Women's Wrestling Weekly Recap & Review: 6/18/2017 | Smark Out Moment

Women's Wrestling Weekly Recap & Review: 6/18/2017

Posted by Callum Wiggins Saturday, June 17, 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


Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax & Emma vs. Sasha Banks, Mickie James & Dana Brooke

Can you have too much of a good thing? In Alexa Bliss, WWE has discovered a superstar who is supremely confident on the microphone and oozing with charisma. But, and I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I'm kind of over her coming out week after week to talk down the women's locker room. Maybe that's the point - she is a heel after all, and if anyone is going to be performing that role, I'm glad it's here.

There are bigger fishes to fry in this segment, as it smacked hard of the 'Divas Revolution' trope of 'look at all the women we have, let's put them all out in one segment'. Bliss came out to say she didn't need to defend her title now, Nia Jax came out saying she deserved a fair opportunity following last week's non-finish. Ever the master manipulator, Bliss blamed that on the presence of Mickie James and Dana Brooke, who too came out to talk about how they deserved title shots and trying to turn Jax against Bliss. A wild Emma returned from her most recent injury to steal the spotlight, before Sasha Banks returned to the title scene by instigating a six-way brawl.

That's a lot to accomplish in less than ten minutes, but it was predictable and lazy. RAW just doesn't seem capable of devoting time and resources into making more than one compelling women's feud as SmackDown has done in the past. It is good to revolve everything around the champion, but this was an uninspired approach that led to the inevitably contrived six-woman tag team match.

The match itself was fine, albeit very short as we joined the match halfway in. Because, of course you can't fit one full women's match on a three-hour long show. Sadly, Dana Brooke just isn't improving between the ropes - even in her role getting beaten down by the heels any resistance she put up looked amateur. Mickie James made the most of the few moments she was afforded, scoring a sweet superkick to Nia Jax before diving onto the giant from the top rope to the floor.

Emma attempted to make a tag after Sasha Banks started to build momentum, only for Alexa Bliss to drop down and walk out of the match. It is intriguing placing Bliss in a situation where she has no allies, as it opens up the potential for many matches. The first of these seems to be Sasha Banks, who forced the returning Emma to tap out with the Bank Statement. Bliss vs. Banks is a fresh match-up that could lead to some excellent matches. While I feel Banks is yearning for a heel turn to realize her full potential again, there is no questioning her ability in the ring.

Winners: Sasha Banks, Mickie James & Dana Brooke
Rating: 2/5

Dishonorable Mention 'That' Bayley Interview

It seems every week I'm finding something more to despise about Bayley, which is a feeling I never thought I would have discussing her. But her cringe-inducing interview with Corey Graves on RAW was another in a long series of low points. Bayley talked about how she never became a wrestler to inflict pain on others, but to put smiles on people's faces. Well I'm not smiling Bayley because I know you should be so much more. She then asked Graves for a hug as she continued to roleplay as a six-year-old girl in the body of a fully grown woman. Rumor has it WWE are interested in a love story between these two. Just no.

WWE SmackDown Live

Naomi vs. Tamina Snuka

With Money in the Bank on the horizon, SmackDown Women's Champion Naomi was looking to build momentum before her title defence against the debuting Lana, and avenge her tag team loss last week to Tamina Snuka. Tamina is someone who I feel has been overlooked in the past for title opportunities - despite being with WWE since 2010, she has only had three championship shots. Injuries haven't helped her cause, and she turns 40 next year, making the next few months crucial to her chances of winning a title before she retires.

This match was a textbook demonstration of how to book an imposing heel against a gutsy champion. Admittedly a little wooden in places (and I could have done without the 'We want Rusev' chants at the start), but it told a good story. Tamina was rarely if ever knocked off her feet, despite Naomi's well-placed kicks to the head, and grounded the champion for the vast majority of the match. I have in the past been critical of Tamina's wrestling ability, but if anyone was holding back the match from going from okay to good it was Naomi, who seemed to be over thinking a few spots during the contest.

One mistake from Tamina cost her, as she was caught on the top rope with a great step-up enziguri from Naomi, leading to her being pinned after a split-legged moonsault. Naomi got the much-needed win, but she didn't have time to celebrate. Lana, who had been watching from ringside during the match, attacked Naomi from behind and slammed her down with a sit-out spinebuster. Personally, I wouldn't have had them touch until Money in the Bank, as that would have added to the intrigue of how Lana could possibly beat Naomi. But, it was a message to the champion, and I still predict the Ravishing Russian will walk away with gold around her waist at Money in the Bank.

Winner: Naomi
Rating: 2.5/5

Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya

Attention then turned to the first-ever Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Charlotte Flair is one of the clear favorites to capture the briefcase, while veteran Natalya represents more of a dark horse. Both though will be desperate to make this historic bout on Sunday something to behold, as they tried with this match. Charlotte and Natalya have a longstanding rivalry stretching back to 2014 in the NXT Women's Champion tournament finals, which is one of the greatest matches in the history of the yellow brand.

With Becky Lynch and Carmella watching backstage (in the typically uncomfortable 'half facing the screen' pose) Charlotte and Natalya put on an exhibition. While far from the best outing against one another, after a few of the diabolical matches in recent weeks this was a welcome sight. Charlotte still seems unnatural as a babyface, but I think she is still incorporating her self-indulgent and corner-cutting methods into matches, just now getting cheered for it. Natalya looked in control as the heel, Charlotte produced another picture perfect moonsault, and several near-falls had the audience invested.

Unfortunately, this excellent build-up work was let down by a very underwhelming finish. Natural Selection shouldn't be Charlotte's pinfall submission move - it barely registers as a maneuver, let alone a finishing maneuver. There are many moves she employs that would be far more effective - the corkscrew moonsault, the spear, the running big boot. The worst part was in this one she didn't even hit it correctly, which took a lot of sheen off a technically proficient match. Charlotte's win gives her an edge going into Sunday's ladder match, but I'm still banking on Carmella to sneak in and become the first Miss Money in the Bank.

Winners: Charlotte
Rating: 3/5

TNA Impact Wrestling

Nothing to report from Impact Wrestling in India this week, other than GFW Women's Champion Sienna, along with her favorite jilted bride Laurel Van Ness, challenged Allie to a tag team match including TNA Knockouts Champion Rosemary. Rosemary has come to Allie's aid often in the last few weeks, so hopefully this tag match can build the anticipation for Slammiversary's title unification match between her and Sienna.

Lucha Underground

Lucha Underground was also bereft of women's wrestling this week, as both the Beautiful Brenda and Kobra Moon were on managerial duties in the opening week of the Cueto Cup Tournament. Still, we will see some of the talented luchadoras involved in the tournament soon, with Taya, Mariposa and Sexy Star all involved.


NXT Women's Championship: Asuka vs. Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riot

A rematch from NXT Takeover: Chicago, the all-conquering Asuka defended her NXT Women's Championship against both Nikki Cross and Ruby Riot in a Triple Threat Elimination match. This arguably played into the hands of the undefeated champion, as she would have to be beaten to lose her coveted title, something nobody has accomplished in nearly 200 matches.

I admit to being hypercritical about their match in Chicago, but this was a big improvement regardless. But first off, NXT crowd - WAKE UP! It's becoming a real problem that four shows are taped in front of the same audience as by the start of the third they're pretty much dead in their seats. It really hampers the viewing experience on the Network when it feels like the crowd would rather be anywhere else.

From the outset, the character work was exceptional. Nikki Cross is crazed, but in the best way possible, and I can't help admire how that unstable nature permeates every aspect of her performance. Asuka was supremely confident throughout, almost cocky, which is what you'd expect of someone who feels completely unbeatable right now. Ruby Riot, who has had less time to develop in NXT, felt like the odd one out in this scenario, but she is undoubtedly very popular with the crowd (even if that crowd is half-dead).

Highlights included Riot's variety of kicks which were visually very impressive, Asuka's ability to control the pace as and how she pleased, and Cross' erratic offense. The screaming by Asuka in particular was somewhat distracting throughout, but I think it would be less offensive if the audience had reacted to anything. Seriously, the crowd was a real issue throughout, as I thought this was a step up from their previous encounter and they got zero reaction for their efforts. The wrestlers deserved better than these spoilt regulars.

Riot was the first eliminated by a vicious swinging neckbreaker by Cross from the top rope, leaving the deranged Sanity member and the champion to square off. However, we didn't get a conclusion to this encounter, as Asuka and Cross fought all the way backstage in their pursuit of taking the other out. After a No Contest was called, the fighting continued anywhere but the ring, including steel doors, a water cooler and finally Cross diving through Asuka and a table near the commentary booth. With no definitive victor ever determined between Asuka and Cross, it's safe to say this should be the match at Takeover: Brooklyn III. With Ember Moon waiting in the wings however, there are several appealing options on offer.

Winner: No Contest
Rating: 3.5/5

Also huge props to NXT for allowing a significant portion of this show to not only this Women's Championship match, but for promoting upcoming matches for both Sonya Deville and Ember Moon. WWE's promo packages are almost always of the highest quality, so it was great to see it being put to work to highlight these performers.

International Corner:

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

Ice Ribbon

Match: Azure Revolution vs. Kyuri & Matsuya Uno
Winner: Azure Revolution

Match: Ryota Hama & Satsuki Totoro vs. Miyako Matsumoto & Tatsuhiko Yoshino
Winner: Ryota Hama & Satsuki Totoro

Match: Arisa Nakajima & Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. Akane Fujita & Rina Yamashita
Winner: Arisa Nakajima & Tsukasa Fujimoto

Match: Maruko Nagasaki vs. Tequila Saya
Winner: Maruko Nagasaki

Match: International Ribbon Tag Team Championships: Hiragi Kurumi & Tsukushi vs. Hamuko Hoshi & Ibuki
Winner (and new champions): Hiragi Kurumi & Tsukushi


Match: Hanan vs. Hina & Rina
Winner: Time Limit Draw

Match: AZM & Ruaka vs. Hetzza & Starlight Kid
Winner: AZM & Ruaka

Match: Rebel & Shanna vs. Hiromi Mimura & Konami
Winner: Rebel & Shanna

Match: Hiroyo Matsumoto & Kaori Yoneyama vs. Jungle Kyona & Natsuko Tora
Winner: Hiroyo Matsumoto & Kaori Yoneyama

Match: Wonder of Stardom Championship: Mayu Iwatani vs. Hana Kimura
Winner (and still champion): Mayu Iwatani

Match: Io Shirai vs. HZK
Winner: Io Shirai


Match: La Jarochita, La Vaquerita & Skadi vs. La Comandante, Metalica & Tiffany
Winner: La Jarochita, La Vaquerita & Skadi

Match: Estrellita, Marcela & Princesa Sugehit vs. Dalys la Caribena, La Amapola & Zeuxis
Winner: Estrellita, Marcela & Princesa Sugehit

Asuka vs. Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riot (NXT)

For the second week in a row, NXT earns this prestigious award. Despite the dreadful crowd and SmackDown producing a couple of strong matches this week, Asuka's latest title defence had a lot of standout moments and plenty of exceptional character work. The inconclusive ending followed by the extensive brawl between Asuka and Nikki Cross was great at building anticipation for a long-awaited singles match between the two over the gold.

Nikki Cross

It was close between her triple threat rivals, as well as Charlotte Flair and Tamina Snuka who also had good performances, but Nikki Cross secured the week's most memorable moment with her cross body sending her and Asuka through a table on NXT. Nikki Cross has been Sanity's standout performer with her unpredictable nature and unbridled viciousness. Although Ember Moon is a more standout wrestler, Cross' character work and intensity means she should be Asuka's next rival over the NXT Women's Championship.

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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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. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter.


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