Cleat Geeks

Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which recaps everything in women’s wrestling in the past week, beginning with Monday’s Raw.

Coming off a Backlash PPV that saw both Women’s Championships successfully defended, the theme for both Raw and SmackDown was the Money in the Bank PPV, which will take place in five weeks. The event will feature the third-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, due to a rematch of the first taking place over a week after last year’s event. With PPVs being dual-branded yet again, the MITB matches are competed in the same format, with Raw and SmackDown featuring qualifying matches. On Raw, former NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon defeated Ruby Riott and Sasha Banks in a Triple Threat Match to become the first to qualify, while Charlotte Flair defeated Peyton Royce on SmackDown to make her first appearance in the Women’s MITB match. Also on SmackDown, Mandy Rose picked up a huge upset victory over former SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, despite Paige banning Sonya Deville from appearing in Mandy’s corner.

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On NXT, Dakota Kai defeated Vanessa Borne in a match made due to their confrontation on the previous week’s show. Speaking of confrontations, NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler appeared after the match and took down Vanessa, while Dakota ran off, still fearful of the evil and sadistic Queen of Spades. The following evening’s Impact featured no women’s action, but it included a pair of vignettes:  one with Tessa Blanchard detailing her career and her drive to take over the Knockouts Division, and one with Allie receiving an ominous message from Su Yung.

A recent report revealed that Ronda Rousey is scheduled to wrestle at Money in the Bank on June 17, but her opponent has not been announced. Ronda, as we all know, made her highly anticipated WWE debut at this year’s Royal Rumble, and her in-ring debut came at WrestleMania last month; a victorious effort with Kurt Angle as her partner against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Unlike Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey has been appearing on Raw on a near-weekly basis, and even gets physically involved. Regarding her latest PPV bout, though nothing’s official, one has to figure that Ronda will be in tag team action again, this time with Natalya as her partner against Mickie James and Alexa Bliss. This would stem from the day of the Superstar Shakeup, where Ronda came to Natalya’s aid and did so again when Mickie James was targeting the Queen of Harts.But, as most of you saw on the latest edition of Monday Night Raw that Rousey will actually face Nia Jax for the Women’s Title.

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It was announced that Total Divas will be back for two more seasons, and the eighth season will bring back Paige as a regular cast member. Paige was part of the cast between Seasons Three and Six, and one would believe that the show would follow Paige’s return and her injuries that led to her retirement last month. Paige currently serves as SmackDown’s babyface General Manager; a role she began portraying in post-WM SmackDown. Also joining the cast is Sonya Deville, who has been part of the main roster for only six months now. Other than her journey to WWE, TD viewers will also learn more about Sonya’s MMA background, and her making history as WWE’s first openly gay female competitor. Plus we’ll also see her close friend Mandy Rose more often; Mandy was a regular cast member during Season Five.

A new week begins with more Women’s MITB qualifying matches on Raw and SmackDown, plus more from NXT and Impact! Until next week!

3 Impacts From Impact

The last Impact was full of surprises and shocks, but what moment was the most shocking? Here are my 3 Impacts From Impact:

Have we seen the last of Rosemary?! The main event saw Su Yung and Rosemary clash in a grudge match stemming from the previous week, with Rosemary telling Allie to stay away before her battle against the Suicide Bride. Speaking of that moniker, a group of “Suicide Bridesmaids” appeared and assisted Su in taking down the Demon Assassin, as Rosemary was apparently placed in a casket, while the bridesmaids held Allie at bay. Su is clearly not done with Allie, as was made clear on the previous week, and she may get another shot at the Knockouts Championship very soon. But the question remains: is this the last we’ve seen of Rosemary?

Elsewhere in the Knockouts Division, the evil Tessa Blanchard continued to make quite a sinister impact, beginning with interrupting Kiera Hogan’s interview. Kiera stood up to the self-proclaimed “diamond,” telling her to watch as she fights in the ring, because watching is all Tessa knows how to do. Tessa was fuming over Kiera’s words, and it was during Kiera’s match against Taya Valkyrie that Tessa resurfaced and went after Kiera, leading to an all out brawl. Tessa was on the winning end of the brawl. Tessa’s message was very clear:  she wants the Knockouts Championship, and she feels that her name alone is worthy of that.

The saga involving Eddie Edwards saw Tommy Dreamer attempt to talk him down from the rage he had been unleashing since Redemption. Eddie had been the target of oVe for a long while, with wife Alisha also being part of their deranged agenda. We saw what happened at Redemption; Eddie let Sami Callihan have it, but in the process, he accidentally struck Alisha. He later beat down a bedridden Sami, and the latest Impact saw Tommy Dreamer attempt to save him from himself. However, Eddie still appears to be hellbent on physically taking down oVe, and time will tell whether or not he succeeds.

Those are my 3 Impacts From Impact! Until next time!

Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which recaps everything in women’s wrestling in the past week, beginning with Monday’s Raw and ending with Backlash.

Raw featured Ruby Riott victorious over Sasha Banks, while Bayley watched from backstage, continuing the friction between the two women. Later on, Natalya defeated Mickie James in a grudge match stemming from the events of the previous week, where Mickie continuously went after an injured Nattie. Ronda Rousey was in Nattie’s corner, and Alexa Bliss was in Mickie’s, but Bliss was run off by Nia Jax, who later celebrated in the ring with Ronda and Nattie in a very epic moment.

SmackDown featured Lana backstage with Rusev and Aiden English, telling her husband that something is holding him back. Or possibly someone. Hmmm. Later on, I and other curious fans received an answer to a question we’ve been wondering for a while: Is Absolution no more? After a recap of Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose belittling Becky Lynch was played, the pair met Paige in her office, and when SD’s new GM stated that she would give Mandy Rose her chance, Mandy was led to believe that it would be a title shot. Instead, Paige reminded Mandy that she would face Becky Lynch on the next SD, an announcement that stunned the pair, who assumed that Paige would be in their back pocket. Though they stood strong together on Raw, Paige kindly told her former partners-in-crime that Absolution is no more. SD was main evented by the women, just over one week after the women main evented Raw, and the match saw Charlotte, Becky, and Asuka victorious over Carmella and the IIconics.Image result for Kairi Sane, Shazza McKenzie

Wednesday’s NXT started with Kairi Sane defeating Shazza McKenzie, only to be encountered by her recurring foe, Lacey Evans. The so-called Lady of NXT appeared to want to make amends to Kairi, only to deliver a cheap shot to the Mae Young Classic winner. Later on, Dakota Kai was interrupted by Vanessa Borne during her interview, and Candice LeRae (despite having the welfare of husband Johnny Gargano on her mind) fought valiantly against Bianca BelAir, only to come up short. Thursday’s Impact featured a rematch between Taya Valkyrie and Kiera Hogan, which was interrupted by the evil Tessa Blanchard, who assaulted Kiera after interrupting her interview. Impact was main evented by a brutal grudge match between Su Yung and Rosemary, which Su won while Allie was held at bay by Su’s fellow suicide brides!

Sunday’s Backlash PPV saw a triple dose of women’s action, beginning with more of the drama between Sasha and Bayley. Bayley asked Sasha to be in her corner during her pre-show match against Ruby Riott, only for Sasha to confront Bayley over not being in her own corner on Raw, and stating that Bayley would be on her own. Bayley was defeated by Ruby on the pre-show, and the drama between the two Horsewomen has been dragged out too long for my liking. Something needs to happen. As for the main show’s title contests, both women successfully defended their titles. Nia Jax’s match was first, and after defeating Alexa Bliss, she gave an impassioned speech stating how proud she is not only of being champion, but of being herself and being different and standing out. There’s a report out from WWE that Alexa Bliss may have injured her shoulder during her match against Nia, though it’s not known whether it’s legit or scripted as part of a storyline. As for Carmella, she managed to defeat Charlotte Flair on her own in her defense, and she wasted no time boasting about it on the post show with Renee Young and Peter Rosenberg.

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In other WWE news, it’s rumored that the current angle between Ronda Rousey and Natalya will lead to a match between the two women, with Natalya turning heel to set up the feud. After two years as a villainess (which saw her reign as SmackDown Women’s Champion), Natalya turned face during her move to Raw as part of the shakeup, and it was after her victory over Mandy Rose (who moved–along with Sonya–to SD one day later), she was beaten down by Absolution before being saved by Ronda. The real life friends have been aligned together since then, but rumors have Natalya severing the partnership, with her reasons being jealousy of the attention Ronda has been getting. The rumored match is set to take place at SummerSlam. In indy women’s wrestling news, Kimber Lee (the former Abbey Laith in NXT) will challenge Su Yung for the Queens of Combat Championship on May 19 as part of a double feature for the promotion. Kimber recently appeared for Shine Wrestling, defeating LuFisto via DQ in a Shine Championship match, meaning that she was not crowned the new champion.

A new week begins with the fallout from Backlash, as well as more from NXT and Impact! Until next week!

3 Impacts From Impact

The fallout from Redemption is in the books! Who made the boldest statement? Here are my 3 Impacts From Impact:

The two women who won at Redemption–Allie and Taya Valkyrie–clashed for the Knockouts Championship. IMO, Taya should be having this chance at a PPV, but it’s a start. Like they did in their separate PPV matches, the women impressed and showed out, with Allie winning over Lucha Royalty. However, Allie’s celebration was short lived due to the appearance of the Suicide Bride herself, Su Yung, who sent a spooky and violent message showing that she is clearly not done with her pursuit of the Knockouts Championship. It was at that moment that Rosemary appeared and engaged in a face-to-face showdown with Su, which ended with Su disappearing into the darkness. Of course, this was done due to Rosemary and Allie’s tight bond; the demon and the bunny. One has to believe that Su and Rosemary will clash very soon.

The aftermath of House of Hardcore was very interesting indeed. Eddie Edwards’ fight against the Crists was interrupted again by what appeared to be a beaten Sami Callihan again approaching Eddie’s wife, Alisha, with both of them hospitalized. Sami claimed that all he wanted to do was talk, but it was enough for Eddie to go after and beat down Sami while he was bedridden. What I couldn’t help but notice was Alisha not only defending Sami’s claim, but asking her husband why he didn’t go see her. Either Alisha is trying to serve as a voice of reason, or she’s going heel. Should be interesting to see what develops.

Eli Drake took the time to gloat about his string of good fortune after he and Scott Steiner again defeated LAX. Not only is he one half of the tag champs, but he is also in possession of the World Title briefcase he won from Moose, stating that he could go after the champion at any time. It was at that moment that former World Champion Austin Aries confronted Eli, while revealing that he has a rematch clause. Fittingly, this was the moment that the new champion, Pentagon Jr., came out, ending Impact on a very interesting note. The World Title scene is hotter than ever with Pentagon Jr. as champion, and especially with Aries with his upcoming rematch and Eli with the case.

Those are my 3 Impacts from Impact! Until next time!

Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which recaps everything in women’s wrestling in the past week, beginning with Monday’s Raw.

Raw was main evented by a five-on-five match pitting champion Nia Jax, Natalya, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Ember Moon against The Riott Squad, Mickie James, and Alexa Bliss, and it ended up with Ronda Rousey coming to the aid of Nattie after being assaulted repeatedly by Mickie. The following evening’s SmackDown saw The IIconics pick up their first main roster victory when they defeated Asuka and Becky Lynch, furthering their self-professed rhetoric that they’re better than Asuka. Also, pen was put to paper later in the evening, as Charlotte’s title rematch against Carmella was made official for Backlash next Sunday.

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Wednesday’s NXT saw no in-ring action for the women, but featured vignettes throughout the program featuring NXT’s entire women’s division (one by one) staking their claim to the Women’s Title. The following evening’s Impact Wrestling featured Allie successfully defending the Knockouts Championship against Taya Valkyrie, only to be confronted and beaten down by Su Yung, who failed to capture the title at Redemption. Su would end up face to face with Rosemary, who has a long standing kinship with Allie. This past Friday also featured Shine Wrestling’s 50th show, which was main evented by Kimber Lee challenging for the SHINE Championship against LuFisto, only to win via disqualification when LuFisto struck Kimber with the title.

Back to Impact, this week featured the announcement that Katarina Waters would return to Impact for their June tapings in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Fans remember Katarina as Katie Lea in OVW and in WWE, where she was in an interesting feud with Mickie James in 2008, but after her time in WWE ended, she joined Impact in 2011 as the enigmatic Winter and began a storyline with Angelina Love. As time passed, Winter’s seemingly friendly demeanor quickly became evil and sinister, as she managed to break Angelina from Velvet and held her under her control. As a villainess, Winter captured the Knockouts Championship on two occasions in 2011, and later left the promotion in 2012.

A new week begins with the final countdown to Backlash, which will featured both Women’s Championships on the line due to the PPVs being dual-branded again! Until next week!

3 Impacts From Impact (Redemption Edition)

An amazing Redemption PPV is in the books! Who had the best moment? Whose spotlight shined the brightest? Here’s a look back at the PPV on 3 Impacts From Impact:

Of course, the biggest impact:  we have a brand new Impact World Champion! Redemption’s main event featured a three way rematch from WrestleCon, and it ended with the same result; Pentagon Jr defeating Austin Aries and Fenix, this time to capture the World Title. The match pitted two members of Lucha Underground against Aries, so the odds were against not just Aries, but Impact overall holding on to the World Title. Pentagon was embraced by Fenix in a show of respect after the former’s victory, but the fact is, Lucha Underground has possession of one of the most prestigious titles in wrestling. This should make Impact very, very interesting!

Speaking of interesting, we were treated to a surprise debut at the PPV, as during the match between Taya Valkyrie and Kiera Hogan, Tessa Blanchard appeared and joined the commentary table. She spent the entire time putting herself over, clearly showing that she’ll be a heel in the Knockouts Division, though her harsh words were for both Taya and Kiera. Taya ended up victorious in the match, which was absolutely amazing. Tessa has competed in many different promotions, such as SHIMMER, Shine Wrestling, and Queens of Combat, to name a few. She was also part of WWE’s inaugural Mae Young Classic last year, competing in a spectacular match against the tournament’s eventual winner, Kairi Sane. But you don’t have to take my word for it; Tessa will gladly tell you herself when she gets the chance.

House of Hardcore certainly delivered the mayhem, with oVe and the tandem of Eddie Edwards, Moose, and Tommy Dreamer delivering the pain to each other in spades. It would end with oVe victorious after a low blow, but the carnage didn’t end, as Eddie was hellbent on punishing oVe. The trio beat him up viciously for weeks, and even stalked his wife, Alisha; now Eddie was looking to deliver that same punishment, even pushing Dreamer away when he attempted to calm him down. Eddie swung the Singapore cane at anything that moved: the Crists, Sami Callihan, even referees. However, he delivered an inadvertent shot at Alisha, who I actually expected to get involved during the match, not after. In fact, I expected two things involving Alisha:  either a heel turn (which I admit isn’t logical) or being attacked by Nevaeh in a surprise debut. Who knows what this will lead to on Impact, but it should be very intriguing.

Those are my 3 Impacts From Impact! Until next time!

Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which recaps everything in women’s wrestling in the past week, beginning with Monday’s Raw and ending with the Redemption PPV.

Of course, this past Monday and Tuesday were all about the second annual Superstar Shakeup, and it would strike Bayley and Sasha Banks during their grudge match. From out of nowhere, the Riott Squad crashed the scene and attacked both Horsewomen, revealing themselves among those moving from SmackDown to Raw. They weren’t the only blue to red transfers, as Natalya appeared in Kurt Angle’s office and greeted both him and Ronda Rousey, before she faced off against Mandy Rose. After winning, Natalya was assaulted by both Mandy and Sonya Deville, only for Ronda to save her. So not only has Nattie changed brands, but her persona as well, as she became a face for the first time in two years. Raw also saw Ember Moon defeat Mickie James with Nia Jax on commentary, while Alexa Bliss appeared via satellite and announced that her title rematch will come at Backlash.

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The SmackDown half of the shakeup announced that Mandy and Sonya have moved to SD; an interesting move considering that Paige is the GM. Carmella’s championship celebration was interrupted by the former champion Charlotte Flair, who was interrupted herself by the reasons why she’s no longer champion, The IIconics. This led to Charlotte defeating Billie Kay, which was followed by a 3-on-2 assault at the hands of Carmella and the IIconics. However, the odds were evened by another shakeup acquisition: Asuka. The shakeup also included NXT call-ups, and it was announced that Zelina Vega would be moved to SmackDown as part of their acquisition of former NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas. Speaking of Zelina, her NXT farewell wasn’t a good one, as she was defeated by Candice LeRae on the program. Thursday’s Impact began with Fallah Bahh and Kiera Hogan losing to Braxton Sutter and Su Yung, which was followed by a brawl between Su and Allie.

Sunday’s Redemption PPV was KO-heavy, as the first bit of women’s action was the recently added match between Taya Valkyrie and Kiera Hogan, with Lucha Royalty winning. The match also saw the surprise debut of Tessa Blanchard, who joined Don Ferris and Josh Mathews on commentary. It was pretty clear that Tessa will act as a heel on Impact, as she spent the entire time putting herself over and stating that her name alone is worthy of a Knockouts Championship opportunity. Speaking of the title, Allie, despite Braxton’s involvement, successfully defended her title against Su Yung. After the match, Braxton attempted to propose to Su, the third KO he proposed to in a matter of weeks, only for an angry Su to deliver her red mist to Braxton and put him in the mandible claw submission.

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This week also saw the NXT in-ring debut of Kavita Devi, the first woman of Indian descent to compete for WWE. Kavita’s WWE journey began with a villainous appearance in the Mae Young Classic, losing in the first round to Dakota Kai. She was one of six NXT women who appeared in the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal, along with Taynara Conti, Dakota Kai, Bianca BelAir, Mae Young Classic winner Kairi Sane, and SmackDown’s Peyton Royce. Regarding her NXT in-ring debut, it was at a live event in Sanford, Florida, which saw Kavita paired up with a heel Aliyah in a losing effort against Dakota Kai and Steffanie Newell (best known to indy fans as Nixon Newell). Kavita wasn’t the only female debut, as former American Ninja Warrior contestant Kacy Catanzaro also debuted at a live event, but she was defeated by the villainous Reina Gonzalez.

I mentioned Kiera Hogan; she will be one of many familiar names from WWE and Impact competing at this Friday’s SHINE 50 event in Ybor City, Florida. In Shine Wrestling, Kiera portrays a rare villainous role as a member of the Cutie Pie Club, and she’ll be facing off against former Impact Wrestling Knockout and Mae Young Classic competitor Santana Garrett. Recent former KOs Brandi Lauren (Ava Storie) and Amber Nova will also be in action, as well as MYC competitors Mercedes Martinez and Renee Michelle. The main event features Kimber Lee (the former Abbey Laith in NXT) challenging LuFisto for the SHINE Championship in Kimber’s first major indy match since her NXT departure. This also marks her return to the Shine promotion, where she reigned as one half of the SHINE Tag Team Champions with Cherry Bomb, aka current Impact Knockouts Champion Allie.

A new week begins with the fallout from the Superstar Shakeup in WWE, as well as the fallout from Redemption on Impact! Until next week!

3 Impacts From Impact

The final Impact before Redemption is in the books! With just days left, who gained the most momentum? Here are my 3 Impacts From Impact:

Kongo Kong and Jimmy Jacobs have been making a huge impact since their alignment, and this past Thursday was no exception. After weeks of badgering Johnny Impact, Kong and Johnny finally got down to business in the squared circle, and despite Johnny being in it all the way, it didn’t end well for him. Clearly, Jacobs and Kong had no intentions on winning; they wanted to flat out demolish Johnny, and they did just that inside and outside the ring. I myself was thrilled to finally see this, but what I don’t get is why this match wasn’t saved for Redemption. Why is it that neither Johnny nor Kong have a match at Redemption? That’s just bad booking in this writer’s opinion.

We were treated to the full main event match that took place at WrestleCon a few weeks ago: Austin Aries vs Pentagon Dark vs Fenix. This was supposed to be a Lucha Underground vs Impact Wrestling tag team event, with A-Double partnered with Alberto El Patron, but after Alberto no-showed, it was turned into this non-title main event. Pentagon ended up winning over A-Double and Fenix, and as we know, it led to A-Double requesting a three-way rematch at Redemption, this time for the World Title.

It looks like we will get a double dose of Knockouts action at Redemption, as Kiera Hogan will face off against Taya Valkyrie at the event. Kiera kicked off Impact when she paired with Fallah Bahh against Su Yung and Braxton Sutter, and after the villainous latter team won, Su ended up brawling with Allie, just days away from their championship encounter. For Kiera and Taya, this will be their first appearance in an Impact live PPV; in fact the same can be said for Allie and Su. I expect all four women to show out, though to be honest, I don’t see why they couldn’t have all four of them in a single match for the title.

Those are my 3 Impacts From Impact! The next edition will be a review of the Redemption PPV!

3 Impacts From Impact

Redemption is getting closer and closer, but there was a huge and shocking development with the event just weeks away! What was the ultimate shocker? Here are my 3 Impacts From Impact:

Clearly, the top impact made affected the main event of the Redemption PPV, as it was announced that Alberto El Patron has departed Impact Wrestling. Alberto was originally set to challenge Austin Aries for the Impact World Championship, but he no-showed a Lucha Underground vs Impact Wrestling event that took place on WM weekend, leading to his release. After working the event with LU regulars Pentagon Dark and Fenix, Aries lashed out at Alberto’s selfishness, and then decided to defend the World Title at Redemption against the LU combatants, making it a three-way main event set for the PPV. As a fan of LU, and the regular writer of this site’s Lucha Lowdown blogs, I am excited to see Pentagon and Fenix in an Impact Wrestling ring, and I thing this will be an absolutely epic main event!

Speaking of main events, Rosemary and Taya Valkyrie’s long overdue grudge match served as such for Impact, as they faced off in the Demon’s Dance. This match was months in the making, as Taya’s debut made a bad impression towards Rosemary, as she attacked the Demon Assassin in her first night on Impact. The two of them were originally set to face off at Bound For Glory, but visa issues prevented that. Once Taya returned to Impact, the feud was back on, and the Demon’s Dance ended with Rosemary emerging victorious over Lucha Royalty. One has to believe that after dealing with Taya, the Knockouts Championship has to be next on the horizon for Rosemary.

Another shocker came in the form of Tommy Dreamer returning to Impact Wrestling for the first time in four years, as he came to the aid of Eddie Edwards and Moose, after the latter defeated oVe’s Sami Callihan. With Alisha Edwards next to them, Tommy Dreamer made the challenge: himself, Moose, and Eddie vs all of oVe in a House of Hardcore match at Redemption. This will give Eddie the ultimate chance at revenge on oVe, as they had been targeting Eddie for weeks, including going after his wife, Alisha. This will be a down and dirty encounter.

Those are my 3 Impacts From Impact! Until next time!

Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which details everything in women’s wrestling in the past week, beginning with Monday’s Raw.

The burning question for fans, now that WrestleMania is in the books, was simply: “What’s next?!” WrestleMania weekend saw two new female champions crowned, and one of the two was a new Raw Women’s Champion Nia Jax, whose celebration was abruptly cut by the former champion, Alexa Bliss, and Mickie James. Bliss stated that she has a rematch clause and she’ll use it in due time, but it was at that moment that Nia not only cut off her former friend, she introduced her tag team partner for the evening: Ember Moon! The now-former NXT Women’s Champion made her main roster debut and teamed with Nia in defeating Bliss and Mickie, with Moon’s Eclipse finishing off Alexa. Post-WM Raw actually kicked off with Stephanie McMahon’s attempt to let bygones be bygones with Ronda Rousey, but Ronda wasn’t buying it, and she put Stephanie in the same submission that befell her a night earlier.

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Not to be topped, SmackDown saw Charlotte speak about her career defining victory over Asuka, and she was wondering who could be next. Lo and behold, The IIconics, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, made their main roster debut, and verbally assaulted Charlotte before turning physical towards the champion. Shortly after their vicious assault, Carmella came out and made another attempt to cash in her MITB case, and this time, it was successful, as WWE’s first Miss Money In The Bank became the new SmackDown Women’s Champion! Later on, Naomi was basking in the glow (no pun intended) of winning the inaugural WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal, but Natalya’s interruption led to the two of them facing each other, with Naomi winning.

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Elsewhere, Lacey Evans’ attempt to make a statement through Kairi Sane on post-Takeover NXT fell flat, as the inaugural Mae Young Classic winner defeated the “Lady of NXT.” Thursday’s Impact Wrestling was main evented by the Demon’s Dance between Rosemary and Taya, a match that was months in the making. In the end, the Demon Assassin was victorious over Lucha Royalty, and one has to believe that the Knockouts Championship is next on the horizon for Rosemary.

So the first shows after WM saw three NXT women called up: Ember Moon, Billie Kay, and Peyton Royce. Not surprised about the renamed IIconics, as many (myself included) expected them to be promoted for months, with Peyton’s participation at WM being the biggest factor. Regarding Ember, I thought that they would have her get her rematch against Shayna Baszler before a promotion to the main roster, but Ember being on the Raw brand could be very interesting. The same could be said for the IIconics, as they could make a major impact on SmackDown.

Also, this week saw Paige finally announce what we all figured for months: she has to retire. Paige made her heartfelt and emotional announcement on Raw this past Monday, fittingly in the same city (New Orleans) where she was called up and won the Divas Championship on her first night. Paige suffered a career threatening neck injury at a live event months ago, and it was reported as being severe enough to keep Paige from continuing as a wrestler. She thanked the fans for supporting her, and gave special shoutouts to Edge (who announced his retirement publicly seven years ago) and Daniel Bryan (who did the same two years ago but is now back in action). In a huge surprise, Paige resurfaced on SmackDown and was announced as the blue brand’s new General Manager, replacing Bryan. Paige joins Stephanie McMahon, Vickie Guerrero, and AJ Lee on the short list of female GMs, and she’s acting as a babyface in her current role.

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Which brings us to the Superstar Shake-Up? Who’s going from Raw to SmackDown and vice versa? A thought I had was Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville possibly going to SD, which could make Paige a heel again and have her be in Absolution’s back pocket, but the call-up of The IIconics, IMO, will most likely keep Paige’s former allies on Raw. Even so, other women could be switched. Bliss taking the pin in the tag match could mean a return to the blue brand, though she does have a title rematch waiting for her. Maybe Bayley or Sasha go to SD, maybe Becky Lynch or Charlotte go to Raw. In any event, the Superstar Shake-Up should be very, very interesting!

It all takes place this upcoming week, as well as another edition of NXT and the last Impact before the Redemption PPV! Until next week!


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