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.
On this edition, the TNA Knockouts Championship is up for grabs in a Triple Threat Match, Paige is announced as the challenger for Nikki Bella at Fast Lane, and the four women who will soon battle for the NXT Women’s Championship compete in tag team action.
Due to adverse weather conditions, RAW did not feature any matches this week. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there were also no women’s matches on Main Event, Lucha Underground, SmackDown or Superstars.
The Bella Twins vs. Paige & Natalya
Beginning with a PPV that will long live in the memory for mainly the wrong reasons, the Royal Rumble was headlined by an amazing WWE Championship match and a controversial Rumble match. Lost in the shuffle then was a Divas tag team match pitting The Bella Twins against Paige and Natalya. Whilst by no means a classic, it was actually a solid bout that took an interesting take on a tag team match, which was refreshing considering the number of them there were on the card.
Although I still to this day do not understand the decision to reunite the Bella Twins after the personal nature of their feud in 2014, they do have a good deal of understanding as a tag team. Brie is certainly the most technically sound, using her speed and taking some risks to keep down her opponents, whilst Nikki exploits her power and taunts her rivals. On the opposite side, Paige and Natalya are two of the best wrestlers on the divas roster, so can often be looked to put on a compelling match.
However, besides some strong offense in the first few minutes, Paige in particular was kept out of the action for the majority of the match. Some would likely see this as a mistake, as the Brit undoubtedly received the best reaction from the Philadelphia crowd. Natalya was instead beaten down for the second half by the dominant Bella Twins, which included some solid maneuvers like a double rolling leg scissors slam. Eventually, Brie took Paige off the apron when she was close to getting in off the tag, leaving Natalya prone to a huge forearm to the face to hand the Bellas the victory.
Charlotte & Bayley vs. Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch
With essentially no women’s matches on show this week, I guess it is at least fortunate that one of them comes from NXT. Last week, Bayley made her return to the ring by seemingly saving Charlotte from a double-team assault by Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch. However, the allure of the NXT Women’s Championship appeared to cloud her judgment, as she slammed the champ to the mat to illustrate her desire to hold the belt. As such, General Manager William Regal made the Fatal Four-Way match for the championship between all four of these ladies, but for this week they had to coexist in tag team action.
The match doesn’t exactly get off to the most promising of starts, with Bayley botching an attempted springboard armdrag on Banks. In fact, this won’t go down as one of the best matches of any of these ladies’ careers unfortunately, a few mistimed or misplaced moves dropping the quality somewhat. However, even when things aren’t exactly going their way, they all have enough in their arsenal to pull off a compelling match. Moments like a double delayed vertical suplex onto Lynch and the focused offense on Bayley’s damaged leg were solid pieces of storytelling.
Eventually Charlotte made her way into the match to clean house, taking down Banks with a neckbreaker, before locking in her unique bridging Figure Four Leglock. Lynch breaks it up, and Banks responds with her own neckbreaker. Bayley breaks up the pin, but accidentally hits Charlotte in the process. This turns the partners against one another as they beat the hell out of each other, the hyenas of Banks and Lynch attempting to prey on this situation, bringing about a No Contest finish. As officials make their way from the back to break up the women, can Charlotte hope to retain her championship with so many combustible elements in her path?
SmackDown was another show that did not feature a Divas match this week. Nevertheless, it was gracious enough to grant some of the ladies airtime in a backstage segment, as Paige discussed being named the new contender for Nikki Bella’s Divas Championship. Of course, it wasn’t long before she was confronted by both Bella Twins, who mocked her pale skin and calling her a vampire. This is the sort of petty and uncreative shtick that I kind of wish the Bellas had moved away from for good. Paige retaliated with a shot to Brie, but was soon taken down by a hard forearm from Nikki.
TNA Knockouts Championship: Taryn Terrell vs. Gail Kim vs. Madison Rayne
TNA provided the best women’s wrestling this week, in spite of the recent departure of Velvet Sky. Nevertheless, the Knockout Division continues to provide some excellent matches, and would attempt to do so again with a triple threat match for the Knockouts Championship. Whilst the major story in the division would certainly be the upcoming collision between Awesome Kong and Havok, Taryn Terrell still has a number of hungry challengers chasing her down, including tonight’s opponents Gail Kim and Madison Rayne.
This match certainly lived up to expectations, providing an entertaining spectacle for the New York crowd. It does still surprise me to this day that Terrell is the same person as WWE Diva Tiffany, as her improvement in the ring has been immense. With Kim you always know you are going to witness quality wrestling. However, the MVP of this match was Rayne, whose strong moves and charisma were the standout features of this match. A nice spot where she connected with a simultaneous neckbreaker and DDT on both opponents was a definite highlight.
One thing I would say about the Knockouts compared to the Divas is that they seem to constantly demonstrate a desire to go above and beyond the call of duty to entertain the fans. This includes when Rayne dumped both Terrell and Kim over the top rope and slammed them both hard against the steel steps. Another excellent moment was Kim’s inverted Boston Crab on Kim, which Terrell broke up by applying a Dragon Sleeper on Kim. Eventually, after Kim missed an attempted cross body on Rayne, Terrell capitalized with a jumping cutter on the Queen Bee to retain her championship. A very good way to end the week for the ladies in wrestling.
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!