The week after WrestleMania – where it seems as if anything can happen in the WWE. In the past we’ve seen surprise debuts and surprise retirements, and even some surprise title changes. On Raw Bayley celebrates retaining her title by teaming with good friend Sasha Banks and the unlikely ally of Dana Brooke to face her WrestleMania opponents Charlotte and Nia Jax - as well as the returning Emma! Smackdown sees the new Women’s Champion Naomi getting into the spirit of being champion right away - Alexa Bliss cashing in her rematch clause immediately. NXT sees one half of the Iconic Duo Peyton Royce taking on the girl who has dubbed herself ‘The Cat’s Meow’ Aliyah.
Bayley, Sasha Banks & Dana Brooke vs Emma, Charlotte & Nia Jax
Winners: Bayley, Sasha Banks & Dana Brooke
Well there’s our match featuring all but three members of the Raw women’s division. It’s great to have Emma back on our screens at long last – considering it’s just about a year ago since she re-debuted on the main roster in the first place. Despite returning rather mundanely in a 6-woman tag match, they still made a big deal of her return; standing on the announce table and getting a chance to let the audience know she’s back. She also made her presence known in the match, taking it straight to the Women’s Champion. We also got to see her interact with her old team mate. I do have to say, I hope that they won’t completely ignore the Emma/Dana partnership, because they were together on NXT longer than Dana was Charlotte’s lackey. And I don’t think Emma should jump straight into the title picture; she needs a good storyline to sink her teeth into. The vast majority of the WWE Universe have only seen her as a fun, dancing face – so they need to really be made aware of how much her attitude has changed. Dana meanwhile needs to be reintroduced as a face – so why not have the two of them feud? The fact that they didn’t interact too much in this match suggests that a program between them is planned down the line. And now at the end of the match, Sasha officially made Charlotte tap out, which appears to close the door on any beef the two of them had. With news of this upcoming ‘Superstar Shake-up’, it’s safe to say that one of the three stars of Raw will be moved to Smackdown. Charlotte has run her course on Raw, so I vote her. Naomi tweeted something about looking forward to mixing it up with the former Women’s Champion, so seems like a logical idea. Those two have never really faced each other, and it could be something fun. Did anyone catch the end of the match where Sasha briefly snatched the title away from Bayley? It’s not much in the way of storyline continuation but it’s a start.
Naomi* vs Alexa Bliss [Smackdown Women's Championship]
Winner and STILL Smackdown Women’s Champion: Naomi
Dare I say it? The curse appears to be broken! Naomi retained her title and no news of any more injuries or shenanigans. They really wanted to get Alexa out as quickly as possible, which I am a little annoyed about. They invested a lot of time and effort into her at the end of last year, and built her up to dethrone Becky Lynch. They couldn’t have at least let her bow out of the spotlight gracefully, considering how long it took Charlotte to finally step down? But I digress. Alexa is still very young and has plenty of time to do more great things in the division. She did some really great things in this match here. Naturally with Naomi’s injury being a leg-related one, it was logical for Alexa to go after it. She busted out some really great submissions, and that stump she kept going back to looked very effective. I do have a big criticism for our Women’s Champion though; she needs to work on her selling. Alexa was wrenching away at what was an injured leg not too long ago, so Naomi should sell that more. I doubt that’ll be the last time someone targets her leg, so she needs to properly sell. I recently listened to an interview with Evan Bourne where he talked about how high flying wrestlers tend to forget to sell the story of the match – instead opting for all their flippy stuff. Naomi is a good wrestler and she should set herself apart from the ‘spot monkey’ category by remembering to sell. Besides that, she wrestled absolutely fine and doesn’t appear to have any ring rust at all. She got a clean victory over Alexa, clocked her first title defence and looked like a fighting champ. I wonder if we could see Alexa being moved to the Raw brand? She and Bayley had a fun side feud back on NXT, and that could be a nice interim program to establish Bayley as a strong champion while they build to the inevitable Bayley/Sasha bout at SummerSlam. I fully expect Naomi to feud with Charlotte if she gets moved to Smackdown. I’d like to see Summer Rae on the blue brand too – if only to get more attention from the stellar writing staff.
Peyton Royce vs Aliyah
Winner: Peyton Royce
You’re all thinking it right? Australian LayCool. That was all that was running through my head as I saw the Iconic Duo making their way to the ring. Come on, girls, do something a little more original. NXT is really bumming me out with how little effort is being put into developing actual characters in the division. Asuka is simply the dominant champion who rarely appears. Ember Moon had a winning streak but minimal mic time. Liv Morgan is good but has yet to really differentiate herself from Carmella. And our top heels are rehashes of the same formula WWE had churned out since 2010. First it was LayCool. Then it was the Bella Twins. Then it was the Divas of Doom. Then it was the Bellas again. We even had the BFFs on NXT. Just stop making every female heel duo a repeat of Mean Girls. These two women are very talented in the ring and they’ve got the charisma. So surely they have the imagination to come up with something a little different than prissy Alpha Bitches that have been done to death. Aliyah on the other hand might just be on the right track. On instagram, she’s shown off that she’s now got rainbow gear, multi-coloured hair and glitter in addition to the cat ears. With a new entrance theme, it looks like she’s found her identity. I think she’s got a lot of cutesy babyface charisma that we did see shades of in this match. I’d really like for her to tap into it more as the months go by. As for the match, it was short but sweet. Peyton is one of my ones to watch for NXT in general and I think she’s going places. She looked so effective in this match in particular with how she controlled everything. The only thing is that she needs a new finisher. The Fisherman’s Suplex might have cut it for Mr Perfect back in the 90s but times have changed and she needs something more effective. Decent show all around though.
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