Each week, DIVAS DEBRIEF runs down the events that transpired in women's professional wrestling from the past couple of days. From the WWE Divas to the TNA Knockouts including some other companies as well, Smark Out Moment attempts to keep you up to date on all things going on with the ladies of the ring.
In this edition, Natalya, Paige & The Bella Twins prepare for their Royal Rumble clash, Sexy Star lights up Lucha Underground, a TNA Knockout is given her pink slip, and the NXT Women’s Championship is up for grabs.
Paige & Natalya vs. Summer Rae & Alicia Fox
Beginning with Monday night’s premier event, the announcement was made that at the Royal Rumble, the tension that has been building between Total Diva cohorts Paige, Natalya and The Bella Twins would be unleashed in a tag team match. Whilst it is somewhat of a shame that the Divas Championship will not be defended, these are four of the best female wrestlers on the roster, so should give a good account of themselves, even if the live fans won’t pay much attention.
To prepare for their upcoming chance to get their hands on the Bellas, Paige and Natalya teamed up to battle Summer Rae and Alicia Fox. Natalya and Summer have had bitter personal differences in the past, but it was Paige that started out with the dancing queen. Some good teamwork saw the Commonwealth pairing flatten Summer with a kick to the back of the head, followed by a low dropkick by Natalya. The tandem offense continued as they looked to send a message to the Bella Twins on commentary, which has never been a great place for them anyway.
Eventually Summer and Fox were able to provide some assault on Natalya, but this was only a brief diversion from the goal of making Paige and Natalya strong heading into the PPV. Paige entered the match off the hot tag to a strong crowd reaction, connecting with a flurry of clotheslines and a straight kick to the face of her former Foxy BFF. Natalya then blocked an attempted kick by Fox, throwing her into the path of another Paige superkick, leaving the temperamental Fox trapped in the PTO for the victory.
With the strength in submissions of both Paige and Natalya, will one or both of the Bellas be forced to tap out too at the Royal Rumble?
Natalya vs. Summer Rae
Following on from RAW, Natalya and Summer Rae re-ignited their Total Diva animosity on Main Event, with Paige supporting her new friend from ringside. These two have not exactly had the rosiest of relationships on the reality program, the blonde dancer proving a consistent thorn in the side of the second-generation Diva. Natalya clearly has the edge in both experience and natural ability, but Summer has shown some improvement as of late in between the ropes.
Summer lands the first significant blows by slapping and shoving Natalya repeatedly against the ropes, acts that the Canadian does not take very kindly to. Natalya responds with a takedown and flying fists, until Summer rolls her up in a jackknife cover. Natalya uses her core strength to escape and transition into a backslide. This is followed by a really nice looking spot where Natalya bounced Summer off the top rope, dropping her on her backside, before running up her back and landing her low dropkick.
Summer to her credit fights back, and demonstrates some adeptness with submissions that would make her opponent proud. She locks Natalya in an Indian Death Lock, exploiting her impressive flexibility to then wrap a leg around the neck of the Canadian to turn it into a pin. Natalya was able to reverse this into an inventive pin, before locking in her own favorite submission, the Sharpshooter, causing Summer to quickly tap out. More momentum swings in the way of Natalya for the Royal Rumble after a surprisingly good match for the time it was afforded.
Sexy Star vs. El Mariachi Loco
Heading over to the high-flying lands of Lucha Underground, Sexy Star has demonstrated on numerous occasions that she is not intimidated by the prospect of tangling with the men on the roster. She came agonizingly close to becoming the inaugural Lucha Underground Champion a couple of weeks ago, and will have to demonstrate the same fighting spirit against El Mariachi Loco. Loco doesn’t appear too threatened by his opponent, blowing kisses in Sexy’s direction, but that attitude could easily prove his downfall.
Loco likely was feeling a little crazy after a tilt-the-world headscissors sent him crashing to the mat, before getting his bell rung by a bicycle kick to the face. These maneuvers finally convince Loco to take Sexy seriously, connecting with a drop toehold, followed up with some hard chops to the chest. Sexy is then able to bait him in with her feminine charms, tossing him over the top rope and then flying from the turnbuckle with a crossbody.
Sending him back into the ring, Loco misses a punch and Sexy retaliates with a slap to the face, but an attempt at another tilt-the-world sees her thrown across the top rope. This leaves her prone to an attempt from Loco, soaring off the top with a senton. But he misses, and Sexy recovers into a small package to get the victory. A good match between the pair, as Sexy continues to prove more than capable in a ‘man’s world’.
Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks (NXT Women’s Championship)
In a rivalry that has lit up NXT the past couple of months, Sasha Banks will once again hope to capture the NXT Women’s Championship from arch-nemesis Charlotte. So far the Nature Girl has been able to overcome the challenge posed by her former BFF stablemate, albeit stretching her genetic superiority to its absolute limit. Banks has come so close and impressed a lot of people with her ability, and many expect her to deservedly wear the strap in the very near future. Will tonight witness that moment, or will she once again come up short?
Both ladies seem especially confident in the announcements, and waste little time squaring up and reigniting their nasty rivalry. They actually managed to make the early headlocks really compelling, ripping and clawing at each other as they jockeyed for supremacy, eventually falling out to ringside with a thud. Out there Charlotte floors Becky Lynch with a clothesline, before returning her focus to her opponent Banks. They trade rapid punches following Lou Thesz Presses, but an irate Lynch enters the fray to attack the champion, costing Banks her opportunity with a disqualification finish.
Banks initially doesn’t take too kindly to her BAE partner’s actions, before focusing her anger on Charlotte instead. This brings out a returning Bayley to chase the hyenas from the ring and help her friend. But, the championship belt catches her attention, and as Charlotte is forced to rip it from Bayley’s clutches, the usually bubbly diva’s expression changes, connecting with a Bayley-to-Bayley on the champ. This chaos brings out General Manager William Regal, who makes the announcement that at the upcoming Takeover special, Charlotte will defend her championship against Banks, Lynch and Bayley in a Fatal Four-Way. How will her reign be able to survive this?
Brie Bella vs. Naomi
With Natalya and Paige building plenty of momentum heading into their tag team bout at the Royal Rumble, Brie Bella was hoping victory over Naomi would help the Bella Twins prepare for the match. Whilst I’m still baffled by the decision to turn Brie heel once again and revert backwards to the original Bella Twins gimmick alongside her sister Nikki, she still has developed in the ring to be an effective competitor. Naomi is also supremely gifted athletically, and will be looking to recover after a number of disappointments against Alicia Fox.
Naomi wastes little time unleashing her high-octane offense, with dropkicks and flying clotheslines keeping Brie occupied. A clever kick from the top turnbuckle has the Bella reeling, before a misplaced high kick from the apron is reversed, and Naomi is guillotined across the top rope. Brie assumes control, a running bulldog from the corner earning her a near-fall.
But, she misses a running kick against the ropes, allowing Naomi to respond with clotheslines. However, another high kick attempt is again blocked, Brie dropping Naomi’s leg across her shoulder, before following up with the Bella Buster for a quick victory. Unfortunately it was a pretty short match, but hopefully the Royal Rumble will offer slightly more from the four talented women involved.
Naomi vs. Cameron
Superstars witnesses the revival of a much-missed feud between Naomi and Cameron, the former Funkydactyls. Obviously the sarcasm is very evident, but Cameron actually impressed me somewhat in last week’s match with Summer Rae for the character she showed. As Cameron delicately places her beloved mirror down on the apron, she is kicked from behind by her former partner, enraging the Total Diva. Naomi follows up with dropkicks and a reverse elbow, with Cameron seemingly deciding to leave early. Naomi catches up to her, only to be nailed with a wicked clothesline at ringside.
Cameron takes the initiative, taunting Naomi as she keeps her grounded, nailing her with a facebuster. Cameron locks in a few rest submissions to keep her opponent under control, Naomi briefly responding with a Lou Thesz Press, before being once again shut down with a clothesline. Eventually, Naomi is able to bring some sustained offense with clotheslines of her own, then using her heralded booty to her advantage. First she has some fun with Cameron by forcing her head against her backside, then connecting with the Rear View to secure a fairly convincing victory.
Havok vs. Gail Kim
The final women’s match of the week will likely be the saving grace after a preceding number of very short matches and non-finishes. Havok and Gail Kim’s feud from the closing months of 2014 witnessed some of the best women’s matches of the entire year, putting a number of their male coworkers to shame with the work ethic and aggression they demonstrated. Both were not afraid of putting their bodies on the line to tell a great story, especially Kim confronting the power of Havok. So the quality is pretty much guaranteed, but will Awesome Kong make her presence known?
Havok charges down the ramp to assault Kim, only to be rewarded with being flung into the guard rail and smashed into the ring apron, followed by Kim soaring off the apron onto the monster with a crossbody. Already you can tell both mean business, as Kim once again soars onto Havok inside the ring for a near-fall. Havok is able to end the assault of Kim by catching her charging crossbody attempt against the turnbuckle, transitioning it into a gutbuster. Havok is then left in complete control, showing little remorse in choking the multi-time Knockouts Champion and splashing her into the corner.
Kim battles back with reverse elbows, but loses a contest of kicks with the taller Havok, leading into a bearhug. Every time Kim attempted to regain momentum, she was shut down, a painful running knee to the face a clear sign of Havok’s dominance. Havok doesn’t let up her vicious assault in blatant disregard of the referee, shoving him down to get disqualified. Havok then drops Kim from an electric chair position face first onto the ring bell. This prompts the arrival of Awesome Kong, who withstands a forearm and tackle attempt by Havok before clotheslining her out of the ring. I can’t wait for these two behemoths to lock it up soon.
Whilst that was the end of the wrestling on the women’s side, one last moment stuck in the memory at the close of the show. During the Feast or Fired opening to the event, Robbie E captured one of the cases when Velvet Sky passed it down to him. However, when it became a case of 50/50 whether the briefcase contained a ‘Fired’ symbol or not, Robbie pointed out that Sky had taken down the case, not him, and said she should get whatever the result is. As it turned out, Robbie ducked out correctly, as Velvet Sky was fired.
One of the most recognized TNA Knockouts of all time, it is as of yet unknown whether this firing is genuinely the end of her TNA run. Of course, her real-life boyfriend Bully Ray departed the company a short while ago, so it would not be out of the realm of possibility that she departed. However, it is still a sad time, especially for Taz who has to lose one of his catchphrases. Sky has been an important part of the company throughout its years of existence, and if this is the end it’s a rather sad way to see her leave.
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!