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For Bianca Belair, everything came full circle on Saturday night. In front of a sellout crowd in Nashville’s Nissan Stadium, Belair found herself in a position she had never been in at SummerSlam:
Holding a championship high above her head after successfully retaining it.
With her 20-something-second loss to Becky Lynch at last year’s SummerSlam still fresh in her mind, the reigning Raw Women’s Champion took her game to another level and ultimately outlasted her rival in an epic matchup.
It was a fitting ending to the latest chapter in the Belair/Lynch rivalry, as the champion finally atoned for last year’s shocking SummerSlam loss by pinning the woman many believe to be one of the all-time greats.
But when one door closes, another usually opens.
And the women who walked through that door were three Superstars who the WWE Universe haven’t seen in a long time.
Bianca Belair was in the middle of her much-deserved post-match celebration when the entrance music of none other than Bayley started blasting through the sound system of Nissan Stadium and the ex-Raw Women’s Champion walked confidently to the ring for the first time in over a year.
Bayley — on the shelf since July 2021 due to an ACL injury she suffered while training for a match against Bianca Belair — made her triumphant return to WWE and the Raw roster as the crowd in attendance were collectively on their feet to welcome her back.
But Bayley didn’t come to Nashville alone. She brought backup.
The WWE Universe watched on in collective shock as Dakota Kai and IYO SKY made their way to the ring to join Bayley.
For the past few months, rumors have been flying that Dakota Kai — one of NXT’s premiere Superstars and a two-time NXT Women’s Champion — had been released from her WWE contract. After all, she hadn’t been seen on NXT television since April, and her social media activity had been conspicuously devoid of any clues to her next move.
As it turns out, Dakota Kai was just waiting for the right moment.
IYO SKY — formerly known as Io Shirai in NXT — hadn’t been seen since her unsuccessful bid to win the NXT Women’s Championship at April’s Stand and Deliver event in April. Again, the rumor mill was abuzz with theories on her whereabouts over the last few months. Was she taking time off to nurse nagging injuries? Was she enjoying a much-deserved long vacation? Nobody knew.
Like Dakota Kai, IYO SKY was also waiting for the right moment.
Once the trio were officially united, they headed into the ring to make their intentions known: they were not there to congratulate Bianca Belair on her championship win.
They were there to let Belair know she now has a giant target on her back.
In a surprising turn of events, Becky Lynch (!) was the one to have the back of Bianca Belair, climbing back into the ring to defend the Raw Women’s Champion against the newly-formed trio.
While the two factions didn’t come to blows, it was clear that the WWE Universe was excited about the myriad of directions this whole story could go in. Who will be the first to try to rip the Raw Women’s Championship away from the EST of WWE? How solid is Becky Lynch’s newfound alliance with the champion?
One thing’s for sure, Monday Night Raw just became a lot more entertaining — and explosive — with Bayley, Dakota Kai, and IYO SKY back on the red brand.
Although we fully expect the Bayley-led group to vocalize their intentions on tonight’s episode of Raw, the WWE Universe was granted a look inside the head of Bayley after SummerSlam courtesy of her Twitter and some eye-opening Janet Jackson lyrics:
Color us intrigued.
And color us excited as hell for tonight’s episode of Raw.
You can catch the replay of SummerSlam 2022 on Peacock because you know you need to see it all again!
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