Divas Debrief: Women's Wrestling This Week for 7/19/2014 | Smark Out Moment

Divas Debrief: Women's Wrestling This Week for 7/19/2014

Posted by J. B. Alexander Saturday, July 19, 2014
Every Saturday, Divas Debrief runs down the week in women's professional wrestling. From the TNA Knockouts to the WWE and NXT Divas, the Debrief keeps you up to date on all the women carrying on the legacy of lady grappling.

As a WWE Divas fan you have to accept you're going to have a lot of ups and downs. You have weeks when you see the light at the end of the tunnel and feel legitimately optimistic about the future, and then you have weeks when you just want to throw out your arms, jut out your hip, and tell the world all about how you just don't give a damn anymore. Last week was one of those weeks.
Knockouts Brittany Madison Rayne abs thighs hair
This is how many fucks Brittany has left to give.
This week was better, though still missed the mark in many places. It was just tolerable enough to not leave one with the overwhelming sense of Diva dread with which we've become so familiar. We're currently in the midst of a mixed bag sort of situation with WWE where the Divas are on for an overall longer amount of time than they've been in years, but it's really just putting lipstick on a pig. And no, that is neither a shot at women nor Sarah Palin.

The women are still relegated to questionable positions on the show and continue to be given those famous three-minute matches with next to no depth of narrative or character. The only thing that's changed recently has been that we get those half-assed segments more times per week, which isn't doing anyone any favors, but it keeps many more Divas fresh in the viewers' minds at the least, so it's better than nothing.


I watched none of this week's wrestling live. I went back to watch it all after the fact because last week WWE turned my enthusiasm sideways and shoved it straight up my ass. I had to put the shows off until later because I was just not driven to watch until I could do so at my own speed and convenience. And I'm really happy with the decision because not much was done this week to improve on the injustice.

There were a couple of shining moments, however, and the first came at the hands of Paige and the remarkable Divas Champion AJ Lee when, following AJ's second consecutive televised match with Eva Marie, they gave us this moment:

WWE Divas Paige smile AJ Lee
Gah-go, bye!
Which instantly reminded everyone of this moment:

WWE Raw CM Punk sits announce table microphone pipe bomb
I'm doing a podcast! Or something!
It was just one of the reasons the wrestling world is frantic that a CM Punk return is being teased (along with Paul Heyman talking about a "Plan C"). I think it's obvious this is just what WWE wants us to think so they can get some easy ratings boosts but I'd love to be wrong. But I'm not.

AJ and Paige are playing this angle like a fiddle and everyone's confused as hell. No one knows who's the heel or who's the babyface, but I ask ye, does their need to be a heel and babyface? They both just seem completely crackers (to steal a line from Paige) and, frankly, I like it.

If AJ Lee does go babyface from here on out she desperately needs to stop blandly smiling at Paige and shaking her hand. She actually played off their relationship in much more of a Cray-J Lee fashion this week and that's the way it need be. And if Paige goes fully heel she needs to keep this passive-aggressive shtick she's been on, before transitioning to psycho violent-aggressive during her matches. Of all the things the Divas division is lacking, one of the first things I would like to see WWE improve on is their physicality.

Oh right, there was a match. AJ defeated Eva Marie. Again. Look, I'm fine with rematches. Love them, actually. But WWE has been doing something weird lately where they spoil many of their live Raw matches by having the exact same match with often the same exact outcome on the episode of Smackdown airing the previous week. No one wants to see the same match three days apart with absolutely no reason behind it.

WWE Raw Divas Champion AJ Lee legs
Eva taps to the Black Widow.
Also on Raw, the odds were once again stacked against Nikki Bella who was forced to compete in another handicap match, this time against Alicia Fox and Cameron. Yep, one week after breaking up with her old partner, Cameron started teaming with Alicia Fox with whom she is suddenly and inexplicably besties. That's depth. I hope the two are comfortable together because they'll be jobbing together for the duration of their individual heel runs while occasionally temporarily breaking up so that one of them can fill in as a babyface when there isn't another one available.

WWE Divas Nikki Bella boobs abs
This is the night I put Alicia Fox behind me!
I love that we're likely to get a match between Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella soon. Stephanie's not a wrestler but we've seen her put on some really good matches and Brie has become one of the better wrestlers in the Divas division. But this placeholder build with Nikki taking the punishment for her sister slapping Stephanie last month has grown incredibly stale. In fact, it was underwhelming from the first week if for no other reason than because it was the most obvious route to take during Brie's absence.

Divas Nikki Bella Alicia Fox Cameron
Nikki is a vastly underrated performer.
Still, it keeps the storyline current so the viewers don't forget that there's major tension between Stephanie and Brie (and how could they with WWE's penchant for repeatedly beating us in the face with replay clips) and it gives ring time to more women - women who deserve it, too. Like her sister, Nikki has worked hard and become a really great wrestler, and we know Alicia Fox is a beast.

Nikki of course lost the match and there seems to be some Bella tension being teased with Stephanie taunting Nikki about Brie "abandoning" her. I don't think this will end in a Bella break-up, though. Just a gut feeling.


Cameron and Emma faced off on this week's Main Event with Naomi on commentary. I'll be honest: I couldn't pay a lot of attention to this match. I have a short attention span and I can't be bothered to keep up with distracting commentary and an ongoing match at the same time. Maybe it's just me. Most of my attention went to listening to Naomi at the announce table because I knew this would be where most of the build for her Battleground kickoff match with Cameron would take place. Not in the ring where it's usually preferred.

Naomi handles commentary very well. She's not shaken by the pestering announcers and she played it cool when Byron Saxton continuously berated her with heel-like comments about how maybe Cameron regrets her actions. He's the JBL of Main Event.

Emma surprised Cameron with a roll-up pinfall and snapped after the match, attacking Emma but being run off by Naomi.


And speaking of Naomi, she had what was, perhaps, the best Divas match of the week with Rosa Mendes. I've read some hateful comments on Rosa's wrestling ability, but I present to you exhibit A:

Divas Rosa Mendes legs
And these are how many fucks I give.
Rosa has the animated facial expressions to play a really good heel. This match actually surprised me because it was all over the place. They fought outside the ring in a way reminiscent of Divas matches that usually only take place on pay-per-views.

Naomi won the match (with a finishing move that I hate, but that's an egg I'll crack another day) and I believe she has finally begun to reach her full potential. It's obvious that the Funkadactyls were holding her back because since last week alone she has quickly blossomed into a much larger personality than she ever was at Cameron's side.

This woman needs to be let loose. She is a rare breed of athlete that the Divas division needs, and in fact I'd say she's one of the best athletes in all of WWE. She's grown more confident in herself and is coming alive in front of the audience as evidenced in her performances this week. Following the Paige-Ay Lee program, Naomi absolutely needs to be placed into the Divas Title picture, and for real this time. Not just as another revolving door challenger.


Not a lot to report on NXT this week. The Boss Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss faced off in a rematch from a few weeks ago, and Sasha pulled out the victory by submission. But the real news is that next week Charlotte will defend the NXT Women's Championship against Summer Rae. I'm hoping the match is given the time it deserves but I also hope we get to see it flesh out into a triple threat match, adding Sasha Banks to the mix, for the next NXT special event. It will be a nice exclamation point at the end of the BFFs story.


Impact Madison Rayne Brittany Santana Garrett Manhattan
Madison defeats Brittany.
Also not a lot to say about the TNA Knockouts. Thursday's Impact was the first of those filmed at the Manhattan Center a couple of weeks ago and the only Knockouts match was a no holds barred bout between Madison Rayne and Brittany. It was hard-hitting but felt uninspired if I must say so. Certainly through no fault of the two women involved, but because of a lack of TNA's devotion to the angle.

What has happened to the Knockouts division? Sure, their matches are more respectable, but the fall from grace TNA has seen from the glory days of Gail Kim's and Awesome Kong's original rivalry has been incredibly glaring. For the first couple of years after the Knockouts Championship was instated, there were times when watching TNA's women's division alone was more fun than watching any of WWE's product. It got to a point where the Knockouts were practically what defined TNA.

Who knows what happened? There's no excuse, really, so I don't care to know. It just needs fixed.

Thank you. I guess I still had some fucks to give.


Smackdown broke from tradition this week by featuring a Divas match that didn't end in under sixty seconds. It was a tag team match in which Divas Champion AJ Lee and her Battleground challenger Paige defeated Summer Rae and Layla.

This was a unique pairing, a rarity. A match we've never seen before. That's something that is always lacking in a division with less than 10 prominent athletes, but WWE managed to make it happen. And it was a really good match that featured surprisingly little dancing at the hands of the team I now dub Summer Lay, aside from Summer's initial number at the beginning for which she took a boot to the back by AJ.

WWE Divas Paige Layla AJ Lee Summer Rae
What's it all a-boot?
Paige shone here. She landed legit-looking kicks and headbutts in succession to both Summer and Layla in a series of spots in which she missed nary a beat. Just when it looked like Paige had Summer Rae beaten, AJ tagged herself in and finished her off with the Black Widow.

Post-match, Paige met AJ with a frustrated stare-down, to which AJ responded with another handshake. But this wasn't the type of handshake that said "Hi, I'm bland, let's be bland babyface friends." It was the type of handshake that said "I'm crazy and I might eat your hair." Paige shook her hand cautiously, but pulled her in violently for an intentionally way over-the-top hug.

There looks to be some necessary course-correcting being done on the AJ Lee and Paige front. Unfortunately, much of the story progression is happening on the lesser-watched Smackdown. As I've said, WWE lost the attention of most of the audience last week when they showed just how little the company itself cares about the Divas. It's too late to get the audience aboard, but I believe we'll get a great match this Sunday at Battleground.

Also on Smackdown, more Nikki Bella drama. She was set to referee a match between Alicia Fox and Eva Marie, but the whole thing imploded when Alicia and Eva ganged up on Nikki for yet another beatdown. Please end this.

NXT Women's Championship Natalya Charlotte Moonsault
Instant classic.

I'd like to end the Debrief this week by giving WWE, or at least WWE.com, credit that it's due. There's an article up on the website looking at the top ten best matches of the year (so far). As I was browsing through the list I grew increasingly terrified that there wouldn't be a single women's match in sight. But breathe a sigh of relief, friends, because Charlotte's and Natalya's legendary match at NXT Takeover made it to number two, beating out all WrestleMania matches and being bested only by The Shield and the Wyatt Family from Elimination Chamber.

Number one would have been more appropriate, I think. It was definitely my favorite match of the year and probably my favorite match in the past several years. But number two is very respectable and WWE.com is right to acknowledge the hard work of Charlotte and Natalya. You can read the article HERE.

Remember to follow me on Twitter and check back here next week for the fallout of the Divas Championship match at Battleground.

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