make Bayley look like a harmless fool that didn't belong in a wrestling ring. The ease in which Bliss vanquished her rival makes it seem like this feud is mercifully over at this point, but how long will Bayley find herself outside of the title picture?

Winner (and still Raw Women's Champion): Alexa Bliss
Rating: 0.5/5


WWE Raw

Raw Women's Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax

No rest for the wicked it seems. Fresh off her dominant win over Bayley, Alexa Bliss was forced to defend her Raw Women's Championship the following night against Nia Jax. WWE had sewn the seeds for an alliance between the two, but seemingly chose to renege on those plans as the powerful Jax chased her one-on-one opportunity for the gold. Bliss, understandably terrified of this prospect, turned to Mickie James and Dana Brooke for support against her challenger, and was left wanting.

However, Raw seems to be on a mission to make all their female babyfaces look like complete idiots, as James and Brooke made their way to ringside to watch Bliss receive the beating of a lifetime. The champion was tossed around the ring by an irate Jax, escaping to ringside and at the feet of the spectating party. Bliss, cunning and opportunistic as ever, provoked both with punches and got attacked in return. This ingenious move caused the referee to disqualify Jax for their interference. Not for the first time, Alexa Bliss escaped with her title intact.

That's more than can be said for James and Brooke after they suffered the wrath of Nia Jax after the bell. Jax squashed both with ease in the ring, the exclamation point a Samoan Drop on Brooke. The crowd sat on their hands throughout the segment, and I can't say I blame them. This was the latest in a series of low moments for the Raw women's division, as they struggle for both time and relevancy compared to the thriving SmackDown division. While I'm not exactly convinced yet about the potential of a Bliss/Jax feud over the title, at least it is something different that might stir more intrigue in the division.

Winner (and still Raw Women's Champion): Alexa Bliss
Rating: 1/5


WWE SmackDown Live

Naomi, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, Carmella & Tamina Snuka

SmackDown devoted the first half an hour of the show to their competitive women's division, compared to the ten minutes Raw afforded their female superstars. I didn't have to write that, but I thought it was worth mentioning straight away.

Shane McMahon came out to reveal the new women's Money in the Bank briefcase, which looks pretty on fleek if I do say so myself (that's what the kids these days are saying right?). While I'm still not thrilled about Shane always needing to be present to highlight how awesome the SmackDown women's division is, in this case it was justified. James Ellsworth continued to excel as an irritating gnat in every segment he's involved in, while SmackDown Women's Champion Naomi said she was disappointed not to be able to compete in this historic match.

Then, the jazzy tunes of Lana played, and the Ravishing Russian made her much anticipated debut on SmackDown Live. The crowd chanted her name as she entered the ring, asking for a spot in the Money in the Bank match. All the more experienced wrestlers in the ring scoffed at that notion, but none so boisterously as Naomi. I hate to say it, but she was downright aggravating in how she talked down to Lana. I think Naomi believes she's better on the mic than she actually is - she's not bad by any means, but she's no Alexa Bliss. Her questioning of Lana's ability just served to turn the crowd on her (the complete opposite intention) before the Russian debutante huffed backstage.


What followed was a six-woman tag team match, because we haven't seen one of those recently. Actually, we saw this exact match at Backlash less than two weeks ago. This recreation was good, but sloppy in places. Becky Lynch in particular was uncharacteristically messy, and it still feels weird to see Charlotte cooperating with the babyfaces. If it remained a reluctant alliance against the Welcoming Committee, that would be one thing, but after watching her rule the roost on Raw as the domineering queen, her camaraderie with Naomi and Lynch appears unnatural.

Naomi got the hot tag and started cleaning house. Her athleticism and flexibility in short bursts like this are always exciting to watch, as few other women on the roster attempt springboards and flying moves in the same frequency as SmackDown Women's Champion. But, before she could finish off her opponents, Lana returned to ringside and knocked Naomi down behind the referee's back, allowing Tamina to lay her out with a superkick and score another win for the Welcoming Committee.

Later in the night, Naomi demanded a match with Lana from Shane McMahon, saying she would even put the title on the line to get it. I don't see why she wanted to throw that in there, but as this week has demonstrated above all else, babyfaces aren't the sharpest tools in the box. Shane agreed to her demand, and so we will see Naomi defending her championship against Lana at Money in the Bank. If I were a betting man, I'd say we're about to enter a Ravishing Reign come June 18.

Winners: Natalya, Carmella & Tamina Snuka
Rating: 2.5/5


TNA Impact Wrestling

TNA Knockouts Championship: Rosemary vs. Laurel Van Ness

I make no effort to hide my admiration for Rosemary, who is one of if not the most captivating women's wrestlers in the world right now. The current Knockouts Champion's vicious streak, excellent promo skills and commitment to the character make her one of the key reasons to tune into Impact Wrestling every week (and there are precious few of those). Similarly, her challenger in this match Laurel Van Ness is also fully committed to her character, but whether we need a crazed jilted bride gimmick in professional wrestling I'm not so sure.

This very short match did build the tension between Rosemary and her opponent for Slammiversary, the GFW Women's Champion Sienna, but did little else besides. It was essentially a few punches and kicks in the middle of a screaming match, with Rosemary rolling up Van Ness to retain her title.

After the bell, Van Ness and Sienna attacked Rosemary from behind in classic heel fashion. Allie made the save using a rudimentary kendo stick (I guess they make the genuine versions in Singapore not India), and although she got beaten down as well, the odd tandem of Rosemary and Allie were able to clear the ring eventually. Rosemary stared down her savior, dropping the weapon at Allie's feet, and the intrigue surrounding this unusual alliance will continue.

Winner (and still TNA Knockouts Champion): Rosemary
Rating: 1/5


Lucha Underground

Lucha Underground Trios Championships: Drago, Aerostar & Fenix vs. The Reptile Tribe

While the regular luchadoras of Catrina, Sexy Star and in particular Taya were influential throughout this episode of Lucha Underground, this was the only official match involving their female athletes. Well, at least at first. Kobra Moon led her fearsome tribe of reptile warriors to compete for the Trios Championships. Despite their imprisonment of Drago prior the Season 3 break, he was back with his partners Aerostar and Fenix to defend the titles.

However, that reunion did not last long. After some typically acrobatic action in the early stages of the match, Aerostar was taken down by Pindar with a front face driver after being blinded by his partner Drago's green mist. Kobra Moon then lured Drago to the other side of the ring to make the tag, before he splashed down on his former partner and retained/captured the Trios Championships with his newfound allies. This Russo-rific booking wouldn't fly in most wrestling companies, but this kind of thing is fairly commonplace for Lucha Underground. The question is, now the Reptile Tribe have sunk their claws into the Trios Championships, who will be able to shed them of the gold?

Winners (and new Lucha Underground Trios Champions): The Reptile Tribe
Rating: 2.5/5


WWE NXT

Peyton Royce /w Billie Kay vs. Sarah Logan

I am a big fan of the Iconic duo of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay - they play the smarmy, egotistical heels that watch each other's backs perfectly, and will make excellent additions to the main roster eventually. For now, I'm more than happy to watch them on NXT, especially if they continue to improve in the ring as they have been lately. Royce was in action against Sarah Logan, the former Crazy Mary Dobson, so the potential was there for a strong showing for both.

This was a good match, carried almost entirely by Royce which was refreshing to see. Logan did have her moments, including quick jabs, chop combinations and the intense stare she gave Royce throughout. But, she's still developing in the ring, with some of her offense a little uncoordinated, and maybe she could tone down the screaming a little bit (with Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot already on the roster it's a little overkill). But this was a showcase for Peyton Royce, and she delivered in impressive fashion.

From her excellent roundhouse kick to an adapted Three Amigos, Royce was crisper in the ring than I ever recall seeing her before. But what stood out to me most was her character work. The complaints after every two count, the disrespectful cover by pressing down on Logan's face, the frustrated slaps when she couldn't put her opponent away. It was as flawless as the Iconic pair proclaim themselves to be. Royce picked up the emphatic win with a beautiful Bridging Fisherman's Suplex. The duo from Down Under might be on their way up to the main roster soon with performances like that.

Winner: Peyton Royce
Rating: 3/5

International Corner:

This section includes recaps of matches from around the world in various lesser-known independent promotions throughout the week.

Women of Honor

Match: Kelly Klein vs. Jenny Rose
Winner: Kelly Klein
Rating: 1/5

Usually I wouldn't give too much commentary for these matches, but I felt I had to for this bout because it was absolutely… horrendous. Sloppy strikes from start to finish, lackluster maneuvers, botching simple spots like small packages and slamming a head against a turnbuckle. This was one of the longest women's matches this week and one of the hardest to get through. If this was your first exposure to Kelly Klein and Jenny Rose, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was their debut performance, not two women with combined in-ring experience of 17 years. Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley was worse, but at least they had the courtesy to cut it short.


Ice Ribbon

Match: Akane Fujita vs. Kyuri
Winner: Akane Fujita

Match: Miyako Matsumoto & Masaki Ikeda vs. Matsuya Uno & Shigeyuki Kawahara
Winner: Miyako Matsumoto & Masaki Ikeda

Match: Tsukasa Fujimoto & Arisa Nakajima vs. Maya Yukihi & Maruko Nagasaki
Winner: Tsukasa Fujimoto & Arisa Nakajima

Match: Hiragi Kurumi & Satsuki Totoro vs. Hamuko Hoshi & Rina Yamashita
Winner: Hamuko Hoshi & Rina Yamashita

Match: Tsukushi vs Akane Fujita
Winner: Tsukushi

Match: ICE Championship: Risa Sera vs Tequila Says
Winner: Risa Sera

German Wrestling Federation

Match: Shanna vs. Laura Wellings
Winner: Shanna

Match: Wesna vs. Kadettin Kati
Winner: Wesna

Match: Alpha Female vs. Martina
Winner: Alpha Female

Match: Audrey Bride vs. Bianca
Winner: Audrey Bride

Match: Xia Brookside vs. Lana Austin
Winner: Xia Brookside

Match: Martina & Shanna vs. Alpha Female & Wesna
Winner: Martina & Shanna


MATCH OF THE WEEK: 
Peyton Royce vs. Sarah Logan (NXT)

Thanks in no small part to what I feel is the best in-ring showing of Peyton Royce's career to date and signs of promise from the young Sarah Logan, this stands out in an admittedly poor week for the standard of women's wrestling, especially in WWE. NXT has a strong reputation for developing outstanding female superstars, and both Royce and Logan have the potential to follow this pattern.

WOMAN OF THE WEEK: 
Lana

Peyton Royce was a close runner-up here, but it isn't often someone is able to get a title shot on their first night on SmackDown Live. Or maybe it is… it is the Land of Opportunity if you didn't already know. Lana has gone from chair dancing vignettes to one match away from SmackDown's biggest prize, and it only took her one show to do it. Naomi might be preparing to snatch another contender bald, but she dare not underestimate the Ravishing Russian, or Lana might just snatch her title.

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!


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THIS POST WRITTEN BY: CALLUM WIGGINS

Callum Wiggins hails from Essex in the United Kingdom. He recently graduated from the University of York with a degree in History and has been a fan of professional wrestling since 2002. Outside of wrestling, he is also a fan of Arsenal FC and enjoys video games, darts, and Formula One. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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