This was the last week before TLC so I was looking forward to an eventful week and the PPV didn’t disappoint during an already stacked week of women’s wrestling. Let’s take a look at what this week had for us!
I feel like I could describe both matches this week the same way: an underdog facing one of the women’s Tag Team Champions, the match ends when the other gets involved, someone comes out to help, Asuka’s there. I watched Raw this week with my boyfriend who is home for the holidays. After the episode he turned to me and said “that was…not good.”
NXT continued the ongoing feud that started before WarGames between Team Larae and Team Shotzi. First up this week was Indi Hartwell vs. Shotzi Blackheart. Although Hartwell was not on Team Larae officially, she is a member of the recently formed faction consisting of herself, Austin Theory, Candice LaRae, and Johnny Gargano; The Way.
Hartwell was certainly determined to prove herself after recently ditching her neck brace. Blackheart was holding her own for the early part of the match but Larae of course had to interfere. The Poison Pixie distracted the referee while Hartwell grabbed the trophy with Blackheart’s “head” on it. Yes, Candice is still carrying that thing around. Hartwell then struck Blackheart with the trophy, destroying it in the process and ending the match via disqualification. The Way did not let it end there though, continuing the attack on Blackheart after the bell had rung. Larae finished Blackheart with a Wicked Stepsister before departing with her compatriots. This was a fun match for the sole purpose of moving the story along, and while I’m not sure if that trophy was supposed to break, I’m glad it did, because it opens the possibility of Larae punishing the young Hartwell for it next week.
The main event was a match between Rhea Ripley and Toni Storm. These two have had history in WWE that began in NXT UK. I know because the announcers told us, over and over and over again. The match itself was great but the dynamic totally changed when Raquel Gonzalez interfered, costing Ripley the match. I feel like I may have said this before but NXT has become my favorite show of the week and easily fields the best women’s wrestling in WWE.
I’d first like to congratulate Brandi and Cody Rhodes on their pregnancy! This week Dynamite had an usual amount of tag team matches, including a women’s match. AEW, of course, doesn’t really have any women’s tag teams. Serena Deeb and Big Swole squared off against Ivelisse and Diamante. The match was fine; it was actually really refreshing to see more of the women’s roster being featured. I do really think it’s weird that AEW doesn’t have a women’s tag team division considering how many tag teams they have. Again it was fine.
This week I actually tried to do the Thunderdome for SmackDown, so I’m not able to review the show because of the time I invested in being an interactive fan. But I’ll be reviewing my experience sometime soon, so keep your eye out for that. In place of the blue brand I figured I’d review TLC as a little bonus. The tornado of Tables, Ladders, and Chairs featured two women’s matches. The first of the night was the long awaited match between WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks and Carmella. I have to give it to Carmella, she has really improved recently and I’m really loving this ruthless character she’s developed over the last few weeks. Banks has been at the top of her game as well and their match was really, really great. The only thing it lacked was some of the aggression we saw two weeks ago on SmackDown’s main event. In the end Banks retained her championship, but hopefully this is not the end of the road for Carmella. With how much she’s improved throughout this feud I’m excited to see where Carmella goes from here.
Later, the Women’s Tag Team Champions Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax defended their titles against Asuka and a mystery partner. There was another short promo with Billie Kay and her headshot/resume gimmick that almost gives me hope for her future. Asuka’s partner was of course revealed to be Charlotte Flair.
Any wrestling fan should have seen this coming. I feel bad saying Flair is a much better partner than Lana could have been. Of course The Queen dominated the ring, making me kind of realize how much I’ve missed her. Asuka and Flair handily defeated Baszler and Jax, and as a result Asuka is now the Raw Women’s Champion and one half of the Women’s Tag Champion. While Flair picked up another belt for her collection, the only remaining women’s title that she had yet to win up until this evening.
In closing, Raw this week was a joke and honestly I hope the Lana storyline ends here. Flair returning is a great chance for the main roster and the Raw brand to step their game up. It actually blows my mind that WWE’s developmental brand has the best women’s division out of any under the company’s umbrella. Raw and SmackDown are at a real low point but there’s still hope for WWE women’s wrestling next week!
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