Alexa Bliss closes in on the Raw Women’s Title
In front of her hometown crowd at The Ohio State University this past Monday night, Alexa Bliss defeated Sasha Banks, Mickie James and Nia Jax to earn the opportunity to face Bayley for the Raw Women’s Championship at WWE Payback in The Huggable One’s hometown of San Jose, Calif.
The Wicked Witch of WWE would like nothing more than to humiliate Bayley in the titleholder’s backyard, and given Alexa’s penchant for mind games, she’ll be looking to wage some serious psychological warfare this Monday night. Is Bayley ready for what this devious Raw newcomer has in store?
Raw and SmackDown swapped two of their biggest stars in the women’s division during this week’s superstar shakeup, as two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss moved to Monday Night Raw, while Charlotte was swapped to the blue brand. (You can see the full list of roster changes here.)
Just a few days after the shakeup, Alexa Bliss spoke to Fox Sports about the change, her relationship with Nia Jax, and who she’ll miss from SmackDown.
You can now watch Alexa Bliss on RAW every Monday at 8 p.m. ET on USA Network.Fox Sports: When did you find out you were heading to Raw, and what was your first reaction?
Alexa Bliss: “I found out pretty much that morning. The night before we got travel, and were going to be able to travel where Raw was. I wasn’t sure if they were bringing people in to kind of throw us off or if we were actually being drafted to Raw.
It was really cool, because I’ve done a lot on SmackDown and now it gives me the opportunity to see what now I can do on Raw.”Fox Sports: When you arrived at Raw in a new environment all of a sudden, was it like the first day of school?
Alexa Bliss: “Oh yeah, I definitely was the new kid. Walking in, everyone’s already kind of had their place there. I’m just coming in, brand new, first day of school. Everything’s about first impressions, so just making sure I make a good first impression on people.”Fox Sports: Now you’re coming into a division led by Bayley, who had a reputation as a mentor to some of the younger women in NXT before she was called up. What has your relationship with Bayley been like, and what did she mean to you early in your career?
Alexa Bliss: “Bayley helped me a lot in my career, especially in NXT. I had some of my best NXT matches with her, and she definitely helped me develop as a talent, because you’re just as good as the person you’re in there with. She definitely helped me so much with all of that, and I’m really excited to see what happens if we can have some kind of match or feud on Raw. I think it’d awesome.”Fox Sports: There was a moment you had with Nia Jax on Raw Monday, who I know is someone you’re very close with. What’s it been like to reconnect with her now that you’re on Raw?
Alexa Bliss: “I was so excited! Nia and I, we used to room together on the NXT trips, and we’re super, super close. We’re best friends. It’s awesome that we can be on the same brand together.
I feel like if we could ever be aligned together on Raw, that would be awesome – because, you know, I can just talk a lot of crap and she can back it up for me. Basically kind of like what our friendship’s like anyway.
It was a lot of fun, I’m super excited. She’s the best, and I’m so excited to be able to hang out with her more and work with her more in the ring.”Fox Sports: How hard was it to keep in touch with your friends on Raw when you were on the other brand?
Alexa Bliss: “I would definitely say… especially with Nia Jax, we had been super close in NXT, pretty much inseparable. And then it got to the point where we spoke to each other maybe like once a month? Because our schedules are the complete opposite, with Raw and SmackDown.
I saw her one night on the U.K. tour because both brands were in London for a night. I got to see her then, but it’s definitely hard to keep in contact with people on the other brand because everyone is so busy and we’re all traveling at completely different times. It’s difficult, but that’s when we try to utilize FaceTime and texting and all that technology stuff.Fox Sports: Do you think SmackDown was the right show for you to start your career on the main roster?
Alexa Bliss: “Absolutely. SmackDown has been branded as the ‘land of opportunity,’ and to be able to take the opportunity that they have given me and really kind of run with it, I think it’s been amazing. They gave me a lot of time and opportunity to show my character and who I am and what I bring to the division. [It’s] given a lot of attention to the women’s division as a whole and really built the women’s division of SmackDown.
When I was on SmackDown, I would say we had the most well-rounded women’s division, and I think that’s all because of the opportunities SmackDown gives. I think it was definitely the right place for me to start.”Fox Sports: Do you have a favorite memory from your time with the women on the SmackDown roster?
Alexa Bliss: “One of my favorite memories has to be when I [won] the SmackDown Women’s title at TLC, everyone was just so happy for each other.
Or even when we had our six-pack challenge match. We were all just so proud of ourselves and of the division, you know, working together to put on the best performance that we could, and everyone was just so happy. Just having that support in the locker room has been amazing. It’s the best locker room I’ve ever been in so far.Fox Sports: Is there anyone in particular you’re going to miss from SmackDown?
Alexa Bliss: “I’m going to miss all the girls, obviously. I used to travel with Carmella a lot. I’m going to miss traveling with her, we had a lot of funny road stories.
I’m going to miss the Usos. Everyone’s just so fun and hard-working and funny. The live events were a lot of fun.
I was going to say Miz and Maryse, but they actually moved to Raw as well, so I won’t miss them. They’re awesome as well. They’re a couple [of] characters. I love it.”Fox Sports: Moving to Raw also gives you a new set of potential opponents. When you’re performing at live events night after night, does it get monotonous at all wrestling the same opponents after a while?
Alexa Bliss: “It’s always fun facing new people. I don’t think it really gets monotonous because things change. The crowd is a big part of our live events and how we do things. We go on crowd interaction, so even if I’m wrestling the same opponent, each match is going to be different. And it’s always fun and exciting. It’ll be great to have new opponents and to see how that goes, but it definitely doesn’t get monotonous.”Fox Sports: You clashed with Daniel Bryan from time to time during your SmackDown career, and now you’re on a show with a new GM in Kurt Angle. Did you get to talk with him on Monday?
Alexa Bliss: “I’ve never actually spoken to him. I didn’t see him very much on Monday – he was busy with all of his stuff, TV day is such a hectic day anyway.
The first time I had any kind of interaction with him was at the Hall of Fame, and I got to say hi to him. He was really nice, but I haven’t actually gotten to talk with him.
But his speech cracked me up to no end. Having the cowboy hat, being “sexy Kurt.” It made me really excited to have him on Raw and to be able to work with him. Anybody with a big personality, I’m a big fan of.”Fox Sports: Going back to WrestleMania – one thing that stunned me was just how gigantic the ramp was. Even Braun Strowman looked tiny walking down that. How big did it seem during your entrance?
Alexa Bliss: “Oh my gosh, it was so long. So, here’s the thing, too – I’m 5-foot, and I’m all torso of my 5-foot. My legs are real short, so every one of one person’s steps are like two of mine. So it took, I felt like, twice as long to get down that ramp. I was just like ‘oh my gosh, this thing is so long, I need a golf cart or something to take me down.’”Fox Sports: You were pretty busy once the match began, so was that entrance where you able to take in the moment?
Alexa Bliss: “The entrance is one of the main things I remember from WrestleMania. I remember the match, obviously, but I vividly remember standing at the top of the ramp and just looking around, and looking around as I’m walking down, taking it all in. That’s going one of the memories I will never, ever, ever forget.”Fox Sports: When you’re in an environment like that, outside with a such a huge crowd, does it put you off at all once you’re in the match?
Alexa Bliss: “It affects me during the entrances, for sure, because that’s when you can stand and see how many people are out there – but by the time you get down to the ring, you realize the ring is the same size as it’s always going to be. You’re in your element, you’re still in between the four ropes. The ring doesn’t get bigger, the audience does. And that kind of helps a lot, because you’re in your safety zone, your comfort zone when you get in the ring.”
The Wicked Witch of WWE is looking to cast her dominant spell over the entire Raw Women’s division. Fresh off her move to WWE’s flagship show, Alexa Bliss will attempt to unseat Bayley as Raw Women’s Champion when they clash at WWE Payback.
Bayley returned from WrestleMania’s Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match with her coveted title still firmly around her waist, but thanks to the Superstar Shake-up, the landscape of the Women’s division immediately transformed around her. Enter Alexa Bliss, who reigned supreme over Sasha Banks, Mickie James and Nia Jax in an explosive Fatal 4-Way Match in front of her hometown Columbus crowd to earn the right to face Bayley at Raw’s April 30 pay-per-view.
Everyone’s Favorite Hugger is no stranger to her latest challenger, as the two fierce competitors did battle on WWE NXT. However, as the current Raw Women’s Champion prepares to reengage the former two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion, the WWE Universe is reminded just how much these Superstars have upped their game since joining the main roster … and we weren’t sure that was possible. Truly the resulting showdown will be nothing short of incredible.
Is Alexa Bliss destined to assert her dominance over another WWE brand? Or will Bayley show her that things are a lot different when you’re seeing red? Find out on Sunday, April 30 at 8 ET/5 PT, streaming live on the award-winning WWE Network.
Alexa Bliss def. Sasha Banks, Nia Jax and Mickie James to become No. 1 contender to the Raw Women’s Championship.
Well that didn’t take long, did it? Alexa Bliss made good on her Superstar Shake-up trade value in one week, defeating two Raw stalwarts and a SmackDown LIVE transplant to become No. 1 contender to the Raw Women’s Championship, potentially setting herself up to be the first Superstar to have held the Women’s titles of both brands.While fellow competitors Mickie James and Sasha Banks initially worked together to help neutralize wild card Nia Jax, Bliss picked her spots and mostly stirred the pot, either provoking Nia or staying down to allow James and The Boss to attack each other in the interim. But after Jax shoved Mickie off the turnbuckle and took out Banks with a Samoan Drop, Alexa dropkicked her out of the ring and covered The Boss for a sneaky, yet impactful, victory.
Live Event Digitals
There were some major shifts in the Raw Women’s division this past Monday night as Alexa Bliss and Mickie James joined the Team Red roster, but it was Nia Jax who ruled the night, first defeating former Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair and then laying waste to another former champion, Sasha Banks, and its current bearer, Bayley.
Which Raw newcomers will “shake up” Team Red the most?
The Superstar Shake-up brought a varied assortment of SmackDown LIVE Superstars to Raw, including Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose, The Miz, Bray Wyatt, Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, Curt Hawkins, Apollo Crews, Kalisto and the team of Heath Slater & Rhyno.
This sudden influx of new competitors has created exciting new possibilities for Team Red as former SmackDown LIVE Superstars aim to make their mark on Monday night’s hottest show. Who will dominate this week? Stay tuned.
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James confronted Raw Women’s Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks and Bayley are both pretty open about their desire to stay together on Raw after the Superstar Shake-up. If they do, there’ll be no shortage of competition for them: Right as Sasha was seemingly about to challenge Bayley for the Raw Women’s Title, two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss reared her head.
The arrival of The Wicked Witch of WWE clearly threw a wrench into The Boss’ plans, but Mickie James was hot on her heels to throw her name into what has suddenly become a very, very crowded race for the Raw Women’s Championship. But, lest we forget, there’s still one more woman in play: Nia Jax, who bulldozed James from behind, ran through Sasha (who Alexa shoved right into her path) and finally laid out Bayley before openly declaring that she has her sights set on The Huggable One’s title.
Live Event Digitals
In the wake of Mr. McMahon’s earth-shattering announcement that next week will feature a Superstar Shake-up, competitors on both Raw and SmackDown LIVE are wondering which brand they’ll call home when all is said and done.
Arguably, the Women’s division will be impacted the most from the Shake-up. Since the Brand Extension Draft last July, the two-brand system has helped propel the Women’s Revolution to a whole a new level of success, but which brand is better for the future of female competition moving forward?For the Women’s division, SmackDown LIVE is the brand of opportunity
Ever have that overriding, intangible sensation when you walk into a room and you can just feel the uncanny amount of passion, grit and sacrifice that it’s filled with?
That, without question, is precisely the atmosphere that’s been created at SmackDown LIVE, a brand that has served as an incredible environment for the advancement of the women’s locker room. With that in mind, every female competitor should be hoping that they will be a member of the SmackDown LIVE Women’s division when the dust settles after next week’s Superstar Shake-up.
Since the Brand Extension this past summer, SmackDown LIVE has been the destination for the best the Women’s Revolution has to offer. Team Blue touts itself as the land of opportunity, and quite simply, the treatment of the Women’s division is proof and parcel of that fact.
“Our women are all featured all the time,” two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss said. “We have such a strong division — we don’t have a weak link. And we’ve been given the opportunity to show multiple times that our women can showcase and showcase well. The overall philosophy of the show is definitely going to allow us to bring this revolution to the next level.”
And what a philosophy it is. The blue brand has never been afraid to allow its women to carry the ball and operate on the same level as their male contemporaries. SmackDown LIVE’s female Superstars have innovated and delivered in equal measure, as fans have witnessed everything from a SmackDown Women’s Championship Steel Cage Match main event between Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch to a raucous Falls Count Anywhere bout between Nikki Bella and Natalya that left the WWE Universe buzzing.
Natalya reflected on what the women have done on SmackDown LIVE and does not mince words on how the energy and general underdog nature of the brand has helped move them forward.
“We’re just better,” The Queen of Hart(less) said. “We have this energy about us [that] we can conquer anything. We’re like the little engine that could. When [your show] has this underdog vibe, that is the uprising that people just bite onto.”
It’s notable that the smaller roster size of Team Blue has played into its success. The women get a real opportunity to be the focal point of SmackDown LIVE week after week, and because of that, a focal point of the WWE Universe’s reaction to the show.
Perhaps the greatest reflection of this idea came on the Feb. 21 edition of SmackDown LIVE, where the Women’s division commanded most of the two-hour show: Naomi had to relinquish the SmackDown Women’s Championship due to injury in a heart-wrenching address to the WWE Universe, Bliss edged Lynch to claim the vacated title and Natalya bested Nikki in the previously mentioned Falls Count Anywhere Match.
Raw Women’s Champion Bayley, Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax rocked WrestleMania 33’s Raw Women’s Championship Fatal 4-Way Match, but SmackDown LIVE has offered so many fresh matchups and new Superstars. The Women’s division overall is the strongest it’s ever been, but the core of that strength resides on SmackDown LIVE, an environment that will continue to breed success for whichever women are a part of Team Blue after next week’s Superstar Shake-up — period. — RYAN PAPPOLLA
As WWE’s flagship show, Raw is the place where the Women’s division reaches the next level
A polite word, first, for the competition: SmackDown LIVE’s Women’s division has come alive in a way that even the most optimistic of the WWE Universe probably didn’t expect. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan have taken comeback kids (Nikki Bella, Mickie James), experienced veterans (Natalya), momentous young talent (Becky Lynch, Naomi) and raw, untested prospects (Alexa Bliss, Carmella) and turned those ingredients into a potpourri of tremendously entertaining, compelling television. Kudos.
That being said, the Women’s Revolution has always been about breaking boundaries. And when there are boundaries to be broken and taboos to be dispelled, you always, always — before and after the Superstar Shake-up — look to Raw.
“We did a Falls Count Anywhere Match,” Charlotte Flair said of the opportunities that Team Red has offered herself and Sasha Banks. “We main-evented Raw three different times, we main-evented a pay-per-view, [and] we were in the first-ever [Women’s] Hell in a Cell Match.”
Apart from those historic matches, the three-hour Raw is a brand where a Superstar can truly receive maximum exposure and where the WWE Universe will whole-heartedly embrace a dynamic persona.
Case in point, the emergence of Bayley and Nia Jax, a universally beloved underdog and a pure powerhouse, the likes of which haven’t been seen in the Women’s division in a long time. The Huggable One, in particular, has struck a prescient chord both in the audience and the locker room as one of the most unconventional and respected champions since Daniel Bryan. The net total of all of this leaves Raw as the go-to destination for WWE viewers who prefer their history to be made on a weekly basis, a distinction that’s unlikely to change no matter who ends up traded to SmackDown LIVE in the imminent Shake-up.
“Our Raw Women’s division has put on some of the greatest matches in WWE history,” said Nia Jax, who challenged for the division’s championship at WrestleMania along with Charlotte and Sasha.
And while each Superstar interviewed acknowledged the intrigue of the SmackDown LIVE ladies’ locker room and the mutual benefits the two shows provide each other, they were quick to say that Team Red sets the tone.
“It’s actually crazy to think if you sit around and think about it; we’re equal to [the men],” Banks said of the Raw women’s main-event status, which is something SmackDown LIVE has yet to replicate. (They did, however, smash one taboo Raw missed out on: The first-ever Women’s Tables Match.)
With Emma’s return, Alicia Fooooox shaking things up by splitting time between Raw and 205 Live and who knows what else on the horizon, the stage is set for the women’s various goals — Sasha threw out tag team titles; Nia advocated for a Women’s main event at WrestleMania — to be realized. Given SmackDown’s current reputation as a proving ground, it stands to reason that the ladies of Team Red might be getting that nod first, though few went so far as to call the women of Team Blue their outright rivals.
“Any kind of competition is healthy competition,” said an ironically diplomatic Charlotte.
But given that the Superstar Shake-up will likely feature some crisscrossing within the division’s members, it’s both fair and expected that some Team Blue members would want to jump over to the flagship. SmackDown LIVE may be the show where opportunities are given, but Raw is the show where those opportunities bear fruit. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
Which brand do you think is better for the future of the Women’s division?