Women's Wrestling Weekly Recap & Review #229 | Smark Out Moment

Women's Wrestling Weekly Recap & Review #229

Posted by Callum Wiggins Saturday, April 20, 2019
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 Impact Wrestling's Knockouts, the Women of Honor, and even a glimpse at the women on the independent circuit.

Well, it's another hectic week as the fallout from WrestleMania 35 continues. This week, we breakdown the results of the Superstar Shake-up on the Raw and SmackDown women's rosters, we witness a Women's Championship match and a heartfelt farewell on NXT, and a lot of Knockouts action on Impact Wrestling. Let's dive straight in.

logo for Divas Debrief Women Wrestlers weekly rundown

WWE Monday Night Raw

The short...

The Superstar Shake-up wreaks havoc on Raw's women's division.

The long...

It's that time of year again when Raw and SmackDown switch things up and randomly trade members of their roster (even though the last through months have seen brand boundaries broken with extreme regularity). By the end of the show, Naomi, Zelina Vega and Lacey Evans had pledged allegiance to the red brand, and with Becky Lynch bouncing between shows as the undisputed 'Champ Champ', there was the opportunity for cautious optimism. Then SmackDown happened and it all went to shit.

The first new woman to arrive on Raw was Zelina Vega alongside her associate Andrade. Putting her trusty hurricanrana to good use, Vega helped him defeat the Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor on his first night in.

Later, we saw Bayley trying to reach her partner Sasha Banks by phone, but The Boss' self-banishment did not end here. Instead, Bayley found a temporary ally in Naomi to take on The IIconics in tag team action. Both Naomi and The Usos made the switch from SmackDown, so kudos for WWE for not keeping that married couple apart. And The IIconics are now firmly entrenched in WWE's booking of any tag team champions. By that, I of course mean that they handily lost to the thrown-together team of Bayley and Naomi in an immediately forgettable match. They didn't even do their pose, which is half their act.

Towards the close of the show, Becky Lynch made light work of Ruby Riott and the rest of The Riott Squad, forcing the leader to tap out to the Dis-arm-her. Following the quick victory and a typically fiery babyface promo, Lynch was challenged by first Natalya and then Lacey Evans. You know what that means? Let's have a match! The Sassy Southern Belle held her own against Natalya, surviving a long time in the Sharpshooter before connecting with The Women's Right. A flamboyant moonsault that seemed to legitimately crush Natalya's chest followed for Evans to be named the next contender for Becky's belts.

So following both sides of the Superstar Shake-up, here's how Team Red is shaping up:

  • Alexa Bliss
  • Alicia Fox
  • Becky Lynch
  • Dana Brooke
  • Lacey Evans
  • Naomi
  • Natalya
  • Nia Jax
  • Ronda Rousey
  • Ruby Riott
  • Sarah Logan
  • Sasha Banks
  • Tamina Snuka
  • Zelina Vega

Verdict? Oh dear.

While there is certainly plenty of wrestling talent in this roster with Becky Lynch, Natalya and Ruby Riott and a top-notch talker in Alexa Bliss, there are a lot of question marks. Nia Jax is out for a long time with two ACL tears, making Tamina pretty much pointless, while Ronda Rousey, Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox's futures are all up in the air right now. Lacey Evans is an unproven commodity, Zelina Vega is mainly a manager and Dana Brooke's been booked into oblivion. Plus, you have to imagine Sarah Logan will soon be repackaged as Gertrude as part of The Viking Experience.

Overall, it's not looking good for the Raw women's roster, but I hope they exceed my expectations.

Grade: C

WWE SmackDown Live

The short...

SmackDown's women roster is stacked after the Superstar Shake-up.

The long...

With the Raw roster arguably wrecked by the Superstar Shake-up, would SmackDown be there to capitalize on the scraps? Well they did that and then some. By the end of the show, their roster had expanded to include Ember Moon, Bayley, Kairi Sane, Mickie James and Liv Morgan, while Paige is back on our screens as a manager. This projects a bright future for the blue brand going forward.

Our first sight of women's wrestling on SmackDown featured two superstars who stayed put following the shake-up - Charlotte Flair and Carmella. With the roles reversed from last year's feud, with Flair the imperious heel and Carmella a plucky underdog, it was a far more enjoyable experience. Flair won because of course she did with the Figure-Eight - good to see Carmella getting a big push following that WrestleMania battle royal victory…

Then, all the women happened. Becky 2 Belts was out first to extend her 'fight all comers' message to SmackDown Live. This brought out Ember Moon to make her presence known, followed by the shocking arrival of Bayley, breaking The Boss & Hug Connection and the hearts of shippers throughout the WWE Universe. The IIconics arrived to cause some ears to bleed, before Paige cut them mercifully short to introduce her new team. There was no Absolution reunion despite the arrival of Fire & Desire, as instead Paige introduced the new pairing of Asuka and Kairi Sane!

The union of The Empress of Tomorrow and The Pirate Princess already sends the tag team division to another level (while unquestionably raising more eyebrows about WWE's attitude towards race and tag teams), and we got a glimpse into this with the eight-woman tag that followed a short brawl. Bayley, Moon, Asuka and Sane defeated The IIconics and Fire & Desire in a fine match, showing us how effective this partnership could be moving forward.

So now this is the SmackDown women's division following the Superstar Shake-up:

  • Asuka
  • Bayley
  • Becky Lynch
  • Billie Kay
  • Carmella
  • Charlotte Flair
  • Ember Moon
  • Kairi Sane
  • Lana
  • Liv Morgan
  • Mickie James
  • Paige (non-wrestler)
  • Peyton Royce
  • Sonya Deville

Verdict? Straight fire.

SmackDown's roster is overflowing with potential. Just look at some of those names - Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Kairi Sane, Bayley, Ember Moon… the possibilities for great matches are boundless. Plus Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville are improving every week, Mickie James is a wily veteran, Carmella's a fun character, plenty of people seem to find the IIconics entertaining, and Liv Morgan has a chance to stand out on her own. The only question is, with SmackDown Live only a two-hour show, how are they going to have time to showcase this talent consistently?

Overall, the SmackDown side just took a huge step up in quality, and FOX will be home to plenty of great women's matches soon.

Grade: A-


The short...

The Pirate Princess is pushed off the plank by the vindictive Shayna Baszler.

The long...

The main event of NXT was an opportunity with a big consequence at stake - Shayna Baszler defended the NXT Women's Championship against her longest, greatest rival, Kairi Sane, and if Sane did not capture the treasured title, she would never get another shot. As you already know Sane made her SmackDown debut the night before this was broadcast, that might prove to be a spoiler.

Even with the predictability of this result it still proved to be the finest women's match on WWE programming this week, as Sane is virtually incapable of putting on a bad match. She pushed The Queen of Spades to her limits with fast strikes and pure heart, but a misjudged dive from the apron to the floor proved her undoing.

Sane caught her arm on the barricade as she landed, and like a shark that smells blood, Baszler was on the attack. In fact, I can't help but think a shark would show more mercy. Through torturous joint manipulation, Baszler mangled Sane's arm until the doctors and Io Shirai came out to make a save. Shirai got Sane intentionally disqualified to end the assault, but Baszler was ruthless, stamping hard on Sane's injured arm as Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke forced Shirai to watch in tears.

A fittingly emotional end to a spectacular stint on NXT for the infinitely lovable Kairi Sane. Hopefully, her voyage to the main roster proves a bountiful one, but she leaves a treasure trove of memories and matches we can look back on either way.

Grade: A

Impact Wrestling

The short...

Fitting more women in feuds in 2 hours than WWE can manage to in 5.

The long...

The Knockouts Division was represented from top-to-bottom throughout this week's show, really putting into perspective the disparity between their women's storylines compared to the WWE roster. Think about it, I just listed 27 women across both Raw and SmackDown, and the only confirmed feud right now is Becky Lynch vs Lacey Evans (at a stretch you could say the formation of Asuka & Kairi Sane under Paige's stewardship, but I don't feel like being generous). Meanwhile, Impact Wrestling is making full use of the talented ladies on their roster.

First, Scarlett Bordeaux teamed with Fallah Bah to defeat The Desi Hit Squad in a tag team match, meaning the Smokeshow is still on a roll. Storyline No.1 - Bah and Bordeaux's friendship and Scarlett proving you can be sexy and strong.

Next, Rosemary and Kiera Hogan got into a brawl backstage. Instead of joining forces to take down Su Yung and her undead bridesmaids to avenge the dearly departed Allie, Rosemary's determination to take her down alone has led her to turn a potential ally in Hogan into an enemy after choking her out with a chain. Storyline No.2 - Rosemary seeks revenge against Su Yung and Kiera Hogan is caught in the crossfire.

Following this, Tessa Blanchard invades Gail Kim's husband's restaurant to cause a scene. Although Robert Irvine wasn't available, Blanchard disrespects and dumps food over the chefs and staff at the restaurant to send a message to Kim. In a post-restaurant interview, Kim says she sees a lot of the old, entitled her in Blanchard, and will teach her a lesson soon. Storyline No.3 - Tessa Blanchard and Gail Kim battle over respect.

Finally, Knockouts Champion Taya Valkyrie was defeated by the recently returned Madison Rayne after Jordynne Grace prevents her from walking away from the match. Storyline No.4 - Jordynne Grace continues to chase the Knockouts' Championship, and Madison Rayne is back in the hunt.

Four storylines developed in less than two hours - your move WWE.

Grade: A

International Corner

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


Match: Rhea Ripley vs. Kacy Catanzaro
Winner: Rhea Ripley

Beyond Wrestling

Match: Kris Statlander vs. Davienne
Winner: Kris Statlander

Match: Orange Cassidy vs. Kylie Rae (IndependentWrestling.tv Title)
Winner: Orange Cassidy

Ice Ribbon

Match: Hamuko Hoshi, Miyako Matsumoto & Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. Chabela, Ibuki Hoshi & Maya Yukihi
Winners: Hamuko Hoshi, Miyako Matsumoto & Tsukasa Fujimoto


Match: Hana Kimura vs. Kagetsu vs. Mayu Iwatani vs. Momo Watanabe vs. Jungle Kyona
Winners: Everyone except Jungle Kyona


Match: Lady Maravilla & Vanilla vs. Faby Apache & La Hiedra
Winners: Lady Maravilla & Vanilla

Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane

Once again, the NXT Women's Championship match takes the spotlight for this week. It was just another great encounter between the ultimate bully in Shayna Baszler and the most incredible gutsy babyface in Kairi Sane, with the added emotion that this was the last time The Pirate Princess would land on these shores due to her promotion to the SmackDown roster.

Kairi Sane

From winning the first-ever Mae Young Classic to temporarily halting the seemingly unstoppable reign of Shayna Baszler, Kairi Sane has been a truly elite performer in NXT and the fans took her into their hearts immediately. With Asuka by her side and Paige behind this new tandem, Sane can now take SmackDown and the women's tag team division by storm.

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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