In this festive holiday week, Natalya sets her eyes on the Divas Championship, Naomi maintains her fine form, and Charlotte faces Sasha Banks on a Christmas Day edition of NXT.
WWE this week was all about the festive spirit in the week of Christmas. However, there was little love shared in the first Divas match of the night between Natalya and Brie Bella. Last week in tag team action, the Queen of Harts alongside Alicia Fox defeated both Bella Twins. However, the most contentious moment was when her husband Tyson Kidd looked to be checking on the condition of Divas Champion Nikki Bella, rather than celebrating with his wife. Tonight, Natalya looks to continue her supremacy over the sisters in singles action.
The match was pretty much dominated by Brie from the moment a brief lapse by Natalya on the second rope had her slammed hard to the mat. For the rest of the match Brie was in control, showing a great deal of heel character in the process. She carried herself well and even blew a kiss to Kidd at ringside to mock him. However, Natalya fought back towards the end and seemed to have Brie in position for the Sharpshooter, only for it to be countered into a small package, which the Canadian then reversed for the victory.
Post-match she knocked Nikki Bella off the apron when she attempted to get involved, and Natalya hoisted the Divas Championship high above her head. It seems the Fearless Nikki has a new challenger on the horizon, and Natalya will be desperate to hold the title for the first time since Royal Rumble 2011.
The second divas bout of the evening was far more in keeping in the festive atmosphere, as it was a Santa-inspired six-diva tag team match. On one side was Alicia Fox, Naomi and Emma, and facing them were Paige, Summer Rae and Cameron. This was hardly likely to be a wrestling clinic, but elements of the short match were well-orchestrated. Cameron in particular demonstrated some improvement, until of course she fell over too quickly in response to a heel kick by Naomi. Yet, this match wasn’t a total train wreck, which is a good thing.
The crowd were particularly behind Paige, who despite being the epitome of a heel often gets the best reactions of anybody on the divas roster. Emma was her kooky self to inject a little humor, and Naomi was once again impressive with her athleticism and range of offense. The spot where she flipped over the top rope onto the apron was particularly well done. In the end, Alicia Fox blocked an attempted roll-up by Cameron (something that may send shockwaves through the division as few others have figured out how) and connect with her leg-drop bulldog to score the victory for her team.
Main Event witnessed a rare heel vs. heel divas match, as Brie Bella looked to avenge her previous loss to Natalya against Summer Rae. A perhaps surprising aspect of this match was how much the crowd got behind Brie despite her recent change of heart, suggesting that the crowd still perceive her as a babyface. Unfortunately, that was the most interesting aspect of a match that really didn’t perform from a technical standpoint. Brie was okay, not great in terms of the realism of some of her kicks and clotheslines, and Summer continues her decline in terms of in-ring performances with some shoddy selling.
It seemed a little disjointed, but the crowd still kept cheering for Brie throughout. Maybe turning her heel was a mistake that will soon have to be remedied, as the audience in this match arguably got behind her more than they have recently for AJ Lee. Brie picked up the action towards the end with some jumping clotheslines and her running knee to the face of Summer. One missile dropkick from the second rope later and she was celebrating a victory with her sister Nikki.
NXT was broadcast on Christmas Day, and was for the most part a look back at the best matches and moments from the past twelve months. It was a good way to encapsulate how much the brand has grown in the last year into one of the most compelling wrestling shows available. But, there was one match on the card, and if previous bouts were anything to go by, would be a real Christmas cracker. Charlotte would defend her Women’s Championship once more against Sasha Banks. And to add a little more intrigue, both Becky Lynch and the Nature Boy Ric Flair would be at ringside.
After their amazing match at R Evolution, it would be difficult for the pair to better on that performance this week, but they showed little fear in that regard. Both Charlotte and Sasha are quickly mastering the art of storytelling, and making all their actions count. They both started with fists flying, Charlotte using her height and power advantage to focus an attack on the leg of Banks, until she was pulled into the ring post when attempting some more damage.
Banks was in control when the action returned from commercial, repeatedly beating on her former BFF cohort. She mocked Ric Flair at ringside whilst being in complete command of his daughter, the championship precariously in the balance. As soon as Charlotte battled back though, the match picked up a gear and these two traded a number of high impact moves. Charlotte landed her swinging neckbreaker, and then Banks replied with one of her own. Banks locked the champ in the excruciating Bank Statement, and Charlotte barely clasped the ropes. A Superplex nearly had the title change hands as well, but eventually Charlotte was able to lock in the Figure Four Leg Lock with an added bridge for maximum discomfort, forcing Banks to tap out.
Whilst due to the less times and fewer spots, this match wasn’t quite the clinic they put on two weeks ago. But, don’t let that take anything away from what was still a very good match between these amazing competitors. Banks in particular is as polished a female professional as any diva in WWE’s history, and despite Charlotte’s lack of experience she has grown leaps and bounds. Any mistakes they make are merely little kinks that in no way hinder their excellent matches. This could be the divas feud of the next five years if handled correctly.
Our final stop this week is typically on SmackDown, and after a heel vs. heel match on Main Event, it is a pair of faces that end the week, although Alicia Fox’s affiliation seems to shift one week to the next. She took on Naomi, who is simultaneously chasing the Divas title and trying to deter the attentions of the Miz from disrupting her marriage to Jimmy Uso. This match proved to be worthy of two of the most athletic women on the roster, as they produced a very good contest to leave the week on a high.
The action was back and forth, neither diva getting the advantage for an extended period of time. Alicia Fox produced a number of her signature moves, including her impressive Tilt-the-World Backbreaker and Northern Lights Suplex, which arguably Naomi no-sold too much. But, outside of that criticism, the former Funkydactyl looked strong with her athletic offense, with high kicks and hurricanranas. By the end, Naomi had worn down Fox to the point she could connect with a Split-Legged Moonsault for the victory, much to the joy of the Miz watching at ringside. A pleasant second half of the week with two solid divas matches brought the weekend on a high note.
Happy Holidays to everyone from Smark Out Moment, and may the New Year bring even more exciting women’s matches to admire.
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!