After the shock at Fastlane, with Asuka issuing her challenge to Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 34, all eyes are set to see what would become of the RAW Women’s Division. We’re just a month away from the spectacle, so who will make their mark on the road to WrestleMania?
First up, we are treated to singles action between Absolution member Sonya Deville (accompanied by fellow members Paige and Mandy Rose) and Sasha Banks, who is accompanied by a very reluctant Bayley. Her face makes it obvious that she doesn’t really want to be there, but she plays her part in evening the numbers game during the close the match. When Rose goes to interfere, Bayley yanks her off the apron, allowing Banks to lock in the Bank Statement to Deville for a victory!
Interestingly, Bayley marches straight back up the ramp after the match. Seeing this, Paige directs traffic as she gets her Absolution girls to jump Banks. With the numbers game on their side, Deville hits Banks with her high-jump kick and the Absolution members celebrate in the middle of the ring.
Backstage, Mike Rome is left silenced by Absolution, claiming that they have a strong bond – a much stronger bond than Bayley and Sasha Banks.
So let’s get to the juicy stuff we want to see right? Well first up, Charly Caruso invites Asuka down to the ring to confirm her challenge to Charlotte Flair’s SmackDown Women’s Championship. Before she gets started, RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss makes her way down to the ring with Mickie James. Bliss is quick to claim that Asuka made the smart choice choosing Flair, because she’s the easier Champion to defeat… and the Champion of the B-Show. Asuka rebuttals stating that ‘to be the woman, you’ve got to beat the women!’.
Asuka reminds Bliss that she’s beaten her before, but Bliss isn’t phased and she wants to bring out someone Asuka has unfinished business with… but no one comes out. Instead, James forearms Asuka and challenges her to a match instead.
I loved the TakeOver match that these two had previously and this match was just as fun. James is still a tremendous seller and knows how to make it look like Asuka has kicked her limbs off. The match takes an interesting turn with Asuka accidentally kicking the ringpost, making her foot James’ area to target. At the end of the match, James going for her Mick Kick, but Asuka ducks and goes straight for the Asuka Lock! James taps and an annoyed Bliss heads straight to the back.
We then see Bliss backstage, wondering why Nia Jax didn’t appear to take out Asuka when prompted. Jax said that Kurt Angle prevented her from coming out as her match was next. Bliss claims that she attempted the set up to help Jax redeem herself following her loss last week, wanting to cheer up her friend after being so down last week. The two show us that they are top BFFs of WWE since LayCool by claiming that they love each other and share a hug.
Nia Jax makes quick work of her opponent, Joan King (also known as Shayla Hyde). Easily finished off with a Samoan Drop, it’s another quick victory for Jax. Michael Cole announces that next will be an interview with Charly Caruso and Alexa Bliss… but it looks like they cued it a bit too early.
The titantron shows the backstage locker-room with Alexa Bliss and Mickie James catching up backstage. They mock Bliss’ comments from last week about her weight and Bliss outright explains that she uses Jax to do her dirty work, claiming that she has her in the palm of her hands. “She’s just as dumb, as she is big”… ouch! Caruso finally makes her way to the room and tells the girls that the boom microphone in the corner has been on… so Nia Jax heard everything…
Time for Jax to go Braun Strowman on everyone! Bliss and James scramble out of the building, with Caruso confirming that Alexa Bliss will take on Asuka on RAW next week. Jax enters the room in a rage and begins tearing and tossing everything in sight. The Irresistible Force has been broken!
We’re treated to a five minute recap to show the build for the Mixed Tag Team match between Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs Stephanie McMahon and Triple H…a cover up for the fact that she didn’t appear even after claiming that she would appear every week? We got you WWE!
A quick flash here of the promo for next week’s ‘Ultimate Deletion’ match. During the package, ‘Woken’ Matt Hardy mentions the ‘Woken Family’ and we’re introduced to Reby Sky who he dubs “Queen Rebecca”.
Finally, it was announced that this WrestleMania will see the inaugural ‘Fabulous Moolah’ Memorial Battle Royal with members of all brands (including NXT) able to compete! More on my thoughts about this below!
So much happened last night, where do I start? Whether you like the action or not, the fact that we have several programs heading into this year’s WrestleMania is amazing!
Let’s kick off with Deville VS Banks. I’m intrigued by Deville, the way she moves in the ring is very sound for someone who is relatively new. Now, while Absolution are generally pawns in the RAW playing field at the moment, having them pick up these wins and look strong is definitely important. They have a little more credibility than the Riott Squad and hopefully they can play an interesting role in the Fabulous Moolah Battle Royal.
The build up for Banks VS Bayley was perfect, now we’ve got the trigger for someone to make that heel turn next week. Now I know Sasha Banks would be the much better person to go heel, especially since she could use the refresher… but I wouldn’t turn down the idea of Bayley going bad. Not all the way heel, but just with a bit of a darker edge. Either way, since it seemed Asuka took the limelight at Fastlane and Jax took it on this week’s RAW, next week will probably be the time for one of them to finally make a statement.
Speaking of Jax taking the limelight, the Alexa/Nia alliance is finally over! Now as much as I’m here for this, I just have to state that Bliss going after Asuka’s language barrier and Jax’s weight are just unnecessary. It’s even more annoying that they’ve got Mickie James there, who was literally in Jax’s position during the ‘Piggie James’ angle of 2010. I just feel that the feud was already there, Bliss saying that she was using Jax to do her dirty work is enough… Bliss saying that Jax is a fat loser that has no friends is taking it to a level of fat-shaming that we didn’t really need. Call me sensitive, but hey, I felt the same way about the Piggie James storyline.
So it looks like Jax is going to take on Bliss at WrestleMania and for me… I’m only partially sold. On paper, it reminds me of Angelina Love VS Awesome Kong back in TNA on Sacrifice 2008 and I loved that feud, but this feud has a long way to go in terms on building that up. Added to that, I have this fear that Jax will just come out and finish Bliss in a couple seconds. The card is stacked as it is and WM is known for having a squash match… this might just be the one.
Finally, onto the announcement of the Fabulous Moolah Battle Royal… first of all, let me put it out there that I am a fan of this move as it means we can get all the women on the card without them all crowding the title picture scenes. Knowing that some NXT women can break out, as well as seeing the likes of Naomi or Becky Lynch get a spot at WrestleMania will be sweet. However, my big gripe (as well as most others on Twitter) is the fact that this has been dedicated to The Fabulous Moolah. Now I’m not going to go on a massive rant to explain and Google is there as your best friend if you need an explanation of why Moolah isn’t the right woman for this honour. I just feel that following the death of Chyna, who was an absolute icon of the Attitude Era and smashed through boundaries for women in the WWE, she should have been given that honour. If they weren’t going to put her in the Hall of Fame, then they could have at least done that. Triple H gave her a nod at RAW’s 25th Anniversary, but naming something as positive would have really been a stronger representation of the WWE’s women’s division progressing.
What did you think of last night’s action? What did you think about Nia Jax’ eruption? Do you agree with me about the naming of the battle royal? Do you think Sonya Deville is the star of Absolution? You know what to do in the comments section!