Woof! Something stinks like a bag of dead turtles. Perhaps it's WWE's creativity rotting and stinking in its own skull.
The company's lack of originality in selling the SummerSlam Divas matches in the go-home week of television should come as no surprise to anyone. It's the final episode of Raw and our last chance to persuade viewers to pay twenty bucks to watch the big pay-per-view on the WWE Network, and how are the Divas storylines advanced? One of them with a rehashed angle from weeks ago; the other with a weak and overdone distraction spot.
Are you guys ready to sit down and talk with me? Because I think it's time we get real.
There have been a great deal of moments in Raw's history that felt like watching paint dry, and this was one of them. When Stephanie McMahon introduced Daniel Bryan's physical therapist as having a confession to make, we all knew where it was going. If only it had just gone there and gotten it all over with.
Dear god, that scene went on forever. I was about to scratch out my eyes waiting on this girl to just drop the bomb already. And I'm actually really into this rivalry between Brie and Steph; imagine how non-Diva fans were feeling. How many channels were changed while we were waiting on her to pass this turd of a bombshell? Mother of pearl, what were they thinking? It may have been a bit different had this type of thing not involved someone the audience had never seen before and, therefore, had no reason to give one shit about. That's right, two poop jokes in one train of thought.
|Yikes. Maybe should've gone for the pool of slop.|
Stephanie tells Brie they're going to "settle this tonight" and not wait until SummerSlam. You knew this match was not going to happen for free on television six days before it was advertised for a pay-per-view, so something was fishy, for lack of a better term. Turns out Stephanie just wanted enough time to call the cops so the therapist could press charges and have Brie arrested just before the match, in front of the world.
Unlike what seems to be the majority of internet wrestling fans (which is a tiny, tiny faction of the fanbase no matter what we like to think), I think Brie's done really well in her face-to-face interactions with Stephanie thus far, but neither of the Bella Twins are in their zone in a moment that requires expressing distress and we got a clear example of that this week on Raw during Brie's arrest.
Even Meryl Streep couldn't have made the arrest segment much more enjoyable. The fact remains that it's a repeat from weeks ago when Brie did the same thing to Stephanie. At the time it was a bit of genius, but wrestling fans are nothing if not fickle, and I'll include myself in that. If WWE were insistent on having this scene play out, it should have taken place last week. It was downright lazy and nothing short of a gigantic mistake this close to SummerSlam. It was empty and uninspired, and probably did more harm to the story than to help it.
Regardless, I think the SummerSlam match will be something special. A lot of people don't care for the angle and won't care for the match, but this match is my WrestleMania. I'm not stupid, I know this won't be a wrestling classic. It will likely be a stretch to even call this a wrestling match, but that's fine because WWE is not just a wrestling company. This is entertainment and this is going to be a fight - a fun fight.
It's really difficult to call a prediction here. You'd think Brie would be taking the win to end the program and score one final point for herself and Daniel Bryan against the Authority, but the issue is that Stephanie has the entire deck stacked against Brie. Stephanie owns the company and has Triple H, Kane, and Randy Orton on her side among who knows how many others, including any Divas she can convince to help her out during the match. Brie of course has Nikki on her side, but for how long? There's a long-running rumor that Nikki will be turning on her sister and costing her this match. I will be legitimately surprised if that happens, but the possibility is definitely there. I'm going the safe route and giving this one to Stephanie if for no other reason than I can't see how Brie comes out ahead here.
I do, however, have another, much less likely theory. Brie mentioned last week, perhaps in a bit of foreshadowing, that karma would come back to bite Stephanie on the ass. There's a chance that either at SummerSlam or the following Raw, Stephanie could reference that statement in telling Brie that karma is coming for her instead. Thus commences the return of the Amazing, Awesome Kharma, who destroys the Bella Twins as promised upon her WWE exit years ago.
One of the coolest Diva storylines in years.
Which is exactly why it's highly unlikely.
Getting back to television, things were really no better on the AJ and Paige front this week. On Raw and Smackdown, AJ Lee met Eva Marie (who was recently voted the sexiest woman in WWE here at Smark Out Moment) for about the ninety-ninth and one hundredth times since AJ's return. And the big selling point for their match at SummerSlam? Distractions by Paige.
On Raw, Eva actually rolled AJ up for a win after Paige came down to skip around the ring. That's right; Eva Marie pinned the Divas Champion AJ Lee. I'll share my reaction with you now:
THAT DID NOT JUST FUCKING HAPPEN. #Raw
— J. B. Alexander (@jbtheseeker) August 12, 2014
The same thing happened on Smackdown, basically. In another AJ and Eva match, Paige came down for another distraction and caused AJ to lose by count-out. It was not without its high points, though. AJ really beat the crumpets out of Paige for interrupting her match. It was a beautiful beating that didn't actually end favorably for AJ, considering Paige ended up kicking her square in the jaw and hitting her with the Paige Turner.
For me, though, the real high point of Smackdown was when AJ inadvertently ripped out one of Eva Marie's blindingly crimson hair extensions and took it upon herself to twirl it in the air. Silly AJ.
|AJ and Paige should be a fantastic match despite the weak promotion.|
I think we need one more month of story for this one to be conclusive and for that to happen, Paige is going to need to take back the Divas Title tomorrow night. It's another tough one to call; I feel fairly uncertain about both of these big Divas matches which is exactly how things should be. But if I had to choose here I'd go with Paige.
She needed to lose the Title to AJ to make her heel turn and regain her footing, sort of like a fresh start. Second chances don't come often in wrestling though, so WWE needs to capitalize on Paige being the top heel and overall strongest character in the division. AJ can then chase the Title into Night of Champions where the two can have one final match with some sort of special stipulation.
Maybe an ice bucket challenge?
This week on NXT, Bayley and Sasha Banks competed to determine the number one contender to the NXT Women's Championship.
It was amazing.
There was so much back and forth mat wrestling and chain grappling, so many near falls, so much athleticism. Bayley won in one of the best Diva matches of the year and if this one was any indication of what it will be like when she challenges Charlotte for the Title, we're in for something special (click HERE for my thoughts on the future of the sickeningly talented Charlotte).
Also, Sasha's finishing move is fierce, as they say.
|I still have a gimmick!|
Velvet Sky and Angelina Love need to not be a team right now, considering they effectively make up a sixth of the active Knockouts roster as I mentioned last week. Brooke Adams (A.K.A. Miss Tessmacher) will be returning soon to help fill things out a little, but TNA's in dire need of a deeper women's roster. Although, it might not matter all that much if the company goes belly up in a few months as wildly speculated.
As should be apparent by now, if you're going to watch good women's wrestling matches, you're going to need to do some digging. Thankfully that's become vastly easier with the WWE Network, which you can get for something like twenty-five bucks a month. If I were to suggest one weekly show to watch for consistent, quality matches, it would have to be NXT which is probably one of the most excellent features the Network offers. But Main Event on Tuesdays often has decent women's matches and Superstars is even better; the problem is the erratic frequency of Diva appearances on those shows.
So, really, it wasn't a terrible week for the Divas. There were some really good matches if you have the motivation to search for them on the WWE Network or access them through other, shall we say, less official means. What WWE failed to do this week was focus any of those good wrestling moments on the two programs that needed it most. Both SummerSlam Divas matches have potential to be really exciting in their own, separate ways, but this week's events did absolutely nothing for their momentum. These four women will go into SummerSlam tomorrow with the burden on their shoulders to make these matches pay off with little to nothing of immediate relevance behind them, but I would lay money down that one or both of them will be more exciting than the John Cena/Brock Lesnar main event.
At least for me.
Hit me back up right here next week for the SummerSlam fallout and follow me on TWITTER!