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Mike Pankow

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Around the Ring: WWE women taking lead roles

Around the Ring: WWE women taking lead roles

By Mike Pankow

August 22, 2018

WWE produced plenty of buzz over four days of quality events from Brooklyn from Saturday’s NXT TakeOver through Tuesday night’s SmackDown and 205 Live shows, but some of the biggest noise came from the women’s division.

With Evolution, WWE’s first all-women pay-per-view, coming up at the end of October, the company is ramping up the women’s storylines even more.

UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey became the Raw Women’s Champion with an emphatic submission victory over Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam on Sunday.

On the same night, Charlotte Flair won the SmackDown Women’s Championship from Carmella in a triple-threat match that also included Flair’s close friend Becky Lynch. After hugging Flair, Lynch viciously attacked her to the approval of the Brooklyn crowd.

During Saturday’s TakeOver, Japanese sensation Kairi Sane dethroned the black-and-gold brand’s resident badass Shayna Baszler, winning the NXT Women’s Championship.

On Monday night, Rousey again put Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon in the armbar during a championship ceremony.

Tuesday night on SmackDown Live, Lynch and Flair had a classic pull-apart brawl and what should lead to a killer match between the two sooner than later. Also, Brie Bella came out to confront the Miz and his wife, Maryse, after the Miz’s nefarious victory at SummerSlam. Bella and Bryan will face Miz and Maryse in a mixed tag-team match at Hell In A Cell in September.

The women’s division even made shockwaves outside the ring over the weekend when WWE announced that Hall of Fame and seven-time WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus will wrestle Bliss at Evolution.

It’s a revolution that started several years ago with athletes with Natalya, Beth Phoenix, AJ Lee and Kaitlyn and started gaining traction with the Bella Twins, who markedly improved their ring work as their careers advanced, leading to an influx of great women’s performers from NXT. Among those stars produced from the NXT machine include Charlotte Flair, Lynch, Bliss, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax.

The second annual Mae Young Classic tournament, featuring NXT stars and independent women, will start airing on WWE Network on September 5 with the final match taking place at Evolution.

The women also play prominent roles in other WWE TV programming, including the popular “Total Divas” and “Total Bellas” programs that air on E! Network.

Just about the only thing left for the women of WWE is a WrestleMania main event – and that could be imminent with the potential of Rousey against Flair.

Around town: Even with Starrcast and All In looming next week, the wrestling scene in the Chicago area will be buzzing this weekend with several events.

The four-day Wizard World Chicago Comic Con takes place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, featuring 10 wrestling guests, headlined by Kane and Mick Foley.

Also in Rosemont steps away from Wizard World, former WWE broadcast partners Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler are appearing at Zanies comedy club Thursday night with a show that should be very entertaining with two of the best storytellers in the business.

In the ring, Zelo Pro presents their anniversary show Friday night at Joe’s on Weed Street in Chicago with guest star Rikishi and appearances by former WWE and IMPACT Wrestling star Jay Bradley, Tessa Blanchard, Chelsea Green, Joey Ryan and Simon Grimm (fka Simon Gotch of the Vaudevillains).

Saturday night, Frank Rodriguez’s Berwyn Championship Wrestling puts on a show at the Berwyn Eagles Club, featuring appearances by Bradley, Egotistico Fantastico, Shogun Chris L.O.G.A.N. and Vic Capri.

Ringside Chatter: Sean Waltman, aka X-Pac, will be making an appearance Saturday afternoon at Pro Wrestling Tees in Chicago, for autographs and photo ops. … Condolences to the fan-friendly Fred Ottman (who portrayed Big Steel Man, Tugboat, Typhoon and the Shockmaster) on the passing of his mother.

 Charlotte Flair, right, squares off with Becky Lynch at a WWE live event in Moline, Ill., on March 6, 2016.  (Photo by Mike Pankow)

Charlotte Flair, right, squares off with Becky Lynch at a WWE live event in Moline, Ill., on March 6, 2016. (Photo by Mike Pankow)

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