Highlights this week include the Hell in a Cell PPV where a Cinder-Bella story didn't get a fairytale ending, a Halloween Costume Battle Royal on SmackDown, and a Knockout turns her back on her partner and the TNA crowd.
On a PPV that exceeded all expectations, it was a night of mixed successes for the Divas division. On a card that included the long-anticipated Battle of the Bellas and another Divas Championship match between AJ Lee and Paige, one would be forgiven for considering one match considerably worse than the other. But, prior to the show, many would have been surprised as to which match stood out for all the right reasons, as the sister act pulled out one of the best performances of their respective careers.
The stipulation that the loser would become the personal assistant is an intriguing prospect, and Nikki's victory with that on the line is the fitting result. Although the acting of these two sisters continues to be lacking luster and emotion, as long as the quality in the ring of both divas maintains at a high level, it might all be worth it. I believe this will eventually result in Brie reluctantly aiding Nikki in capturing the Divas Championship, before having the feel good moment of taking it away from her sister at WrestleMania 31.
RAW built upon the events of Hell in a Cell in its usual unimaginative style. AJ Lee was tossed into her third match in a week against Alicia Fox, with Paige at ringside. The Brit continued to uphold that she and Foxy were as close as ever, as the pair in ring square off once more. Fox took the early advantage, and taunted her 'bestie' at ringside with the ease in which she was controlling her champion opponent. At least the CM Punk chants have begun to subside, but that may just mean the crowd are uninterested altogether.
AJ does hit an emphatic tornado DDT which impales Fox hard onto the mat. Fox responds with a tilt-the-world backbreaker, but cannot take advantage as Paige shoves her behind the referee's back. AJ takes advantage with another roll-up victory over Fox, benefitting from an unlikely ally in Paige. The Anti-Diva seems to offer her apologies to her BFF, but proceeds to kick Fox out of the ring, assaulting her hard against the barricade. The vicious attack was the most animated and compelling Paige has looked since the night she debuted against AJ, and was only stopped when Jerry Lawler stopped staring at her rear long enough to protect Fox. Does this mean another face turn for the Foxy diva?
Later in the evening, Nikki Bella is in action against Naomi, with her enslaved sister in her corner. Nikki has wasted little time in taking advantage of this position of power over her sister, pouring milkshake over her and sending her on ridiculous errands. The athleticism of Naomi provides an intriguing opponent, but the wind is taken out of her sails early on with an Alabama Slam. Bella controls the pace with some hard slams and chokes wearing down Naomi, wasting no opportunity to run her mouth against her fellow Total Diva.
But, one of those taunts directed towards Brie allows Naomi to start a comeback, throwing Nikki hard against the ropes, before landing a nice dropkick and flying clothesline. A full nelson bomb is coupled with a hard kick to the back and a low senton, almost scoring a victory. Nikki escapes to ringside, but Naomi kept in hot pursuit, throwing her back into the ring. However, as Naomi looks to re-enter the ring, her foot is briefly caught by Brie, doing her sister's dirty work. The brief distraction allows Nikki to land the Rack Attack and score a win. This new relationship with Brie could prove highly profitable for her if this result is anything to go by.
In a match that looks dynamite on paper, Paige takes on Natalya in singles action. Paige may not be in the greatest mood after her loss at Hell in a Cell, but Nattie's relationship troubles with Tyson Kidd have spilled from Total Divas into the wrestling shows. She could do with a victory to help ease those problems, but the British diva will not bow quietly to the Queen of Harts. The pair conduct some crisp chain wrestling, with Paige mocking her opponent at any opportunity. Natalya takes control until Paige claws at the ropes to escape her onslaught. The referee gets the Canadian away, only for Paige to get a cheap shot on her opponent.
From there, this becomes an excellent back-and-forth match, which you would hope for considering the quality of the participants. Paige dominates most of the proceedings, exploiting any opening with a cheap hit to keep Natalya on the back foot. The strength of Natalya keeps her involved, but more often than not Paige has a counter ready. She also shows more personality and humor in her offense and interaction with the crowd. Natalya explodes towards the end with a discus clothesline followed by a German suplex right on the back of Paige's head. Natalya sets up for the Sharpshooter, but Paige grabs the ropes, and responds with the Paige Turner. Natalya remarkably kicks out, although the commentary team are too distracted by Kidd's ramblings to comment on that feat. Paige sets up for the PTO, only for Natalya to reverse into the Sharpshooter. Paige kicks away quickly, and it's another roll-up pin in the Divas division this week. It was a solid match, but can they end in a different way every now and again? Please?
Over on Impact Wrestling, the Knockouts are in tag team action, as Madison Rayne and Taryn Terrell take on the Beautiful People. A few weeks ago, Rayne left Terrell high and dry when they were ambushed by the arrival of Knockouts Champion Havok. But, she seems desperate to make amends by helping her beat Angelina Love and Velvet Sky tonight. Although, when it comes down to the action, that progressively doesn't look to be true.
Rayne starts off against Love, but when Terrell calls for a tag, Rayne doesn't seem too enthused by the prospect. Terrell holds her own against both Sky and Love, but when she goes to bring Rayne back into the match, her partner avoids it like the plague. The Beautiful People take advantage of this obvious discontent to take control of the match and Terrell, but the feisty blonde refuses to go down without a fight, partner or no partner. Rayne does eventually get involve after Terrell floors both Beautiful People with a crossbody, taking down both Love and Sky before dropping her partner with the Rayne Check. Love covers Terrell to get the victory, but Rayne's betrayal is the lasting image of this match.
The women's division in NXT has been on fire recently in terms of ring performance. Which means the newest addition to their roster, Carmella, has a great deal to live up to. The former hairdresser of Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady has been trained by the Jersey boys to wrestle. She had a winning start against Leva Bates a fortnight ago, but has a much tougher prospect in store against Emma. Her pre-match promo shows she certainly has the charisma of a top diva, but whether she can get it done in the ring is still up for questioning.
However, after this match, she certainly has something to work with. She's far from the finished article, as her stomps look faked. But, Carmella was willing to take bumps, has impressive leg strength, has good grasp of the basic skills and maintained character. Emma also looked good, and it's nice to see her performing after her less than ideal time on the main roster. She injects humor and gets the crowd involved like a female Santino Marella – not the worst spot to be in if done correctly. But, Carmella gets the win with her simple but effective yoga stretch headlock, forcing Emma to submit. It is a promising start both in the ring and on the microphone, and here's hoping Carmella can add to an already impressive group of women.
Only one Divas match on SmackDown this week, but it was a crowded one. For the show's Halloween special, the ladies opened the broadcast with a costume battle royal, with the winner earning a shot at the Divas Championship. The varied costumes were a sight to be seen, with special mentions going to Paige dressed as Summer Rae, Emma as Jane and Layla as Doink the Clown. But, the best costume we only got to see briefly, as it belonged to Brie Bella dressed as her husband Daniel Bryan. Yet, Brie was unable to feature in the battle royal, as her boss/sister Nikki sent her to another city to get her new handbag instead. Divas Champion AJ Lee was on commentary, but the less said about that the better.
As a battle royal goes, it was fairly standard, with little of note to either criticize or praise the performances of any diva. Nikki Bella did land a hard spinebuster on Paige which looked emphatic, and Alicia Fox had a nice battle with Natalya at one point. But, it was a forgettable affair that AJ pretty much laughed off in her commentary. Doesn't bode well if your already flailing division is being buried on commentary by its champion. In the end, Fox took a chance to earn a measure of revenge against Paige with a spear that sent them both to the outside. This left Nikki Bella as the overall winner as she avoided that conflict. She earns a chance at AJ, staring her down after the match, and could set in motion my vision of her as champion leading into WrestleMania.
So there you have it, the breakdown for the week in women's wrestling. What were some of your favorite and least favorite moments from these women? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!