This week, on the cusp of the return of Total Divas, Natalya and Paige form a strange alliance against the Bella Twins. Also, the Knockouts Championship is on the line in a battle royal, Sasha Banks battles Alexa Bliss on NXT, and two lady luchadors attempt to capture the Lucha Underground Championship.
And, for those wondering, this is a segment that discusses women's wrestling, and not a divas soap opera masquerading as reality television. As such, Total Divas will only be mentioned in passing for linked events on WWE shows, and not given its own section.
On an episode of RAW that was filled with championship changes and shocking departures, the Divas division storylines clearly began reacting to the events on Total Divas. As such, Natalya was once again in action against the Divas Champion Nikki Bella. Only this time without her husband Tyson Kidd by her side, she had Paige, the most recent addition to the reality show. With the Anti-Diva by her side, Natalya was looking to avenge last week's defeat.
The match was unsurprisingly short, but there was some solid action for the time taken. Both divas viciously assaulted each other due to the animosity of the last few weeks, Nikki eventually gaining the upper-hand by escaping the Sharpshooter and connecting with a vicious forearm. Focus though then switched to ringside, as Paige and Brie Bella brawled, with Nikki's twin sister getting introduced roughly with the barricade. In the reverse of last week, this distraction cost Nikki, as she was caught in the deadly roll-up by Natalya to earn the Canadian the victory.
The Divas Champion didn't take too kindly to this result, assaulting Natalya post-match. This display of poor sportsmanship drew Paige's ire, as the Brit connected with a straight kick to the face of Nikki. Paige then celebrated with the victorious Natalya, who will be hoping this result puts her into championship consideration heading into the Royal Rumble.
Later in the evening, Alicia Fox and Naomi conducted a backstage discussion that turned ugly fast, as Fox partook in one of her customary heel turns for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Still, this meant she could team up with The Miz & Damien Mizdow to take on Naomi and The Usos in a six-person mixed tag.
The ladies started off the action, with Naomi extremely fired up following that behind-the-scenes attack from the unstable Fox, but when Fox escaped to her corner were reduced to bystanders for the majority of the match. At the conclusion, Miz pushed Jey Uso into the path of his sister-in-law Naomi, and his attempts to put on the brakes allowed the A-Lister to roll him up for a victory over the Tag Team Champions.
Main Event built upon the tenuous situation between The Bella Twins and the odd couple of Paige and Natalya. This time, Nikki would once again be competing in a non-title match, but this time against the British-born diva. Paige won numerous accolades for her confident arrival on the scene in 2014, and this alliance with the Queen of Harts looks like it will push her back into title contention for this year, especially with a victory here.
This was a very good match, as both ladies were given a solid chunk of time to perform. Paige being one of the most capable women on the roster and Nikki having improved greatly in the past year, this was a great test for their abilities, one that they passed with honors. Both were fiercely combative, Nikki gaining an early advantage with a springboard kick from out of the corner catching Paige off-guard. However, a low kick to the face of Nikki sent her scrawling for the comfort of ringside and her sister Brie, as Paige stood proudly in the center of the ring.
When action returned from break, Paige was hurled from the ring apron hard onto the floor by the champion, momentum firmly shifting with it. Natalya helped her young friend back into the ring, as Nikki began to focus her attack on the shoulder of Paige. The champ continues to carry herself effectively as a dominant heel, reveling in every move she connects and taunting the crowd. Employing a number of nonchalant covers drew the ire of the fans, as Paige attempted to battle her way back into the fight.
The quality of the wrestling was very good, Nikki showing versatility in the assault of Paige's arm, gaining the Norwich lass the support of the audience. The action picked up when Paige battled back, employing her strength and kicks to keep Nikki down. A major disruption by Brie at ringside allowed Paige to be thrown from the top rope to the canvas, but Natalya saw to that Bella. Nikki was then caught flush with another straight kick to the face, and the follow-up Ram-Paige scored the Anti-Diva an important win over the champion. A great match outside of a few hiccups, showing what the ladies on the main roster can do if given the time to perform.
Debuting for the first time on Destination America, Impact Wrestling kicked off their new beginning with a mass brawl between all the wrestlers and knockouts. This brought out Kurt Angle to bring some order to proceedings with the booking of the night's matches. One of these was a Knockouts' Championship battle royal, featuring Gail Kim, Rebel, Madison Rayne, The Beautiful People, Havok and the champion Taryn Terrell. Could the blonde bombshell overcome the odds and remain the titleholder in this new era for TNA?
Terrell was immediately the target for most of the competitors, whilst Gail Kim and Havok peeled off to continue their rivalry. Yet it was Rebel who was the first to suffer elimination, with a lethal dose of the Botox Injection from Angelina Love the cause. Rayne was next to go, unable to talk her way out of Havok's clutches. Love was then dispatched by the champion, and was soon followed by teammate Velvet Sky when she was distracted by a returning Brooke's attack on ex-boyfriend Robbie E and ousted by Terrell and Kim.
This left the dominant Havok with the champion Terrell and veteran Kim, and her immense strength allowed her to take out her two smaller combatants. However, when attempting the Harlot Slayer on Kim, she is locked in a headscissors over the top rope. Kim can't hold on long enough and falls to the floor, but Terrell is able to get under Havok and dispatch her to retain her title. Havok doesn't take kindly to this result, assaulting Terrell relentlessly after the match, until the lights go out across the arena.
This beckoned the return of Awesome Kong, back at home following her disappointing time in WWE. The two behemoths butt heads in the center of the ring, the stare down getting the crowd on their feet in shock and anticipation for this brawl. However, the referees pick this volatile situation to clear the ladies from the ring, with Brian Stiffler getting a chokeslam for his troubles from Kong as Havok retreats backstage. The Knockout division just became a great deal more dangerous and exciting.
The cheesy excitement of Lucha Underground and its high-flying performers were present in one huge match this week, as it was a 20-person elimination match to crown the inaugural Lucha Underground Champion. And the term 'person' is rightly employed, as two of the ladies on their roster battled to earn that accolade. Up first was Ivelisse, who is previously known for her appearance on WWE Tough Enough, NXT, TNA and Shine Wrestling. Her appearance was brief, as although she showed no fear in mixing it up with the men, this attitude proved he downfall as she invited the Thrill of the Hunt from King Cuerno.
The second female participant enjoyed more success, as Sexy Star was fortunate to receive a late entrant number into the action. She immediately focused her attention on Chavo Guerrero, the man that she has had plenty of issue with in the past month. When Guerrero looked set to hit her with a steel chair, Sexy battled fiercely to avoid that fate until being slammed back first onto the chair. However, a cameo by non-participant Blue Demon caught Guerrero off-guard, allowing him to be pinned by Sexy. This left her as part of the final four, but she didn't last long despite a strong effort, as a hefty clothesline by Mil Muertes sealed her elimination.
One brief women's match was the only contribution from NXT this week, but still produced a fair amount of excitement. Alexa Bliss has yet to really stamp herself onto an extremely talented roster of ladies in developmental since her shock victory over Alicia Fox on her television debut. She has proven very athletic and determined in her spirit, but has been found wanting in the result department. And this match would prove another trying contest against the Boss Sasha Banks, with Becky Lynch in tow.
Bliss showed no fear in aggressively asserting herself against the brash Banks, after she had her nose broken by the Boss in a previous bout. However, an attempted headscissors was reversed into a hard backbreaker to turn the match in Banks' favor. Trash-talking with every move landed, Banks was in control until Bliss unleashed a number of quick pin attempts. But, the double knees to the gut followed with the brutal Bank Statement gets Banks back to winning ways. A good match, but I'd still like to see more of Bliss beyond some imaginative pinning predicaments.
In a blink-and-you'd-miss-it battle, Naomi and Alicia Fox took their animosity from RAW into SmackDown, this time in singles action. Fox's frequent flipping between heel and face has gotten beyond the point of ridiculous, like she is the Big Show of the Divas division. Not saying she's large of course, don't want her turning psychotic on me as well. With Fox playing on Naomi's departure from Total Divas, with the former Funkydactyl earn a measure of revenge on her former ally.
Well, this contest was mainly an exposition of Naomi's athletic talents. A number of stylish maneuvers, including hurricanranas and monkey flips, were the norm for this match, adding a little panache in spite of its brevity. A nice spot where Naomi reversed Fox's patented tilt-the-world backbreaker into a crossbody was a highlight. Yet, within a couple of minutes Fox was able to roll-up Naomi from the turnbuckle, placing her feet on the ropes for leverage to gain a controversial victory.
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!