The Women’s title match between Asuka and Mickie James on Raw last night (Sept. 14) just... kind of ended. The champ had James in an Asuka Lock, Mickie rolled through, the referee called for the bell and handed the belt to the Empress while everyone looked confused.
WWE went for a kayfabe explanation of what happened on their website, which provided some backstory to the rushed justification given on the broadcast:
“Realizing that this could be her last chance at a championship, Mickie James left it all in the ring against The Empress of Tomorrow. But although Mickie James was ready for Asuka, Asuka was also ready for her. The Raw Women’s Champion locked on the Asuka Lock, and despite James’ best efforts to fight out, the referee ruled her unable to continue and awarded the match to Asuka.”
On social media, Hall of Famer Mick Foley and former WWE producer/agent Lance Storm both speculated the finish may have been result of an injury to James:
I’m hearing that @MickieJames may have injured her shoulder in tonight’s #Raw match - which would explain the quick ending to the match.— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) September 15, 2020
If true, I’m wishing Mickie a quick and complete recovery...and hoping she gets another shot at the title. https://t.co/gf69VD5ahB
Mickie’s only comment could support either explanation:
We’ll probably find out more in the days to come. Hopefully James, who just got back on television after an injury and a “creative has nothing for you” stretch, is okay.
UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments below by Cagesider Buried_Alive, Mickie’s former TNA co-worker Matt Morgan reached out to her and reported on Wrestling Inc’s Raw Review podcast that the referee thought she’d passed out and called the match.
Wrestling Observer’s Bryan Alvarez also reports the stoppage was a ref error.