Women in Wrestling Weekly Roundup – October 8-14, 2023
By Miss Peacockery on 16th October 2023
Hello and welcome to the first of hopefully many columns looking at the state of women’s wrestling. Scott has graciously given me the opportunity to write here and, as a long time fan of both wrestling and Scott’s work, I’m honored to be here. I’m starting with these but hope to throw some show recaps and other content at the wall as well as time allows. You might recognize me from the comments where I usually complain about women’s wrestling and/or mention that Rhea Ripley is hot. You might also know me from Twitter, where I do the same but with added Samantha Irvin appreciation.
The goal of this column is to take a more in-depth look at what often gets the least attention on shows – the women. We’ve never had a more talented group of women throughout the rosters, yet often times it is a fight to get them on shows. A lot of people miss how marketable the women can be or blame it on “well, they don’t draw.” They do in fact draw when given the build, but sometimes you have got to start a build to make people care. If Sami Zayn was never on TV or stuck on Main Event, I’m not sure he’d be where he is. In a world where women haven’t gotten more than one match on the two-hour Dynamite in 2023 and one match on the latest WWE PLE, there is room for improvement. Representation is important, yes, but I just feel like there’s so much missed money being left on the table by the companies.
My goal is to break it down by day and by show for three companies – WWE, AEW and Impact. I’m just going with the three main companies because those are the most accessible and the ones I watch. I’m including NXT in with WWE and Ring of Honor with AEW as, many times, those shows are intertwined with the main company shows. I’m going to take it day by day, break down each show, and dig in a little bit. My goal is to hopefully make people care a little more about the women’s action here but also to bring attention to it. I think there are some talented performers being missed as well, and I plan to draw your attention to them.
I’m still figuring out my exact format for this beast, so you might see some changes over the coming weeks.
Monday – WWE Raw
Three hours of Raw with this being the season finale. Becky Lynch vs Tegan Nox has been our hyped match for a few weeks.
Our first match was Nia Jax vs Rachel Rodriguez (7:15). Neither woman really needs an introduction, as Raquel as been in the title picture as of late and Nia has recently returned with an attack on current champion Rhea Ripley. Nia can be divisive, I know, but I feel like that was a good showing for both women. This was largely a “hoss fight” and it worked for me. The biggest moment might be Rachel’s powerbomb of Nia. This was, however, also a storyline match that ended in a no contest with Rhea attacking Raquel on the outside followed by Shayna Baszler coming to attack Nia. It turns into every woman for themselves and we have a nice setup for a four-way at the next big show. This also sets up Rhea vs Shayna next week. These four colliding for weeks has been a much needed boost for the Raw women’s division, which has largely been an afterthought with champion Rhea being so charismatic that she’s leading most of the Judgement Day storylines in general.
Next up is our big promoted match, Becky Lynch defending the NXT Women’s Title against Tegan Nox (14:30). There has been a good bit of build to this, with Tegan winning the title shot and the match being delayed a week due to Becky’s injury against Tiffany Stratton at NXT No Mercy. The NXT Women’s Title is one of two titles, along with Dom Dom’s North American Title, that has spread beyond NXT and into the other shows. I wasn’t sure I was a fan of the idea at first, but it really has been used well to elevate and re-establish some of the under-utilized women on the roster. As far as the match, it is a well-paced match that gives Tegan the biggest shine she’s had on the main roster. She kept up with Becky, looked good, and was elevated. Becky wins with the Disarm-Her. Much like the John Cena U.S. Open Challenge, Becky’s NXT Title run so far has been great at giving Becky solid matches and making others look good.
We have a visit back with Becky, who gets interrupted by Xia Li. Xia has been stuck in Main Event purgatory but would like a shot.
Women’s Tag Team Champions Chelsea Green and Piper Niven mock the trio of Kayden Carter, Katana Chance and Natalya, which leads to Natalya vs Niven next week.
2 of 6 matches for a total of 21:45. 4 women compete compared to 11 men. I’d love for them to get longer since it IS a three hour show, but a third of the matches is a good start. We’ll call this a B.
Tuesday – AEW Dynamite – “Title Tuesday”
It’s a special edition of Dynamite, moved to Tuesday to complete with NXT thanks to Major League Baseball. Tony Khan himself has talked this one up, which surely won’t blow up in his face later.
Our average isn’t pretty here – is it ever for AEW? One match on a seven match card.
It’s a 2023 Dynamite, so our one and only match is Saraya defending her Women’s Title against two-time champion Hilaru Shida (11:15). Outcasts partner Ruby Soho shows up and gets foiled by the green spray paint, then “Timeless” Toni Storm appears to beat her with her infamous shoe. Saraya takings a surprising suplex bump to the apron, but Shida ends it with a rollup for her third title reign. Not a bad match, and it was probably time to move on.
Other happenings: Toni Storm’s first silent movie debuts but as the picture-in-picture content during breaks. Laaaaaaame. And that’s the complete report on everything involving women aired in the two hour show plus the half hour preshow.
The stats: 1 of 7 matches for 11:18. 12 men compete compared to two women. As always, it would be crazy to have two women’s matches on the flagship show, right? This is more time than they usually get. They’d get more points for the Toni segment if it wasn’t buried in PIP mode. Grade: C-, mostly for the celebratory title change.
Tuesday – NXT:
In its usual spot, this is a mega sized NXT thanks to the competition. Names like Cena, Heyman, and Undertaker have been called in.
Our first match has returning NXT legend Asuka facing off with rising star Roxanne Perez (6:05). Shotzi has also appeared as guest color commentator, mostly to announce that she and Scarlett will be hosting Halloween Havoc. The actual match is good, with the veteran overpowering your Roxy and getting the win. Kiana James shows up to attack Roxy, but Shotzi has the save.
Second up is the first round Breakout Tournament matchup between Lola Vice and Dani Palmer (4:01). Lola Vice is a NXT prospect with a background in MMA. Dani is a complete first year rookie who has completely existed on NXT Level Up and house shows. It’s a quick little match that gives a sampling of each competitor, but the all-star nature of this episode probably shortened it. Lola advances in the tournament.
Rhea Ripley appears, as she usually does, with her Dom Dom to join in the show-opening promo with Cody Rhodes and Ilja Dragunov. She later interferes in the Dom-Ilja match. We get a video hyping the upcoming Halloween Havoc match between Becky Lynch and Lyra Valkaria, followed by Tegan Nox telling Lyra that her title match should be postponed. Paul Heyman is seen taking to Ava backstage, who you might also know as The Rock’s daughter. Jade Cargill pulls in backstage looking like a million dollars, as usual, and walks off with Shawn Michaels. Thea Hail returns to the Chase U classroom alongside Jacy Jayne, which really just extends their story and puts the Chase U men into the Dusty Classic. Tiffany Stratton appears to tease an alliance with Asuka. There is, as usual, a LOT happening with the various women on NXT. That’s a good thing.
2 of 6 matches for a total of 10:16. Eight men, four women. The two women’s matches combined are shorter than any one of the men’s matches. I’d say the various legend appearances wrecked their time this week. At least there is a LOT building for the women, but this one hurt a little more than it usually does. Grade: C-
Thursday – WWE Main Event
For those of you who don’t know, Main Event is the matches taped before Raw. They air on Hulu and, weeks later, Peacock. There is zero advertising. We tend to get one women’s match, though recent weeks have seen both matches be women.
One match this week, with Nikki Cross facing Kiana James. Color commentator Wade Barrett gives a little background on James, which is that she will use her “ways” or her money to get what she wants. For example, she wanted Asuka to face Roxanne on NXT. As far as this match, it’s a five-minute special. It’s solid and Nikki gets the win. As always, it would go a long while if Michael Cole would take half a minute to promote the match on Raw or even if WWE social media pretended the show existed. But they don’t.
We re-air the Tegan Nox promo from Raw and then see clips of the final moments of her match against Becky.
1 of 2 matches for a total of 5:06. Two men, two women. The two matches got a total of 13:06 of the hour long show, but they tend to just exist here. A solid C as usual for Main Event’s low standards.
Thursday – ROH on HonorClub
This show is kind of it’s own weird oasis. Most of the ROH champions, save the women’s and six-men, don’t appear on the show. It’s a two hour edition of AEW Dark but now we pay a monthly fee to watch it.
We actually get FOUR women’s matches this week. Our first features ROH World Champion Athena facing Mazzerrati in a Proving Ground match (5:15). For those unknown in the Proving Ground knowledge, the challenger has to either beat Willow or survive ten minutes to win a title shot. Mazzerrati is a promising freelance wrestler with numerous ROH/AEW appearances, including a title shot at former champion Mercedes Martinez. She looks good here, but it’s another showcase for the incredible run Athena has been on. She’s been the MVP of women’s wrestling this year and really the reason I’m paying for this dumb ROH app. Minion in Training Billie Starkz helps Mazzerrati hide after the match from a further Athena beating.
Next is Mercedes Martinez vs Lady Frost (5:29). Both women are stuck in the ROH cycles they’ve been in, with Mercedes kicking asses and Frost being a good heel but always losing. Mercedes should really be on the AEW roster in a Shayna Baszler-type spot, but that would require focusing on more than three women in a month. I highly recommend checking out Lady Frost’s appearances as she interacts with the crowds well. Mercedes wins this.
Willow Nightingale vs Layla Hirach (6:54) follows. Layla just had a killer match against champion Athena last week. My Twitter followers know how much I adore Willow and think she should be a focal point of AEW. I thought winning the Owen tournament would have helped, but here we are. Two great talents and it’s a good match for the six minutes it is given.
Last but not least, Billie Starkz vs Rosie Riveter (1:13). Basically a squash for Billie. A post-match attack from Diamente and Martinez on Billie and Athena happens as set up in a few backstage segments.
Not much, really. It’s another exciting episode of ROH on HonorClub, where at least the women are getting matches but it could be more.
4 of 13 matches for a combined 19:04 or so. 22 men, 8 women competed. A solid night for the women where unfortunately it’s largely Whose Line rules (everything is made up and the points don’t matter) outside of whatever Athena is doing. I’m giving it a B just for four matches. It’s doing more than the others.
Thursday – Impact Wrestling
The underdog as always, Impact has been the best home for women’s wrestling consistency for a while. The women’s division is probably the best part of the show.
Jordynne Grace vs Eric Young vs Dirty Dango vs Jake Something vs Champagne Singh (9:00). Jordynne has been dabbling in matches with the men for a while. I somehow did not think I’d get a Dango match when I came up with this column. Jordynne hangs tough and gets some good stuff in, but this goes to Dango thanks to interference from the former Vladimir Kozlov.
Courtney Rush vs Tasha Steelz (7:09) – This was an enjoyable match! I think it helped build up Tasha who is a fun heel. Both looked good, but we’re working towards a tag title match at Bound for Glory.
KiLynn King confesses to an attack on Taylor Wilde thanks to the detective work of Santino Marella.
We’ll count the five-person match as one of two matches for a combined 18:52. Ten men, three women. A lesser week for the women this week, which is disappointing as we near a PPV. Grade: C
Friday – WWE Friday Night SmackDown
Season premiere! Unfortunately that doesn’t mean much for the women, who get minimal ring time this week. Can’t wait for a whole season of this!
Setup by Bayley being a menace backstage, Bayley faces Zelina Vega (2:38). An Iyo Sky distraction gets Bayley to a quick win, followed by Charlotte saving Vega from a post-match Damage CRTL attack.
Yep, that’s it. Under three minutes.
This is actually a big one. As Chelsea Green and Piper Niven pester new GM Nick Aldis for new belts, Aldis brushes them off for Charlotte. He gives Charlotte a title shot next week. Charlotte turns around and finds herself face to face with Jade Cargill as cash register sounds explode in my head. Jade says it’s her pleasure to meet Charlotte, to which Charlotte respond, “It will be.” MONEY.
One match for a measly 2:38 with ten men, two women competing. As much as I love the Jade-Charlotte moment and it’ll be replayed forever, I’ve gotta give this show a D for the women. Every other match got at least nine minutes. Do better, Nick Aldis.
Friday – AEW Rampage
It goes without fail that there will be one random women’s match (and only one) on Rampage. This week is no exception!
Skye Blue faces Emi Sakura (4:26). Skye seems to be Tony’s woman of the week as she’s the focus of matches on several shows. Her eye makeup continues to expand as Julia Hart’s poison mist continues to take hold. Maybe Skye needs a doctor. For the four minutes they’re given it’s good.
One match for 4:26. Twelve men, two women. As with SmackDown, no other match had under nine minutes. Pitiful as the norm for Rampage. This, too, gets a D.
Friday – NXT Level Up
The breeziest half hour of wrestling on television. We get two or three NXT matches in half an hour, usually with a women’s match.
Ivy Nile defeats Kiyah Saint (6:50). This is only Kiyah’s fourth match ever and her second televised. It’s a little rocky and a little longer than most Ivy Nile matches. I’m a big Ivy fan and really she should be wrecking women on a weekly basis on the main NXT show.
Those don’t happen on this show.
One match for 6:50, with two women and two men competing. My grading scale for this developmental half hour show is a little easier. They get their shot. It’s a B.
Saturday – AEW Collision
Much like Rampage, this is typically a one women’s match show. Unfortunately that’s more glaring on Collision as a two hour show.
Kris Statlander defends the TBS Title against Skye Blue (9:10). Syke’s makeup has spread even more since last night. The ladies make the most of their time and really, there isn’t a bad Kris match nowadays and Skye can hold her own. Post match, Skye’s evil eye makeup twin Willow Nightingale comes between a handshake.
CJ Perry (the former Lana) considers the possibility of a business relationship with Action Andretti, who is then wrecked by Miro. Sure!
One match for 9:10. Two women, ten men in matches. I’m glad Stat is getting lengthy matches for her reign, but the one match per show always leaves room for more… especially when numerous other matches are squashes. It’s a C this week.
Overall stats for the week:
WWE/NXT – 7 of 18 televised matches featured women this week for approximately 44 minutes of in-ring time. Three of the seven matches were on NXT shows.
AEW/ROH – 7 of 31 televised matches featured women this week for approximately 43 minutes of in-ring this werk. Four of the seven matches were on ROH.
Impact – 2 of 4 televised matches featured women this week for approximately 19 minutes of in-ring action. One of the two matches was a five-person match with one woman.
Overall – 16 of 53 matches televised this week included women. This is about 1.75 hours total of action for the women across ten shows. Thirty different women had televised matches this week. Skye Blue was the only with multiple matches, having two this week.