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Bianca Belair Defeats Becky Lynch, Retains Raw Women's Title at WWE SummerSlam 2022

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 31, 2022

Photo credit: WWE.com

Bianca Belair defeated Becky Lynch in the opening match at WWE SummerSlam on Saturday to retain the Raw Women's Championship.

In a thrilling finish, The EST of WWE hit Lynch with a Spanish Fly off the top rope and immediately drilled the KOD to get a clean pin.

After the bout, Big Time Becks extended her arm for a handshake. Despite some initial apprehension, the Raw women's champion held out her hand and the two embraced for a brief moment.

Belair's celebration turned out to be short-lived, though, as Bayley made her long-awaited return from injury, and she was followed down the ramp by Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky (previously Io Shirai).

WWE @WWE

BAYLEY IS BACK!!!!!!!!<a href="https://twitter.com/itsBayleyWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@itsBayleyWWE</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SummerSlam?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SummerSlam</a> <a href="https://t.co/hEf7qV2JlM">pic.twitter.com/hEf7qV2JlM</a>

Bayley, Kai and Sky got in Belair's face, prompting Lynch to join The EST's side in an apparent face turn for Big Time Becks.

The heel trio backed down after the odds improved for Belair.

WWE @WWE

Looks like <a href="https://twitter.com/itsBayleyWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@itsBayleyWWE</a> isn't the ONLY <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SummerSlam?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SummerSlam</a> return... <a href="https://twitter.com/shirai_io?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@shirai_io</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ImKingKota?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ImKingKota</a> <a href="https://t.co/EPU6BGnecA">pic.twitter.com/EPU6BGnecA</a>

Saturday marked what was perhaps the culmination of a yearlong story between Belair and Lynch, dating back to last year's SummerSlam.

Belair had been scheduled to defend the SmackDown women's title against Sasha Banks at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, but a late replacement was required, prompting Lynch to make her return after missing over a year due to maternity leave.

The Man shocked the WWE Universe by hitting her opponent with a cheap shot and beating her for the title in 26 seconds, setting The EST off on a road to redemption.

Belair finally got her revenge at WrestleMania 38 in April when she defeated Big Time Becks in an instant classic to become the new Raw women's champion.

While The EST has been on a roll since then, Lynch fell into a funk, losing multiple matches and seemingly drifting further away from the title scene.

She lost multiple singles matches to Asuka, lost a Triple Threat bout for the Raw women's title against Belair and The Empress of Tomorrow and even lost to Dana Brooke due to a distraction from Asuka.

More recently, Lynch came up short in the women's Money in the Bank ladder match, leading to speculation that she would have to work her way back into the championship conversation from the bottom.

Instead, Lynch demanded a Raw Women's Championship match at SummerSlam, and given her status as one of the all-time greats, her request was granted.

She was installed as the No. 1 contender and would face the winner of a title match between Belair and Carmella on Raw, which The EST won despite interference from Lynch.

Things came full circle Saturday with Belair and Lynch facing off for the second year in a row at SummerSlam, but this time around it was The EST who left with a championship belt around her waist.

However, the Raw women's title picture has now been upended with the return of Bayley, Kai and Shirai.


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