The Royal Rumble was shit.
Shit match, shit Pay Per View, shit, shit, shit.
But we do not talk about the men-folk on this blog.
Four matches, fourteen women.
We’ll do this in order of importance.
Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax
Sasha and Nia closed the pre-show with a nice little tussle. Standard David and Goliath scenario, except Nia DOMINATED. And I am all for that.
Sasha made Nia look like a million dollars here, selling an injury and mounting believable offense while rag-dolling like the second coming of AJ Lee.
I’ll say it here and now; Nia Jax is $$$. And she got a much-needed rub in this match, she dominated and defeated the former RAW Women’s Champion.
In a short space of time these two progressed a story, sold an injury and worked on getting a monster over. What more could you ask for?
Sasha being away from the title scene right now is good for everybody, also.
Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella & Naomi vs Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and Natalya
The SmackDown girls opened the pre-show with a six-woman tag.
Mickie got quite the reaction here! First WWE match in SEVEN YEARS, welcome back Mickie
Standard six-woman tag as you’d expect, not so much furthering the stories between these women, more so planting the seeds.
Becky looked great, as always, she and Nattie have great in-ring chemistry and could both work a broom -so what these two can do together is something to behold.
The match started off with Nikki and Natalya in the ring, Nattie taunting Nikki and taking a slap in the chops as a result.
Quick tags broke the match up, although I did not see as much Mickie as I’d have liked, especially in her return to Pay Per View. On the plus side, she showed her vicious streak by hurling Becky into the barricade, hard. I winced.
Few more tags with back and forth action saw Naomi in the ring with the SmackDown Women’s Champion. A hard roundhouse and a split-legged moonsault later and NAOMI HAS PINNED THE WOMEN’S CHAMPION.
Naomi looked good on her return from injury, a plancha, a springboard and DID I MENTION SHE PINNED THE WOMEN’S CHAMPION?
This is great for Naomi. I don’t expect her to win the championship coming off of this but a decent championship program could lead to another, and then hopefully a title run, which she more than deserves.
Faces celebrated in the ring and Natalya carried off the defeated champion over her shoulder. It’s the small details. Entertaining match overall.
This match also made me realise that I want Nikki Bella vs Mickie James in singles action.
I think that dynamic would be a lot of fun; Nikki, a seasoned competitor and Mickie James, a women’s wrestling legend. It would give Nikki chance to learn from the best. I can see these two doing great things in the future. Make it happen, WWE!
Asuka (c) vs Nikki Cross vs Peyton Royce vs Billie Kay
NXT Women’s Championship
Saturday’s Fatal Four Way Championship match was met with mixed reviews, like many Asuka matches.
Let’s run through it and then discuss the finish.
First out was Cross, who shows Dean Ambrose how to do the “Lunatic” gimmick.
Royce and Kay were out next, together. They’re pushing this solid team dynamic, as we’ll see throughout the match.
Asuka is out last, recycling her TakeOver: Brooklyn gear. No idea why but I expected no new gear from her, the whole event didn’t have the same big-fight feel as its predecessors.
The match gets underway with Royce and Kay isolated by the two women of questionable sanity, before bailing and letting them go at it.
A brawl between the champ and Cross is teased before the Aussies join the fight and manage to catch the other two women unawares. Cross is dispatched but Asuka proves not so easy to take down. Our champ manages to nail a flying hip attack and an impressive cutter/clothesline combo on the Aussie pair. She’s left standing as Cross climbs back into the ring, offended that Asuka had seemingly forgotten about her. Brilliant. They square up and go at it, Cross gets the advantage and keeps Asuka grounded, albeit barely.
Asuka recovers and ejects the female member of SAnitY from the ring, following up with a kick attempt from the apron. Cross ducks and pulls Asuka down on the edge of the ring, face first. A nasty-looking bump to tip the scales in Cross’ favour, with another one on the way: Cross drags the prone champion and props her up above the arena floor and snaps off a huge spinning neckbreaker. Asuka is out for the count.
In a throwback to the NXT show before this TakeOver, Cross ascends the turnbuckle and throws herself onto Peyton and Billie to a nice pop.
Our tag team recovers quickly and whips Cross into the barricades before battling up towards to announce table.
Cross again gains the advantage and beats down the pair. She climbs on the announce table. Outta nowhere Billie Kay takes her down. Great spotlight work here, didn’t see her coming one bit.
This leads to the BIG SPOT of the match. Just…..just see for yourself:
The best friends then tail it back to the ring to try and put down the champ for good.
Back in the ring, Peyton and Billie overpower a groggy Women’s Champion.
Peyton nails an impressive knee strike on her while Billie has her in an elevated full nelson.
1! 2! … No!
Asuka stays in it.
What follows is a moment unlike we’ve ever seen in multi-man matches.
The two best friends have a touching moment in the middle of the ring, reassuring one another that they can do this. I’d root for them if I wasn’t such an Asuka mark.
They attempt another team-attack.
Peyton whips Asuka, who knocks Billie out of the ring with a kick from nowhere. She turns to Peyton, who OUT-KICKS ASUKA with a beautiful spin kick, then folds her up and hits a Widow’s Peak! Graves is sure it was over, as was I.
At the last second, Asuka bridges out in a manner reminiscent of Japanese legend Manami Toyota. It gave me chills.
Peyton is beside herself. She sits in the ring not knowing what to do.
She eventually goes to pick up Asuka, but is met with a stiff roundhouse kick, Kay makes a surprise appearance and takes a spin kick to the head. Asuka finishes up with a buzzsaw kick to K.O Peyton.
To finish, a half-dead Nikki Cross smiled at Asuka from the wreckage of the table as she walked to the back. Like I said, it’s the little things.
Asuka took the time to throw some shade in a post-match interview, which I found hilarious. Ember Who?
Now this match has been getting some mixed reviews from fans, which I kind of understand -people want a new champion and people didn’t like the finish.
Anyone who’s seen Japanese wrestling knows it’s a different style. Asuka’s recent championship-defence finishes take this style, it’s different from what we see month-to-month and sets her apart from her peers.
But of course, different=bad.
My advice to these fans/viewers would be to watch Asuka’s pre-WWE work (search Kana) and also watch her NXT matches through again. A second viewing makes the match more enjoyable in my opinion.
I also noticed the following:
This Sam, is what we call PSYCHOLOGY.
Royce and Kay were motivated by taking out Asuka. The belt was a by-product of this mission.
Kudos to the agent of this match. The fact that Royce & Kay stayed a coherent team through this and didn’t once turn on each other was different, refreshing and unique. This cements them as a tag-team threat and that’s something we haven’t seen in a while.
I’d also like to take the time to say how sufficiently impressed I was with Peyton Royce in this match. She surprised me with the moves she pulled.
Well done to all women involved.
Charlotte (c) vs Bayley
RAW Women’s Championship
Charlotte and Bayley served to open the event, being first up on the main card.
The match was what you’d expect from these two horsewomen.
These two went the distance at just over 13 minutes, although I will admit it did feel shorter. Time flies, eh?
The match was well-paced with sufficient back-and-forth action.
Charlotte’s athleticism shone through, she looked so strong in this match. I found myself in awe of The Queen.
Charlotte mercifully ended things with a Natural Selection on the apron, retaining her championship and extending her PPV streak to 16 – 0.
An inventive finish which we haven’t seen before, and who said there was no such thing as originality anymore?
Charlotte has really come into her own as a heel. She’s a downright bitch, but she’s right in what she says and she can back it up. Her ring-work was never bad, but she has improved so much this past year. It’s a pleasure to watch her work.
Bayley is unbelievably over with the crowds, she LIVES the underdog character she has and I just love it. Never, ever change it WWE.
So, not at all a bad weekend for women’s wrestling fans……not the best for overall wrestling fans.
Let me know, in the comments below, what you thought of this weekends matches and what you’re looking forward to in the fallout over the coming days.