This week on Raw, Charlotte will put her Women’s Championship on the line against Bayley in a rematch from the Royal Rumble – and it’s in the main event! It seems we will also witness the long overdue makeover of Emma to ‘Emmalina’. Smackdown will show us the fallout of Nikki Bella and Natalya going to a double countout, Becky Lynch defeating Mickie James and Naomi winning the Smackdown Women’s Championship from Alexa Bliss. Over on NXT, the iconic duo of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce have challenged Liv Morgan to a tag match, and her partner is a mystery.
Emmalina debuts…and is made over back to Emma.
Charlotte vs Bayley [Raw Women's Championship]
Winner and NEW Raw Women’s Champion: Bayley
Starting off with the Emmalina stuff, I’m pretty sure by now everyone has read the reports on why the gimmick was dropped – Emma not apparently putting as much into it in rehearsals. While I am annoyed that so long was spent setting this gimmick up and hyping it, perhaps it is for the best. Since it was delayed for weeks and weeks, the creative team clearly had no plans for it. So had Emma continued to play it on TV, it’s likely she would have ended up a one-note joke like Jillian Hall did. I think that type of gimmick definitely has potential – a snobby, pompous supermodel. But perhaps Emma was the wrong choice to play it. Emma is primarily a wrestler and while I do think her heel character needs a little something extra to jazz her up, she probably isn’t suited to playing a supermodel. Someone like Alexa, Carmella, Nikki, Alicia – known more for their personality – would be best suited for it. But hopefully this means that Emma can start wrestling on Raw again because this division needs some serious shaking up.
Bayley and Charlotte had a pretty good match in the main event of Raw. I enjoyed it much more than their bout at the Royal Rumble, and not just because Bayley won the title this time. It seems to be a thing with Charlotte that her matches usually seem better on Raw than PPV – witness her series of bouts against Sasha last year. I predicted that Sasha would help Bayley win the title somehow and I was right. Y’all will forgive me for getting too excited about Bayley being champion now because…well we’ve seen this before. We think a new face has won the title and we celebrate for a couple of weeks – only for Charlotte to win it right back because her PPV streak is suddenly something that people care about. I said this with Sasha’s last title win in the Falls Count Anywhere match; that WWE had the chance to kill this cancer of a storyline while they still had actual momentum left. Bayley winning the title is a nice feel-good moment – so WWE should not ruin it by giving the belt back to Charlotte just so her PPV streak can end at WrestleMania. And if they must preserve Charlotte’s winning streak, have Sasha cause a DQ in the inevitable rematch. That at least would serve the program between her and Bayley better.
A Falls Count Anywhere Match is booked between Natalya and Nikki Bella.
Becky Lynch vs Mickie James
Winner: Mickie James
Alexa Bliss interrupts Naomi’s title celebration.
I found it odd that Mickie and Becky had a rematch from Elimination Chamber, just to have a different result. Becky won there, Mickie won here so now they’re even. Neither was a particularly clean win, so it seems rather redundant. They could have just had Mickie win at the Elimination Chamber in the first place. I did enjoy their match though and it was just as fun as the one the previous night. Mickie did get into a rather bad habit when she was in TNA of repeating most of the spots of her rematches – particularly one bad one with Sarita that was recreated spot for spot. So it’s a relief to see that she’s not doing that anymore. I have to wonder if the speed of how this feud is progressing is because WrestleMania is just around the corner – and they want to hurriedly get Mickie/Becky out of the way so they can book the women’s matches for the big event. I have no idea if either woman will make it to the show – though I do have a theory that this feud will overlap with the title one and become a Fatal 4 Way. Hence the need to give Mickie a win here – so as to make her look strong for Mania. If that’s not the case then I guess we’ll just see what direction the feud goes in next.
Nikki/Natalya was indeed finished in a double countout to build to another match – and a Falls Count Anywhere one at that. They’re always good fun, and the way the feud has been booked it actually feels justified – unlike when Sasha and Charlotte randomly had one a couple of months ago. There are rumours that Nikki’s final match will be at WrestleMania as a mixed tag with John Cena against The Miz and Maryse – apparently started by Maryse getting caught in the middle of their backstage brawl at the PPV. I’d hope that Maryse doesn’t get into the ring herself and merely acts as a valet, allowing Natalya to do the actual wrestling. She hasn’t had a proper WrestleMania match herself yet – and despite me being iffy on her character work, I’d rather see her in the ring than Maryse. The Sexiest of the Sexy would be better served acting as a ringside valet, and maybe they could even send Brie out if she’s given birth by then (her due date is expected to be sometime in March or April) to counteract Maryse’s presence. If that is to be Nikki’s WrestleMania match, then I fully expect the Falls Count Anywhere to end with either The Miz or Maryse interfering to get Natalya the win.
And as for our Women’s Champion, is there any news on if this injury is legit? If not then it’s quite a good angle to go down for the sake of a feud. Naomi being injured gives Alexa something to exploit in matches and segments – Trish and Jazz’s first title match was built around Jazz injuring Trish’s hand after all. More superficially, the opening of the segment was very sweet to watch. Naomi has long been held up as a woman that’s been screwed really badly by the company – due to her poor luck on NXT Season 3 and several pushes started and stopped – so it’s lovely to see the fans chant “you deserve it” at someone who doesn’t have the automatic respect of the likes of the Four Horsewomen or other women from the indies. Back to the storylines, they’re sure not wasting much time in getting Alexa’s rematch out of the way. That lends even more credence to my theory that we’ll be getting a Fatal 4 Way at WrestleMania – Naomi vs Alexa vs Mickie vs Becky. But then again, knowing Naomi’s poor luck, she might end up dropping the title next week.
Billie Kay & Peyton Royce vs Liv Morgan & Ember Moon
Winners: Billie Kay & Peyton Royce
The match that made up our NXT action this week was pretty short and not exactly eventful. Presumably with a triple threat #1 contenders match being announced for next week, the women wanted to save their good stuff for that (said episode being taped immediately after this one). Positives to be taken from this include getting to see Peyton and Billie wrestle as a tag team. Neither of them did much – but that double team at the end sure made me pop. Ember didn’t do too much either, but with her ‘not much’ is still something to watch. This did give the heels a much-needed win after Liv’s surprising victory last week, but the match honestly felt redundant. We could pretty much have accomplished all this with a backstage segment setting up the #1 contender’s match. I do however relish the fact that Peyton will be in a high profile match next week. As the lone heel amongst Ember and Liv, she should have a nice chance to really show what she can do. No continuation on the beef between Nikki Cross and Asuka though? No sign of the Women’s Champion at all?
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