Holiday greetings from your favorite wrestling blogger! The Tables, Ladders, and Chairs pay-per-view is in our rearview, and in Nylons fashion, I thought I’d share my thoughts about how the women fared at this show. Because there were only three matches featuring women on the card, I’ll simply talk about the matches generally. Good, bad, and thorny.
Mixed Match Challenge Finals: Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox vs. R-Truth & Carmella
We all knew this match was not destined to be a classic by any stretch, but you know what? It served its purpose, and I found it entertaining. Although many fans were dismayed at arguably the two least appealing teams being in the finals, as commentary mentioned, these were also two teams that managed to stay together for the entire length of the series. The chemistry that the women had with their male partners shone through in this match, and witnessing interesting chemistries is why we all enjoy the concept of the MMC in the first place.
Particularly with Truth and Carmella, you could tell that the two of them were simply having fun. I think this was a good transition out of the heel Carmella persona we saw dominate 2018, as abrupt as it may have been initially. It helped to remind us of Carmella’s likability and great character work, which can often be forgotten when you’re playing an obnoxious heel. It will be interesting to see how over ‘Mella is when she returns to singles competition.
RAW Women’s Title: Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax
I won’t lie, as much as I wanted to hate it because of Ronda, this was actually a pretty good match. Nia and Ronda work well off each other and know their roles in the match as relentless heel and valiant babyface.
I like that Ronda is starting to evolve her offense. I was beginning to get annoyed that she seemed to be all armbars and armdrags, but in this match she tried new things. That run-up Nia into a face punch looked cool, as did her crossbody. Lastly, her headscissors takedown of Nia to transition into her armbar was wild to watch. For the first time, for me at least, her win felt believable and earned.
I suppose this is what sets her apart from Brock Lesnar. If they’re going to let her sit at the top of the mountain arbitrarily, she better at least do something while she’s up there.
Backstage Segment: Nia meets Becky
This was fantastic! Chef’s kiss perfection if you ask me. This is the continuity we beg for in WWE and especially with the women. Becky and Nia were at the same show, both in matches, so of course they would cross paths backstage. Becky got her sweet revenge with a sick right to the face of Nia. She is such an effective anti-hero — exacting her revenge, saying what she had to say, and then leaving. She’s great.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka
I’ll start by saying that as a match that was put together by three world-class performers, this was about as good as they could have given us. This match was ruthless and desperate as any title or TLC match should be. Each woman had a chance to shine, and it had so many memorable spots that made me genuinely cringe. This is what women have the capacity to do!
Now, to get critical. In short, I feel that Asuka took a bit of a backseat in this match. While I’m not as bothered by this as many fans are, it is worth discussing at length here.
I didn’t feel that Asuka had as many opportunities to hit big spots like Becky and, even more, Charlotte. She sold for so much of this match while Charlotte looked darn near invincible at points.
I don’t know why when WWE turns women face they feel the need to neuter their offense. Asuka had one of the longest title reigns (and undefeated streaks) of the modern era. The woman has the capability to be downright deadly in the ring, so I wished she would have had more moments to show this in the match.
And then there’s the finish. Not completely unpredictable, but just…questionable? It makes storyline sense. Ronda has bones to pick with both Charlotte and Becky for good reason. I like that their storyline is being furthered. But this is the second time this year that Ronda has in some way stolen the spotlight away from Asuka. Do we remember what Ronda did at the Royal Rumble? Another historic win in a first-ever match that will have a Ronda cameo in the video packages commemorating it.
Not only that, but Asuka should not have needed outside interference to win. It would have meant more for her character to win this match clean without an asterisk. It doesn’t feel right considering that Asuka is a face.
But, my overwhelming reaction to this finish is happiness that Asuka is finally reclaiming the time that was stolen from her this year. She won the title one year after her debut at this very pay-per-view. She is finishing the year she started by winning the Royal Rumble and losing to Charlotte in her earned championship match at WrestleMania by getting the last laugh and the title to boot. This victory is so sweet, and I refuse to let Ronda’s appearance sour it.
I cannot wait to talk to you all about the year in review for the WWE women’s division. Through thick and thin, it surely was one to remember.
Stay legit bossy,