As I said on Saturday, the Royal Rumble this year was an event I was very excited about, and I’m thrilled to say that it didn’t disappoint. Once again, the stage looks set for Wrestlemania with some matchups that I’m looking forward to seeing on the horizon, hopefully with crowds to make it all the better.
Anyway, I just want to get talking about these matches, so here are my rankings.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that Drew retained, but not in the excited way that I should be, I’m just glad I didn’t have to experience to utter disappointment and anger that would’ve been Goldberg winning the title. I was invested in the match, but not for the right reasons.
As you’d expect, this match was the same as just about every match Goldberg has had since he returned. Both men hit some signature moves, there were a couple of surprising kickouts, then one last signature move put the nail in the coffin. As soon as Drew kicked out of the Jackhammer, I knew he was winning, and I just don’t think it’s all that fun to watch two men hit a bunch of finishers for two minutes before a pin.
As I said, happy for Drew, don’t care about the match.
5 – Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler def. Asuka & Charlotte Flair(c) (Women’s Tag Team Championships)
Talk about making Charlotte look strong in defeat…
What was the point in giving these two the titles? No-one’s come out of it looking good. Baszler & Jax won the titles back in the lamest fashion, needing THREE separate interferences to finally put Charlotte away. It perpetuates this idea that the fans have had for years that WWE treats Charlotte far better than the rest of their women’s roster. Meanwhile, Asuka was cast entirely aside to tell this story, despite being Raw’s top champion in the women’s division.
The match was fine, but given that Baszler, Jax & Flair were all going to be heavily featured in the Rumble, it was clear they were saving the bulk of their energy. This whole situation just makes me feel bad for Asuka. She was one of the best things going in the entire company during spring & summer of 2020, and since autumn, she’s been treated like she’s nothing. It boggles my mind, and I can only pray that she gets something better heading into Wrestlemania, and doesn’t have to drop the title to Charlotte beforehand…
I really don’t have anything to say about this one, it was a decent match with an obvious outcome. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it, but given that they had a very similar, and much better match last month, I didn’t really care.
3 – Roman Reigns(c) def. Kevin Owens (Universal Championship) (Last Man Standing)
I was cautiously optimistic about this one in my predictions. The feud had been built damn-near perfectly over the past month, and it had all the promise in the world. However, it was also a Last Man Standing match, which are often very slow, sometimes dull affairs. Thankfully, this match mostly avoided that.
The opening section wasn’t super engaging, but there was at least the novelty of seeing the two men fighting between the screens of the Thunderdome, it was a unique visual. The match also didn’t hold off on going for the big spots straight away, and I thought this might’ve been a short one when Reigns threw Owens off the stands into the tables. Thankfully, the match continued to build for there, and I really got into it. Reigns hitting Owens with a golf cart was a shocking moment, and it was framed perfectly so that you didn’t see it coming until the last second.
The whole section backstage was a great section of Owens getting his own back after Reigns schooled him throughout the match’s early section. The forklift spot was another great one and was the second time the match tricked me into thinking it was the finish. As things moved back into the arena, the excitement continued to build, and yet another false-finish with the spear through the barricade kept me gripped into the finish.
The best false-finish was the handcuffs, and I genuinely thought Owens was about to win the title, but the ref bump put paid to that. Then…there was the botch with the handcuffs. A new ref came down as Heyman tried to unlock Reigns’ handcuffs, but Heyman just couldn’t do it, so the new ref got to a count of about 7, but had to stop because Roman was still cuffed and couldn’t get up. It did ruin the finish’s pace, but it was also quite funny, so it didn’t detract from my enjoyment as much as it probably should’ve.
While I was hoping Owens would win, Reigns’ retaining is almost certainly the right move, I quite like how strong they’re presenting his Guillotine chokehold, and given what he’d already gone through, it makes total sense that Owens’ body would give up the ghost by that point. A really good match and a strong retention for the champ.
2 – Edge won the Men’s Royal Rumble
For the past few years, I’ve noticed that the Rumbles don’t have filler entrants anymore, and I think that has increased the overall quality of the matches significantly. You look at Rumbles like 2013 & 2014, and so many of the entrants are people like 3MB, Los Matadores and complete jobbers who have no chance in hell of winning or doing anything of interest. That’s just not the case anymore, WWE’s talent roster is deep that everyone who comes in is a great wrestler who can leave an impact on the match and I think that’s why every Rumble since about 2016/2017 has been a lot of fun to watch (even if we hated the winner).
The match set forth its primary story straight away and it really worked. The heels filling the ring and beating down Edge put the odds against him straight away (as if coming out #1 wasn’t enough), and it made that comeback story feel all the sweeter. The first half of the Rumble wasn’t super eventful after the Edge/Orton stuff died down, but there were enjoyable spots and a healthy dose of surprises as the ring built up with competitors. Carlito is always a welcome sight, and Damian Priest made one hell of an impact, which I hope translates to being featured on the main roster from now on.
The second half was where things really heated up, and there was action all over. Riddle got to last a surprisingly long time in the match and him & Bryan coming to blows every now and then was great fun to watch. Lashley squaring off with Big E was something I got far more into that I was expecting to, and I would quite like to see a full-length match between the two of them now. Christian showing up was absolutely perfect, and nothing will make my heart swell more than Edge & Christian hugging as active wrestlers once again.
I went into this not too keen on Edge winning the thing, as I thought Daniel Bryan winning would’ve been a far better story, but by the time Edge was pointing at the sign, I was all-in on seeing him fight for a title at Mania. I’m not sure which champ he’s going to fight either. Roman would make more sense from a heel/face perspective, but also, there’s not really anyone else on Raw for Drew to fight at Mania. There’s even the remote possibility that Orton somehow gets the title and we get Edge vs Orton 3 at Mania instead.
Either way, this was a thoroughly enjoyable Rumble with a satisfying conclusion, and I am hyped for Wrestlemania this year.
1 – Bianca Belair won the Women’s Royal Rumble
This was one of the best Royal Rumble matches of all time. Not quite the best, there is a small handful I think are better, but not many.
The pacing on this was unbelievably good, almost in spite of itself. For the first 14 entrants (almost half the match) there was only 1 elimination, but it made the first half feel so lively. Bayley, Naomi & Bianca carried the bulk of the action as outstanding wrestlers POURED into the ring like you wouldn’t believe; Toni Storm, Shotzi Blackheart & Shayna Baszler, just to name a few. The first half of this Rumble was so much stronger than the men’s because there was so much more going on in terms of both story & action. While wrestlers like Bianca & Bayley were wrestling like there was no tomorrow, Billie Kay was running around ringside trying to win over anyone and everyone who joined the match. Billie is gifted when it comes to comedy is wrestling as this was a wonderful through-line, that actually continued when she got in the ring with Peyton Royce & The Riott Squad.
Then Rhea & Charlotte got in the ring, and shit got serious. Rhea looked like such a beast from the moment she entered, there was just something about her presentation and the way she kicked the shit out of everyone that screamed star-power. As much as I had picked Belair in my predictions and I was thrilled to see her win, in my heart, I was rooting for Ripley, and she went on a tear. Charlotte did the same, and I know I bitched about Charlotte’s presentation earlier, but I thought it was really good in this match and paid off well.
The 24/7 title stuff was a bit weird, but it suited Alica Fox and didn’t last too long or over bare on the match. The last run of entrants added a lot to the match. Carmella got a good mini-story with Reginald, Alexa Bliss managed to look good despite being eliminated really quickly as everyone mobbed her as soon as she got in. Lana FINALLY got one over on Nia & Shayna in a satisfying moment, and Nia didn’t injure anyone, which is always a plus. Also, Natalya was there, I guess.
What really put this match over the top though, was the final 3, which was utterly flawless. I was genuinely out of my seat as Charlotte, Rhea & Bianca faced off – the same three women who were in each other’s face over the NXT Women’s Championship last year. I wanted both Rhea & Bianca to win, and them ganging up on Charlotte was the most pleasing thing of all. They teased us just enough with the potential of Charlotte shit-canning them both to make it very satisfying when they finally got rid of her.
Then we had Rhea & Bianca face off in the final two. Two women who both stood a really good chance of winning the match, who told a brilliant story together back in NXT, facing off in a match-within-a-match for about 3-4 minutes. They did a fantastic job of teasing some false-finishes and played with the fact that we genuinely had no idea which one of them was going to win in the best possible way.
When Bianca finally won, it was a tremendous emotional climax and felt so very deserved. Not only because of the great work she’s done week-to-week recently, but because of how damned hard she fought for it in this match. Unlike Edge, who took a backseat here and there in his Rumble, Bianca was always amongst the action, with her & Naomi especially putting on a great show constantly battling.
It’s a masterclass in making a new star, and I can’t wait for her to put on the performance of a lifetime at Wrestlemania against (hopefully) Sasha Banks.
So there you have it! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. Please, let me know what you thought of the show, either in the comment below or on Twitter @SStyleSmark. Finally, make sure to come back here this time on Saturday where I’ll be covering my favourite Fall Guys levels!
There are very few wrestling events that I get childishly excited about these days, but the Royal Rumble is definitely one of them. It’s been said the world over by now, but it really is true that even a bad Rumble is still a lot of fun while you’re watching it. Having two Rumbles on the same show can be a bit exhausting these days, but also screw it, it’s a lot of fun, and I always have a blast, so I don’t care.
Enough rambling, more rumbling, let’s make predictions.
Asuka & Charlotte Flair(c) vs Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (Women’s Tag Team Championships)
You wouldn’t know it based on how they’ve been booked on TV this past month, but Asuka & Charlotte are actually the women’s tag champs. For some reason, WWE has decided to keep them miles apart from each other this month. Each woman has completely separate stories from each other, and only tangentially got involved with their challengers for this match.
When they won the titles, I think we all knew it was just so they could break up and feud for Wrestlemania, but apparently, until they’re ready to pull the trigger on that, WWE is just going to pretend they’re not even aware of one another. I’d like to be optimistic about this match and say that it has all the right competitors to be a good one, but this match will definitely get cut short. Since the pandemic era, WWE has tried to keep their PPVs to about 3 – 3 & 1/2 hours, we’ve got two Rumbles, which are both an hour-long, then four other title matches to deal with. That means that every title match (except for maybe one) will go short, so I’m not expecting much from this one.
In terms of a winner, I would prefer it if Jax & Baszler took the titles back, but I don’t see it happening until WWE are ready to start building the Charlotte/Asuka feud, which I doubt they are just yet. So I’m going to put Asuka & Charlotte Flair to retain, even if it is a stupid idea.
Sasha Banks(c) vs Carmella (Smackdown Women’s Championship)
This was a very odd build. For the first couple of weeks after TLC, it seemed like Banks was done with Carmella, but apparently, WWE realised last-minute that Sasha needed something to do this month, so just kept the feud going while everyone else in the division builds to the Rumble. The stuff with Reginald was pretty good if you ask me, but it didn’t do much to actually hype me up for this match, it was more of just an entertaining, but self-contained oddity.
As with their TLC match, I think this one will be good, but not very long. Banks already dispatched of Carmella with little difficulty last month, and I can’t see Carmella looking much better in this one. All I’m hoping for here is an enjoyable match that lasts about 12 minutes. In an ideal world, I’d like it to go longer, but as I’ve said, the two Rumbles mean that the other matches have got to go short.
As I’ve probably made apparent already, I think Sasha Banks is going to retain. There’s no value in Banks dropping that belt before Wrestlemania, especially not to someone that she’s already beat once before.
Drew McIntyre(c) vs Goldberg (WWE Championship)
Here we are again…
When this match was first announced, along with being disappointed, I also had the cockiness and was thinking there’s NO WAY they’d have Drew drop the title to Goldberg after building him up all year. Then I remembered that was precisely the same thing I thought last year when Goldberg beat The Fiend for the title.
It’s one of those rare cases where, whether or not I think this match is a good idea depends ENTIRELY on the result. If Drew wins, then it will be a great way to lend him some real credibility and bolster his stock even further going into Wrestlemania. However, if Goldberg wins, then it will be a terrible idea that proves that WWE doesn’t listen to its audience and only cares about selling nostalgia rather than creating new stars from the wrestlers we actually like.
I’m picking Drew McIntyre because I have to because I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror if I picked Goldberg. The worst part is, if Goldberg does in, I know that I’m not even going to have the energy to be pissed off about it, I’m just going to be disappointed.
Roman Reigns(c) vs Kevin Owens (Universal Championship) (Last Man Standing)
By far the best built non-Rumble match on this show, I am really quite excited to see this one.
Smackdown as a whole has been bloody great this past month, and this feud at the top of everything has been a massive part of why. The original build with Nakamura going long in the gauntlet match, only for Pearce to be forcefully slotted in the match was a great way to kick things off. In all honesty, I was kind of excited to see Roman vs Pearce, but the way they turned the story around was really well-done. Pearce pulled a fast one on Roman, which brought Owens back into the picture with a hell of a lot of fire.
From there, things have built perfectly. Reigns’ heat only seems to build week on week as he wanders around the place, getting to be cocky, snobbish and hilariously sarcastic to everyone he meets. What’s more, is when the face gets one over on him, it feels like a huge moment, like Reigns is getting put in his place, if only just momentarily. Owens’ promos about his tattoos and what this means to him have been so impassioned and genuine that you just have to cheer for him. I’ve said before about how Owens can talk so genuinely, and Reigns has turned out to be the perfect opponent for him.
This build has been so good that I briefly considered the possibility that Owens could win the title. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t make much sense for Roman to drop the title now, but the story with Owens has been so good, that it’s made me somewhat forget all of that logic. I’ve not gone all of the way off the deep end though, and I’m still picking Roman Reigns to win, I’m saying, if Owens won, I’d be pleased with it.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Now we get to what we’re all here for, the Royal Rumble matches, and genuinely, I’m really struggling to predict a winner for both of these. It seems counter-intuitive given that there are 30 participants in the match, but we usually go into a Rumble match with one or two legit contenders for the win, however this year…there’s so many! As usual with these, I’m going to run down the handful of participants that I think are in with a shout, and explain a bit about why, before making my final pick.
Rhea Ripley- This is the one I’d probably be the most surprised about if it actually happened, but it’s pretty clear that Ripley is done in NXT. Her debut on the main roster seems to be imminent, and what better way to make a splash than winning the Rumble? She could feud with either Sasha or Asuka, and it would be a match I’d be very excited to see, but ultimately, this is the one I’d put the lowest odds on happening.
Bayley – While the match at Hell in a Cell was terrific, I think we were all a bit surprised when the Sasha/Bayley feud ended after just one match. Immediately there was speculation that they might save the rematch for Wrestlemania. While I think it’s a definite possibility, as the months have gone on, I think it’s become less and less likely. I don’t know what else Bayley could do at Wrestlemania, to be fair, but I think WWE will want something fresh for Banks at that show.
Charlotte Flair – This is probably the most straightforward pick out of what we’ve got, but I don’t think it’s the most likely. With Asuka & Charlotte as tag champs, if Charlotte won the Rumble, that would instantly cause the break-up and the feud. The only problem is it would be quite underwhelming. This isn’t a knock on Charlotte, but she won the Rumble last year, I don’t really want to see her win it again, especially when there are far more exciting options on the table.
Alexa Bliss – This has been incredibly weird, and not all that good, but at the same time, I kind of like the direction it’s going in. It’s hard to tell what the end-game is with the Fiend/Bliss relationship. For the most part, she’s just been a pawn in the feud between The Fiend and Orton, but over past few weeks, she’s been challenging Asuka for the title, breaking out on her own. I think it would be a colossal waste if she didn’t at least get to sniff a major title feud here.
Bianca Belair – For a while, Belair was the top contender for this match in my mind, and she might still be, I’m honestly not sure. After a bit of a slow start on Raw, she moved over to Smackdown, and it instantly became clear that she was a star in the making. While the finish to the Survivor Series tag match was crap, Belair was clearly the MVP of the whole match, and since she’s been feuding with Bayley, she’s been looking good week in, and week out, they even made that WWE Chronicle on her past, which is something they don’t do for just anyone.
This is a really tough choice. In my head, it’s between Bliss & Belair, and since they’re both on different brands, either one of them could theoretically win, then the other just gets their title match via the Elimination Chamber. I’ve genuinely gone back and forth several times while writing this section, but in the end, I’ve got to go with…Bianca Belair. I’m already second-guessing that decision, but I’ve got to make the pick at some point.
Men’s Royal Rumble
Truth be told, I’m actually thrilled that these Rumbles are so hard to predict because it means I’m going to be all the more invested in the match. Not having any idea what’s going to happen just gets me hyped up all the more, and that goes for the men’s Rumble as much as it does the women’s. Let’s run down the contenders.
Shinsuke Nakamura – Technically possible, because they’ve been pushing him quite hard this past month, but I doubt it’ll actually happen. It feels more to me like this is Smackdown’s way of building up more red-herrings in terms of people who could win the Rumble. They’ve been doing this with Cesaro & Dolph Ziggler too. I’m glad they’re doing it, it’s something that should be done every year, but I don’t think any of them are actually going to win.
Seth Rollins – This does depend on whether he’s ready to return after becoming a father (which is the reason I didn’t consider Becky for the women’s Rumble), but if he does come back, I’d say he has a shot at winning. While we have seen Roman vs Seth before, it was a long time ago, and the situation was quite different. Sure, they’re both heels, but you can change that a bit, since Seth will be coming off of a return, it wouldn’t be that weird to do a character shift.
Edge – I had a feeling Edge was going to be in the Rumble, but I thought they would’ve saved it as a surprise entrant. Either way, I think this is more likely a platform to sow the seeds for his Wrestlemania feud. No idea whether they want to do the third match with Orton, or maybe a marquee feud with someone like Styles, but either way, I don’t think he’ll be the winner of the thing. If he were to win, then I think Roman vs Edge would be the way to go, I just don’t see it happening.
John Cena – While reports from the dirt sheets say that there are no Wrestlemania plans locked in just yet, they are also saying that Cena is almost sure to have a match. So why not have him enter the Rumble and win it? Roman vs Cena would be a money match, even if we’ve already seen it, but I think Drew vs Cena could be one hell of a match too. The story can build around Cena trying to break Ric Flair’s imaginary world title record or something like that.
Big E – Since about Summerslam, Big E has been one of the top contenders to win the Rumble, but in recent months he’s gone down quite significantly in my odds. Now he’s got the Intercontinental Championship under his belt, I’d prefer it if he had a decent length reign with that, fighting a variety of opponents, rather than hot-shotting straight up to the world title. Not to say I’d be upset if he did win the Rumble, far from it, I just think that it’d be better for him to build for a while longer and maybe wait until Summerslam to challenge for the title.
Goldberg – So this was a possibility that I hadn’t considered until I saw it floating around online, and quite frankly, it terrifies me. If you’ve not seen it, people have been speculating that maybe Goldberg could lose to Drew earlier in the night, only to enter and win the Rumble. This would be a disaster, but I can 100% see WWE going through with it, especially with the report a few days ago that WWE is considering a ‘really scary’ finish to the Rumble that might piss off fans.
Daniel Bryan – As much as I can’t make all that solid of case for it, it just feels right. Admittedly, it’d pretty ironic that after being majorly snubbed from two Rumble wins in 2014 & 2015, that the Rumble he finally wins could be one in front of no crowd, but that’s life I suppose. Bryan’s expressed his desire to stop being a full-time wrestler over the next year – a position I think he’s more than deserving of – so I think giving Bryan one last big Mania match would be the best way to go, and a Rumble win is the perfect way to get there. Roman vs Bryan is a match that WWE has planned, but never actually executed over the past couple of years (cave for Fastlane 2015, but those were VERY different times), and they already sowed the seeds of it through November and December, it would seem weird not to commit to it now.
As I said, the case is still a bit shaky, and I’m by no means certain, but Daniel Bryan winning the Rumble just feels right to me, so I’m sticking to my guns and making it my official prediction.
So there you have it! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. Please, let me know what you think will happen at the Royal Rumble, either in the comments below or on Twitter @SStyleSmark. Finally, make sure to come back here this time on Monday, where I’ll be writing up my review!
Much like every company (and every person) in 2020, it’s been one hell of a year for WWE, with a lot of ups and downs. However, it led to many things we’ve never seen before, some stuff we never thought we’d see in a WWE ring and a lot of bloody good wrestling. So, as we sail off into a new year which surely HAS to be better than this one, let’s take a look back at some of the best matches WWE gave us in 2020.
10 – Men’s Royal Rumble – Royal Rumble
Putting a Royal Rumble on the match of the year list almost feels like cheating, because even a lousy rumble is at least a little bit good. However, I think this one did enough unique things that it deserves to be spoken about.
Rumbles often have a bit of a through-line story to them, especially when there’s a story surrounding who enters first, however, normally in that instance it’s about that wrestler being an underdog. So here, we finally got a chance to see what it would be like if that formula got turned on its head. Brock dominating the first half of the match was brilliant, I know some people say it went on for too long, but I entirely disagree, it was perfect. Not only was it something new, but it gave us so many great little moments between Brock & various competitors, and the little moments are what make a lot of the best rumbles so good.
On top of all that, it led to what was possibly the largest crowd reaction of the year (not exactly a high bar, but whatever) when Drew eliminated Brock from the match. From there we got loads of really fun Rumble antics that hit all the beats you want from a match like that. We got a bunch of fun action as the ring filled up, until what was ACTUALLY the biggest crowd reaction of the year when EDGE returned to wrestle for the first time in 9 years. Then, as the match drew (heh) to a close, we got another brilliant final four-segment between Orton, Edge, Roman & Drew that gave me a result I wasn’t expecting but was very happy about.
The past few years have been absolutely brilliant for rumble matches, and it makes me all the more excited for 2021’s version of the match, whatever form it takes.
9 – WALTER(c) vs Ilja Dragunov – NXT UK 29th October (United Kingdom Championship)
Live crowds weren’t the only thing we missed out on this year, thanks to the UK’s restrictions, NXT UK was off the air for a large chunk of the year. However, once it came back, they did as much as they possibly could to make up for all the time they missed.
Truth be told, there isn’t really anything complicated about why this match is so good. It’s not a technical masterpiece or an epic story, it’s just two men beating the absolute stuffing out of each other for twenty minutes, and it blew me away. WALTER wrestled a ferocious style at the best of time, it’s what made his matches against Dunne and Bate so incredible to watch, but when he’s up against a guy like Dragunov who, despite his smaller size, can hit back just as hard, it’s compelling in the weirdest way possible. Almost like a car crash, in that, you just can’t quite bring yourself to look away.
Despite the brutal style, they still did a great job making Dragunov someone I wanted to cheer. I don’t watch NXT UK’s weekly show very often, so I wasn’t very well informed of the story going into this match, but I got all I needed to from watching the match itself. He was able to mix his strong strikes with that kind of plucky underdog style of creating openings and pulling out ‘hope’ spots; a factor that is greatly aided by the fact that WALTER is bloody massive. There’s a reason you have to write his name in all-caps, after all.
This match was a brilliant showcase of the best of what the division has to offer, which was desperately needed after the show had been off our screens for many months.
8 – Bayley(c) vs Sasha Banks – Hell in a Cell (Smackdown Women’s Championship) (Hell in a Cell)
Bayley and Sasha are just really good at wrestling each other.
Their NXT matches are, in my opinion, the two very best women’s matches the world has ever seen (and in the conversation for best overall) and they haven’t missed a beat since those encounters, even with the heel/face roles reversed. In fact, I’d argue the reversal of the roles was to this match’s benefit, as it created a very different feeling match. Sasha can draw love from any crowd by simply selling like she’s being murdered with every move she takes. At the same time, Bayley spent 2020 producing the best heel-work seen in the company all year, to the point where the super-babyface NXT Bayley genuinely feels like a completely different person.
Hell in a Cell matches are usually not for me, they’re the very height of slow builds to high spots we’ve seen plenty of times before, but in this match, the competitors didn’t let the weapons detract from the action. Other cell matches would grind the match’s pace to a halt so the wrestlers could set up a spot, only to immediately go through the motions to do the next one, in this match, the weapon spots were primarily set up during the auction. There were a few points where things had to slow down, but they were few and far between, and the match’s wrestling action spoke for it more than the weapon spots.
That said, what weapons spots there were had a significant impact. The thread of Bayley using the chair that came back towards the end was classic storytelling done to near-perfection, and it helped the match build to its climax. Sasha winning wasn’t was I was expecting going in, but with hindsight, it was definitely the right conclusion. I’ve become so used to WWE dragging out stories for way longer than they needed to, that I forgot how great it feels when the big win happens when it feels like it’s supposed to. It rounded off a great match which a wonderful emotional moment that left me with very positive feelings.
7 – The Undertaker vs AJ Styles – Wrestlemania 36 (Boneyard Match)
I was really worried this was going to be crap. The few times in the past WWE had tried cinematic matches, they’d been awful, or cheap imitations of what other companies had already done. However, when the world felt like it was ending, WWE pulled out all the stops and created some genuinely amazing pre-taped stuff this year. The Money in the Bank match isn’t on this list, but it was a little bit out there, and genuinely hilarious with the bits they filled it with, and it showed that when WWE employees are allowed to be creative, they can create some magic. Speaking of…the boneyard match.
It reminded me of some of the more epic fight scenes from movies, but with a difference. The thing is, in a movie, a fight scene is just one part of the overall story, there’s usually so much more going on around it that the scene is either short or constantly cut away to see what the other characters are going. However, in a wrestling match, the fight IS the story, so we got 24 minutes of two men fighting like their lives depended on it.
The build was a little bit goofy, but in the match itself, both men leaned all the way into it, and it made it work. AJ became the most hatable human in the world and Undertaker had the badass vibes we haven’t seen from him in a while. With the hindsight of knowing this is Undertaker’s last match, it gains a whole other layer too. The way he fights like an old gunslinger on his way out of the door, the way he acts so visibly tired in some points, and even the way he talks to Styles as he puts him in the ground. It’s not the send-off I expected, or even wanted for Taker, but it really works.
It was the kind of match that I was genuinely on the edge of my seat during it because it was something I’d never seen before. Every new twist popped me in some way, and at the end of the day, it left me with a massive grin on my face, and I can’t ask for more.
6 – Roman Reigns(c) vs Jey Uso – Hell in a Cell (Universal Championship) (Hell in a Cell) (I Quit)
There’s been a lot going on with Roman Reigns this year. After it looked like we were in for another run with face Roman at the top following Wrestlemania, the unfortunate circumstances forced him to take time off from WWE and miss out on that opportunity. We all knew he’d come back at some point, and I was looking forward to seeing him around again, but little did I know just how great it would be. After years of asking for it, we’ve finally got to see what Roman Reigns can do as a heel, and it’s absolutely fantastic. He has this aura of indestructibility around him that makes him the kind of figure you always want to pay attention to when he’s on-screen.
A considerable part of building this aura was his story with Jey Uso, where he showed himself to be genuinely ruthless in a way we haven’t seen from anyone in WWE for a very long time. Jey Uso is the kind of guy that I don’t think anyone ever saw as a single star, that’s not to say he didn’t have the potential to do well. It’s just his identity (and looks) as a wrestler are tied so heavily to his brother, it seemed impossible for them to do anything outside of the tag team division. This was precisely the right story to prove that belief wrong, though.
This match at Hell in a Cell is the best part of this story. The Cell is largely irrelevant, and to be entirely honest, so is most of the actual wrestling action. What matters here is that the story that was told was one of the most compelling WWE have told in years. Every element simply worked. Roman wanting to assert his dominance as the leader of the family, Jey desperate to prove himself, Jimmy wanting to make sure his brother didn’t get hurt and Heyman standing by to put the exclamation point on everything, along with being the personification of Roman’s betrayal of his old ideals.
The way Roman would put Jey down with such ease, only to watch Jey struggle to his feet. He would gain the advantage here and there, but it never lasted long. It was clear that Roman was the far superior wrestler, but Jey just wouldn’t say die, which ended up being his undoing. We got to see just how much of a bastard Roman has become, not just in the way he brutalized Jey, but in the way he pretended to break down crying, only to emotionally manipulate his cousins into letting their guard down.
It struck the right balance of drama so that it didn’t feel over the top, it just felt real, and I felt the emotional weight of every moment of it. It didn’t just establish Roman as an absolutely horrible person, but it elevated Jey’s standing to the point where he’s now seen as a credible singles competitor. Everybody wins.
5 – Drew McIntyre(c) vs Seth Rollins – Money in the Bank (WWE Championship)
There really isn’t any complexity to this one, it’s just a bloody great wrestling match.
Drew McIntyre’s ascension in 2020 has been one of the more positive stories of this dark year. I’ve already talked about his Royal Rumble win, but once he actually had the title over his shoulder, the pressure was on to deliver. We all knew he had it in him, it was just a matter of whether or not it would be able to shine in his feuds. Thankfully, WWE knows what they’re doing sometimes and knew that Seth Rollins was the perfect person for Drew’s first major feud as champion.
This match let us see all sides of what Drew could (and would) give us as WWE Champion. He was able to look beatable, without looking weak, he was able to look tough without seeming too dominant, and most importantly, he could wrestle like hell and hang with the best. Both competitors came together perfectly to create a match that was an absolute joy to watch. When Rollins lets loose, there are honestly few better in WWE and McIntyre rose to his level particularly on that night.
Rollins adapted his fast & flashy high-flying offence into something slightly slower and hard-hitting. Instead of bouncing all over the place with some fast-paced flying knees, he slowed them down and made them more impactful when he smashed Drew in the face with them. It worked to Drew’s more brutal style and created the sense of a real fight that kept me engaged in the action from start to finish.
4 – Rhea Ripley(c) vs Charlotte Flair – Wrestlemania 36 (NXT Women’s Championship)
While Ripley’s star has faded slightly from what it was at the beginning of the year, the fact that she was able to have the best singles wrestling match of Wrestlemania against one of the best women’s wrestlers in the history of the sport is something that will forever keep her a star in the eyes of everyone inside and out of WWE.
This was the match I was the most hyped for going into Wrestlemania, and it didn’t disappoint. As the opening match for night 2, it set the tone perfectly for the rest of the show. It’s easy to roll your eyes at Charlotte these days after she was pushed so hard for so long, but we can’t forget that when it comes to pure wrestling ability, she’s in the discussion for best women’s wrestler of all time. Charlotte pulled out all the stops in this match, and Rhea matched her beat-for-beat. This match felt so explicitly crafted to make both women feel perfectly matched for one another, and Rhea came out of it looking like a star, even in defeat.
The action was so fluid and satisfying at all moments, with Rhea slipping into the role of the hungry underdog, while Charlotte looked down her nose at Rhea as the veteran. Charlotte underestimated Rhea in the opening segments but quickly learnt what she was capable of, which was all the story that was needed to turn this into one of the best matches of the year.
3 – Keith Lee(c) vs Dominick Dijakovic – NXT Takeover: Portland (North American Championship)
While NXT is still an excellent wrestling product these days, it definitely feels like the golden era is over now. For the past couple of years, NXT has dominated my ‘match of the year’ lists, but as you’ve seen, it’s been pretty barren this year so far. I think it has suffered greatly from the lack of live crowds – perhaps more so than any other major promotion – so I guess it makes sense that one of their better matches would come before we were all locked down.
Keith Lee is a rocket waiting to take off. From his performance at Survivor Series 2019 all the way through 2020, you can feel the stardom that awaits him when he’s finally allowed to run free, and this remains one of his finest works. Interestingly, it took me a hell of a long time to get on board with Dominick Dijakovic (now Retribution’s T-Bar). For the longest time, I just didn’t understand what was so special about him, he was just another big guy, right? Wrong, very, VERY wrong.
Turns out, he’s a big guy moves like a cruiserweight and can put on fast-paced, exciting and bombastic matches with a wide range of opponents. Lee & Dijakovic clicked like you wouldn’t believe in this match, they were absolutely perfect for each other. Rather than focusing entirely on power, the early stages of this match focused more on the two competitors out-manoeuvring each other to get the upper hand, only busting out their feats of strength when they had the upper hand. Then, once the opening was out of the way, they slammed their feet down on the accelerator and started to destroy each other for our entertainment.
This match stunned me in how amazingly fast it was, yet it still managed to convey the two men’s power and brutality. All of the biggest moments came and went in a flash, and yet they left such an impression on me that I can still picture some of the spots almost a full year later. Lee seems like he’s going to reach the spot her deserves at some point over the next few years, and I hope Dijakovic does the same because he deserves so much more than what he’s currently getting.
2 – The Fiend Bray Wyatt vs John Cena – Wrestlemania 36 (Firefly Funhouse Match)
The only reason this isn’t number 1 because it wasn’t technically a match. Truthfully though, I believe it to be one of the best things WWE has ever aired.
When The Fiend lost to Goldberg, there was a lot of worry about how the character would be treated going forwards. This was the hottest property in the company all year, and it seemed like it was going to be squandered. Then, the character set his sights on righting the wrongs of the past, not just of himself, but of the company. Focussing on Wrestlemania 30 for this feud, and how Cena definitely shouldn’t have won was a brilliant way to frame the animosity between these two that hasn’t been done to this great effect before. Cena leaned all the way into it as well and came across like quite an embittered man about the whole thing, something Wyatt preyed upon.
I don’t even know how to go about breaking down how brilliant this whole thing was. It was a complete and total character assassination of, not only John Cena but the whole WWE system of hand-picked stars to carry the company. It’s a miracle that it was ever even allowed to air on a WWE product given that included lines such as puppet Vince McMahon saying “it’s such good shit”, a line used by Jon Moxley to mock Vince after he left the company. It broke down every aspect of John Cena’s career and highlighted how much of a farce it was, and how deeply flawed it was. While it didn’t directly address many of the topics at hand, it doesn’t take much backstage knowledge of WWE to understand the implications of stuff like nWo Cena, tearing down not only Cena but also Hogan’s history of keeping people down for no good reason.
The Firefly Funhouse match didn’t just blur the lines between fiction and reality, it straight-up shattered that line and used every broken piece of the line to create the finished product. It’s the kind of thing that I never thought I’d see on a WWE product and may never get the chance to see it again and I utterly adored it.
1 – Charlotte Flair(c) vs Rhea Ripley vs Io Shirai – NXT Takeover: In Your House (NXT Women’s Championship)
While, in all honesty, the Firefly Funhouse match was probably my favourite thing to happen this year, this is a list about proper wrestling matches, and on that front, nothing this year came close to this match.
I don’t think NXT made the most of having Charlotte Flair as their champion. It’s not entirely their fault, as they were somewhat handcuffed by the fact that Raw still wanted to use Charlotte on a weekly basis without even referencing the fact that she was NXT Champion. Either way, there was definitely a feeling of wasted potential when it came to an end. That said, they sure as hell did their best to get as many amazing performances out of it as possible. I’ve already covered her Mania match with Ripley, but on top of that, we saw a great match against Io Shirai on NXT and this match, which is one of the best triple threat matches I’ve ever seen.
Shirai was definitely coming into this match with momentum, but I really didn’t think she stood a chance of winning the title. I’m glad that I was wrong about this, but I honestly thought NXT had missed the boat with her thanks to her rise coming right in the middle of Shayna Baszler’s run of dominance. The match’s story was definitely with Rhea & Charlotte following their Wrestlemania encounter, but Io Shirai burst into the feud and made sure her voice could not be ignored.
This patch was paced to near perfection, and never let up. It used the triple threat factor to its advantage and never let there be a moment where nothing was happening. Rhea felt like a vicious underdog who was looking to recover from her Mania loss, Charlotte fought like a woman fuelled by her hatred of anyone that wasn’t her, and Io came in like a house on fire, tearing down any and every obstacle in her way.
It had everything I want from a headline NXT match: Drama, action, excitement and ending out on both a surprise and a high-note. I think it says something about how fantastic NXT is that even in a year where I consider NXT’s performance to be sub-par, it put on some of the best damn matches in the entire company, in 2020.
That’s a wrap on WWE Pay-Per-Views for 2020, and you know what? I think it’d been a bloody good year for the project on the whole. Sure, it’s far from the best year WWE has ever had, and weekly TV has rarely been anything to shout about, but their PPV output has been consistently great. I don’t usually do a PPV ranking, but I think it’d be fun to look back on WWE in 2020 come January.
That said, I can definitely see how this show may not have been to everyone’s taste, as much as I enjoyed it. However, the one thing you can’t deny is there’s no way we’re going to forget about it anytime soon, which is more than can be said for a lot of WWE PPVs, even the good ones.
Still, even on a good show like this, not everything was excellent, so let’s get ranking.
7 – Daniel Bryan, Big E, Otis & Chad Gable def. Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura
I mean, it’s an 8-man tag match that was announced two hours before the show and went less than 10 minutes, what do you want me to say?
Quite simply, it’s 8 men who could easily main event any show, any place, any time if they were invested in properly…and Otis. However, given how little time they had and how it was just a match for the sake of a match (something Vince apparently hates, but whatever).
It was ok, but I don’t care.
6 – Randy Orton def. The Fiend Bray Wyatt (Firefly Inferno)
This match was either great or terrible, depending on what aspects you want to focus on.
As a wrestling match, it was trash. Most of the spots were quite contrived, and there was basically no actual wrestling action to speak of. This is fine for the story they were trying to tell, but the booking was so weird that I’m not sure it really makes up for it. As much as I wanted The Fiend to win, I can see past the fact that he didn’t, but to have the show end on such a shocking, yet somehow downbeat note was odd. Orton lit The Fiend on fire, presumably killing him…Orton posed for some reason and…that’s it, fade to black. It felt like there should’ve been some form of final exclamation point on the whole thing. After all, every horror movie ends with the revelation that the killer is still alive.
All of that said, as a visual spectacle, it was incredible. From the moment The Fiend summoned the fire, it was quite the rollercoaster ride. Yes, the spots were contrived, but when they looked as cool as some of them did, who the hell cares? The trail of fire leading to Orton sitting in the rocking chair was brilliant, and the final spot of The Fiend attacking Orton despite still being on fire was great.
As for where Bray goes from here, I honestly have no idea. I hope this means we don’t see The Fiend for a while now, maybe Bray could believe he’s ‘free’ of The Fiend for a while before slowly falling back into his grasp. That’s just one idea though, and Bray’s an extremely creative man, so I’m sure he’ll be able to spin something interesting from it.
Like I said in the intro, maybe not the best match ever, but it was certainly memorable.
5 – Asuka & Charlotte Flair def. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler(c) (Women’s Tag Team Championships)
I guess now we have to sit around and wait for a sudden but inevitable betrayal, yet again.
As much as an NXT call-up would’ve been more exciting, bringing Charlotte back now is the right move. While I’ve been the first to blame WWE’s booking for the horrible state the Raw women’s division is currently in, it’s hard to deny that they’ve been lacking a certain quantity of star power (that wouldn’t be a problem if they actually invested in some of the mid-card women for more than three weeks at a time, but whatever). Hopefully, having Charlotte back will give the division more focus on TV week-to-week, and we can get back to how great Asuka was over the summer.
This match was a lot of fun. This is one of those cases where this is only ranked low because other matches were better, not because this one was in any way bad. As weird as it is for Asuka & Charlotte to suddenly be hugging and friendly, I’m willing to let it slide to see where the story goes, which has surely got to be a Mania match between the two. As much as I wish Jax & Baszler would be able to continue their reign, I highly doubt this is the end of their run. Asuka & Charlotte have got to break-up at some point, and I would expect they’ll regain the titles in the wake of that.
Either way, these teams had great chemistry, and Charlotte was able to slide right back into a spot where it felt like she belonged. Thumbs up from me.
See? I told you Carmella was a good wrestler if you gave her a chance.
This match wasn’t perfect. In fact, I thought it started a bit dull, however, once they hit about the midpoint, business really picked up. From there, this was an entertaining back-and-forth match that played to the strength of both women. Carmella made Banks look vulnerable at several points without necessarily out-wrestling her, while Banks played the opportunist, taking advantage of every opening Carmella gave her. Carmella was able to translate her new persona into a match very well, and the one spot of outside interference came at just the right moment to help the match.
My only real issue is where Carmella goes from here. It wouldn’t surprise me if they went for another match between these two, but given that the Royal Rumble is on the horizon, it wouldn’t surprise me if the title isn’t even defended on that show. There have just been so many cases where WWE immediately get bored of a rejuvenized character, and within a couple months they become just another face in the crowd. Truthfully, I don’t want that to happen to anyone, but Carmella has so much promise right now that I hope they find something good to do with her away from the title.
Sasha, meanwhile, is on a roll and will continue to be on that roll until at least Wrestlemania. If she’s going to keep putting on matches like this one, then I’m definitely ok with that.
3 – The Hurt Business def. The New Day(c) (Raw Tag Team Championships)
A brilliant match that needed more time than it got.
This is one of those instances, like New Day & Usos, where these guys just clicked in the ring. They played with the standard tag team match tropes, but never lingered on anything for too long, and once the action got going, it never stopped. Unsurprisingly, Cedric Alexander was a huge boon to the action, and his sequences against Kofi were undoubtedly my favourite of the whole the match. The others still pulled their weight though, with Benjamin pulling out arguably his best performance since his WWE return.
The only real downside here was the fact that the match only got 10 minutes. I really enjoyed what I saw, but when it ended, I felt like it wasn’t enough. I’m confident that this feud is far from over and that’s a good thing because I absolutely want more from these two teams. If WWE let those guys go out there and wrestle for 15-20 minutes, I think we could easily be looking at a match of the year contender that sky-rockets the stock of everyone in The Hurt Business.
Speaking of, as much as I predicted The New Day, I’m glad The Hurt Business won, and I think it was the right call. New Day aren’t going to suffer from any loss they take and right now. The Hurt Business are the hot property at the moment. I look forward to seeing what they can do with the gold and how it helps all of them out long-term.
2 – Drew McIntyre(c) def. AJ Styles & The Miz (WWE Championship) (Tables, Ladders & Chairs)
In my predictions, I was cautiously optimistic about this match. I worried slightly that the stipulation would hold the match back, but I trusted the two performers involved to pull out a great one, and I was not disappointed.
It took a little while to grab my attention, but once I’d settled into the match, I had a very good time. To the surprise of no-one, Drew & AJ had great chemistry in the ring, and they made good use of the stipulation. WWE seems to finally be able to strike a balance between weapons being an essential factor in the match, without completely throwing everything else out of the window. The match built nicely to its climax, even though that climax ended up being quite the curveball.
There are ups and downs to The Miz cashing in. On the downside, it’s yet another year that the Money in the Bank contract has been utterly wasted. Out of the past four years, only one of the men’s Money in the Bank holders has won the title, and even then, it wasn’t great. 2016 was the last great cash-in that actually meant something, and by now the contract feels hugely devalued. However, in a bubble, it was great and made this match way more exciting. It’s always been hard to make convincing false finishes in matches like this, but they pulled it off here. With the constant up and down of people on ladders, there were points when I genuinely believed all three men were about to win.
Ultimately, Drew retaining was the right move. After the reports from Raw, I was worried they were going to hot-shot the title to boost the ratings, but thankfully that wasn’t the case, and we still have the strong champion we all love.
1 – Roman Reigns(c) def. Kevin Owens (Universal Championship) (Tables, Ladders & Chairs)
Maybe the best one-on-one TLC match ever.
This match was structured so well. Most matches that I love gradually speed up as they go on. The slower starts lead to frantic and nail-biting conclusions, but this match did the opposite. This match started at a breakneck pace, with Owens bringing all kinds of fury to the fight, it got me pumped and invested immediately so that I didn’t lose interest when the match gradually slowed down. It’s such a simple technique, and yet the gradual deceleration of the pace gave the whole thing a fierce feeling to it and told the story of these two guys trying to destroy each other excellently.
The action was great too. Once again, weapons were used to enhance the match, rather than completely focusing on them. With Drew/AJ, as much as I liked it, I still felt it would’ve been better as a regular singles match, however, with this match, I felt that the hardcore stipulation was an integral part of the story being this good. Uso’s involvement felt a bit bullshit at some point, but it aided in telling the story and softened the impact of Owens losing. Even though Reigns retained (which I maintain was the right call) Owens looked like a such a hero from his performance here thanks to how he kept getting back up after going through table after table and only falling short thank to his opponent’s underhanded tactics.
I have no idea if there are any long-term plans for Owens here (I’m not optimistic), but he is now in so much of a better position than he was going into December, it would be a shame not to capitalize on it in some way.
And there you have it! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this review. Please, let me know what you thought of the show, either in the comment below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure to come back here this time on Saturday, where I’ll be running down my favourite WWE matches from 2020!
While it certainly happened a lot later than we all would’ve liked it to, over the past 5 years, WWE has finally allowed women’s wrestling to take its place as the featured attraction we’ve always wanted it to be. While things still aren’t perfect, women’s wrestling is largely treated as being on par with – and sometimes greater than – whatever the men are doing.
While the depth of the women’s division is a huge factor in this becoming the case, a good indicator for how the women’s division has been treated in recent years is to look at the championships. Since the horribly named, horribly designed, and horribly horrible Diva’s Championship was abolished in 2016, there have been 11 different women to hold either the Raw or Smackdown Women’s Championship at least once. Today, I’m going to rank these women based on what they did during their time as champion.
There are a number of things that play into it. First of all, the pure numbers. How many times have they won a championship, and how many days did they hold it? However, you also have to consider other factors like the calibre of opponents they faced with the belt, or the more subjective factors, like were their storylines and matches any good? Then, lastly, I’ll throw in a little personal bias and we’ve got ourselves a list.
Let’s get ranking.
11 – Natalya
Number of Reigns: Raw – 0; Smackdown – 1 Total Days as Champion: Raw – 0; Smackdown – 86
I honestly forgot Natalya had even won a women’s title, which isn’t a great sign.
Truth be told, I really can’t stand Natalya as a wrestler. I think her promo style is lifeless and boring, and I think her style in the ring is lacking any kind of special shine. Sure, she was one of the best wrestlers during the ‘Diva’s’ era, when there were very few legitimate wrestlers on the roster, but I think that time has passed her by and she can’t compete with the incredibly talented women of WWE today.
Unfortunately, Natalya’s time as champion was equally boring. She won the title from Naomi at Summerslam 2017 in a 10-minute match that was ok. She retained the title on Smackdown a few weeks later in a 7-minute match that was also just ok. Then Charlotte Flair stepped into the picture and the writing was on the walls. They had a match at Hell in a Cell where Natalya deliberately got herself disqualified, which will always be a super lame finish. Then, with Survivor Series on the horizon and a champion vs champion match against Alexa Bliss on the card, she lost the title to Charlotte clean as a whistle in 12 minutes.
Natalya had her rematch against Charlotte at Clash of Champions, lost, and that was that. Natalya would never sniff the title scene again. It did nothing to elevate Natalya, or even Charlotte, as she was already the biggest thing in the women’s division by that point. It didn’t even serve as a nice “thank you” present for Natalya’s decade of serivce to WWE because she was made to look weak and ineffective at almost every turn. None of her storylines were interesting and all of her matches were average in quality, not what you want from your top woman.
10 – Naomi
Number of Reigns: Raw – 0; Smackdown – 2 Total Days as Champion: Raw – 0; Smackdown – 148
I feel bad putting Naomi this low because I remember really rooting for her at the time, but when you look at her time with the title, there really isn’t a lot to shout about.
In the build to her title win, Naomi was a good foil for Alexa Bliss. She’s very easy to love, and her personality clashed with Alexa’s in such a way that I enjoyed the build. Their match at Elimination Chamber should’ve been better than it was, but unfortunately, it was only given 8 minutes, which is not enough time to have the amazing match they were able to. However, it was ok, because Wrestlemania was on the horizon, and it was happening in Naomi’s hometown, so that’s where the real money match could happen, right?
No, of course it didn’t.
Sadly, Naomi suffered an injury and would have to relinquish her title after just 9 days, making it unlikely she would be able to compete at Wrestlemania 33 that year. As it happened, Naomi’s injury wasn’t too severe and she was healed in time for Wrestlemania, but it was so late that she has to be awkwardly crowbarred into the plans WWE had already made. This meant that instead of a big one-on-one match with Alexa, Naomi won the title for the second time in a Six-Pack Challenge. What’s worse is the match was only given 5 minutes and was slotted in between the two main events of the evening, so the exhausted crowd couldn’t have cared less.
Naomi’s second title reign was much longer, at 137 days, but it was no more interesting. She had a rematch with Alexa Bliss that was ok, and a 9-minute match with Charlotte that ended in a no contest. Then, things fell off a cliff and WWE decided they were going to push Lana as a title contender. Lana would have three matches with Naomi. One was a 7-minute snooze fest that consisted of Naomi desperately trying to get something out of Lana, and failing. The second was a 1-minute squash match, and the third was a 10 SECOND squash match. To put it plainly, it was shit.
Then she had a fairly boring feud with Natalya, lost the title and that was that.
As much as I love Naomi, she pretty much only avoids the bottom spot because she held her title for more days than Natalya. What sucks is that I don’t think many of the issues with her reign were her fault. Her matches were constantly being put in bad spots and being given nowhere near enough time on shows. Then, she got thrown in there with Lana, a competitor who even the best of the best would struggle to get a decent match out of.
Here’s hoping she gets a proper chance to shine in the years to come.
9 – Carmella
Number of Reigns: Raw – 0; Smackdown – 1 Total Days as Champion: Raw – 0; Smackdown – 130
Carmella is another woman that I hope gets another chance to run with the title someday because her first go-around wasn’t as good as I believe it could’ve been.
Things started about as well as they possibly can start. Cashing in her first-ever women’s Money in the Bank contract, Carmella rode a wave of momentum into the start of her title reign. She’d cashed-in and taken the title away from Charlotte just two days after Charlotte had ended Asuka’s undefeated streak and pissed everyone off. The problems started to rear their heads right away, however, as her character started to lose the unique charm she had before winning the title. Almost immediately she fell into the template of any heel champion who won thanks to the green & gold briefcase, which didn’t make for exciting TV.
She beat Charlotte cleanly in the title rematch, which sounds like a good thing, but it actually felt pretty underwhelming, especially considering Charlotte left for a while almost immediately afterwards. Next, she entered a feud with Asuka, which seemed specifically crafted to make the unstoppable Asuka look like as much of a chump as is humanly possible. In every instance, Carmella only retained thanks to interference from James Ellsworth, a man who WWE presented as the single most pathetic human being to ever live. It was a nice twist the first time it happened, but quickly became played out and horrendously boring.
Before we knew it, the time had arrived for Carmella to lose the title. This is the most historically significant part of Carmella’s reign, but not because of anything Carmella did. When Charlotte beat Carmella & Becky Lynch to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship at Summerslam, it set in motion the chain of events that would lead to the insane rise of Becky Lynch. I’d love to Carmella’s role in the story some credit for this, but she really didn’t make a difference. It could’ve been any heel champion in that role and it would’ve worked out just the same. Charlotte still would’ve been unnecessarily crowbarred into the match, and Becky Lynch still would’ve ‘turned heel’ only for the fans to cheer her as they’ve never cheered anyone since Daniel Bryan in 2013/14. Carmella was just the spare part.
She rises a few places from the bottom purely through the virtue of having a couple of memorable moments under her belt, but there was sadly very little to enjoy during her one and only title reign.
8 – Nia Jax
Number of Reigns: Raw – 1; Smackdown – 0 Total Days as Champion: Raw – 70; Smackdown – 0
While the numbers aren’t in Nia’s favour, what she did during her run as champion was a lot better than I think many remember.
The story going into Wrestlemania 34 between Nia & Alexa was an odd one. They pressed pretty hard on the anti-bullying stuff, but it always felt pretty disingenuous. The writing wasn’t very nuanced and it felt like they were just trying really hard to make Nia into this amazing role model for little girls. Of course, having role models for little girls isn’t a bad thing, but when you try to force it with a woman like Nia, who is SO much better as a villain, it tends to fall flat. It wasn’t all bad though, the fact remained that Alexa Bliss was an incredible heel, so her work was good enough to make the sympathy roll Nia’s way.
The problem comes in with her matches. The Wrestlemania match was mostly just Nia beating Alexa down with her huge size advantage, which didn’t exactly make her seem like a sympathetic bullying victim. Still, the moment where she won the title was a good one, and the emotion on Nia’s face made the whole thing feel extremely heartfelt. The feud didn’t need to continue from there, but it did, and it was boring. Thankfully, once it was out of the way, we got to the highlight of Nia’s title reign, her match with Ronda Rousey.
Nia has never been the most incredible wrestler, in fact, I find very little to enjoy in the majority of her matches. Her match with Ronda Rousey, however, was an exception. It was, interesting, impactful and an all-round joy to watch. I finally felt like I was seeing Nia’s true potential, and it was an amazing showcase for Rousey too. Things ended in excitement as well, as Alexa Bliss would show up with the Money in the Bank contract she had won mere hours ago, and challenge for the title. A Money in the Bank cash-in is one of those events in wrestling that is always exciting, even when something you don’t like is happening because of it. Bliss won the title back from Nia and that was the end of it.
Her reign wasn’t all that long and didn’t make a lasting impact on the women’s division as a whole (hence why it’s low), but it did begin and end in rather spectacular fashion, which counts for something.
7 – Sasha Banks
Number of Reigns: Raw – 5; Smackdown – 1 Total Days as Champion: Raw – 106; Smackdown – 20+
By far the weakest ranking of any of the four horsewomen, Sasha has always got the raw end of the deal when it comes to title success. Sure, five title reigns is an impressive number, but when you consider that the longest of these reigns was a pathetic 34 days, you’ve got to realise something is wrong.
Her first three title reigns all came and went within the space of 5 months, as it was during her extended feud with Charlotte. These two would hot-potato the title like no-one ever had, with things averaging two title changes every month. The pattern that played out on our screens for half a year was that Sasha would win the title on an episode of Raw at some point during the month, then when the Pay-Per-View rolled around, Charlotte would win it back. I was an extremely odd decision that didn’t do a great deal to raise the stock of either woman, however, it did create a lot of good-great matches.
That’s the thing with Sasha’s title reigns. They were often short and somewhat pointless, but they were almost always surrounded by either good matches or good stories, which I personally value more than the pure numbers.
After Bayley debuted on Raw, Sasha would play a supporting role for the next 6-8 months, backing up Bayley in whatever her endeavours were. One such endeavour was a feud with Alexa Bliss, in which fortune would favour Sasha. The original plan for the match at Summerslam was to be Bayley vs Alexa Bliss, however, Bayley suffered an injury during the month, so Banks was substituted in as a replacement. As WWE always like to pull for shock value Sasha was given the title for no reason. I can prove that it was for no reason too, as Banks would lose the title back to Alexa just 8 days later on Raw.
Banks wouldn’t sniff the title scene again for almost three years, however, her alliance and subsequent heel turn with Bayley turned her fortunes around. Banks & Bayley had already banded together to claim tag team gold, and after the two had spent most of the year ruling the roost over on Smackdown, they set their sites on Raw Women’s Champion, Asuka. The storyline surrounding this was great. Although the duo has recently broken up as of the time of writing, their run as ‘schoolyard bully’ style heels has been one of the biggest highlights to come out of the WWE product this year.
The title win wasn’t perfect though, as it happened in a weird finish where Bayley put on a referee shirt and counted the pin, then a week later, Stephanie McMahon rescheduled the match, and Sasha won the title anyway. Next up was Summerslam, and there, Sasha continued her pattern of not being able to successfully defend a title and lost it back to Asuka. However, Bayley betrayed Sasha at the start of the autumn and this led to what has to be her strongest title win yet. As the reign is still less than a month old, I can’t really judge it very much, but given that she’s already successfully defended the title on Smackdown, it seems she may have finally shaken her curse and is in for a fantastic reign.
Ultimately, Sasha Banks did a lot of great things surrounding her time as champion, however, she held the belt so briefly in almost every title reign, that they don’t feel very meaningful or prestigious.
6 – Asuka
Number of Reigns: Raw – 2; Smackdown – 1 Total Days as Champion: Raw – 154+; Smackdown – 99
For many years, it felt like Asuka was yet another NXT star that got totally destroyed by creative on Raw & Smackdown, but eventually, it seemed like WWE came to appreciate what they have with her, and are finally running with it.
Asuka’s first title reign began in extremely grand fashion. Coming at the tail end of Becky Lynch’s feud with Charlotte Flair, Asuka found her way into a TLC match for the Smackdown Women’s championship. To put it simply, this match was excellent, and most certainly one of the best WWE produced that year. The finish came when Becky & Charlotte were atop a ladder, ready to grab the gold, when Ronda Rousey came down to the ring, pushing the ladder over and allowing Asuka to win her first title. Many would say this cheapened Asuka’s win, as she didn’t do it all herself, but given that the Becky/Ronda/Charlotte story was the hottest thing in the company during that time, I’d say it just amplified the spotlight.
Asuka had several strong defences against, Mandy Rose & Naomi, but her biggest was against Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble. This was the night that Becky would eventually win the rumble and stake her claim for Ronda Rousey’s title, so for Asuka to get a 100% clean win over Lynch that night was HUGE. Sadly, things would end in disappointment, as Charlotte would beat Asuka for the title in March, as WWE wanted to promote the Becky/Ronda/Charlotte triple threat match at Wrestlemania as being for both belts.
Fast forward a year and a bit to 2020, and things in the world are going a bit mental, and WWE followed suit. Asuka won the Money in the Bank briefcase in a match that I’m still not entirely sure wasn’t some weird fever dream I had, and things seemed to be exciting going forward for Asuka. However, the next night, things took a shocking turn. The champion Becky Lynch appeared on Raw with Asuka’s Money in the Bank briefcase in tow, during a promo, she revealed that she was relinquishing the Raw Women’s Championship, and handing it over to Asuka voluntarily. After some moments of confusion, Becky Lynch would reveal she was pregnant in an extraordinarily heartwarming moment.
Asuka’s title reign following this wasn’t the strongest, but she did get clean wins at almost every turn. Sadly, her first title defence Nia Jax wasn’t one of these, as it ended in a double countout, but Asuka would later defeat both Nia Jax & Charlotte Flair clean as a whistle. In the summer, she entered a feud with the duo of Bayley and Sasha Banks which produced some great matches, even if there was a small case of overbooking here and there. Sadly, moving into the autumn, Asuka has almost vanished completely from WWE TV. She had a short match at Clash of Champions against Zelina Vega, defended the title on Raw in 2-minutes against Lana and then missed Hell in a Cell completely. Her reign is still going strong, there just doesn’t seem to be a lot going on for her right now.
5 – Alexa Bliss
Number of Reigns: Raw – 3; Smackdown – 2 Total Days as Champion: Raw – 396; Smackdown – 109
When the ‘women’s revolution’ kicked into gear around 2015, there were certain women that were virtually guaranteed for stardom. The four horsewomen come to mind for this, and others like Asuka & Nia Jax held qualities that WWE would very clearly value in a main event talent. Alexa Bliss wasn’t one of these women, but she went ahead and did it anyway.
Alexa Bliss wasn’t a huge star in NXT. Her biggest accomplishment on the yellow brand was being the most entertaining member of the Blake & Murphy tag team. This meant that when she was drafted to Smackdown in the 2016 brand-split, I don’t think I was alone in thinking she wasn’t going to go super far. However, Smackdown branded itself as the land of opportunity, and it proved time and time again in 2016 that it was true. Case-in-point: Alexa Bliss.
Bliss wasn’t treated as much of a threat to Becky Lynch’s title reign in 2016, but the somewhat lucky (but ultimately, clean) circumstances surrounding a tables match gave Bliss the title. Bliss then proceeded to show everyone that she could hang with the best. She cut promos like few other women could at the time and created a truly despicable heel persona. Her two reigns with the Smackdown Women’s Title aren’t very significant in the grand scheme of things, but they served as a platform for her to establish herself as a real player in the division by the time she moved to Raw.
After switching the Raw in 2017’s Superstar Shakeup, Bliss wasted no time establishing dominance, beating Bayley for the title at Payback almost immediately. This feud was critically panned for some horrible segments like “Bayley: This is Your Life” and a match at Extreme Rules where Bayley lost because she was scared of a stick, however, you can’t deny that Bliss looked dominant during all of this. Bliss moved onto a feud with Sasha Banks, losing via Count-out at Great Balls of Fire, before losing the title the next month at Summerslam.
It wasn’t over for Bliss though, as she won the title back just 8 days later. Her 2nd run with the Raw title would be her longest, and she beat a great variety of opponents during this time. Defending the title in all sorts of different matches, including five-ways and even the very first Women’s Elimination Chamber match. Bliss felt virtually untouchable during this period, but it’s worth mentioning that for various reasons – including Survivor Series & Royal Rumble getting in the way – Bliss didn’t defend the title at all during November, December or January during this reign, which is a large contributor to her dropping a few places on this list.
She would eventually lose the title to Nia Jax at Wrestlemania 34. She did win it back later that year, but it’s barely worth talking about, as she only won it so Ronda Rousey had a heel to destroy at Summerslam.
At the end of the day, Bliss is the biggest example of someone breaking free of their low expectations and turning themselves into a star. Although it’s been a good few years since Bliss won a singles title, she’s always a feature-player of WWE’s women’s division and will go down as one of the greats.
4 – Charlotte Flair
Number of Reigns: Raw – 4; Smackdown – 5 Total Days as Champion: Raw – 242; Smackdown – 189
I can understand how some may see this as an odd placement. It’s always felt like Charlotte has been CONSTANTLY sniffing around the title scene since her main roster debut. It’s true that she has the most title reigns out of everyone on this list, and her contributions to the women’s revolution in WWE can never be denied. However, when you actually look at the content of her title reigns, it’s not as impressive as you might think.
For one thing, despite having almost double the number of title reigns as Alexa Bliss, she’s spent less total days as champion by quite the margin. Arguably her best title reign was her first one, especially if you include her time as Diva’s Champion before the new women’s title was introduced. Winning the title in what was inarguably the best match of Wrestlemania 32, Charlotte was a ready-made star from that moment onwards. She continued to retain the title with the help of her father, putting away Natalya on several occasions (including a rehash of the Montreal Screwjob, because Bret Hart was in the building).
Come mid-2016, it was time for the brand split to begin anew, and Charlotte’s epic feud with Sasha Banks began. As I’ve already discussed, these two traded the title A LOT, bringing Charlotte’s total number of reigns with the championship to 4. After many excellent matches, Charlotte came away as the winner, cementing her place at the top of the food chain, only for Bayley to come sniffing at her heels. She successfully repelled Bayley at the Royal Rumble, but wasn’t so lucky in their rematch, losing the title for what – as of the time of release – would be the final time.
In 2017’s Superstar Shakeup, Charlotte was traded to Smackdown. It took her a good chunk of the year, but she would eventually win the Smackdown Women’s Championship in November, and here she would have an excellent run with it. She spent a large chunk of the reign feuding with Natalya again, which could’ve been better, but it ended on a high. Then, after tearing through Ruby Riott at Fastlane, she would face down with the then-undefeated Asuka at Wrestlemania 34, and she came out victorious. I and many others view this as a horrible booking decision, but for the purposes of this list, it works in Charlotte’s favour, as the match was amazing & the queen of WWE gained a huge amount of prestige from the win.
Then two nights later, Carmella cashed-in the Money in the Bank briefcase and she lost the title. This is where Charlotte drops some places, as despite winning the title four more times past this point, they were reigns with absolutely no substance.
She won the title back from Carmella at Summerslam, but lost it to Becky Lynch a month later, won the title from Asuka next March, but lost it just two WEEKS later at Wrestlemania 35 (in a match where her presence arguably took away from the quality). Following Wrestlemania, Charlotte beat Becky to get the title back (after Becky had already fought a match against Lacey Evans) and this time, she would lose the title in less than five minutes thanks to Bayley cashing-in her newly won Money in the Bank contract. October rolled around and it was time for Charlotte to win the title back – this time at Hell in a Cell – where she managed to hold onto it for a whopping 5 days before losing it back to Bayley.
During only one of those title reigns did she ever eke out a successful defence of the title, and even that felt more like a formality than a proper feud.
Charlotte seems to exist purely to lose titles to people to get them over. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can get quite tiresome after it’s been going on for so long, and really puts a downer on Charlotte’s status as one of the best.
3 – Ronda Rousey
Number of Reigns: Raw – 1; Smackdown – 0 Total Days as Champion: Raw – 231; Smackdown – 0
I’m sure the internet will want to crucify me for making this placement, and it looks like the numbers don’t support it. However, the cold, hard fact of the matter is that Ronda Rousey’s title reign did more for Becky Lynch, the women’s division, and even WWE as a whole than anyone outside of the company is ever willing to admit. The main event of Wrestlemania 35 would not have been a women’s match for the first time ever without Ronda Rousey’s involvement. There, I said it.
After putting on the best match of Wrestlemania 34, and a match at Money in the Bank that was far better than anyone expected, it was time for Ronda to be crowned champion like everyone knew was going to happen. Her dismantling of Alexa Bliss was expected and did the necessary job of establishing her as a very dominant champion. Plus, after Bliss had been a very despicable heel for the past couple of years, it was good to see someone properly pick her apart for a change.
Rousey dispatched of Bliss again at Hell in a Cell, and then the Evolution Pay-Per-View rolled around. The first (and to date, only) WWE PPV to run only women’s matches. You don’t need me to tell you how big a deal this was, and while it probably would’ve gone ahead anyway, Rousey’s huge star power was a big factor in bringing it to life. There, Rousey faced Nikki Bella, the woman who, to many, was the distillation of everything that was wrong with the ‘Diva’s era’ which held women’s wrestling back in WWE for over a decade. The match wasn’t incredible, but it was still good, and better than people like me thought it was going to be, and it established Rousey as a huge face of WWE’s women’s division.
Rousey was set to compete against Becky Lynch at Survivor Series, but unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately, if you look at the larger picture) Nia Jax broke Lynch’s nose and Charlotte Flair was swapped in instead. This lead to what I believe to be Rousey’s best one-on-one match she ever had in WWE. It told a brilliant story with some brilliant wrestling, and the DQ finish only built the desire to see the match happen again later down the line.
From November through until March Rousey tore through the Raw women’s division. She put away Mickie James, Natalya, Nia Jax, Ruby Riott & Dana Brooke in matches that weren’t a huge deal, but were a lot of fun. She also had some featured matches with both Sasha Banks & Bayley, both of which told extremely compelling stories and were a joy to watch.
Finally, there was the climax to her story, Wrestlemania 35. The build was flawed, but none of that was Rousey’s fault, and even though there were flaws, I still thought it was really cool, and a lot of fun. She took the loss and passed her title onto Becky Lynch in a Wrestlemania moment that will live on in time immemorial. The first women’s match to ever main event a Wrestlemania is a huge deal, and Ronda Rousey was a huge part of what made that possible. Not just through her name value, but through the work, she put in over her 8 months as champion to build up an aura of an untouchable badass, butting heads with a cool character like Becky Lynch to create lightning in a bottle.
2 – Bayley
Number of Reigns: Raw – 1; Smackdown – 2 Total Days as Champion: Raw – 75; Smackdown – 520
For the longest time, Bayley seemed like a hopeless case on the main roster. After being easily the biggest star the NXT women’s division had ever produced up until that point, Bayley absolutely floundered for her first couple of years on Raw.
Her first title win came and went in a flash. It held some good moments but is sadly only remembered for the bad. Beating Charlotte Flair on an episode of Raw in early February, Bayley defended the title on two occasions. The first was a rematch against Charlotte which is barely worth talking about, while the second was at Wrestlemania 33 in 4 way match against Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax. The Wrestlemania match was fine, but it was far from the best thing on the show, so it’s sadly been forgotten by history. Then, before we knew it, Bayley had lost the title to Alexa Bliss. Then, in the rematch, Bayley lost again because she was scared of a stick. I’m never letting that go…unlike how Bayley let go of the stick.
For the rest of 2017 and all of 2018, nothing interesting happened with Bayley. The only thing I even vaguely remember from that time was Bayley screaming “You ain’t shit!” in Sasha Banks’ face, and then going to couples therapy with her. 2019 is when things started to turn around. Her & Banks became the first-ever WWE Women’s Tag Team titles…and then lost them a couple of months later. This wasn’t a good thing, but it turned into a great moment for Bayley just one month later at Money in the Bank, where she won the titular briefcase.
Bayley cashed-in that briefcase mere hours later, taking advantage of a worn-out Charlotte and crowned herself Smackdown Women’s Champion, and getting wildly cheered by the audience for the first time in ages. Bayley took that momentum and ran with it. Her face persona suddenly felt renewed and she capitalized on it by reigniting her old feud with Alexa Bliss, this time coming out on top. She defended the title again against Ember Moon at Summerslam, then again against Charlotte at Clash of Champions. Then, things looked like they were going to get a lot worse. In yet another rematch with Charlotte at Hell in a Cell, Bayley lost and was without a title once again…
…for 5 days.
To the shock & relief of many, Bayley regained the championship from Charlotte on Smackdown. However, that wasn’t all. She also turned heel for the first time in her WWE career. Helped by old friend Sasha Banks, the two of them thoroughly beat the shit out of Charlotte and began the most incredible run of Bayley’s career. Alongside Sasha Banks, Bayley created a heel persona that has been wildly entertaining to watch for almost a year now. Dubbing herself a role model and acting like an annoying school-yard bully (in the best way possible), Bayley has beaten everyone there is to beat.
Not only did she tear through ever women on the Smackdown women’s roster over a year, but she even went over to Raw and beat their champion while she was at it. She added to her collection by regaining the Women’s Tag Team Championships and helped Sasha Banks win (and then lose) the Raw Women’s Championship. Her sudden but inevitable betrayal of Sasha Banks came at the start of the Autumn, which led to her losing her title at Hell in a Cell, in one of the best matches on the show.
To put it simply, Bayley has been second only to Becky Lynch over the past year on WWE TV, and after Lynch left in the spring, she stepped up and proved that she could carry the entire company on her own if she needed to. For so long it seemed as if all hope was lost with Bayley, but the past year of her career has undone all of the damage and then some. She tore down every barrier in her way and created really entertaining television along the way, what more could you ask for?
1 – Becky Lynch
Number of Reigns: Raw – 1; Smackdown – 3 Total Days as Champion: Raw – 398; Smackdown – 216
A lot of times with these lists, I try to avoid the ‘obvious’ number 1 pick. I try to give a new perspective and offer a view you might not have considered. However, there’s absolutely no way I could argue anyone being ranked higher on this list than Lynch. When you look at the pure facts, there’s a pretty clear parallel to be drawn between Lynch & Bayley’s career paths. Starting out with a lot of lows, but eventually reaching incredible highs. What separates them is the fact that Lynch’s highs were so, SO much higher.
Becky’s first run at the gold wasn’t anything worth talking about. While she always can lay claim to being the first-ever Smackdown Women’s Champion, she only successfully defended the title once in that reign, and it wasn’t even on Pay-Per-View. Lynch lost the title to Alexa Bliss in 2016, and for almost two years, there was nothing worth talking about in regards to Becky Lynch.
2018 rolled around and it seemed like things weren’t going to turn around for her anytime soon. Then, on Smackdown she started winning on a fairly regular basis. She wasn’t involved in any major storylines, but she was having good-great matches and winning week in and week out, and the fans took notice. In the build to Summerslam 2018, Lynch was announced as Carmella’s opponents and people were very excited to see Lynch inevitably be crowned champion. Then Charlotte returned suddenly and was thrust into the match. People were not happy about this, but it would surely be ok as long as Becky still won, right?
Charlotte won…oh dear.
After the match is when history was made, as Becky Lynch attacked Charlotte in what was supposed to be a heel turn (no matter what Road Dogg claims). However, it was met by mammoth cheers from the crowds, who were sick of Charlotte ‘being shoved down their throats’ (even though, as we’ve already covered, she wasn’t, but that’s not the point). Becky completely transformed her look & persona into that of an absolute badass and people loved it, no matter how much she tried to insult them.
Lynch eventually won the title back from Charlotte. She would then successfully defend the title against Charlotte…three times in a row. It got a bit tedious after a while, but the matches were almost always great, especially their Last Woman Standing match at Evolution, which was a far better match than I gave it credit for at the time. During this reign, Lynch would continue to build her persona and get more and more over with the audience, but she was yet to reach her peak.
In the build to Survivor Series that year, Lynch was gearing up to fight Ronda Rousey in a champion vs champion match that everyone was very excited for. Here is where Lynch reached the white-hot level that she would maintain for the next 6-months or so. Lynch tore into Rousey at every available opportunity and could banter with the best of them. Lynch would school Rousey on the daily over on Twitter, and the pops just kept getting bigger and bigger. In a cruel twist of fate, however, we never got to see that match. A stray punch from Nia Jax broke Becky’s nose and caused her to have to pull out of the event, however, it would turn into a blessing in disguise, as the image of Becky standing up in the rafters, standing tall with a bloody face has lasted in the memory for a long time since.
Lynch was back in action very soon after Survivor Series and lost the Smackdown Women’s Championship to Asuka at TLC. However, there was no stopping Becky’s momentum by this point, especially with Wrestlemania 35 on the horizon. Lynch wasn’t just the most popular female wrestler in the company by this point, she was the single most popular wrestler, gender was irrelevant. She won the Royal Rumble that January in yet another epic moment for her career and the match was set between her & Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania 35.
Then Charlotte showed up again.
The storyline in the build to this match wasn’t anywhere near as good as it could’ve been, but it was still great. Charlotte’s presence was unnecessary, but I don’t think it detracted too heavily from what was going on. In the end, that match would become the main event of Wrestlemania 35, and while I put a huge chunk of the credit for that on Rousey’s involvement, Becky Lynch was the wrestler who put that epic story on the table. So it was done, and Lynch walked out of Wrestlemania that year with BOTH the Raw & Smackdown Women’s Championships over her shoulders.
The next year belonged to Becky Lynch. She lost the Smackdown Women’s Championship fairly quickly, but she held onto the Raw Women’s Championship for very nearly 400 days and did loads of great things in that time. She had a feud with Lacey Evans that put Evans on the map, had a feud with Sasha Banks that re-established Sasha as one of the best, and had an extended feud with Asuka that made for rivetting TV. Even though she had to vacate the title, how she did it was still extremely memorable, announcing her pregnancy before passing the title on to Asuka.
Lynch has become a truly iconic wrestler over the past couple of years, giving us some incredible memories along the way. Whenever she returns (if she decides to do so) I’m sure her star will only rise even further with more amazing moments & matches.
And there you have it! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this list. Please, let me know what you think of these women’s title reigns, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure to come back here this time next Saturday, where I’ll be covering WWE Survivor Series!