In this edition, Natalya and Paige’s alliance continues to upstage the Bella Twins, while the Canadian also pops up on NXT to support Charlotte against Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch. Also, Naomi is put at a distinct disadvantage against Alicia Fox, and Awesome Kong continues her path of destruction at the expense of some Beautiful People.
*No women’s match from Main Event or Lucha Underground this week.
Although last week witnessed the Authority’s return to power, this week they reaped more revenge against those who crossed them or reveled in their departure. Two of these people were the newly crowned Tag Team Champions, The Usos. Stephanie McMahon referenced their distaste at the firing of three superstars the previous episode of RAW. But instead of dealing with them explicitly, she simply informed Jimmy Uso that his wife Naomi would be competing against Alicia Fox, with the handicap of one armed tied behind her back.
As such, this match was unlikely to be a classic, however it’s fortunate that Naomi’s athleticism managed to drag a few reasonable moments out of this bout. An outright negative has to be that a number of both their kicks to the opponent were clearly missed and badly sold. The crowd was predominantly silent throughout, clearly not enthralled in the limited potential the handicap provided, and not exactly sympathetic toward Naomi’s plight either.
The former Funkydactyl did manage to muster some offense toward the conclusion, employing clotheslines and her long legs to knock Fox off the apron. Naomi slammed Fox’s head against the ring, but the lack of a free arm slackened her return to the ring. Stepping slowly through the ropes, Naomi was pounced upon by Fox, softening her up for the Scissor Kick to score her second consecutive victory over Mrs. Uso.
The second and final Divas match of the night was a brief encounter between Paige and Brie Bella. Paige has recently aligned herself with fellow Total Diva Natalya in battling the Bella Twins, defeating Divas Champion Nikki on Main Event. Whether she would be able to do the same to Brie was another question, as she was likely extra buoyant following her husband Daniel Bryan’s return to competition.
Brie took advantage early on with a running knee against Paige leaning on the bottom rope, followed by a missile dropkick to earn a near-fall. She continues to receive pops from certain sections of the audience, which may indicate her time as a heel might be short-lived. Paige responded with kicks and headbutts, ducking a clothesline and connecting with a thrust kick to the face of Brie.
However, when she attempted the cover, Tyson Kidd, Natalya’s egomaniacal husband, hopped onto the apron. Paige, bemused by these actions, was then caught up in a roll-up, handing the victory to Brie. Clearly ‘saddened’ by her loss, Paige took out her frustrations on Kidd, slapping him hard across the face at ringside. This raised a smile from Natalya, amused by her husband’s discomfort as the British diva stormed backstage in defeat.
NXT has a new home on Wednesday nights to compensate for SmackDown’s time switch, but fortunately the action remains just as strong. The women were in tag team action this week, built upon an incident a couple of weeks ago when Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch surrounded NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte in the ring. Another second-generation diva came to the champ’s aid, as Natalya evened the odds against Team BAE. On this edition of NXT, all four women partook in a tag team match.
Although not one of the classics that Charlotte and Sasha Banks have been known for in recent months, but still a solid battle. Charlotte and Natalya’s strength and technical ability produced a number of excellent double team maneuvers. Lynch also received a strong reaction from the fans as a heel, demonstrating that this allegiance with Banks has allowed her to show more of her ability and personality.
After Banks had taken control of Natalya, the Canadian escaped to the hot tag for Charlotte, connecting with some chops and her spinning neckbreaker. Lynch broke up the cover, and an attempt to hit a double clothesline on the champion was acrobatically avoided by Charlotte. However, she was then thrown against the ropes by Banks, hit with a hangman’s neckbreaker, and pinned after Banks got a hold of the trunks. A desperately vital pin on the champion for Banks, who will now be more confident than ever that she can win the title from Charlotte.
SmackDown is back on Thursdays, and the divas were there to perform for the transition. Up first is a six-person tag team match, with the Usos and Naomi clashing with The Miz, Damien Mizdow and Alicia Fox. Following the hindrance Naomi endured on RAW, she was likely looking forward to getting a measure of revenge with the odds evened up.
After the men had started the match, Fox made a blind tag on Mizdow (an extremely unpopular move), and walked right into a dropkick from Naomi. Naomi continued her assault on her current rival with a flurry of punches, a kick to the side of the head and then a crossbody, until Fox managed to escape to the Miz for a reprieve. They were not involved until near the finish, when Fox broke up an attempted pin by Jimmy Uso on the Miz, only to be rewarded with a flying Naomi with a Lou Thesz Press. Still, Fox scored another victory over Naomi when the Miz connected with a Skull Crushing Finale to get the pinfall.
The second divas match of the evening built upon recent events as well, with Divas Champion Nikki Bella facing Natalya in a non-title match. The champ has not been in the greatest form as of late, falling to both Nattie and Paige last week in singles action, leading many to speculate that one if not both of them will be afforded number one contender’s status. Could Nikki regain some momentum, or would Natalya, without husband Tyson Kidd by her side, continue to have the champion’s number?
Nikki continues to impress me not only with her improvement in technique, but the manner in which she carries herself as a self-important heel. Even after something as simple as an armdrag, she gloats about her accomplishment at every opportunity. Something Nikki could be proud of was a tornado armbar takedown she connected on Natalya early on. The champion continued to focus the attention on the arm with a few submission holds, until the Queen of Harts’ strength sent her crashing to the mat.
Natalya dodged a charge into the corner from Nikki, connecting with a snapmere, followed by running up the champ’s back into a basement dropkick. A botched discus clothesline followed due to Nikki’s poor positioning unfortunately. Still, a minor hiccup on the course of the match, as Natalya went for her Sharpshooter, Nikki kicked her away into the path of Brie, who shouted at the Canadian from the apron. However, this distraction had disastrously unintended consequences, as Paige was able to slap the lipstick off Nikki’s face. Another attempt at the Sharpshooter saw it locked in tight, forcing Nikki to tap and giving Natalya a further claim towards a title shot.
Superstars often gets the short-end of the stick in terms of coverage. It doesn’t feature main event talent, giving time for some of the lower-card wrestlers to compete, not that many people are going to be watching. Still, it’s time to give its participants some exposure in the divas division, as in this week’s episode Summer Rae wrestled fellow Total Diva Cameron. Set your bars low and cover your eyes when needed.
I have made no secret my displeasure at watching these two wrestle, as they appear to be dead weight at this point from a technical standpoint. I do like Cameron’s character and charisma as a heel, but she can’t back it up in the ring. This was illustrated very early on after Summer touched Cameron’s precious mirror, as she narrowly avoided the leapfrog by Summer, who appeared to be competing in the babyface role.
Cameron took control after pulling Summer down to the canvas from the ropes, taunting both the blonde and the crowd as she locked her opponent in a stretch submission. The attitude is certainly there, and that’s good to see for now. A missed leg drop allowed Summer back into the action, as she fired up with clotheslines, followed by a DDT with slaps to the face immediately afterwards. A roundhouse kick later and Summer had scored a rare victory, celebrating like she had just won the Divas Championship. It could have been a lot worse considering their respective histories, so maybe they are showing signs of improvement.
It’s all change-around in terms of scheduling, as Impact Wrestling finds itself a cushy spot on Friday nights in their new home on Destination America. And after last week’s reasonably emphatic return, things may be looking up for TNA. One of the key matches of the previous episode was the TNA Knockouts Battle Royal, where the champion Taryn Terrell was able to retain against the odds. Tonight, she teamed up with Brooke against the Beautiful People. Brooke has her issues with ex-boyfriend Robbie E, and the Bromans would be stalking ringside.
Brooke wastes little time charging after Robbie on the outside, chasing him into the ring, but this opens her up for a clothesline from Angelina Love. Brooke is able to respond, showing little ring-rust from her long absence, before bringing in champion Terrell. The blonde bombshell has shown time and again a fearless attitude to competition, and after her and Brooke kicked the Beautiful People to ringside, Terrell dived off the top rope onto them and the Bromans. Nevertheless, a tag to Brooke brings Robbie to the ring apron for another distraction, and although he’s slapped down, Velvet Sky rolls up with the tights for the victory.
The action was far from over there though, as just like last week the lights went out, and when they returned Awesome Kong stood opposite the Beautiful People. She had little problem dispatching of both Knockouts, hitting an Implant Buster on Love, before adding a Chokeslam to DJ Z for good measure. Business picked up again when Havok made her way out to the ring, squaring up with the equally dominant Kong, until security and backstage officials broke them apart, disappointing the crowd’s desire to see them battle.
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!
Difficult to decide this week due to a number of brief and uninspiring matches if I’m being brutally honest. Still, I will go with Natalya vs. Nikki Bella from SmackDown due to Nikki’s charisma as a heel and Natalya’s victory without the use of a roll-up.
Woman of the Week goes to Sasha Banks, for finally scoring a pin over NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte, pushing her towards another opportunity in the near future.