Welcome one and all to the RAW RECAP presented by THE REVELLEUTION! The Clash at the Castle event is only weeks away, and the tournament to crown new Women’s Tag Team Champions is well underway. This week will see the semi-final on the Raw Bracket taking place with rival duos of Asuka and Alexa Bliss taking on Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky. What new twists and turns will take place before we even get to the six-woman tag at the Premium Live Event? Let’s get into it, and find out…
With Raw taking place this week in Canada, hometown hero and WWE Hall of Famer TRISH STRATUS went to the ring. But the pandering speech was cut off by ‘Damage Control’ of BAYLEY, DAKOTA KAI and IYO SKY coming out. Giving fake praise before questioning why Stratus was even out here and cutting her off before a so-called big announcement. Bayley even referenced Stratus’ appearances at Live Events over the past weekend. Eventually, BIANCA BELAIR came out, sucking up to Stratus and saying the line that Stratus walked so that the women of today could run. Stratus teased ‘coming out of retirement if Bayley kept running her mouth, before ASUKA and ALEXA BLISS came out to make Bayley’s crew be at the disadvantage.
Women’s Tag Team Championship Tournament – Semi Finals Match
DAKOTA KAI & IYO SKY defeated ALEXA BLISS & ASUKA
The WWE casually announced before the match that on the Smackdown Bracket there would be a ‘Last Chance Fatal Four-Way’ Match to decide a replacement team for Toxic Attraction. Asuka and Sky started the match off but denying a clash of Triple Tails after years as Sky tagged out to Kai before even locking up. Asuka got a Savat Kick in, making Kai flee the ring in a unique flip from the ropes as Asuka taunted, calling her opponents ‘chicken’. Kai got onto the apron just to get sent down with a Hip Attack, before Bliss used a Baseball Slide to hit Sky on the floor as she tried to stall things.
After a commercial break, Sky and Bliss were legal. Trading Wristlock counters before Bliss got her Lucha Cradle for a two count. Moments later Bliss hitting her STO before changing up the usual Insult to Injury combo as she hit the Double Knee Drop but then followed with a turn around into a Flip Senton to get another near fall. Asuka was tagged in and finally we got the clash we were waiting for, starting off hot with Sky using a Matrix evasion to duck a kick and rolling up Asuka for a two count. Asuka avoided a Low Dropkick before Sky avoided the Sliding Kick, leading to Sky using a rewind Kick after Asuka had ducked a first shot.
Kai was tagged in, and ducked an Asuka kick to just yank her down by the hair. Working over Asuka with an Axe Kick then Kawada Kicks, but Asuka soon came back with her Pop-Up Knee Strike. Hitting Kawada Kicks of her own to Kai before tagging in Bliss. Kai sent off into the ropes before Bliss hit the KO Punch to set up a Bulldog from Asuka, but only getting Bliss a near fall. Bliss tried to get the win off of several pin holds but Kai escaped, before she and then Sky were sent out of the ring with Dropkicks. That set up Bliss to hit a Con Hilo onto both heels on the floor.
Once again DANA BROOKE (no sign of 24/7 title) and TAMINA were seen backstage watching the match. Kai managed to come back, tripping up Bliss to set up hitting a Big Boot to Bliss hanging off the apron. After another commercial break, Bliss was trying to make a tag but was cut off by Sky. Bliss hitting a kick to get a break and tag out as Asuka came in, knocking Kai off the apron with a Hip Attack. Sky then taking one before getting rattled by multiple Spinning Backfists and then the German Suplex. The Sliding Kick getting Asuka a two count. In another backstage area DOUPROP and NIKKI A.S.H. were watching the match with, for some reason, Smackdown’s ALIYAH. Kai provided not just a distraction, but was able to hit Asuka with a Hot Shot that set up Sky hitting a Meteora to the back.
Sky hit a Springboard Missile Dropkick but Bliss broke up the pin with a Dropkick. Kai sent Bliss out before getting tagged in herself, soon hitting an overhead twisty kick to Asuka’s head. Asuka tried for a Hip Attack but Kai avoided, leaving Asuka hung up on the ropes to take a Running Boot from Kai for a near fall. Asuka stunning Kai with a single Spinning Backfist, allowing a tag out to Bliss before Asuka hit her Sliding Kick to Kai. Sky tried to interfere but Bliss caught her, hitting the Goddess DDT on both heels! Asuka was tagged in, as the faces hit a Double Team combo of a Russian Legsweep by Asuka and a Running Neckbreakler by Bliss.
Asuka locked on a ground submission on Kai but Sky broke it up. Asuka tagging out to Bliss just to tag back in as Bliss went up for Twisted Bliss, but just ate double knees from Kai. Kai went for the corner Running Boot to Asuka at her team’s corner but missed, yet it allowed Sky to sneak in a tag. Asuka didn’t see it, so locked on the Asuka Lock on Kai and got a tap out, thinking she’d won. Sky rolled her up from behind to steal the win.
RHEA RIPLEY backed up Finn Balor as he faced Dolph Ziggler in a singles match. Aiding Balor with a cheap shot to Ziggler without the ref seeing it, setting up Balor to win.
SARAH SCHREIBER interviewed Aliyah but Bayley and her crew interrupted. Once again Trish Stratus showed up to taunt Bayley, leading to Aliyah challenging Bayley to a match.
Women’s Singles Match
BAYLEY defeated ALIYAH
Before the match the WWE said that Gigi Dolin had been ‘injured’ in her match on Smackdown so Toxic Attraction was out. So there will be a Fatal Four Way match with all the other eliminated teams so far – Brooke and Tamina, Ash and Doudrop, Sonya Deville and Natalya, and Shotzi and Xia Li – to decide who faces Raquel Gonzalez and Aliyah in the Semi Finals.
The hometown girl Aliyah, who didn’t get a full TV entrance, got the edge early with pin holds then a Dropkick. A Crossbody to the corner setting up a vault-in Headscissors. Bayley grabbed Aliyah’s ear to stop a pin, forcing Aliyah to the corner and hitting a couple of Knees to the gut. A Back Suplex by Bayley getting a two count then a Suplex getting just over a count of one. Bayley would dodge another Crossbody to the corner attempt and just clobber Aliyah down. Bayley hit a Sliding Clothesline for another two count while the announcers pointlessly bickered to try and get themselves over rather than the match.
Aliyah once again went to the well too often as her corner Crossbody was caught, Bayley showing off some strength to set Aliyah up across the middle ropes. Stealing a move out of her former tag partner and rival’s playbook with a Double Knee Drop to the corner for another near fall. Bayley appeared to be mocking Trish Stratus, something the announcers completely missed, before Aliyah avoided Bayley’s Stratusfaction attempt by shoving Bayley to send her down to the floor. Moments later Aliyah turned a Wheelbarrow on the outside into a Bulldog for a homage of sorts to Stratus.
Aliyah appeared to be either out of sorts with her timing or looking a little exhausted, stumbling a bit before she (slowly) rolled Bayley over to steal another spot of a Canadian wrestler Lance Storm with a Single Leg Crab hold. Bayley escaped with a hair grab. Moments later Bayley hit the Rose Plant (Headlock Driver) to get the win.
Another WWE Hall of Fame member in BETH PHOENIX was involved in the show, watching on as her husband Edge faced Damien Priest. But after the match Phoenix grabbed a chair to face off against Rhea Ripley when she had hit Edge with a Low Blow. The rest of Judgement Day having to pull Ripley out of the ring as Phoenix was ready to swing the chair.
The Tag Team Championship Tournament seems quite cursed with more last minute changes. But is Dolin’s removal a legit injury? Or another case of a wrestler being dropped because they aren’t vaccinated and can’t travel as was the case for Nikkita Lyons (and Raquel Gonzales for that matter). Regardless, the expected team of Kai and Sky are through to the finals, presumably to face Aliyah and Gonzales. The tag match was a fine one and it was great, even briefly, to see former stablemates in the Joshi scene of Asuka and Sky going at it. Meanwhile, Aliyah and Bayley’s match didn’t deliver and it showed sadly why Aliyah had spent so long in developmental without being called up. Even now she seemed unsure of herself and even against a veteran like Bayley it wasn’t a solid match. It felt like an underwhelming first match back for Bayley, with matters not helped by an announce team more interested in bickering with one another than calling the match.
That’s your lot for this week! Be sure to stop by in seven days’ time for the next edition of the RAW RECAP! See you then!